31 Jan 2019 Feeding Hearts, Minds, and Souls
by Loretta Trainor |
Pastor Hilario has a unique gift of encouraging and challenging others to be a part of God’s work around the world. In 2014 he extended an invitation for us to join a team traveling to the Philippines—the location of Northshore’s ministry partner, the Redeemer of Life Network. The network consists of 17 church-planting pastors and their wives, each exercising leadership over two or more outreach sites focusing mainly on the extreme poor, the landless, the marginalized. Mostly sugar cane workers. Pastors facilitate feeding programs for children (with four preschools established), and Bible studies developing into local churches.
My husband and I joined a team that birthed in us an affection for these dearly beloved fellow believers who are ‘sold out to Jesus’! We met the pastors and their wives, and were presented with a variety of opportunities to participate in their churches. In addition, we supported teaching a marriage conference attended by the pastors, their wives, and select couples from each congregation.
Within a few months of our return home, we began planning our next visit
Within a few months of our return home, we began planning our next visit, and now are preparing for our fifth trip in May 2019. We never anticipated God would give us the opportunity to be a part of His work in this part of the world. In the fall of 2016 a prayer group formed that focuses on requests and reports from monthly meetings of the network pastors. Facebook connections and email are often received with immediate prayer needs, along with sharing of pictures of ministry and family activities.
Our time in the preschools created a desire to focus our personal efforts on providing support that would include financial resources and teaching materials. At each visit we have been blessed with special music by preschool students, and while we’ve been impressed by the quality of education, we quickly learned that resources are limited. These preschools provide food to the students, as well as teaching the gospel and preparation for public school, which is certainly more difficult due to the remote location and lack of financial resources. Northshore has provided each of the four schools a budget amount intended to support 25 students, but oftentimes there are up to 60 children participating. These students are from the local community, and parents are often present, which gives opportunity for the gospel to also be heard by the adults, resulting in new believers who are now active in the local church communities.
...while we’ve been impressed by the quality of education, we quickly learned that resources are limited.
One of the pastor’s wives told us she had only one Bible storybook. We were delighted to deliver a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible to each church, thanks to the generosity of the Northshore Kids mission offerings. Additional books were donated through the children’s ministry resources and were distributed to the preschools. In 2018 while in the Philippines, we were able to purchase materials at a local school supply store to distribute to the preschools, and it is our desire to do the same this coming May.
In 2019 Northshore Kids is partnering with Global Missions to learn about, pray for, and support the children’s ministry in the Philippines. The Philippine preschools, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and the children’s feeding program will be the missionary focus for Northshore Kids Sunday ministry, challenging and teaching children how God is on mission around the world and how each one of us, regardless of age, can be participants in God’s mission. We are grateful that in our retirement season of life—which we prefer to call our “repurpose season”—we’ve been able to join with the younger generation to share what God has given us in the opportunity to experience in the Philippines.
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