Focus on MEANS Volunteers

Ken Borromeo Volunteer of the Year

Minolta DSCKen served as a volunteer for 25 years. When Ken first came to MEANS workday in December 1990, he was just curious to know what his wife, Christine, was doing in her new volunteer work. He did not have any inkling that attending a MEANS Christmas party once would lead him to stay as a volunteer for 25 years! What prompted Ken to remain as a volunteer for a quarter of a century?

First of all, more than all his qualifications and accomplishments, (Ken has a Civil Engineering degree at Central Philippines University and a Masters in Structural Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology),   I can say that Ken is God’s gift to MEANS.

While watching Christine and Carmena processed monetary love gifts to our ministry partners, using EXCEL, Ken thought that there was a better and quicker way to do it. That desire to improve MEANS accounting and database system has led to where we are now. We have our own in house accounting system which is efficient and a time saver. We are now able to finish processing checks and gifts that we receive in one workday. We appreciate Ken’s desire to make the processing faster and easier for the volunteers. His idea to put all the documents in one database especially during our board meeting and annual audit is commendable. Our former editor even copied what Ken did to her other clients!

When asked why he joined MEANS, Ken answered: “My wife invited me to join MEANS. I want to share the same goals with her as we build our family. As a volunteer, I believe that I am helping missionaries spread the Word of God. It is a good cause. I feel good in doing something not just for myself, but also for other people, in the name of the Lord. With my MEANS involvement, I believe I am helping the poor and unfortunate people like orphans, street kids and street women in the Philippines.”

KEN“I enjoy the MEANS family because of the warm fellowship. I fellowship with friends who believe in one God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Also, for my personal benefit and spiritual enrichment, I have been exposed to friends who have deep knowledge about God’s Word and missionaries who have visited our office. The openness in sharing experiences and problems and our bible studies taught me about God’s love. All these have deepened my knowledge about God and have strengthened my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord.

I also gained friends in MEANS who walk in the path of God. We have time for counseling and learning about the Word of God. We can openly discuss God’s Word during workday. We talked about God when we are carpooling with our friends to MEANS events, retreats, camping, and vacations.

I am proud to say that I have never been absent from a MEANS workday. I volunteer because I enjoy serving the Lord through MEANS.”

Contributor: Lina Padilla

MEANS RETREAT 2012

MEANS 25th Annual Retreat @ Cedar Valley Retreat Center, West Bend WI.

Greetings! We trust you and your family had a wonderful and refreshing summer. As I think of the dancing flames from the campfire and the cheerful voices singing while the children enjoyed the smores (gladly supplied by Steve Dykehouse from Michigan), I wish you could have shared the ‘sparks’ igniting from our recent MEANS retreat. We want to share with you some highlights from our recent MEANS 25th Annual Retreat on Labor Day weekend from September 1-3, 2012.

Volunteers Gathered: For months prior to the retreat, much prayers & creative planning were poured out to prepare a ‘special package’ for the MEANS Volunteers and our guests. I firmly believe this year’s retreat venue was God’s appointment. After we enjoyed Life Action Camp in Buchanan, Michigan for the past 2 years, the Lord directed us to Cedar Valley in West Bend, Wisconsin. The sprawling 100 acres of “carefree hospitality” well-manicured landscape trails, prairies dotted by sculptures, fresh air & clear blue sky afforded us the privilege to be refreshed, to refocus, learn and unlearn, renew and recover! MEANS volunteers gathered together to worship and sing, pray, study the Word, learn, listen and play with lots of laughter! We had meals together in a dainty family-country style dining room with healthy nutritious dishes prepared by a former Home Economics teacher.

Volunteers Celebrated: We unwrapped the retreat’s first day in praise & worship. What a glorious celebration to engage with God in worship & fellowship. As one body in Christ, we offered our thanksgiving, petition and supplication in behalf of MEANS partners – recipients & donors. Another special ‘package’ we unwrapped is the lesson on giving. What does it mean to ‘give until it hurts?’ It shows that God & His work is our highest priority. “When one has nothing, God becomes everything!”.. mama Maggie Gobran, founder of Stephen’s ministry and dubbed the Mother Theresa of Cairo, Egypt, gently reminded us at the retreat.

Volunteers Looked Back: The ministry reports presented in videos featured four main events in Bacolod & Guimaras. The events were sponsored by MEANS. Bethel Transmonte-Skinker, a MEANS volunteer and I initiated and attended these events when we visited the Philippines last August. We also visited MEANS ministry partners such as IVCF-Graduates in West Visayas. The Dental-Vision Care given to low income pastors and Christian workers, hosted by Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church was a success. Pastor Godfrey Serfino, pastor of Ebenezer commented that it should be an annual event. Project Josiah ministry team also sponsored FF Gonzaga Earth Day event.. Tree seedlings and vegetables were planted in the school ground with the approval of the principal of the school. In the future, produced coming from the Project Josiah garden will supplement the feeding program regularly done by Project Josiah at FF Gonzaga Elementary School. Bethel Skinker, environmental engineer, taught about how to take care of drinking water. The video also featured the visit to Good Shepherd Orphanage in Guimaras Province. Those who participated in these events were tremendously blessed and are looking for similar events like these in the future.

Volunteers Refreshed and Refocused: Volunteers MEANS core values, namely: living a Christ centered life, prayer before action, character before ministry and programs, unity before growth, building each other up and seek to encourage our missionary recipients and MEANS donors, were clearly demonstrated during the retreat. Our retreat’s theme based on Micah 6:8 – Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly, continues to resonate as we work in partnership with God to help each other discover His grace and love in every aspect of our service. We further learned & discovered practical application through group Bible Study from Isaiah 58. The personal Quiet Time also re-enforced Jesus’ example in living an outward-focused life, living and serving others instead.

Volunteers Renew Commitment: We can only do this by being still in His Presence, having a pure heart so that we can listen to His Spirit as we renew our commitment to serve Him in the MEANS ministry. As mama Maggie said: “it is in Silence that we leave many and listen to the One.” Oh, how I need to cultivate the beauty of being “silent before Him” if I want to live in elegance for my Lord and King!

Anne Violanda-Benthien
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
MEANS, Board Member

Flavor of the Month: Jeremy Rocha

2012 Jeremy RochaThis coming fall, we will be sending off another MEANS volunteer to college. Jeremy Rocha, the youngest son of Ramon and Grace Rocha, will be attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Growing up & Interests
Jeremy was born and raised in the Philippines. He immigrated to the States in April of this year along with his parents. So far, the weather has been the biggest adjustment. (He has been warned about the Midwest winters!) Besides adjusting to life here in the states, these past couple of months have been a blessing for Jeremy as he has been able to engage in one of his favorite pastimes, reading. Normally during the school year he only has time for academic reading. Jeremy has been able to enjoy the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia series, as well as books by Orson Scott Card. Aside from reading, Jeremy also enjoys listening to a wide variety of music ranging from country music to pop music. Additionally, aside from listening to music, Jeremy enjoys playing acoustic guitar. His parents also introduced Jeremy and his siblings to various sports. In high school, Jeremy played varsity soccer. He enjoys playing badminton, Ultimate Frisbee, and running. Sometimes after a MEANS work day, he can be seen beating other volunteers in a game of ping pong.

Jeremy grew up in a Christian home, and was introduced to the gospel around age 6 or 7 years. His spiritual growth has been a process and he considers his spiritual birthday to be April 20, 2008. It was then, at an ISCF camp, that he truly understood what it meant to be a Christian. This was the turning point in his knowledge and understanding of Christ, as well as his serving. Jeremy sees most how God has been working in his life when other people affirm it. For example, during a conversation with another person who doesn’t have a good understanding of the Word of God, Jeremy is able to bless this person by helping them increase in their understanding because of God’s help and his experience as a youth leader.

Hopes for the future
As of right now, Jeremy hopes to work here after graduating from school to pay off debts, but does hope to some day go back to the Philippines.

Prayer Requests
Provision for the rest of his tuition, books, meals, and other living expenses.
Opportunity to work at Calvin College
Opportunity to serve Christ while at school
Adjustment to life at Calvin College
For his parents, who he will miss, and who will surely miss him!