Monday, November 22, 2021
Sunday, June 13, 2021
June 13, 2021
Goeie dag! (Good day in Afrikaans)
Two weeks ago, the 2020-2021 school year officially ended! It was a whirlwind year with raising support, teaching virtually from Ohio for our first 4 months with Faith, transitioning to the Philippines once borders opened, and finishing out the year teaching virtually from the Faith Academy campus. Since break started we've had some time to reflect, and we are just overcome with gratitude...
God has provided for us in every aspect! God's hand and provision has been so evident every step of the way. We are so grateful for the partnerships with amazing people and ministries that has enabled us to embark on this journey. We are thankful for support staff at Faith Academy for relentlessly working with the various government departments to secure our travel exceptions and visas, for organizing housing and even furniture for us, and for assisting us in every way. We are in awe of the kindness, hospitality, and support of the whole Faith community. We are overjoyed at the friendships that have formed between us and our wonderful neighbors, our Bible study groups, our fellow new staffers, parents, veteran Faith Academy staff members, and other members of the Faith Community. It has been encouraging to be surrounded by and minister with such amazing people. We are also blown away by the relationships that we were able to build with students this year, despite it all being online - that is definitely God's grace.
|The new staffers that arrived the same weekend we did|
Furthermore, we are also grateful to have time to rest and relax, and spend valuable time with friends and family in South Africa. In the past two weeks we've been catching up with Egbert's relatives, playing Spikeball with his nieces, eating a lot of tasty home cooked South African meals, and Alyson has met some more of Egbert's extended family (this is our first trip to SA as a married couple). This week we are visiting the Kruger National Park, and taking a road trip through the rural countryside where Egbert grew up. Egbert's high school reunion is also coming up at the end of June.
In July, we will go to Cape Town by ourselves for a couple of days. In between the sightseeing we intend to use this time away from family to cast vision for and pray into our next year of ministry, 2021-2022, and connecting with our partners, current and new. More about that in our next newsletter!
- Finishing the school year well.
- A smooth trip to SA
- Time to rest and relax.
- Good health.
- To remain in good health as a new wave of COVID is flaring up in SA.
- Existing partnerships to continue as we start a new year of ministry.
- New partnerships for the coming year and beyond.
Sunday, May 16, 2021
- God has sustained us through almost a whole school year at Faith!
- Our car is finally fixed to the point where there is nothing else that needs to be done for the foreseeable future.
- We've been slowly learning and making progress with Tagalog
- The Seniors at Faith Academy. They are about to finish their high school career with no chance to reunite one last time in sight.
- Struggling students: Both for academics and mentally
- Our trip to South Africa to see family
- MECQ restriction to ease, and for kids to be allowed to go back to face to face classes as soon as possible
- More financial partnerships to come about for this next year God has called us to serve at Faith
Saturday, April 17, 2021
This past month flew by on our end. There have been a lot of changes to the Covid situation in the Philippines, and therefore a lot of adjustment. However, we continue to praise God for the ability to be here and teach at FA.
After a pretty big rise in cases, March 29th started with a lock down called ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). This meant that, among many other restrictions, going to school to work and having tutoring/extracurricular activities with students was no longer an option. This was a big disappointment for both staff, but especially the students who had been taking advantage of the opportunities on campus.
|Gathering our things before|
campus access closes
April 12th, started MECQ, or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine. At this point, we're not sure what restrictions are partnered with this, but it is a step that eases restrictions. As we wait, we are praising God that he has taught us the power of waiting in prayer and joy this past year.
Partnered with the increase of cases, is the unsureness of how next school year will be allowed to start. The Admin at FA have been working tirelessly to adjust to the constant changes that come their way. Because FA has such an international community, many of who are currently still out of country, staff is preparing to start next school year online, and is developing a schedule that would allow us (restrictions allowing) to switch to a hybrid or face to face option. It's not the news that staff or students wanted to hear, but we continue to cling to God and pray for the hybrid or face to face opportunity.
In light of the recent extra quarantine restrictions and how they limit our ability to interact with students in person, Paul's words in Acts 20:24 have been an encouragement to persevere. Paul writes, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."
In this verse, Paul is leaving Ephesus and boarding a boat to Jerusalem. He knows what will await him there if he's to persevere in his calling. To persevere requires important mindsets that Paul exemplifies in this verse. Firstly, one must be selfless to persevere in ones calling. Paul confesses that his life is not dear to him, that his focus is on what God has called him to, and that he considers those he is called to minister to as more important than himself, which shows faith that God's plan is greater than his own. Secondly, perseverance calls for an absolute resolve. Paul resolves that he will finish his race, and that he will fulfill his calling no matter what. In times that teaching and guiding students is less than ideal, we are encouraged to persevere, imitating Paul, but ultimately Christ, in selflessness and firm resolve. It's our prayer too, that in whatever circumstances you find yourself, you will persevere in Christ.
Faith Academy only has 6 more weeks of school! The time has flown by. With school close to its end, everyone is looking forward to a much deserved summer. Please pray with us and for us, for the opportunity to be able to travel to South Africa to visit family and friends easily and with few setbacks. Summer of 2020 was supposed to be our SA trip to celebrate our wedding with those who weren't able to be there, but with Covid, it wasn't possible. Now, we see an opening and are praying and waiting to see if it is possible.
- We reached 91.9% funded for one-time gifts and 75.6% for monthly funding. We praise God for the continued faithfulness and for your partnership!
- The move from ECQ to MECQ
- Car Repairs: We are able to do little by little and are seeing progress
- South Africa Travel
- FA Admin as they make very difficult decisions in ever changing situations
- Quarantine measures to ease
|Taking in one last view of the city|
from school before ECQ starts.
Sunday, March 14, 2021
This month marks one year since God called us to serve at Faith Academy. It marks our eighth month as part of this ministry and also our fourth month living in the Philippines. We are in awe of all that God has done and is doing. We are greatly blessed to have you as our ministry partners. Thank you for your prayers for us and our students. God has been so steadfast in providing for us and opening doors for us to build relationships with more of our students.
Since our last update, there have not been any big changes. It is that part of the school year when both students and teachers realize that it is crunch time. School and extracurricular activities are in full swing and keeping us busy. Between the lesson planning, the grading, and guiding students through college applications, it is sometimes easy to get into a rut. But as we find a quiet moment with God, he focuses our thoughts on his faithfulness and the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
It has been on our hearts lately to share with you a couple of thoughts about hope in Christ.
1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV says:
3 Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
We have a living hope in Christ. What does living hope mean? Well, living hope is first and foremost eternal life.
comes from God (Psalm 43:5)
is a gift of grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
is defined by Scripture (Romans 15:4)
is a reasonable reality (Romans 3:15)
is secured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 11:25-26)
is confirmed in the believer by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)
defends the Christian against Satan's attacks (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
is confirmed through trials (Romans 5:3-4)
produces joy (Psalm 146:5)
is fulfilled in Christ's return (Titus 2:13)
It is God’s faithfulness and the living hope that we, God’s children, are born into that encourages us to diligently serve where God has placed us and to persevere through every circumstance. We pray for all of you to take courage in the eternal hope that is Christ.
- Please continue to pray for our students and for more opportunities for them to come to campus.
- We are now at 67% of our monthly support raising goal, and 77% of our one-time goal. We praise God for you and are so grateful for our partnership. Please pray with us for more partners to join us in God’s ministry.
- We have been experiencing some issues with our car and we’re having it looked at this week. Please pray that it will be an easy and affordable fix.
Friday, February 12, 2021
We are more than a month into this new year and our second semester at Faith. After having been in the Philippines for about two and a half months now, and since arriving, and even since our last update, things have been taking shape.
God has been opening doors for us to forge relationships with more students. Activity on campus has picked up as a variety of opportunities are offered to our in-country students. Tutoring sessions and extra-curricular activities are booming. Every Thursday a group of students gets together on the outside court to play volleyball for an hour and a half...and even longer if it starts to rain and their soccer session gets canceled. Alyson has had the awesome opportunity to be a part of volleyball and build relationships with students on the court.
There is also a group of high school students who get together at a missionary family's house every so often, and we were invited to join for a chocolate fondue game night. That night swept by too quickly as interactions over fondue and games filled the house and our hearts. Meeting students in person has been an utter joy and encouragement, and we can't wait for the next time we get together with them.
Relationships with students are still molding through weekly conferences and homeroom meetings, and God has been faithful in creating that sense of togetherness and fellowship despite being so far apart. It is evident though that students are struggling and longing for more in-person interaction and the physical togetherness that is absent from online schooling.
Our students need prayer, support, and Christ more than ever. We know that it is not just limited to the students in the Philippines. Students everywhere in the world are going through this hard process and it is affecting them. We want to ask for prayer for all students of all ages, here at Faith, and around the world. Students are in the process of figuring out who they are and their identity. This partnered with this life changing time calls for intercession.
God has placed some amazing people around us, and it has been a joy and encouragement to see new friendships forming. It is an answer to prayer. We are also grateful to have been given an opportunity to take Tagalog lessons twice a week, and we pray that it will enable us to better build relationships with locals. God has already used small phrases to open up so many conversations with people! Please pray that what we learn will stick in our minds.
As in our last newsletter, God continues to provide. We are so excited about the new ministry partnerships that have taken shape since our last update! We are now at 65.7% of our monthly goal! If you feel led to partner monthly, with one time gifts, or know of anyone who would like to become a partner, please let us know.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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.
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.
- God provided a wonderful car in the perfect timing (we had school the next day)
- 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
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 email@example.com.
Monday, November 9, 2020
- That the visa process goes smoothly
- Travel goes as planned
- Quarantine/COVID-19 Tests
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Life UpdateThrough 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