Updates included in this newsletter : College Ministry | Cuatro Christian School | Children's Home | Team Ministry. COLLEGE MINISTRY Escaping Poverty to Serve Others Did you know that Kids International Ministries has a college ministry that provides full tuition and books for its recipients? This ministry is the last chapter in breaking the cycle of poverty, by providing a college education that will allow a person to succeed in life. This past month four of our students graduated from college: Jam Cortez, Darleen Domingo, Cris Mendoza and Venus Balucay.
While each of these graduates is a story of triumph, Venus is such a success story for the ministry because her life comes from the depths of poverty. Venus grew up in Tondo, Manila, and lived on Smokey Mountain (also called Trash Mountain because it used to be the old city dump for Manila). Through the ministry of Pastor Ramilo Mateo, Venus came to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Relationships were built and Venus graduated high school and then, through supporters like you, Venus went on to college and graduated with a degree in Psychology. Venus will now be working with YWAM in Tondo as well as continuing to minister to the people on Smokey Mountain. If you would like to help students like Venus escape the cycle of poverty through a college education, please give to the college ministry program. CUATRO CHRISTIAN SCHOOL Beyond CCS - The Next Chapter 11th and 12th grades are crucial. Imagine coming so far - from kindergarten to 10th grade - and then your schooling ends, with no hope of graduating from high school or having a career. Such was the dilemma of our grade 10 finishers…until Beyond CCS . While working to establish our own CCS senior high program ( Watch video ) a year ago KIDS started Beyond CCS . This ministry helps these CCS finishers of grade 10 to complete their senior high coursework at another school by providing them with pamasahe at baon (public transportation fees and lunch) each school day. As of the close of our first year of Beyond CCS , we have helped six young people graduate from high school. Our second year of Beyond CCS is already underway. The group this year will consist of 41 students: 14 seniors and 27 juniors. Our students will be attending five different local Senior HS programs. The objectives for this ministry are two-fold: mature in your relationship with Jesus Christ and graduate from high school. All of our students are up for the task. They have spent their summer (April and May) leading in ministry activities, including Vacation Bible School, ministry feedings, swimming with children from New Faith Family Children’s Home, woodworking projects for the elementary school, and assisting in basketball clinics. Completing ministry hours is one of the requirements for each student to receive “ Charity With Dignity” as described by CCS Pastor Rante Aranas. If you would be interested in learning more about Beyond CCS , or donating to help fund this ministry, you may contact Dewey Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org . NEW FAITH FAMILY CHILDREN’S HOME Times of Refreshment and Insight What a busy but sweet month of May it was for the family at New Faith Family Children’s Home! Fresh goals were envisioned and humbleness instilled through visits to other children’s homes. Much joy was brought to each person through the returning visit of Tito (Uncle) Mike from California. The fruit of Tito Mike’s continuing relationships with the children was evident. His generous heart provided a fun family outing for the entire Children’s Home. They traveled to Rainforest Adventure Park where they spent time swimming, admiring the beauty of the botanical gardens, exploring the zoo, and enjoying one another’s company. Tito Mike also took the older teens ice skating for the first time at a nearby mall. It was a great break from the scorching heat of the Philippines! In addition, staff of the nursery and toddlers had an opportunity to observe two children’s homes this month. They observed daily life and how staff best interacted with the children. Our staff came away with new ideas and fresh perspectives. This was helpful in enabling our staff to create new goals aimed to provide excellent care and consistency with the children and in the operations of the nursery and toddlers rooms. Staff of the older boys and teens also had the opportunity to visit Hope Love Kids Ranch, another children’s home. Through this time, they were inspired and reminded of several principles: 1) every good work God has for us has value, whether that be doing dishes and laundry or playing with the children, 2) every act should be done in love, 3) be the example—not only instruct but guide and teach; we are not only teaching them for today but training them for tomorrow. Lastly, members of the children’s home staff were able to spend time together for a family retreat. They journeyed to Ten Cents to Heaven in Tanay, Rizal, where they spent time in prayer and were led through team building activities. It was a chance to rest and center themselves once again on Christ. Despite the rain, staff were in awe of God’s glorious creation. Together they gave thanks to God and had an opportunity to grow closer together. New Faith Family Children’s Home is grateful for each child in their care and each staff member who serves to be the hands and feet of Jesus daily. Praise the Lord for His continuous blessing and provision over this home. For more information on our Children's Home, please contact email@example.com TEAMS We’re gearing up for our busiest month of the year, with well over 100 guests coming over the month of June. May was a slightly quieter month, but it was great to have a few guests here who have helped us immensely. It was great to have Tito Mike from California here with us, who took our Children’s Home kids ice-skating and on some different adventures! We also loved having an older couple here from Florida who invested spiritually into our team, leading Bible studies with our office ladies and pregnant women at the Pregnancy Clinic. We love ministering to teams as they come, but often our guests inspire us with their fresh passion and fuel to help children and do ministry, especially when our local team is feeling tired from the heat of summer. For June, we have a variety of teams coming: large school groups from Hong Kong and Beijing, a team of people from across the US, a group of six families from Australia, and a few other individuals staying for a longer time over the summer. We’re excited to plug these teams in to our different projects, and while it will be challenging managing logistics for so many people, we believe God will do incredible things in and through every person who comes. If you are interested in serving or bringing a team, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Candles of light to the world—Whether kindergarteners moving up to grade 1 (seen here), or the graduating grade 6 students, the completing grade 10 students and the many students in between, CCS was proud to honor earlier this month our students’ hard work and achievements this past school year. CCS teacher and guidance counselor, Kim Bragas, expressed gratefulness for the privilege of seeing the students move to another level year by year: “It is indeed amazing to see the Lord's faithfulness, not just to the school but to everyone, from the students to the parents. I know that going to school and staying in school is not so easy for the young people we are serving. There are a lot of outside factors that can weigh a student down. That is why, I am very happy to see students move from one level to another and eventually graduate and reach for their big dreams,” said Ms. Bragas. Kindergarten Moving Up Ceremony Grade 6 Graduation Program This year we had a large number of 6th grade graduates (61). Ms. Aileen Yunzal, Elementary Principal, praised our three 6th grade teachers for their love and diligent mentoring of especially students who were struggling. “It is a critical age, grade 6, when some students are considering dropping out.” She credited God’s help that these students are going forward with their lives. She asked for prayer for the home life of our students, their teachers and their academics. By the way, congratulations to Ms. Aileen who just obtained her master’s degree in Educational Management. Recognition Ceremonies Many students were recognized for receiving high honors and honors (139) as well as awards for exemplary character, leadership, athletics, creativity, student service, most improved, perfect attendance and loyalty (those who have attended CCS since grade 1). “The parents were very happy and grateful to see their children’s achievements,” noted CCS teacher Ms. Yvette Masangkay. “There were lots of people recognized for their faithful partnership with the school, including some parents who always made themselves available and able to help out anytime the school needed their assistance,” Masangkay added. (See below) Grade 10 Completion Program This year the Grade 10 completers (36) had the privilege of hearing Mr. Alvin Patrimonio, Team Manager for the Magnolia Hotshots, a professional basketball team in the Philippines, share great advice to our students. He spoke about determination, saying no to drugs and vices that will pull them down, knowing priorities, spending time wisely, being good children to parents, and honoring their school and teachers who are instruments in making their dreams come true. The students were also inspired by the testimony of their classmate, Rhon Ashley Espidillon, who shared her story and challenge to her peers. “We have no control over the circumstances that come into our life. We struggle as we take one step not knowing what lies ahead. We grieve for the losses we think were best. We cry over the things we cannot comprehend and cannot understand. But, I realized that we have a constant God. We have a God we can rely on who promises that He will never leave us nor fail us. I am not confident with anything else, but I am confident in Him. Let us all remember, life with Him will always be worth living and apart from Him our lives are meaningless. To my batchmates, let us move forward with God, no turning back! “ Many of this batch of grade 10 completers have been with CCS since early elementary. Another highlight of the program was a “batch prophecy” (the scene of CCS’ 40th founding anniversary). Written by a group of completers and read by Niño Villanueva, Ms. Yvette Masangkay said it “lifted everyone's spirit as it showed the possibility of great success.” In visualizing alumni coming together for the school’s 40th year anniversary, the “prophesy” creatively showed their batchmates in their profession of interest. TOMORROW TODAY What was impressive and encouraging in the story was that the students “successfully found their realm of influence,” as the reader expressed it. The focus was not about them becoming successful for their own sake but for the sake of others, influencing their world, giving back to CCS and thanking God for proving Himself as their great provider. Coming back to the current day (April 2019), Mr. Villanueva challenged his classmates: “Now I am standing here in front of you. Think about it, we dreamt of this day. This was our big dream 10 years ago and now it is happening. My dear batchmates, let us remember when God is on our side, BIG DREAMS do come true.” Much effort was required to bring all these students to this point in their lives. To get where we are today, our students, our parents, our teachers, our administration, our board members and our Kids International Ministries family have expended much heart and energy. You, our donors, have sacrificed and prayed for us, without which we could not have come this far. You are important in accomplishing these students’ future dreams and influences as well. Thank you for being a light of God’s love and for helping our students be a light to the world.
Preparing for the road ahead, Grade 6 Retreat: The Road to Success, provided insights on obtaining success, times of personal reflection, recommitments, comradery, and games—all playing a part in rewarding our 61 graduating Grade 6 students this month with some fun and personal growth as they prepare to enter high school. One Grade 6 student shared that he is glad that God gives success to everyone, regardless of background, physical appearance or deficiencies in achievements. Students learned that success is a process, not something gained overnight. It is developed as we set our hearts to obey God’s Word and rely on His power to work in us. (Joshua 1:8 and Galatians 5:22-23) Telling of the parents’ overwhelming support, Grade 6 teacher Joy Panes said, “They did the marketing, cooked and assisted the teachers with chores, but most importantly they have been with us praying for their children to allow God to work marvelously in the lives of these children and that they will not go home without really understanding the essence of success from a Christian perspective.” Please be praying for these students as they attend a month-long summer school session to prepare them for the rigors of high school. Grades 9-10 Retreat: Stand Firm With our Grade 10 students preparing to cross-over into senior high and moving beyond CCS and our Grade 9 students advancing into upperclassman leadership, the message of the retreat was to stand firm in your faith. The students had a time of reflection, prayer and repentance, during which some of the students came to the school’s pastor and their teachers for prayer. As part of a team building time with cross-over life coaching, the students gathered into four groups. Two of the groups wrote down problems that they were experiencing. The other two groups were then asked to think of advice or solutions for those problems. The problems shared revolved around relational issues, financial issues and personal issues. Teacher and guidance counselor Kim Bragas expressed that the teachers were amazed at how the students resolved each problem. “We can say that they are wise for their age,” she said. Having an unforgiving heart was one of the problems shared. Ms. Kim relayed the following advice given by the students: “One student shared that whenever he feels that he does not want to forgive, he would always remember God’s forgiveness and love to him. That compels him to forgive. Another one said that she is forgiven by God for the many sins she has done and to think that she will withhold forgiveness to others is wrong. Another shared that the effect of unforgiveness in her heart led her to do more wrong things and made her heart very heavy. She said that she was reminded to check her heart and decided to choose the process of forgiveness.” Another problem expressed, said Ms. Kim, was the feeling of not being appreciated at home; no matter what they do, they feel that they are not enough. In response, one student advised that “whenever they do things at home, they should not just do them for their parents but for the Lord, knowing that He sees everything.” Jealousy about family life was another problem shared. Ms. Kim said that one student advised that they should not get jealous, because having a complete family is not an assurance of being happy. The group of students agreed, and one added that you just have to accept and be satisfied. Another summarized it by saying, “We just have to accept, be satisfied, then let go and let God.” Besides the serious times, students had plenty of fun games and team building activities. Here students used their shoes to build the highest tower. They had great fun as they struggled with thinking of different strategies while fighting the bad smell of their shoes! The team building coaches asked the students to gather materials to help them survive if stranded on an island. The coach was impressed that all groups had a Bible with them, showing that our students valued the Word of God. The students also had a fun night of swimming at the next door Kids International Ministry Center. One teacher shared how she was able to talk with a Grade 10 student whom she had known since 1st grade. She said that through the years they would discuss how he should not punch his classmates or why he should stay to clean the room or why it is rude to answer back. But that night he talked about heart issues that the Lord had revealed to him. “That night, I was no longer talking to a young boy, but a man in the making,” she said. “Indeed, it is bittersweet to see them go, but I trust the Lord. CCS will always be their home.” To close the time, at a 5:00 a.m. morning devotion, the students’ parents surprised the students by joining them. It was a heart-warming time with tears and hugs and a hearty breakfast. After the retreat, the students wrote their reflections from the time. Here is one student’s response: “ I committed myself to God that I will continually serve Him even though I am no longer in CCS. I am thankful that the Lord brought me here because the school molded me into who I am today because I came to know God here. I am just amazed with God. I do not know where I am now if it wasn’t for God bringing me here.” - Jerus Mallavo High school building update : While we are making exciting progress, it currently appears that our new building and senior high program will not be ready for the start of the new school year in June. If you would like to help our 36 Grade 10 Completers continue their schooling through our Beyond CCS program, which helps meet transportation and other school needs, please contact missionary Dewey Bland at email@example.com to learn more. Please keep our efforts to build a high school building and senior high program in your prayers.