Last week, we hit the ground running. We followed the Romero family, an FMC missionary family that has been living here in Malaybalay on and off for the past two years. We followed them around to meet all the people they have been working with and to see what kinds of ministry they have been doing and to join in the work!
On Tuesdays, there is a jail ministry that the Alveraz family, another FMC family, began last year. The first time we visited there were about 40-50 men that came to listen to what we had to say. We sang a few praise songs with them before we began. Slowly, tears began to stream down my checks as I heard the voices of these inmates next to me singing to the Lord. When I opened my eyes for a peek, I saw that the man standing next to me was holding the Romero's baby as He sang his heart out to Jesus. I was so humbled by these men. We shared a little about who we were, where we were from, and how we ended up as missionaries in the Philippines. Then we shared a snack that we had brought.
The following Tuesday when we showed up at the jail, we were informed that another 50 or so men and women would be joining our group this year. That brings the total number to 101! Most of our time was spent doing roll call and having each of these men and women sign the official list, so that they would be released each week to come to the meeting place for our ministry. Since there were so many new ones, we told about what Family Missions Company was and what we did. We told them about all the other missionaries around the world. We showed them the FMC 2013 video and then reintroduced ourselves.
We shared the snack that we had brought for them. Once they returned back to their cells, the adults were allowed to go back to deliver all the soap, shampoo, and toothpaste that we had brought for all 250+ inmates there. This was so sickening. There were at least 50 men per room. They were piled on top of each other. The last cell we came to had some very young boys. They didn't look much older than our boys who were waiting for us on the other side. It was heart-wrenching. But the smiles and "thank yous" that everyone gave us solidified the reason that we were there. They are God's children too!
On Thursday nights, the Romeros host a bible study for the people of Isla Bonita. Two years ago when it first began, they had only one person show up. You can see in the pictures how much it has grown since then! We once again introduced ourselves and our families and told how God had called us to be missionaries and how we ended up in Malaybalay. We then share a meal with all that come.
These are just some of the projects our family will continue to be involved in while we are here. We will also be starting new ministries of our own and have a few leads on new team ministries that we will be sharing with you soon. If you feel called to join us in any of these ministries, we could definitely use your help! As always, we could definitely use your prayers for each of these ministries---for God's guidance not only for us but for the people who we minister to.
We could also use your financial support for each of these ministries. Each Tuesday we bring a snack to the jail with us. We also try to bring items that the inmates need. They have to purchase everything for themselves from soap to clothing to food. We would like to purchase flip flops for them soon since many of them have asked for them. We are also going to be starting a bible study with them next week and want to purchase notebooks and pens for each of them to write reflections and take notes in.
We would like to purchase notebooks and pens for our bible study group so that they can do the same thing. We also hire some of the local women each Thursday to cook a meal and clean up after the bible study. We are also trying to come up with ideas for the 40+ kids that come with their parents. We'd love to be able to buy some crafts, art supplies, and children's ministry books for the children.
Our work project list is already filling up especially since all of the recent storms here have damaged many of the bamboo roofs and homes in Isla Bonita. Many families are in great need of a secure home that won't leak or get washed away during a heavy downpour.
We also have several very sick people here who are in need of surgeries, dialysis, medicine, insulin, etc. Several have approached us already for help paying for these things. Many people here can barely afford food for their families much less the medical care to keep their loved ones alive.
You can donate to any of these projects online by visiting our Family Missions Company page. Just type in the name of the project you'd like your money to go to (Malaybalay Jail Ministry, Isla Bible Study, Work Projects, Medical Needs) in the comments box. You can see more pictures from these and other projects/ministries/life on our Family's Facebook page.
Again, thank you all for your support and most importantly your prayers! We could not be here doing what we are doing with out you! We thank God for each of you and pray for your intentions daily!
Salamat sa Dios!