Wednesday, January 13, 2021

God Provides


 We have a really good friend who always asks us what our theme for the new year is going to be. Although she isn't near us this year to ask, we found ourselves thinking about it. 


God provides.


When we look back at the past year, we are in awe of all that God has provided. He is a mighty and caring God who desires to have relationship with each and every one of His children. 

In the past week we found ourselves struggling with trusting in God. In all honesty, our first reaction was to go anywhere but to God. After reflecting, it was made clear that there was no reason to not trust. He has been in every little detail and guiding every step. 

Since the last update, so much has happened. Like we said, God provides! Because so much has happened we wanted to give you the bullet point list:

  • God provided a wonderful car in the perfect timing (we had school the next day)
    Egbert and Pastor Danny finalizing the purchase of the car.
                                                         Egbert & Pastor Danny checking out the car
  • God provided amazing people to guide us through the process of opening up a bank account
  • God provided an awesome landlord, apartment, and all that was needed to furnish the apartment
  • God has provided great friends and community
  • God provided the ability for school to start on the 11th of January with most staff in country
  • God provided a time for some rest and relaxation up in the mountains
  • God provided an incredible and hard working visa team. Our visas will be submitted to be finalized next week
With second semester just around the corner, and days filled with Professional Development and preparations, the High School Department came up with 2 words that described our goals for this second semester. 

Connected: The goal is to stay as connected with the students as possible. This school year is different and difficult, but it is still a school year in the student's lives, and we want to be connected and intentional with building relationships and educating. Connected also stands for our vertical connection with God, building relationship and continuously getting to know Him better. No matter what is thrown at us, we know that this is God's ministry and He will guide.

Still: Yes, we are still virtual learning, still in this odd time, and still trying to figure things out. But we are also still able to be a part of the student's lives, still able to show Christ, still able to guide, still able to interact, and still able to teach. Most importantly, God can still have impact. How great is it that God has provided all of these 'stills'?


Praises
God has provided in so many ways this past month!
Second semester starts on Monday the 11th.

Prayer Requests
For the students and staff that are diving into second semester of virtual learning.
For God to provide new partnerships.








Thursday, December 10, 2020

 

Wow...we don't know where to begin! Since our last update, we have really experienced tangibly just how faithful God is, in all things. It has now been about two and a half weeks since we arrived in the Philippines, and we have been taken aback by the welcome we have received, and the kindness and generosity of the Faith community. 

We have been blessed to be able to stay in a furlough home until our apartment is ready for us to move in. Just this past Wednesday, we signed the lease to our apartment, and plan on moving in next week! Our landlord was so kind to repaint the apartment and change some specific things we had requested. Our lovely new neighbors are also part of the Faith community, and they have been kind enough to show us around.

Our quarantine period ended just in time for us to be able to attend Faith Academy's Staff Christmas Banquet. We were finally able to meet most staff face to face. Yes....face to face. We were and are so grateful for the opportunity to be physically surrounded by our coworkers! We have since also been able to go into school and work in our classroom and office, still connecting with our students online though. On Thursday we had a tour of the campus, and what a testimony of God's plan, provision, and heart for the nations it is! 

Currently, we are in the process of looking for a car. We have been put in contact with a reliable liaison who will help us find and purchase a good quality...but affordable...car,  and help us with the mountain of paperwork. Our liaison is a pastor at a local church, who has been helping missionaries and expats in this way for nearly 30 years.  We are hoping to find and purchase the car before Christmas break so that we can go and explore our new home a little.

How second semester courses would be administered has been up in the air for a while. We now know that all of second semester will be given virtually. Although this isn't the news everyone was hoping for, we are still grateful that we are able to be in country and be in community with the other Faith staff.

Here are some pictures of Faith Academy High School Department!

                  



Now that we don't have to wait for visas or flights, and are actually in county, we have some specific prayer requests.

- We still need $1, 365 per month in order to be fully funded. Please pray that God would lead others to become financial partners with us in order to be fully funded. 

- Our car search is on! We are praying for a reliable car within our budget.

- The school is loaning us some basic furnishings for the time being. We hope to be able to gradually
purchase some furniture of our own.

- With a move comes a transition. Please pray that we are able to transition smoothly into our new home. 


We also want to reiterate that we want to know how we can pray for you in this partnership! Please send us any prayer requests you may have to egbert.alyson.botha@gmail.com.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Faith's Impact: A Parent's Story

 


Hello! 

We hope that you all are doing well, and that these days you are enjoying time together with loved ones. 

We have had to postpone our flights from the end of October to November 17th! All of the paperwork that needed to be approved has been approved and our passports are currently at the Embassy getting their visas. God willing, everything will go smoothly and we will be able to leave according to plan. On another note, the 17th is the day before Egbert's stay in the U.S. would expire. Although the application for a longer stay has been submitted, we haven't heard anything back, so we are praising God for this timing!

Thank you for your prayers and support during this time! 

It is always nice to get some fresh perspective on why this ministry at Faith Academy is so important, and how by being there we contribute to the wider faith community and enable other missionaries to follow their callings in reaching the unreached. It's nice to every so often get a glimpse of the bigger picture of what God is doing in Asia, and how Faith Academy is included in that. This past month a parent of students who typically board at Faith Academy shared with our staff just how instrumental the school has been in allowing his family to pursue their calling in a more rural part of the Philippines. Their ministry, Reefs for Life, works with coastal communities on protecting and restoring the reefs around their islands, while also reaching them with the Gospel and starting Bible studies. They address the physical and spiritual needs of these people. These communities rely on the reefs as a means of livelihood, but the reefs also play a crucial role in protecting the coastal villages from high tides. By working with locals, they restore the coral reefs using a technique that speeds up the time of regrowth significantly, ensuring the sustainability of these communities and their posterity. Through interacting with the locals, they have been able to reach 10,000 people with the Gospel in an area where less than 1% are Christian. They have also been able to start over 20 small groups. This has eternal value. The parent emphasized that having an affordable school and boarding house for missionary kids has made it possible for them to serve they way they do. 

To hear from a parent about the impact that Faith has had on their ministry was very encouraging. In a way, we see a small part of what God is doing in students' lives, but it goes so much further than just our students. Their education enables their parents to continually spread the Gospel wherever they may be. As another parent put it: We might just be teachers, but in a way we are partly church-planters, partly medical missionaries, partly missionaries to unreached people groups, partly a Bible translator, etc.

We also wanted to thank you. Because through your partnership and prayer, you are also a part of this ministry that goes beyond the students at Faith Academy.

Here is their website if you would like to check it out: https://www.reefsforlife.org/


  • That the visa process goes smoothly
  • Travel goes as planned
  • Quarantine/COVID-19 Tests
How can we pray for you? We would truly love to know. Send us an email: egbert.alyson.botha@gmail.com

Again, thank you so much for your continued partnership, whether it be financial or through prayer. We are currently at 61% funded for the year. If you know of someone who would be interested in becoming a partner, please let us know! We would love to get in touch with them. 


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

CHI to MNL

 


    Manila...here we come! 

    Faith Academy told us on Sunday September, 27th that we may be able to get in country after the October break and that tickets can be purchased! Our tickets are purchased, and we are scheduled to leave from Chicago in October. God has provided so much in this time of waiting, or what we call 'limbo'. Although tickets are bought, there are still a lot of 'ifs'. The Department of Education and Department of Foreign Affairs need to endorse all new staff in order to be allowed into the country. 

    A lot depends on being able to leave the US before November 18th, as Egbert's visa for stay expires then. We can apply for an extension, but with leaving the country in October, there is no need. If we cannot leave before November 18th, we will technically be late in applying for the visa extension, although we will have proof we had intended to leave before the expiry, which we hope will help. 

    We ask for your prayer in this time, as we move forward in faith that we will be able to travel as scheduled and all will go according to God's will. 

    Faith Academy has been such a support for the students and staff during this time of adjustment. They continue to pursue the will of God in education, support, and encouragement. 

    In the meantime, we have been taking full advantage of the nice fall weather. Alyson has the opportunity to work in admissions at Ramseyer Farms during the day. We were able to spend an afternoon exploring the farm and taking a break from grading to do the tractor pull, play pumpkin checkers, get lost in a corn maze, slingshot potatoes, and enjoy apple cider slushies. God has shown the beauty in every season and every season of life. Having the opportunity to work during the day next to Christ centered colleagues and business owners and come home to work with Christ centered educators has been such a blessing and encouragement. We are both grateful for all that God has provided!


Life Update

    Through partnership, we are 61% supported for the year. We are praying to be fully funded by the end of November, and trust that God will provide. If you feel led to partner with our ministry in the Philippines, please let us know, and we will connect with you. Partnership is a two way street: we care  deeply for our partners, connect with them continually,  and pray for them!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Our FAITH Journey

 


    The title, "Our Faith Journey," is actually a play on words that we are using to link how our own journeys to faith in Christ highlighted God's call on us to start working at Faith Academy. 

Egbert
    I grew up in a Christian home in northern South Africa. Both my parents were strong believers and were very involved in ministry at church. Despite my upbringing, I had slipped into a rhythm of cultural Christianity in my teenage years, lacking a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As I started attending university, I slipped even farther away and became more self-centered.
    God had others plans for me though and sent good Christian mentors to challenge my worldview and faith. Not only did they challenge me to turn to God, but they also encouraged me when I found it hard to let go of the past. God used my parents and upbringing, as well as those key people during my university years to lead me into a personal relationship with Him.

Alyson
    I was a missionary kid in Kenya for the first 8 years of my life. I was also raised in a Christian home where I learned who God was and started my relationship with him. As life went on there was an aspect of my faith that was borrowed, but towards the end of high school and into the first years of university I started to own my relationship with Christ. 
    From the time I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to be a missionary overseas. I caught the travel bug and the yearning to serve others through building relationships. Being an MK, I understand how even though parents may be missionaries and followers of the Lord, their children have to make a choice to follow God on their own. 

    90% of the student body at Faith Academy are missionary kids. They have such a rich inheritance in Christ, just like we did, yet many of them do not have personal relationships with Christ. Our hearts ache to think that any of them should fall away. The other 10% of the student body at Faith Academy are made up of children of business-people, many of whom are not believers. Our hearts rejoice at the thought of these students and their families coming to Christ. 
    Through our own testimonies, God has made His calling clear to us. He set our hearts on fire to help tend His flock at Faith Academy, so that none would go astray, and so that those who are lost may be found.

This 6 minute video shares some testimonies from the Faith Academy Community




    The Philippines' borders are still closed, and we are not yet able to physically be at Faith Academy. Even in this, God is faithful. Alyson's parents are still graciously sharing their house with us, allowing us to set up our home classrooms from where we record instruction videos and conference with our students. School officially started online on August 24th, and the first two weeks went really well. Praise God. Weekly student conferences and homeroom periods also kicked off on August 31st as a means to build relationships with our students, assist them academically, and check in on their mental and spiritual health. It has been great meeting the students and interacting with them in this way. God has also pressed it on the hearts of many people to partner with us in His ministry, and we are now 60% partnered with for this year. 


Prayer Requests:
For encounters with our students that will lead to spiritual growth.
For the Philippines' borders to open.
For more ministry partners.





Tuesday, August 4, 2020

What are we waiting for?



The COVID pandemic has caused a lot of disruptions in international travel, and therefore the Philippines' borders are still closed to outsiders. Due to current restrictions Faith's students are not yet allowed back on campus, so many of them experience isolation and the emotions that come with it. However, the COVID pandemic will not disrupt God's plan to start ministering to students. Faith Academy is preparing to be able to fully reach students online, not only to provide for students' academic needs but also their spiritual needs. It is still our hope to be in the Philippines before school starts, but whether we're there or still in the US, classes will start on August 24th. To God be the glory.

One opportunity that our extended stay in the US has afforded us is the ability to fundraise and meet supporters in person. God has been so good over the past month as we have met with people and organizations and sent out support letters. He has really shown us that He provides for His children, and we are so grateful for what He has already supplied through the generosity of so many partners and what He will still provide through many more. Through the pledges of many generous partners we have reached 38% of our monthly support-raising goal. God is doing amazing things in this ministry in Manila, and if you are interested in partnering in prayer or giving, click on the icons to the right for more information or reach out to us via email at egbert.alyson.botha@gmail.com.

Another opportunity that our long 'visit' here in the States afforded us is the blessing of being able to spend quality time with loved ones. Having lived abroad for a number of years and knowing that we are off again to a distant land, we treasure every moment we get to spend with those we love. We have the ability to be a part of events that we were mentally prepared to not be able to do. We are able to help Liam, Alyson's brother, move into university, see her sister, Madison, graduate university, go on a road trip to see friends far away, and have family dinners around the table. In the midst of the craziness, God has provided much precious time with the ones we love.



We can't wait to send you an update from the Philippines! In the meantime, will you pray with us for the following things:
1.  For the Philippines' borders to open soon.
2. That God brings in our monthly partnership by the time school starts.
3. For our students to feel supported and loved despite being physically apart.



Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Support The Bothas’ Mission to the Philippines

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take some time to read this post in which we would like to share more about the calling we have received.
Starting August 1st, (depending on border openings) we will begin our journey working in Manila, Philippines at Faith Academy.

About Faith Academy

Faith Academy is an International Christian school, offering K-12 education for missionary, national, and international students. Faith utilizes a globally-recognized curriculum, and provides a progressive, well-rounded education. Faith Academy teachers and students represent more than 20 nationalities. The great majority of Faith staff are missionaries who have a love for students and a strong desire to serve the Lord through education. The majority of Faith’s graduates go on to higher education at colleges and universities around the globe. Faith Academy is located approximately 14 miles (22 km) from downtown Manila, in the Antipolo/Cainta area. If you want to find out more about Faith Academy and the Faith community, visit https://faith.edu.ph/.

Vision and Mission
Our vision and mission lines up with what Faith seeks and strives for everyday.

  • Vision: To see God’s Kingdom and the Great Commission advanced through transformative, Christ-centered education.
  • Mission: Forming Christlike, lifelong learners through a dynamic, relevant education, especially for the children of missionaries.

Our Roles at Faith Academy

Egbert accepted the position of 9th and 10th grade literature teacher. He seeks to minister to the students in the classroom by presenting and discussing literary topics from a Biblical worldview, and building relationships with students to open up opportunities to minister to students beyond the classroom. Alyson is taking on the role of Guidance Counselor with the goal of guiding students through the college preparation and search, as well as helping them prepare to integrate into the societies they will be living. Through this she hopes to build relationships with students that will open doors to share the love of Christ.





We are very excited for this next step in our walk with Christ to serve our future students, families, and community. This is a transition that we prayed for as we were preparing to leave Suriname and continue God’s calling in the Philippines. We write this letter to ask you to partner with us on our quest.
There are two ways in which you can partner with us:

Prayer
We would really appreciate your prayers. We believe in the power of prayer, and what we are striving to do would not be possible without it. We will be sending out a newsletter with updates once every two months. Please send a quick email to egbert.alyson.botha@gmail.com if you would like to be added to our mailing list. 

Finances

Ministering in the Philippines would not be possible without your financial support. Our positions are fully support raising, meaning we do not receive a salary. Our monthly goal is to raise $3,500. In order to support us financially you could do so through one-time deposits via card or check, monthly donations via recurring EFTs, or monthly donations via recurring credit card transactions. Furthermore, you can financially support us through your bank’s automatic billpay or PayPal. Follow this link http://interlinkministries.org/make-donation to donate using any of the above-mentioned payment methods.*
With love and eagerness to serve,

Egbert and Alyson

*All donations are tax deductible in the U.S.A.
**Please be sure to clarify that any donation made is for Egbert and Alyson Botha



God Provides

 We have a really good friend who always asks us what our theme for the new year is going to be. Although she isn't near us this year to...