“A treat to my soul,” is how teacher Kim Bragas described the surprising opportunity to attend a 3-day, 2-night conference by the Association of Christian Schools International Philippines. With all expenses paid, thanks to a generous donor to ACSI PH, 12 CCS teachers and 12 CCS students attended in August a dual-held educators conference and student leadership conference in Tagaytay, PH, a resort area a few hours outside Manila. Ms. Bragas, our high school ethics teacher and busy young mother, expressed her appreciation for the time to interact with other teachers and to meditate on the messages. Ms. Bragas said, “I am challenged to make sure that what I teach must not just be head knowledge but must go down to the heart so that the hands can apply.” The realization of being part of a larger community of Christian teachers from all walks of life in which we are called to disciple our students to be Christlike and to be excellent in their chosen areas of study is inspiring as we consider their potential for impacting our communities and even the world, shared Ms. Bragas. “These students will contribute, create and improve things, building on and sparking change, because of the light they have through Christ. With a wide knowledge of their chosen fields and depth in understanding life—imagine their impact!” said Bragas. Twelve of our high school student leaders were separately attending their own on-site conference. Ms. Bragas reminded our students to make friends and not to be ashamed about who they are and where they live because they, like everyone else, are special; and they have a story to tell. Following are lessons and insights that the students came away with. “I have learned that when people judge us, we must stand firm.” - Andrea Larego “We should not be ashamed of being a Christian. We should be representing the name of Christ. I am inspired by Rachel’s life (a character they have watched who died in the story but still stood her ground as a Christian) because despite the many problems, she still believed God and she never rejected Him up until her last breath.” - Jame Kyle Gavin Yunzal “I have learned that as Christians, we are to lead people to Christ. We should not be afraid to live an extraordinary life for Christ so that we can impact other people’s lives. I was challenged to follow Christ by living a life that is pleasing to God even if it means that I have to sacrifice what makes me happy. I know that God will replace those with joy that will last forever.” Rhon Ashley Espidillon “I have learned to not be ashamed of being a Christian. I want to change and to help other people.” - Jasper Llyod Barco “Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but we can influence others and impact them. In that way, they can also make an impact on other people. We cannot walk with God while we are holding hands with the devil. So let’s avoid the devil’s temptation and follow God. I also learned through Zacchaeus’ story that, “I am loved, therefore I can live a transformed life.” I also like the quote Miss Yuson shared, “Money can buy a house, but not a home. Money can buy a bed but not sleep. Money can buy a clock, but not time. Money can buy books, but not knowledge. Money can buy food but not appetite. Money can buy friends but not love.” Maybe I am poor but I feel complete because I have Christ in my life.” - Lovely Otida “I learned that we shouldn’t allow anything to hinder us in our relationship with God. We should not deny our faith when other people question us. I want to stand on what is right no matter what. I can say that the conference encouraged me to get busy with getting stronger in God because I want to share God’s Word and my testimony to others.” - Kyla Ysha Lantano “When I went home, I found myself helping more in the house and obeying my mother. I want to be like Rachel who believes that the world can be changed by sharing the Gospel. I want to be like her because despite life’s hindrances, she still shared the Word of God.” - Art Jhon Briones “I realized that the Lord called me to be a leader and to show His work in me. Whenever you might feel like life is too difficult because of the problems you experience, you have to remember that those are lies from the enemy. Stop the thoughts and talk to God. Remember that there are people looking at you so be sure to show who God is in your life.” - John Reggie Vargas “I have learned that as a leader we should be sharing about God’s Word and not bossing around our classmates. I also learned that the Lord allows trials in our lives not to burden us but to make our faith stronger.” - Daniela Domingo “I should do my best being a leader and a follower of God. Being an excellent leader is being an excellent follower.” - Daniel Betara Please pray for these future leaders. Besides being tremendously blessed by ACSI, the following show some of the varied donations we gratefully received this month: What child doesn’t like dressing up, whether it be a fireman or princess! Backpacks and burgersteaks from Convergys in Manila - perfect for our high school students! Buhay Sports purchased uniforms for this year’s boys basketball and girls volleyball teams. Thank you! Jeff Fryer, professional sports trainer, and his team brought tennis shoes! Our older students enjoyed sorting the many school supplies, games and books from Unikids for our elementary and high school. What a blessing! Please remember us in prayer— Our ground-breaking ceremony for our new high school is set for Sept. 12. Please pray for this event and that the Department of Education would approve our request to start senior high next school year (initially 11th grade and then 12th grade the following year). Also that all our plans and efforts regarding the design, construction and funding would be in accordance with God’s plans for this new high school building. Thank you for joining with us. May God be glorified in all our labors.