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Stick To It


"We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough."         -Helen Keller

The level A1 class has just finished the theme STICK TO IT. As a part of our wrap-up activity, the kids tried their best to build houses out of cards.

They enjoyed the activity and they all wanted to build houses, even if it wasn't easy. There were times when the cards tumbled down and sometimes it was hard to make them stand but these kids were eager to achieve their goals. They always told themselves to keep on trying and to never give up.

After several attempts and construction success, a huge smile on their faces showed that the "stick to it" attitude was worth it!


Show Comments |Category: School News

Nang Exyon

Jan. 1, 2018By: Paul Healy  ›  Author Bio

eksyonNang Exyon Martinez produced nine children. Six of them have worked for CSC over the years. Five are currently our employees: Lit-Lit, Perry, Dodong, E-boy and Edwin.  Her husband, Teo, who died several years ago, was also an employee at one time. He and Exyon were among the earliest friends of the CSC staff in Cebu back in 1979 when the ministry began. She was a regular attender of the Bible study we held in our home in Bulacao, and would host prayer meetings in their home. Her son, Jessie, who became very sick during those days, was the first child in the community that we were able to help by purchasing medicine. Our intervention helped save his life and cemented a friendship between CSC and the Martinez family that continues to this day.  Nang Exyon died suddenly on Christmas Day. She was 79.

Exyon was a delightful person. She loved CSC deeply and was a loyal friend. She was so proud of her children and thankful that they could work at CSC. She worked hard throughout her life and, in spite of poverty, was a generous person who was always looking for ways that she could help others. At her funeral many people spoke of her heart and what an impact she had made in their lives. Just a week before she died Exyon attended a dedication for the new church building in Bulacao. She was so happy that day and we talked about the old days and how God had led CSC to Bulacao 39 years ago. She will be greatly missed by her family, the church and by CSC. God bless the memory 0f Nang Exyon!

DSCF0677Some of the Martinez clan at the cemetery for Nang Exyon's burial.


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Christmas 2017 at CSC

Dec. 28, 2017By: Paul Healy  ›  Author Bio

nativityChristmas at CSC is a combination of many things: the Children of Hope School program, Gifting a poor family through Junel's Box, Christmas Eve with Santa and his elves, Christmas Day live nativity and a progressive dinner for the kids at the homes of staff. 

schoolprog76af87cbe8The school play this year was entitled "Christmas Carol" and featured lots of singing and a lesson in giving and generosity. The costumes were colorful and the students did a great job. Thanks to our teachers who worked so hard to prepare the kids of this evening.

collage6233b7f268The kids loved their gifts, and enjoyed brightening the lives of a family who needed help so desperately this year. Our social work staff coordinated this year's Junel's Box program where our kids gave from their saved allowances to buy food and building materials for a poor family. And thanks to Santa for showing up at just the right time with gifts for every child. 

The generosity of our faithful supporters puts the tools in the hands of our loving and energetic staff to help make Christmas a very special time for our children. 

Show Comments |Category: Shelter News

The Gift of Time in Cebu

In this season marked by gift giving and receiving, I've been reflecting about a significant gift that I received earlier this year. In July, I travelled to the Philippines and had the opportunity to spend 6 days visiting CSC. 


While I've had connections to CSC for almost 15 years, this was my first actual trip there – not for lack of desire to have made the trip earlier, but working within the realities of parenting and being an at-home mom with our 4 young kids. Being there was, of course, amazing, and a true gift. The life-giving ministry that takes place there came alive for me in a whole new way. I don't want to lose that deepened sense of connectedness that I brought back to Minnesota with me, and as part of that desire to hold onto connection I recently revisited some of the journaling that I'd done during my week at CSC. I'd like to share a few excerpts from my journal with you – in hopes that you also will feel a rekindled sense of connectedness to the truly life-altering work that takes place every day, hour by hour and minute by minute at CSC.

From our first day at the shelter – Wednesday, July 19th

It is emotional to be here with the kids! To see little babies who don't belong to anyone-yet here belong to everyone, sweet toddlers who remind me of Berit (our 2 year old daughter) who have already lost someone for a lifetime, preschoolers coming close or slipping in a hand to be held who don't know what it's like to be someone's child, busy elementary schoolers curiously and boldly saying hello – their life stories already so complicated, and tall, growing-up pre-teens who act like they are at camp, yet don't have family to return home to. I've gotten lots of tears welling up in my eyes – for the kids, when seeing Paul being tender and familiar with kids of all ages, and in thinking about life and all of its complexity. So thankful to be here, and so aware that life can be hard.

From Thursday, July 20th

I've seen lots of poverty today while driving, especially on the city tour with Marlys. It's so surreal to drive by it and then to be done with it, while it is remains someone's total life and story. I like to imagine that all of the kids I see who are way too close to the moving cars in the street have a parent close by, or that they are just going for a walk, but I know that isn't true. Especially aware today of CSC as a SHELTER.

From Tuesday, July 25th

CSC is impressive. The physical campus, the stories behind the campus coming to be, the contrast for the kids between what was and what is – as well as new potential for what might be, the many aunties and uncles, the holistic set up that addresses so many important parts of each child's experience, the team of leaders that is both forward thinking and evaluative... and of course the kids themselves. I'm struck today by the RESILIENCY of the kids. Each child here carries with them a heavy, heart-breaking story, but they keep going.

While on the airplane as I journeyed home, as part of my processing of the days at CSC, I made two lists in my journal. One of the lists was titled "Hard Things", and the other was titled "Joyful Things". I'll share a few of the items that were part of each list.

Hard Things – Hearing kids who had been matched for adoption talk about where they would be going when they joined their new families (Australia, Tennessee, Italy), knowing that other kids listening had no adoption plan. Seeing endearing, funny, smart and talented older kids who don't have much time left until their adoption window closes – knowing that their amazing personalities could never be captured on paper and that their age would likely be what would speak loudest to potential adoptive families. Wondering if the CSC kids were wondering if I was "sizing them up" and considering the possibility of adding them to our family, and even choosing what to say about themselves based on that. Thinking about how quickly childhood passes, and "biding time" while waiting for a family. Hearing babies cry and seeing toddlers sitting in highchairs... even when being carefully tended to by aunties, as Paul would say, "It's not the same as being in a family."


Joyful Things – Bright smiles and sparkling brown eyes. Hearing the house parents lead the kids in devotions before breakfast and after dinner. Listening to the kids sing songs of worship – the sound of their voices floating out from the homes and through the campus. Seeing the kids smartly dressed in their matching school uniforms and getting to walk with them up the hill to school. Visiting Jacob and Ginda's rooms, specially created for them, and seeing how CSC is absolutely committed to them as valued family members. Getting to pray a prayer of thanks and blessing with the overnight workers one night as they started their shift. Being surrounded by a group of 11, 12 and 13 year old girls who just wanted to hang out and talk. Genuinely feeling that there are capable, thoughtful leaders in place. Seeing the employees call out, hug and playfully tease the kids. Sensing real openness from the staff to work together for the children.


Those are some excerpts from my CSC experience. It was truly such a gift to be able to spend those 6 days in July immersed in the daily life of CSC. I'm grateful in a deeper, broader way for this ministry as I'm reminded of both hard and joyful parts of CSC. As a CSC board member, I am especially thankful for the community that supports CSC. To know that children's lives are being changed each day is truly amazing and inspiring, and I'm so thankful for all of you who make that possible!

Show Comments |Category: Staff Reflections


Dec. 10, 2017By: Paul Healy  ›  Author Bio

This is crunch time at CSC. Year-end giving, especially in December, is a huge part of CSC's income for the year, so we really rely on the generosity of our supporters at this time. We always come down to the last few days of the year needing a bunch of money! Is it stressful? Well, no, at least not a lot for me. I have witnessed so many years of God providing through his people, our supporters, that I don't really get stressed. Concerned and hopeful, yes. Prayerful, yes. But I can honestly say that I don't spend too much time worrying.

The challenge for me is to remember to be thankful while being confident and expectant. I don't want to take God's goodness to CSC for granted. Ever. We have been trying to be more intentional lately about teaching thankfulness to our CSC children. They receive so many blessings every day in terms of food, clothing, medical care, education, recreation, counseling, and fun activities. Lots of people work very hard to provide all of this for them. They know that they will receive nice gifts at Christmas and on their birthdays. If someone should skin their knee a loving nurse will attend to it. Social workers are preparing their legal documents to prepare them for adoption. House parents are available for emotional and spiritual support. Staff members have time to encourage them and show their love in practical ways. More than a hundred people are working for them every day, not to mention all of our supporters! We want them to be thankful for what they have. Part of this entails remembering where they came from. All of our kids grew up in poverty, and most experienced malnutrition, sickness and despair. We want them to appreciate what they have been given.

We have a program called Junelsbox2016AAJunel's Box that helps with this. Named after a former resident who had a huge heart for others, this program allows the CSC children to give money from their allowances to help a poor family that is selected by our social worker team. We buy food, building materials and household items and deliver them to the family just before Christmas. It is a time for the kids to "give back" and remember that there are people who are hurting and need a helping hand. We also tell our children regularly about all of you dear people who give generously to help us take care of them. I want them to know that the money that CSC has doesn't come from me or the wealth of the staff. It comes from cool people, most of them who are of modest means, who love them. These reminders are important to our kids. Every night at bedtime the children pray, thanking God for all of you who bless their lives.

Thanks to our friends for year-end gifts and prayers and for all that you do throughout the year to make life better for these awesome kids.

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