A Life Style of Gratitude and Worship

Gratitude Journal – Our hearts were stirred that first weekend of September at the MEANS retreat.  Prompted to pray and ask God to open our eyes and hearts to His gifts, we began our journey of counting the ways God loves us.  This journey involves developing the daily practice of giving thanks for His graces, His love gifts.  We started writing down these gifts in our Gratitude Journal. We were inspired by these words from Ann Voskamp in her devotional, One Thousand Gifts Devotional, Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces – “Whatever you do, the practice is intended to be a way of cultivating a habit, of learning to live praise, to make gratitude and joy your default, to move thanksgiving away from a holiday to a lifestyle – that all the days be holy and set apart for real joy.”

The key word here is intentional.  There should be a conscious effort to make gratitude as natural as our breathing.  The end of this gratitude habit is to discover more about God, to center our thoughts and hearts towards Christ and transform us to become more like Him. “We who contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

From Gratitude to Worship – This daily habit of thanking God for His gifts, should also progress to worship.  The beauty of the things God created quickly fade and doesn’t satisfy.  God meant it that way so that it will lead us to seek satisfaction in Him and to declare His glory.  “We live each day surrounded by a symphony of beauty.  The few who live attentively find wonder in nature, art, music, story, food and relationships.  Some of these beauty lovers recognize that all beauty is ultimately derived from our Creator.” – The Beautiful One sermon series, The Compass Church.

So, as you take notice of God’s gifts, receive these with thanksgiving.  Acknowledge Him as the Creator of all the beauty all around you.  Make your joy and delight in His gifts a holy experience of worship.  “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” – Timothy 4:4-5

Contributor: Grace Rocha, MEANS Volunteer

FF Gonzaga Elementary School Read to Grow Reading Park

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Teachers from F. F. Gonzaga Elementary School attended MEANS Read to Grow workshop in Bacolod City last June 3, 2017. It is one of the schools that will receive books from AT and T FACES/MEANS book drive. In preparation for the books arrival we asked our partner in Bacolod City to paint the library. A beautiful environment is much more conducive to reading and learning.

Two teachers who are in charge of the library attended the MEANS Read to Grow workshop.

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To supplement the need for more reading space, a READING PARK was also created in the school ground, with children helping to clear the area.

 

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GIVING TO SAMARITANA THROUGH MEANS:

SAMARITANA GENERAL FUND – Supports the general operations of Samaritana, including direct services to women, advocacy, and alliance building programs. (R1184)

  1. STAFF SUPPORT – Supports missionaries Jonathan & Thelma Nambu (R1543)
  2. OUTREACH PROGRAM – The streets and the bars where the women work are where we begin to establish friendship and rapport with the women. Home visitation follows to know them and their situation better. We also explore preventive programs for vulnerable teens in a vulnerable community. US$50/month supports outreach interventions. (R1894)
  3. CHILD SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM – We assist the children of the women to complete their education, starting from elementary until high school, as a preventive measure. US$25/month supports one child scholar. (R1896)
  4. AFTERCARE TRAINING PROGRAM – Those who are interested and willing to pursue change participate in Samaritana’s Puso, Isip, Kamay (Heart, Head, Hand) holistic Leadership Program where they learn new skills for life, healthy relationships and livelihood. US$25/month supports one woman’s expenses during the holistic aftercare-training program. (R1895)
  5. SERVICE PROVIDER RETREATS – Those who give care also need care. Samaritana offers retreats for aftercare service providers among its staff as well as other members of the Kaakbay Coalition of Faith-based Service Providers. US$60 subsidizes one aftercare worker or urban poor minister for a 2-night guided spiritual retreat. (R1898)