2016 Philippines Mission Trip



August 3-19, 2016

Follow the blog as we take a group on a two-week missions trip to the Philippines. We are coming alongside the teams from Grow International Ministries and Action International Ministries to help them in their efforts to reach out to the poor, the orphaned, and the street children in Manila.

We are also doing a VBS and basketball camp at Redemptio Christian School, helping with a Bible camp at Camp New Beginnings, and helping at Shalom Birthing Home.

Sunday @ Floodway

Posted by on Aug 14, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

We had a wonderful time with the church at Floodway.  There were about 50 of us altogether.  Some did not attend because of the torrential rains the night before.  The service was a blessing and the fellowship was too.

The service was about 2 hours long.  The first hour was a time of singing, sharing and observing the Lord’s table.  Several of the men got up and shared from the Word.  Brent shared from our studies in Philippians 2 and had the other guys come up to recite the verses we have memorized already.  Because the church is affiliated with the Brethren denomination the women do not share up front.

The second hour was called the preaching service.  It also lasted about an hour.  I preached on the theme- God is good–from Psalm 119:68.  We considered the meaning and the implications of this truth that God is good and does good; that God always meets with His own approval and always does that which He approves of, which is, of course, to honor Himself;

Following the morning service the team went out for lunch (Pizza Hut!) with the Nichols and Pastor Bong and his family.  We had a great time of fellowship.

After lunch Robby took the kids (the “future” he calls them) and went off to have manicures, pedicures, and massages.  The boys also played basketball at the open gym at Faith Academy.  The “Present/Past” (we adults) came back to the guesthouse to rest.

Today we are off to New Beginnings Bible Camp.  I anticipate that this will be our most prolonged challenge yet.  Although we have had plenty of rain and heat already, this time there will be no air conditioned rooms to retreat to.

We will be there until Wednesday helping with whatever we can at the camp as well as interacting with the boys.  The ladies will spend part of tomorrow at Shalom birthing house.  We look forward to what the Lord has in store for us.

Thank you for your prayers.  We appreciate the interest and concern that you have shown for us and the way in which you have been standing with us in this work.  May the Lord encourage you as you serve together with us.



Dinner out at Dad’s World Buffet

Posted by on Aug 13, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

Last evening the team was hosted for dinner at Dad’s by Vance and Melaine Espino.  Dad’s is a buffet restaurant at Mega Mall that features cuisine from all over the world.  You can find everything from Filipino to American food; Chinese, Japanese, Australian, etc.  Of course there were some adventuresome attempts to eat new things.  Jonathan eat some escargot and I was handed some squid sushi.  Thanks to some vinegar and soy sauce I managed to eat it.

Along with Vance and Melaine, Pastor Bob Amigo and his wife, Suki, were there, together with Robby, Deanna and Ellie Nichols.  We had a wonderful time visiting.  A four-piece Filipino band took favorites and so we enjoyed rousing renditions of Blue Suede Shoes and LaBamba.

Today we will join the fellowship at Floodway for services.  Geni and Jodi will be teaching a Sunday school class for about 15 children, Keziah will share a testimony, and I will be bringing the message.  We look forward to today, although it may be a bit of an adventure in that there has been torrential rain fall off and on all night!!  This is definitely the rainy season.

Brent is feeling a little better and is planning to go with us to church.  Because of the rain we will not be going out to Camp New Beginnings this afternoon.  Rather, we will stay at the Guesthouse tonight and head up to camp tomorrow morning.  That’s one thing about missionary life; you have to be flexible.

Thanks to all for your prayers.  Pleases keep us before the Lord for strength as we look to the days ahead.




Posted by on Aug 13, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

After a very busy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and because of a change in plans due to the weather, Friday and Saturday have been R&R days.

Having said that I need to clarify, Friday was a very busy day.  We traveled out to the province of Cavite to visit a couple of ministries.  The first was Jabez Christian Center, the home of Camp Jabez, Jabez Christian School and Home of Joy.  This is where Geni and I were last October for the Pastoral Care conference with CGM (Christian Growth Ministries).  Our dear friend, Rosalie Fornales, was there.   Rosalie is the director of CGM and she graciously showed us around the grounds and introduced us to some of the staff.  The school has a brand new facility which has enabled them to expand to all twelve grades.  We saw Home of Joy, a haven for orphaned, abandoned and neglected Filipino children.  We also saw the camp ground and the chapel where the conference was held last fall.

Following this we drove to Lake Teal in hopes of seeing the lake in which there is a volcano in which there is lake (did you follow that?).  Our original plan was to cross by boat to the lsland and then hike up to see the lake in the volcano.  But the rain and wind made crossing impossible, so we had to settle for looking out across the lake from the deck of the restaurant where we had lunch.  It was a beautiful view, quite stunning, I’m sure, on a clear day.


After lunch we traveled back to visit 2nd Mile, a vocational training center where young men and women can receive instruction in wood-working, computers, welding, automotive and sewing so that they are able to get good jobs to support themselves and their future families.  The staff was very gracious and showed us around the grounds.  They also shared some of the staff needs they have.  We pray God to raise up the next generation of faithful servants to carry on the work there.

After second mile we headed back to town.  Along the way we stopped and Robby bought us some of the native fruit to enjoy.  He also bought a couple of coconuts so that we could enjoy drinking the “milk” and eating some of the meat.

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It took us four hours to get back from Cavite to the guesthouse.  The traffic was very heavy due to the fact that it was Friday afternoon.  Part of that time was spent in a torrential down pour.  The water in the streets was like a rushing river. It was about 6:30 when we got back and so, after taking care of some necessities we struck off across the street through the rain to McDonald’s for dinner.

Robby and Deanna Nichols, and their daughter, Ellie, traveled with us on our excursion.  They have been great.  In fact, without them our whole time in the Philippines would have looked very different.  We are so thankful for them and we are looking forward to introducing them to you all next summer when they are State-side for a couple of months.

Today we were planning to visit a water fall where the kids would be able to do some swimming .  But, Brent has been down with a bit of something, and most everyone was a little weary from the week, and with the week ahead which will be some of our most challenging work, we decided to stay here at the Guesthouse and enjoy a quiet day of rest.  It has been good.  We had our team meeting and then played some games.  Then, after lunch several disappeared into their rooms for a nap (me included).

This evening we have dinner with Vance and Melaine Espino.  They are graciously hosting us at Daddy’s Merianda where they took Geni and I last fall.  It will be fun to visit with them.

The Lord has richly blessed us.  We have enjoyed conversation with some of the other missionaries who are here at the Guest house.  He has also seen us through a very demanding week.  We have enjoyed our time in the Word, Philippians 2.  This morning we worked on memorizing vs.6.  We give thanks for His goodness and glory for all that has been accomplished.


In Transition

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

Due to a typhoon we have experienced an unexpected change in our schedule.  We were slated to travel south and out to the Island of Mandoro where Threads of Hope is located.  But due to unpassable seas we were not able to go.  So, instead, we enjoyed a leisurely last morning at Cloud 9 and then met up with Robby, Deanna, and Elie Nichols at Green Hills mall where we enjoyed Starbucks, Subway and some shopping at the venders in the Mall.  There is a flea market-like area at Green Hills where they sell fresh water pearls and other types of jewelry.  It is a fun place to visit and barter with the shop keepers (all friendly-like of course).  Several team members bought souvenirs to take home to moms and sisters.

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Tomorrow we will do some site-seeing as well as visit a couple of ministries.  One of those ministries is camp Jabez where Geni and I were last October for the CGM pastors’ conference.  We are hoping to see our good friend Rosalie Fornales.  She is the director of CGM that has its office at camp Jabez.  Home of Joy, an orphanage, is also there and we are hoping to visit.

Our time at Floodway was indescribably blessed.  Both the VBS and basketball camps went very well.  Each camps started with about 60 kids, but by the last day there were over 160 at each.  Can you imagine doing a basketball camp on a single court with 160 campers?  It was amazing; controlled chaos.  We are so thankful for Robby and our Filipino helpers because, without them, it would have been impossible.  Pastor Bong and his team were delightful and our visits with the members from the church was also a blessing.

It has been fun sharing pictures and visiting with some of you on Whats app.  Thank you for your prayers.

Pastor Guy

VBS, Visitation & Basketball in Floodway

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

The last two days have been incredibly busy but also a tremendous blessing.  We began our ministry in earnest Monday with our first day at Floodway.  We met up with Robby & Deanna Nichols for our first day of VBS.  We also met Pastor Bong and his team in floodway.  Pastor Bong’s church is sponsoring the ministry here.  There have been about forty children at the VBS.  They are very enthusiastic and they love to sing.  The team has done a fabulous job with their various roles; helping with the music, teaching the memory verse, teaching the lessons, leading the games, etc.

On both Monday and Tuesday Robby and Deanna have take us to SM Shopping center for lunch; yesterday it was Pizza Hut.  Today it was Starbucks and Indasal (chicken/ pork and rice!!).

Both afternoons it was our privilege to visit the homes of members of Pastor Bong’s church.  Very gracious people.

Then it was on to basketball.  Yesterday we have about 40 kids.  Today it was twice that.  There was hardly 2 square feet of space on the court for each camper.  It was barely-controlled pandemonium, but the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

On Monday evening the Sunnyside Community Church “all-stars” played the undefeated team from Pastor Bong’s church.  We were smartly dressed out in navy blue uniforms graciously provided by Robby.

When the game began it did not look good for the Sunnyside squad.  The Floodway all-stars jumped out to a pretty significant lead.  They were quick and they liked to run.  SS held its own, however, and at half time it was 26-24 Floodway.

During the break we gathered at half court and I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with the players and the fans who were gathered.  We pray God to use His word to draw those who do not know Him to Himself.

After half time the game recommenced with Sunnyside hitting a quick three and jumping out to a one point lead.  We never looked back and the final score was 74-47 Sunnyside (or something like that).

The days have been busy.  Everyone is tired.  But the Lord has been good.  There have been many expressions of appreciation for our being here.  We trust the Lord will encourage the hearts of His faithful servants here through this little contribution that we are able to make.

Thank you to all of you are faithfully upholding us in prayer.  You are sharing in the work as you bring us before the throne of grace.

Feeding the children of Smoky Mountain & Happy Land

Posted by on Aug 6, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

We spent the day in Tondo, a poverty stricken area of Metro Manila; really, the poorest of the poorest of the poor.  We did two feedings for the children; one on Smoky Mountain, or Trash Mountain as it is called, an old garbage dump where about 150 families live.  It rises high above the surrounding landscape and from the top you get an incredible view of the city and Manila harbor.  But when you look around you see people in grinding poverty, eking out an existence in by scrounging through the trash.

The other feeding was in Happy Land, a squatter area about a mile from Smoky Mountain where the people also scavenge through the garbage to salvage what they might be able to sell.  The little dwelling provided for doing the feeding was tucked way back off the main street down a series of meandering “alleys”.  We walked past hundreds of people, most of whom greeted us with a smile and appearing genuinely glad that we were there to help their little ones.

We worked with a local pastor and his team to provide a meal of rice and hotdogs for about 250-300 children. We also gave away the stuffed animals we brought with us.  The children were delighted. The whole experience was one that words cannot fully express.

Very eye opening to the world these people live in daily.  Makes your heart ache like nothing else will. -Ben Shields

I felt very touched when I saw the conditions people were living in. This experience has really made me feel blessed and made me feel very fortunate for the things I had. – Brady Stapleton

Seeing a totally different way of life and a level of poverty that the majority of us will never see first hand brings an entire new perspective on what true poverty is, but the level of joy in these peoples’ hearts is so incredible and it is so unbelievable that they can find so much joy while having so little. -Jonathan Shields

After seeing the extreme poverty and uncleanliness in the dump I feel very blessed to have an air conditioned room to sleep and rest in. It puts everything into a new perspective, I am glad I could show the light of Christ to them and give them something to eat to nourish them. -Jeremiah Urback

Courtesy of adventureinyou.com

Slum in the Smokey Mountain dumpsite in Manila, Philippines – courtesy of adventureinyou.com

There were a lot of things we saw today that no one can truly be prepared for. I’ve seen videos, and googled photos of poverty stricken places, but seeing it in person was very different. Garbage filled streets, houses made of old mattresses, and shards of glass everywhere. Yet, all of these kids were so happy. They had a smile on their face and were thankful for what they had. – Audrey Tucker

Today was indescribable, things that were seen were heartbreaking, naked children with cigarette burns, tattered and worn oversized T-shirts covering there little bodies, yet smiling faces, basketball games, singing. I just can’t bring myself to fully understand. Today was so many things filled with so many emotions, but I loved every minute of it. – Keziah Stephens

The needs of these people are so great.  It was all very overwhelming, and heartbreaking. The children were sweet and eager to be around us.  It was amazing to see the love that the pastor and the missionaries there have for the Lord and the people.  It helps me know how to pray for them going forward.  – Jodi Stapleton

Today it Begins in Earnest!

Posted by on Aug 5, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

Yesterday was pretty “American”: bacon and eggs, Fruit Loops and toast with PB & J for breakfast, a trip to the Mall, lunch at Max’s, half-court basketball, and bacon cheese burgers and fries for dinner.  Today, however, will be different.

Today it is our privilege to do two feeds for about 300 kids on Smokey Mountain, a community that lives on the largest dumpsite in Manila; the poorest of the poorest of the poor.  Our offering will be small indeed.  But as Jesus said, a cup of cold water given in His name is not without value.  More than the food, it is an opportunity to extend the love of the Lord Jesus.


We pray the Lord strengthen us, body and soul, for this challenge; He is our sufficiency.  Pray for the children we will serve.  Pray for us, that our hope will be in Christ and that His beauty will radiate from us.

Most of us are up and around a little more readily this morning.  Slept a little better last night.  But it will be a couple more days before things are really in sync.

Our memory verse for the day is Philippians 2:2, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (yesterday’s was Phil.2:1; we are working on Philippines 2:1-11 for the trip; learn it with us!!)

Serving together,



On the Ground in Manila

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

DSC07197We’re here.  The trip went great; really could not have gone any better.  Robby Nichols met us at the airport and we loaded our mountain of luggage into one van and our weary troops into another and headed for the New Tribes Missions Guest house.  We arrived about 10:30 pm, got our room assignments and vanished for the night.


Today is a slower day. We have orientation with Robby at 10:00 am and then a trip to Mega Mall over the lunch hour and then laying low for the rest of the day.

We give thanks to the Lord for His kindness to us. As I said, the trip could not have gone any better. Thank to one and all for your prayers.




Departing for the Philippines

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments


We departed for the Philippines today (Wednesday, August 3) at 12:45 p.m. We’ll arrive in Manila on Thursday, August 4th at 8:00 p.m. and head to the New Tribes guesthouse. In Manila, we will be 15 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. Thank you for following us in our adventure. Keep praying!


Philippines Update

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in 2016 - Philippines Mission Trip | 0 comments

Today, our Philippines Mission Team presented information to the rest of the SCC congregation about what they will be doing in the Philippines. If you missed it, check out the info and videos below to get a taste for what our team will be experiencing. Please keep them in your prayers and check back on the blog for updates.


Smokey Mountain and Happy Land are dump sites located in Tondo. They take in the garbage from the greater Manila area. Tondo is one of the most depressed areas in the Manila. The people who live there basically live on mountains of trash and make a living by rummaging through it looking for item they can use or sell.

2016-SCC-Philippines-Mission-TeamWe will be going to Tondo the first Saturday we’re in the Philippines. We will be working with Pastor Ramilo Mateo of the Christ Power and Grace Church. We will be going to both Smokey Mountain and Happy Land to assist with feeding programs for about 300 children. The kids we’ll be feeding are the extreme poor of Manila that have very little to nothing at all. The meals we’ll be serving consist of rice with meat and vegetables. Pastor Ramilo’s church and others in the area do these feedings as often as they can afford to.


Redemptio is a Christian school for the poorest of the poor in Floodway. It provides an education for kids who would otherwise not be able to attend school, because they can’t even afford the supplies and uniforms required at public schools. It was started by Robby and Deanna Nichols three years ago. The current school year started last month (June) and they currently have classes for pre-school through 1st grade.

The first week we’re in the Philippines we’ll be doing a VBS in the mornings and a basketball camp in the afternoons at Redemptio. The children in Floodway really love to sing, interact and learn. We’ll also be doing door-to-door visits.


Threads of Hope is a livelihood project started by Alex and Chris Kuhlow in March of 2003 to bring help and hope to families at risk in the Philippines. In order to prevent one girl from having to choose prostitution as a means of supporting her family, Alex placed an order to purchase the bracelets she was making. Not only did this provide for the girl’s family for a whole month, it was just the start of the non-profit organization called Threads of Hope. Bracelet orders now provide income for over 750 families, who previously were at risk. Threads of Hope is located on the island of Mindoro, a 3 hour drive and 1 hour boat ride from Manila.

Threads of Hope Jan 2015 from Chris Brett on Vimeo.

We will spend Thursday and Friday of our first week at Threads of Hope. While there we’ll get a chance to tour their ministry and share and interact with the high schoolers at a new Christian school in the area. I’m sure we’ll be bringing back a lot of bracelets which we’ll be selling to help support their ministry.


New Beginnings has a Church, free clinic and Bible camp for the street kids in Manila. It is run by Mike and Natalie Bucher. There is a lot going on the center, but one of the main things is the Bible Camp for street kids. It’s close enough to Manila that it’s possible to go into town to pick up kids on the street, but far enough out that the kids are able to get away from the fear and influences of street life. They typically put on three day camps and work with a lot of the same kids from one camp to the next. This allows them to mentor and disciple the kids over an extended period of time. The camps are a time of food, fun, games, rest, safety and of course a chance to share the love of Christ and His Gospel. For a little over a year our youth group and a few others in the Church have been collecting money and sending it to Camp New Beginnings each month. This money is used to pay the cost of sending kids to camp. It cost $30 to send a child to a 3-day camp. You can read about Marlon, one of the kids we helped send to camp, on the New Beginnings display out in the hall.

The second week we’ll be going to New Beginnings to help with a 3-day Bible camp.


Shalom Christian Birthing Home was established by ACTION missionary, Mavis Orton, a retired nurse/midwife from England. Observing the exceptionally high maternal and infant mortality rates in the outskirts of Manila, Mavis opened her home to these at-risk mothers in order to provide a safe and dignified environment for childbirth. Nearby churches work closely with Shalom’s staff – resulting in many mothers and their families experiencing spiritual rebirth and becoming active in a local church. When the clinic first opened, eight babies were born a month. It has grown a lot since then and has moved to a larger facility. Now approximately 120-150 babies are born each month.

Hands of Hope NW’s partnership with Shalom Christian Birthing Center in the Philippines. from Debbie Wheeler on Vimeo.

Our original plan was to have the women go to Shalom to help at the birthing home and put on baby showers for some of the new moms while the men are Camp New Beginnings, but it looks like that might not be what God had planned. This also happened to be the week the Shalom is having local and foreign (from the US) interns in for training and they might not be able to handle all the people. The revised plan would be to have the entire team at Camp New Beginnings. We know that God’s timing and plan is perfect. Pray that everything works out according to His plan.