Work For a Cause

Each year, IVCF-Philippines hosts Kawayan Camp, a month-long training camp where students learn various things such as discipleship and Bible study, and can take different tracks such as a community immersion experience where they go to a poor community and talk to people in the community or do service projects for the community.  MEANS usually supports student leaders from different universities in the Philippines going to Kawayan Camp.  This year, MEANS was willing to provide half of the camp fee for students from the western and southern parts of the Philippines, but through a program called “Work for a Cause.”   The prospective student camp delegates had opportunities to work with various MEANS ministry partners in order to raise funds for the camp. 

 

One opportunity was to work for a student center in Cotabato City, doing tasks such as washing curtains, cleaning windows, or disposing of old computers.  Eleven students participated, and out of this particular Work for a Cause project, the IVCF regional director in the southern Philippines and the leader of the student center in Cotabato City conceived of a project where the delegates of the Kawayan camp would join a community immersion program in Maguindanao.  This way they could practice what they learned at the Kawayan camp in the areas where they actually live.  Misconceptions about some people groups were erased or clarified after joining this community immersion program, and this experience was good for peace and understanding of other people groups.

 

Another opportunity came in the way of building beds from scratch for the IVCF staff house in Davao.  Usually, when visitors go to visit, they sleep on the floor.  MEANS decided to give some funds for these bunk beds as well as for the Work for a Cause project for the students wanting to go to Kawayan Camp.

 

The third Work for a Cause opportunity was to plant fruit trees and vegetables for the “Planting  for a Good Cause” project.  This was part of the Care of Creation Project, an initiative of MEANS to start an organic garden/farm in a community. There were 2 locations that prospective student delegates could work—Good Shepherd Fold Orphanage and Christian Academy in Guimaras, Iloilo and F.F. Gonzaga Elementary School in Bacolod.  Produce of the gardens are used to help feed the student wards of Good Shepherd, and to sustain the feeding program that is being done once a week for malnourished school children of F.F. Gonzaga.  Some produce are also being sold to teachers of F.F. Gonzaga if there is an abundant harvest.

A note of thanks

“Dear MEANS Ministry supporters,

. . I thank God for this great blessing na nagkaroon na kami ng magandang double decks na hihigaan bawat gabi dito sa IV-Home Tagum.  For the past three years, humihiga lang ang mga GT’s at Student leaders sa ‘concrete floors’ na tinatakpan ng plywood at bed sheets.  I thank God for using you as our sponsor for these new beds.  Nang dahil sa inyo, mas nagging comfortable na kami ngayon.  I would also affirm you that this project hits another blessing for us, that is, it also benefited our KC for their ‘work for a cause’ . . .  “

 

(English translation:)

I thank God for this great blessing of  new bunks beds for  IVCF Home in Davao.  For the past three years, our visitors  like IVCF Grad Team  and student leaders slept on the concrete floor covered with plywood and bed sheets.  Because of MEANS’ financial gift,  we were able to construct these beautiful double deck beds for us and our guests.  What a blessing because it has also benefited students who were raising funds for Kawayan Camp through MEANS ‘work for a cause’ program.

 

Student Reflections

. . . Indeed, God really revealed His life to me through His word.  He also reminded me to be sensitive to His still small voice. . .

~ Rowena V. Riño

 

. . I’ve learned how important the creation of the Lord is and how miraculous it is.  I learned how to love and value His creation, how to forgive others and how to accept who I really am. . .

~ Reymart T. Ponce

 

. .  In the first week of KC, I learned that every Christian must be a slave to righteousness, willingly obeying what the Master wants him to do, even if it costs his life. . .

~ Felix C. Pelin Jr.

 

. . In the first week of the camp, my emotions poured out. . .  I’ve realized how broken I was but, I was so amazed of His loving grace.  It called me to go back home to His loving arms where I am healed and feel secure. . . .

~ Josie M. Artops

 

. My 1st week KC reflection and discovery . . . Indeed, God is love that He did not only show His love when man was in harmony with Him (Gen. 1-2) but His love is proven when man sinned against Him.  He is always willing to journey with man though he offended his God. . .
~ Raffy Dela Cruz

Going in a New Direction

After being in the U.S. for over 3 years now, the Acosta family, who have been serving as MEANS volunteers for the past 2 years, have sensed God leading them to another ministry venue and issuing them new and specific ministry plans.

The Acostas are missionaries who have been serving in the Philippines, and initially, they felt God was directing them to start a church-plant there upon returning.  However, after time in prayer and seeking wise counsel from their sending church, and meetings with Filipino Church leaders in both the U.S. and the Philippines over the last 8 months, they believe God is strategically moving them into a more visible and sustainable work where they can fully utilize their spiritual gifts and skill-sets. In fact, they believe the Lord has called them to be more actively involved in missions from a different venue where they can have greater influence in the Filipino Evangelical Christian community. Therefore, as of this past May 1, 2013, they officially resigned from their mission organization, Christar, and are actively applying to another group called Global Intercultural Services (GLINTS). The Acostas believe that GLINTS is more in line with their philosophy of ministry and core values as it relates to Ministry Mobilization.

WHAT WILL THEY BE DOING?

 AC will be pursuing a PhD in Educational Management at Saint Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City, Philippines. AC has always felt that God would lead him to work on a doctorate, but was waiting to see where God would lead while he was gaining ministry experience in the field.  He received notification by the Program Coordinator at SLU recently that he was accepted into the doctoral program.

AC also has accepted the post of Vice-President of Institutional Development and International Relations at Keystone College in Baguio City. Keystone College is a small Christian college in the Philippines that offers courses in Education, English, Information Technology, and Theology. All of these Bachelor programs are accredited by the Commission of Higher Education in the Philippines.  AC will mainly be working on developing a college program that eventually reaches university status and one that stresses missions as a life-style. He will also teach subjects for the Theology department and eventually transition into becoming the Dean of Theological Studies.

They will be training and mobilizing Filipinos for  cross-cultural missions service. The Acostas hope to see more believers be used in ministries amongst the Unreached People Groups (UPGs) in the Philippines. AC and Theresa’s many years of experience will bring credibility to the school and, more importantly, in training others to reach UPGs.

They will stay connected to and network with U.S. Christian colleges and universities in order to provide internship opportunities for students to test their gifts and training in a cross-cultural setting like the Philippines. AC has spent the last 3 years as a Campus Mobilizer visiting US colleges and universities from coast to coast, while networking with Missions-minded faculty in order to exhort more young people to give their lives for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. AC wants to help coordinate short-term trips with schools in the West so that believers can see if they are fit for cultural missions as a vocation in the East.

AC hopes to start the first Evangelical Missiological Society of the Philippines, where academicians and practitioners who are actively involved in advancing the Gospel can learn from each other’s experiences and start indigenous partnerships to promote the mission and vision of Filipino church leaders in sending out over a million trained missionaries into God’s global work by 2020. AC already has two Filipino Missiologists who are ready to partner with him in this endeavor and is working to build partnerships with church leaders throughout the Philippines because ministries must empower indigenous workers, not programs and strategies from the west, which often times do not lead to sustainable ministries.  Missiology can be defined as “the science of the cross-cultural communication of the Christian faith.” Three disciplines direct and enable the study of missiology: theology (mainly biblical), anthropology (including primitive religion, linguistics, cultural dynamics, and cultural change), and history. Missiology seeks to intelligently articulate the gospel and its power to change lives in a culturally appropriate context. For AC, being a Filipino-American who embraces and lives out two cultures, this gives him an advantage far above most missionaries who are going from a Western culture to East Asia to do ministry.

They will continue exploring other ministry opportunities. Theresa and AC desire to use their years in Cross-Cultural ministry to help train churches and ministries who are not actively engaged in Cross-Cultural ministry.

Theresa will assist the administrative staff at Keystone College.  Theresa’s Bachelor in Business Management will be useful in this new role.  She will also help mentor and disciple female students.

WHAT THEY STILL NEED:
Presently, the Acosta family have people who have committed to pray for them daily. But you can never have enough prayer being lifted up to God, for the Spirit of God to move in the lives of committed followers to partner in the Advancement of the Gospel of Christ, and to call people to repentance. For like the prophet Zechariah, they know that “it’s NOT by Might, Not by Power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” And they know that if success in ministry is to be gained in the lives of His people it will not be secured by what they can do, but by the Spirit of God working through their lives.

WHAT PART DO YOU PLAY? 
Without your partnership in the Gospel, they cannot do the work, which He has called them to do in the Philippines. If you would like to contribute to the Acosta Family’s work, please inquire from  “GLINTS”.  Their  address is: PO Box 962, Wheaton, IL. 60187-0962.