Read to Grow – Books to Prisoners


“I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” Matthew 25:26
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3

Winds of the Spirit. These are ministry opportunities that have unexpectedly opened to MEANS. Outside the Box is a different and unconventional way to share the Gospel from a new perspective. God is opening a new way for MEANS to reach out to prisoners in San Carlos City prison in Negros Occidental, Philippines. IVCF students in the area have been encouraged to reach out to them, after the initial distribution of flip flops to jail inmates. This month, we are sending books to prisoners in San Carlos City Jail. MEANS believes that books are tools for learning and for opening the minds of people to new ideas and possibilities. By sending RTG books to prisoners, we hope to foster a love for reading, to encourage the pursuit of knowledge, self-improvement, and to provide inspirational books with good moral values.
Out of the box Ministry! Interesting how the Lord is opening a new avenue of ministry for MEANS. It happened this way. A prison official from San Carlos City Jail in San Carlos, Negros Occidental joined the MEANS/IVCF Philippines tree planting event in Balabag Elementary School in Barangay Quezon, Balabag, San Carlos, Philippines. She asked Eumir Villamor, regional director of IVCF West Visayas what other causes IVCF have and he replied: Read to Grow (RTG). The prison official asked if their prison library can avail of RTG books for the inmates. We said yes to the RTG request.

Erza Valente

Erza Valente

Here is a personal story from one of the volunteers who went to San Carlos City Prison in San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Philippines to help distribute MEANS flip flops (rubber slippers) to inmates.
Erza Marie Valente – Third Year student, Bachelors of Science in Education – Major in Social Science at Philippine Normal University, Sagay, Negros Occidental, Philippines.

erza1Love – put into giving is more than enough. On December 22, 2014 we went to San Carlos City jail to visit the prisoners there remembering what Jesus Christ once said, “When I am in prison, you visited me.” We gave the inmates rubber slippers, lemon square cheesecakes and fruit juices. I know it is not much, but with much love put into giving, it is more than enough. We asked the inmates to write a letter to their loved ones. We brought some crayons because pencils and pens or any sharp materials are not allowed inside the jail. Some inmates laughed and said it was childish, but they used the crayons and even drew something on their papers. We promised to give the letters to their families. Together with my other IVCF girlfriends, ( Yna Marie Arceli, Jolly Lidres, Jomelle Leduna Alfabete and Liezl Tangarorang Silva) we divided the letters according to the places where we live so we could give them easily to the addressee. We distributed these on Christmas Day, December 25, 2014!
ERZA4Sacrifice – walking through slippery, muddy paths. Overwhelmed with excitement to distribute the letters on Christmas day, we immediately went in spite of the pouring rain. We didn’t mind that we didn’t have an umbrella with us. We look for the home addresses to deliver each letter. We encountered different responses from the receivers. Some made me and Liezl nervous and disappointed. Some made our hearts melt; while others made our stomach ached with laughter. I remembered a parent of a prisoner saying to us “Ipakasal ko nalang siguro si **** sa isa sa inyo ay para mabuotan na!” ( I want my son to marry one of you, so that he will be transformed). Funny, yet we can clearly see the love of a parent to his son. With our slippers on, we walked on the slippery and muddy areas, not minding the rain and mud that stuck on our little feet until we finished delivering them all. What a blessed way to spend Christmas! For other houses that we could not locate, we sent messages on the public radio and posted them on Facebook.
Channel of blessing – We did it all for God’s cause. What motivated us to do this is not the organization that we belong to. We want to be God’s instrument in the expansion of His kingdom and a channel of grace towards His beloved people, even those living in San Carlos prison.
This is just one of the stories that was shared with us about God the Holy Spirit working and prompting His children to demonstrate the LOVE of God to a needy world. As we continue to listen to God’s whispers about how to serve Him best, I am sure there will be more out of the box way to serve Him in 2015. Thank you very much for partnering with us in the MEANS ministry
Here are some possible projects we would like to pursue:
1. Provide inspirational books for the library or recreation room
2. Provide children’s books with Christian values for the visiting children and family members
3. Provide Flip-flops for the inmates
4. Provide hygiene kits as allowed like: bath soap, face towel, comb, toothpaste, and toothbrush.
5. Family Fun Day – a time to get together to simply have fun
Contributors: Erza Marie Valente, Lina Padilla and Carmena Cruz
Contact us:


HAIYANGive and Be Blessed.Thank you for your support and partnership with us. We are incredibly thankful and pleased to tell you that with your generous support to MEANS Disaster Fund, we were able to extend help to Haiyan Typhoon survivors in the Visayas region in the Philippines. We helped especially the people living in small islands unreached by national and international relief agencies. There is so much more to do in helping in the recovery and rehabilitation of people in these areas, but we look forward to positive changes that your financial support will do in the lives of typhoon survivors. We will continue to update you about our disaster relief project initiatives until we have exhausted all our funds for this purpose.

lolaGive and give HOPE. These are MEANS initiatives to strategically help children heal and recover from the trauma caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Our initiatives will empower our local ministry partners in the Philippines to enable them to demonstrate Jesus’ compassion for the children. Our local ministry partners in the disaster areas have the information, the network, the capacity, and volunteers to help in the distribution and implementation of MEANS Projects. At this crucial time, we have partnered with Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines’ Operation Ahon: to help reach out to Haiyan survivors.

Small Steps. Big Impact. Great Rewards.

1. Relief Goods distribution – focus on 3 communities in Tacloban, Roxas City, and Sagay

2. Feed Projects – distribution of Hygiene kit (tooth paste, tooth brush, soap, face towel)

3. Flip flops – distribution of rubber slippers to children in need

4. Read to Grow Reading Centers

5. Care for ministry partners directly affected by typhoon Haiyan

MEANS Haiyan Disaster Initiatives in February, March, and April 2014:

February – provide personal care to 2 church workers – $500.00 each
February – Hygiene Kit distribution for children in Tacloban and Ormoc

March – 300 Stuffed Toys, Flip-flop, hygiene kit Distribution – Sagay City, Negros Occ
March – 300 Stuffed Toys, Flip-flop, hygiene kit Distribution – Ahuy, Iloilo
March – 300 Stuffed Toys, Flip-flop, hygiene kit Distribution – Roxas City, Capiz
March – 600 Stuffed Toys, Flip-flop, hygiene kit Distribution – Tacloban
March – 25 Solar radios are fixed tuned to DYVS (FEBC Affiliated) to be distributed in Dukol-Dukol, Sagay, Panay Island; an opportunity to share the gospel during the distribution to 25 homes.
March – Read to Grow – children’s books distribution in libraries

backpack2Livelihood Assistance – string backpacks; we will purchase the bags from the mothers and distribute to children in need of school bags and hygiene kit

dish soapLivelihood Assistance – dish soap repacking; we will purchase 200 bottles of dish soaps for distribution


Small Goal. Big Result.

We Can’t Do This Alone. Join Us!

Right now, rescue operations are going on in the devastated areas not only of Leyte and Samar but also areas in Iloilo, Capiz and Coron, Palawan.  Rebuilding these areas will take a long time.  When all the NGOs who are present in these areas are long gone, the Philippines will continue to rebuild the damaged areas and the typhoon victims will continue to deal with issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is much more difficult to heal the inner man.  MEANS plans to continue to help in any way we can.

May I ask you to pray with us, that the God of all grace and mercy will bring comfort to those who are suffering?  If your heart touches you to give, please share whatever amount you have to help them.

Thank you very much for praying and for being one with us and the Filipino people in this difficult time.


Lina Padilla, MEANS Board Chair



Your gift will help purchase basic needs like vitamins, canned goods, towels, vitamins, noodles,  soaps, shampoos,  skin lotion, personal hygiene items.   MEANS will also send monetary gifts to our ministry partners who were affected by Haiyan (Yolanda)   This will be an ongoing project of MEANS until January 2014


Your gift will help IVCF continue their staff and students to help those who were affected by the typhoon and to replenish their contingency/emergency funds that they used in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan.


The Flip-flops (rubber slippers) will help protect children’s feet from rough terrain, infection, and soil-based diseases. Some soil-based diseases not only cause physical symptoms, but create cognitive impairment too, crippling a child’s long-term potential. The children’s feet are usually neglected by relief workers because most of the primary needs a re met first before other things. Flip flops are less expensive to purchase in the Philippines. Your gift of $ 10.00 will provide 10 Pairs of Flip-flops for 10 children in need.

Donate Online

We will not deduct 6% administration fee from your donations towards the Disaster Relief Fund. This will be in effect only up to the end of January 2014. This is your “Kairos” moment.  It is a special opportunity opened by God for us to respond to the need.  Responding to the needs of the needy carries with it a special blessing from God.

Donate Online:

“Don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it.”  Proverbs 3:27

Your gift is US Tax deductible.

Make your check payable to: MEANS

Mail to:  Carmena Cruz

PO Box  8434, Bartlett, IL 60103