Today was our last day as employees of CSC. We have known it was coming and prepared for it as best we could. But it hit us kind of hard today, I have to admit. We have new e-mail addresses. We will be switching over to pension and Social Security income from salaries, and medicare supplement insurance from our CSC group plan. We won't be attending Leadership meetings or be involved in strategic planning except as advisors. We can't hug the kids like we long to do. We just watched the CSC virtual banquet and it was very different to see the things that they are doing, not what we are doing.
CSC is our life's work. We gave it all we had and I am pleased to be able to say with certainty that God blessed our efforts and those of so many other people. When the drone shots of CSC appeared on the screen the other night at the virtual banquet, it almost took our breath away as we watched with friends. What a place He has built in Cebu! And what a great team He has assembled to be stewards of not only the buildings, but the ministry that goes on there every day. Every day, in our case, for 15,336 days. That means that every morning for 15,336 days we got out of bed to face a day with purpose and pleasure, doing what we loved to do for the precious kids of CSC. Thanks to all who have joined us over the years to provide a village of love and support around them. We will continue to serve the ministry going forward, to the best of our ability. Thanks for your prayers as we embark on a new journey.
Each spring, we hold a fundraiser in Minnesota to raise donations for the shelter and school in the Philippines. This year, we decided not to gather in-person, but instead to celebrate the work online. This allows us to connect with more people all over the world.
I realize you are probably tired of online gatherings and staring at screens, but will you please consider joining us on Saturday evening at 7pm CST? We promise to keep it short (less than 30 minutes). Here is the link to the Facebook event where you can join the conversation: https://www.facebook.com/cscshelter/posts/10159367966463151. Or you can watch on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSeeDmuHlUE.
Our theme this year is "Every Child Has a Story!" and we see this everyday at CSC. Children often come to us with a trauma-filled past. Their story might mean the loss of a parent or living on the streets for a period of time. But at CSC, their story changes. God uses YOU to change their lives, one story at a time. So tune in Saturday evening on our Facebook page. We'll tell you a bit more about the work, highlight a few stories of changed lives and share some of the challenges we're facing as a ministry. And you'll get a chance to see a bunch of adorable kids of course!
Thanks for being a part of CSC's story.
God is good! And, He is good all the time.
Cebu Children of Hope School is a living testimony of God's goodness. Almost all schools in the Philippines are temporarily closed and students stay at home either doing on-line classes or answering modules but CCHS students are still enjoying happy times with their teachers and classmates even in the midst of this pandemic. Everyone is having fun and is learning something new. They look forward to being in their respective group every day.
Preschoolers are among those students who are experiencing God's goodness. Every morning they would show up with a smile on their faces. They are always excited about activities prepared for the day. They find every activity in class fun, especially playtime.
Preschool playtime has always been the most awaited time for every student. After eating their snack they usually hurry back to class for playtime. It is indeed a happy and busy time for everyone. The fun leveled up when four boys from the Toddler Group joined preschool playtime. These boys were overjoyed when they learned they are a part of this great group. Their smiles and the sparkle in their eyes show their excitement from deep within. At times they keep moving around the room because of so much joy in trying new toys and navigating how to use some of the things that are in the room.
It's wonderful to have these boys be a part of preschool class. Playtime would never be the same without them.
CCHS is constantly grateful for everyone who cares about our students and has allowed us to impact children's lives in the midst of this challenging time. May you experience God's goodness all the time!
This morning we opened another 50kg sack of rice. As we did, I couldn't help but stop to wonder, "how many bags of rice have we consumed since all of this started!?"
On March 28th, CSC will hit a tremendous milestone. It will be exactly one year since we entered a state of lockdown. On the same day in 2020, governments around the world were scrambling to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus, and the Philippines were implementing some of the strictest quarantine measures imposed by any country. This meant extremely limited mobility, increased difficulty in obtaining goods, as well as fears that the outbreak would quickly overwhelm the country's already strained health care system.
Above is a picture of our first batch of lock-in workers taken March 27th, 2020.
Leading up to the 28th, we'd started stock-piling supplies (food, medicine, etc.) and preparing our employees for a lockdown that we thought, at the time, might last a month, maybe two. It was March 6th, 2020 when the first known case of coronavirus was recorded in the Philippines, and when we at CSC started planning for a "worst case scenario."
By the grace of God, we've endured. I say that because it is truly only by the grace and mercy of Our Lord that we've been able to make it this far. God sent the right workers, gave us generous donors, and sent us folks who would support us through their prayers, time, and treasure. Looking back, I know we could not have done this if God had not assembled all of us—all of you—to do the very best for these precious children we care for. THANK YOU!
I could try measuring our past year by the sacks of rice we've eaten, or the kilograms of fruits, veggies, and meat our aunties and house parents have prepared. I prefer, instead, to measure it in the smiles of our kids and workers. I prefer to step back and count all the victories, big and small; the number of school lessons our kids have completed (we have a record number of high school kids on the honor roll this year, by the way), the number of inches that Jerald has grown, and the number of hours our leadership have been in meetings to ensure everything keeps working.
This year has provided tangible proof of what Paul writes in Galatians 6:9 when he says, "let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." We look to the future with hopeful eyes, praying that the day will soon come when lockdowns and quarantines can be lifted. In the meantime, let us not grow weary of doing good.
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3-4)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Handling the medical department during a pandemic is a huge responsibility. It was terrifying to hear Covid-19 reaching Cebu and the plan for eventual lockdown. Even with plans in our hands, we are still caught with so many surprises. The promise in Deuteronomy 31:6 has been our constant comfort, strength, and encouragement in the medical department as we face the many challenges during this pandemic. Looking back, when we were confronted about the virus people had little knowledge of, we were anxious and confused. We asked ourselves if we will be able to take care of all the children and employees entrusted to our care. The lockdown period, which we anticipated to last for a month, has been ongoing for almost a year now. We prayed that every flu-like symptom, especially in the first month, is just a simple flu, and the children and workers will just respond to medication. We made sure employees who are locked in had their maintenance meds and would be able to cope with the 12-hour shift each day. We constantly reminded our lock-out personnel to practice standard health protocol to protect themselves and their families. When we are terrified, God has reminded us to be strong and courageous. He constantly brought us back to His Word and reminded us that we are under His wings. He assured us that...
Under His wings, we are PROTECTED.
Even when we had emergency runs for lacerations for our two little kids and an admission, God restored their health and protected them from possible infection because of outside exposure. We have less sick kids during the year compared to our recorded illnesses in the past years. Our sick children also responded well to medications given by the doctors.
Under His Wings, we are PROVIDED.
We couldn’t thank God enough for using people and agencies to give and provide every need we have in the department. We were able to secure free tests for all our employees who came to serve during the lockdown. We had the means to quarantine our workers for 14 days prior to working through the CCHS facility. We were able to procure PPEs even during the scarcity of supply in the city. We were provided with doctors who were willing to answer our queries even at 2:00 AM, and we were able to avail of the home services for laboratory tests and eye check ups. We are grateful that we have workers who are committed to serve and be with the kids for 3 months and even longer. Lastly, God has given us wisdom to respond to every child’s medical or health needs and to come up with the health and safety protocol for the shelter.
Under His Wings, we are PROMISED.
Despite the uncertainties the pandemic brought, we are continually assured that His grace is more than sufficient to meet the needs of our children and workers. His promise to never leave us nor forsake us holds true in every situation we have faced. We thank God because in all of these, we are assured of His presence.
Indeed, under His wings, He covered us.