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The calendar tells us that this is the week of Christmas, the "most wonderful time of the year" as the song goes. This year, though, something feels a bit off. We are still shy of twelve months of complete disruption from the pandemic that has hit our globe, which means that we can all remember what it was like last year at this time. Some would call that time last year "normal" compared to what we are experiencing today. We had no idea what was about to hit us. Unprecedented is a word that is used a lot these days, though I admit that I try to shy away from that word altogether. I sometimes find it hard to believe that we are nearing the end of 2020, when it feels like the time from March until now has been like a never-ending cycle of reliving the same day over and over again, or some variation thereof.

There are some things about this Christmas season, however, regardless of the pandemic, that make me wonder what month it is. For one, there is no snow on the ground. Maybe it's going to be a brown Christmas. Though the temperatures are cold enough to flood the rink up the street from our house, the quality of ice is still debatable, as my children would say. The temperature has been unseasonably warm for Minnesota. We had a 40-degree day recently. Mind you, as the years go by, I rather enjoy warmer weather and shorter winters. But let's put all that aside for now. What I really want to do right now is have us center our thoughts on the things that never change.

Morning, Evening, Repeat

I began my job as president of CSC this past August. Already four months have gone by and with it so many full and fulfilling days of work for this amazing ministry. I love my job! It seems, though, that with each passing year, and as I get older, the days get shorter. Why is that? Just so you know, it is not just me and it is not just you. There is a lot of science behind why "time speeds up" as you age. While we all know that there are still 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week, it can seem that the weeks and months just "fly" by. I've heard that the more years you live, the less one year (or one day) is as a total of all the years you have lived. Makes sense to me.

A Cambridge University study from March 2019 posits that perception and physics have a lot to do with why we feel time is speeding up. The study explains that "clock time" is not the same as the time perceived by the human mind. "The 'mind time' is a sequence of images, i.e. reflections of nature that are fed by stimuli from sensory organs" (Bejan, 2019). It goes on to talk about the difference in those who are well rested versus those who are overtired. We are much more likely to watch time pass us by when we are tired and worn. Conversely, the person who is at rest is likely to experience a slowness of time and may feel more at peace. I have to admit that I have more times of time moving quickly than times at rest.

So what can we do to remedy this state of being? Try reading Psalm 63, as follows. Take some time to really "drink" these words in. Use this and other Psalms, even other scriptures, to get your mind and soul in a position of rest in order to slow down your processing time.

Psalm 63
A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced. (The Holy Bible, NIV)

Childlike Curiosity for Cebu

Part of what motivates and drives me is a curiosity to discover new things, or new ways of doing old things. Just last night I was looking at maps of Cebu, Philippines and some of the neighboring islands. I was imagining the property that is Children's Shelter of Cebu, the three residences, the infirmary, Children of Hope School. I imagined seeing the children and staff outside, walking the grounds, playing, sitting, and also those who were inside the buildings. I imagined myself in that setting as well, soaking in the heat and humidity like I had done when I was in Cebu last, many years ago. I just can't wait to hop a plane and go over there again.

Part of the curiosity I have has to do with my vision for the future, especially as it relates to CSC. I am mindful of a Christ-centered ministry that has been around for nearly 42 years and am also aware of my own place in the ministry, as a former board member and now as president. I feel a stirring and calling from God that He has more for us to do in Cebu, much more. 2021 is just around the corner and I am so excited for what next year will bring. I am grateful for a leadership team in Cebu who are so capable of doing what is required of them in order to provide the best care possible for all of the children. I am grateful for all those who partner with CSC to make it possible for this care to happen, both financially and through prayer.

God's Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23 are two verses that most of us could sing or hum the tune to.

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (The Holy Bible, ESV)

When I think about faithfulness, I often think about who is the one being faithful and what they character qualities are. On a human level, I understand quickly that our ability to be faithful and unfaithful can change in a matter of seconds. That is because we are a flawed humanity full of faults. God on the other hand is the only one who can be consistently faithful, and He promises His faithfulness each and every day. Even in the hardest of days (or years, like 2020), His faithfulness can be seen everywhere. I should say that those who know God and who choose to seek Him can see His faithfulness everywhere. God remains the same, never changing. As Hebrews 13:8 says of God's only son, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (The Holy Bible, ESV).

I find it so reassuring that God is the one thing that never changes. And even more than that, the Bible tells us that He was present before everything was formed. He is the beginning AND the end. Psalm 90:2 says, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (The Holy Bible, ESV). He will be there to guide CSC through whatever the next year brings.


Dear Lord, we praise you for all the many blessings of this year. Thank you for your faithfulness. Remind us of the importance to slow down and to rest in you, and draw us to your Holy Word for that rest. Help us remember that you are the same yesterday and today and forever. Please show us the way to go in 2021 and may everything we do be done in a way that brings you glory. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.

It is my honor to be able to write periodically for our CSC blog. It is my hope that these words and the words from all those who share from time to time will draw you in to a deeper walk with the Lord and help you see things from different points of view. While we hope to tell you more about Children's Shelter of Cebu, we also want to share a bit about those who do the work.


Bejan, A. (2019, March 18). Why the days seem shorter as we get older. Retrieved from: older/2CB8EC9B0B30537230C7442B826E42F1

The Holy Bible. New International Version. Retrieved from:

The Holy Bible. English Standard Version. Retrieved from:


Jul. 11, 2024By: Cris Secuya

It's a common aspiration for everyone to desire wealth, especially after enduring significant economic hardship. That was my mindset as I grew up: longing to achieve fame and fortune, reaching the goals that seemed perpetually out of reach. The agony of destitution is profound, especially when everything you need is beyond your reach and the uncertainty of when fortune might finally smile upon you.

During my college education, where I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, my resolve faced early skepticism. In my first semester, a professor cautioned us against expecting financial prosperity from this field, suggesting it would deplete our resources rather than enrich us. Despite this discouragement and the added challenge of being a working student, I remained steadfast in my conviction. I was convinced that social work was my destined career path.

Upon completing my bachelor's degree, I found myself immersed in various childcare institutions, encountering clients from diverse social backgrounds. Many were street kids or young individuals entangled in criminal activities such as theft, pickpocketing, robbery, and gang violence. Presently, I am dedicated to assisting children who have suffered various forms of abuse.

As a case manager, my daily routine involves employing casework tools such as active listening, observation, interviews, building relationships, and conducting home visits. As a people-oriented individual, I derive immense satisfaction from engaging with others, discussing their social challenges, and offering solutions based on assessments and recommendations. Advocating for the oppressed and witnessing transformative change brings me indescribable joy.

Doing case management work at the Children's Shelter of Cebu for nineteen years already would not have been possible without God's strength. Usually, fear haunts me because of life's uncertainties. I am still experiencing enormous challenges as I continue to deal with clients with diverse social problems. Still, the assurance of God's promises that he will be with me in my journey with each client has enabled me to overcome them.

Reaching out to families and empowering them to become cohesive units is another invaluable aspect of my work. We all define "wealth" differently. For me, the richness of my experiences in social work transcends monetary value; they are enduring treasures that will outlast my existence. They cannot be traded for any material wealth in this world. Would you dare to pursue such blessings?

My work ethics in the workplace are anchored in the scripture in the book of Isaiah 41:10.
'So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

All glory to God.
Crisologo B. Secuya
CSC Social Worker

Celebrating Community and Generosity: Our Annual Fundraising Event for CSC

Jul. 1, 2024By: Jill Grasley  ›  Author Bio

A few weeks ago, we held a heartwarming and successful fundraising event for the Children's Shelter of Cebu (CSC) in Minnesota. The event saw nearly 300 attendees come together, with about half being former residents or adoptive families and the other half being supporters of our work. This gathering was not just a fundraiser; it was a celebration of 45 years of ministry in the Philippines.

The weekend began on Friday evening with a special gathering exclusively for adoptive families and former residents with current and former staff. We also had a video call with the houseparents, staff, and kids at the shelter in Cebu so former residents could connect with them. This intimate start set a warm and personal tone for the rest of the event, allowing old friends to reunite and new connections to form.









The highlight of the event on Saturday was hearing from former residents of the shelter, Angillo and Rhoella, and our Program Director, Eunice Guinanoy. The powerful testimonies from Angillo and Rhoella illustrated the profound impact that CSC has had on their lives. Eunice shared about specifics from the program team that cares for the children, including the residents who will benefit from our new program for young adults and how we admit children and assess their needs. Their stories and experiences brought to life the mission of CSC and underscored the importance of our work.

Eunice__Bjork 947A2231





We are excited to announce that we raised just over $100,000 during the event, bringing us close to our goal of $115,000. The funds raised will go directly to benefit the children at CSC, providing essential food, clothing, medicine, and other necessities. The generosity of our supporters ensures that we can continue to offer a safe and nurturing environment for the children who need it most. Donations are still being accepted, and anyone who wishes to contribute can do so at

Seeing so many supporters gathered in one place was a testament to the strength and unity of our community. After the isolation and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this event was a poignant reminder of the power of coming together. It was not just about raising funds; it was about reaffirming our collective commitment to the children of Cebu and celebrating the progress we've made together.

Whether you gathered with us in person in Minnesota, watched online, or are reading this from around the world, your gifts make an impact. We are deeply grateful to everyone who attended and contributed to the event. Your support makes a tangible difference in the lives of the children at CSC, and we look forward to continuing this journey with all of you.

We thank God for His guidance and blessings over these 45 years and for bringing together such a dedicated and compassionate community. Together, with God's help, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of the children we serve. Thank you for being a part of our community and for helping us create a brighter future for the children we serve.
































Embracing Hope

Jun. 10, 2024By: Teacher Lyrah Ann


The Cebu Children of Hope School recently marked a significant milestone with its annual Moving Up Ceremony and Recognition Rites. This celebration symbolized the incredible resilience of its students in overcoming extraordinary challenges. The event commenced with a processional and an uplifting opening prayer, setting a tone of gratitude and hope that resonated throughout the ceremony.

The Field Director's welcoming address underscored the importance of this milestone in the students' educational journey, prompting a moment of reflection on how far these young minds had come. Emotions rose as the Principal recognized the candidates for completion, celebrating their hard work and dedication. It was a moment of joy for the students and everyone who had supported them along the way. The ceremony also recognized non-completers, honoring their efforts and progress. This segment highlighted the school's commitment to helping every student on their path.


One of the ceremony's highlights was the guest speech by the Executive Director of Phase Two Cebu Group. In it, he emphasized the transformative power of education and the value of perseverance. Another standout moment was the gratitude speech by a Grade Six student. Her words were a touching reminder of the impact of community and support:

"When I arrived, everyone was a stranger to me, and making new friends was challenging. I questioned whether I'd ever find someone to help me until a group of people stepped in to offer their support and encouragement, bringing joy, peace, and kindness into my life. Without these people, I would never have realized my dreams.
You've all been like guiding stars, leading me toward my goals with your teachings, encouragement, and big hearts. Your presence here has made perseverance and consistency possible. Above all, I thank God for placing me in this special place. I surrender all my doubts to Him and am grateful for His forgiveness through His
son, Jesus Christ."


Her heartfelt words touched everyone present, emphasizing the significant impact of the community's support. The celebration continued with awards for the completers, celebrating their exceptional achievements. The Kindergarten and Grade Six Completers performed their completion songs, adding a joyful and celebratory atmosphere to the event.







As the ceremony concluded, it marked both an end and a new beginning for these resilient students. It was a day filled with laughter, tears, and deep camaraderie. It was a day to celebrate their journey and eagerly anticipate the bright futures that lie ahead.


Edible Happiness

May. 24, 2024By: Home Life Team

Ever wonder how we prepare meals for 20 children in one house daily? Our long-time cook, Auntie Helen, prepares a delicious and healthy lunch for our children in Cherne Home. Our cooks enjoy seeing our children join the empty plate club, which means the food is delicious, and the children are satisfied! Here is a snippet of lunch preparation in Cherne Home.

"The Bow and the Arrow"

May. 9, 2024By: Counseling Department

Children are explorers. Curiosity often leads them to peek Screenshot_2024-05-09_at_5.21.37PMinside the doorknob's key hole; enthralls them to touch a squealing kettle; and ferry their feet into places where they are not allowed to be. Often, boundaries are broken.

Children are expressive. Emotions often steer their ship as they navigate their social world. They jump, giggle, grin, and laugh when happy. A frown, a downturned face, and a shoulder-drop paint their sadness. Talking back, kicking the wall, shutting down, spitting, throwing things, and crying are the easiest cards to pull out when they are angry. Often, adults' patience is challenged.

Children, most of the time, do not listen, nor take heed of instructions and reminders; they have a loose grip of morality that even memory verses fall short of reminding them to be good. But this does not mean we stop teaching them to be kind. This is to remind us that children are fallible and that they do not have the skill sets to fully self-manage; even adults have difficulty regulating themselves, too. And children who misbehave a lot are often painted with a different color palette, viewed as a problematic child.

Screenshot_2024-05-09_at_5.21.51PMAt CSC, children do not only go through these developmental obstacles. They are also bringing with them their adverse experiences. For some children, this baggage magnifies their difficulty to self-regulate. Without a proper lens, dealing with these children might be quite challenging. As adults, the common response is to control these behaviors but with the aid of Trauma Informed Care, houseparents, caregivers, and other staff have a better understanding of the underlying factors of such behaviors. Rather than seeking control, comfort is offered. Rather than spending time preaching the rules and whatnots, cultivating a relationship is the focus. Rather than seeing the child as problematic, the child is seen as a work in progress, still growing to reach his/her full potential, and to give the child a chance to lead a more meaningful life. Through Trauma Informed Care, we are always reminded with how Khalil Gibran viewed how children should be guided. In his poem, he said:

"...You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
 For they have their own thoughts.
 You may house their bodies but not their souls,
 For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
 You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
 For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
 You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
 The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
 Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
 For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."
Khalil Gibran, excerpt from On Children