Dear friends and family,
Welcome to the latest edition of IT Tender's newsletter. May you be inspired by these stories and updates that highlight the transformation happening right here in our community in Manila, Philippines.
"Born in the Slums, Graduated from College"
by Nadine (Sponsor Child / Youth Volunteer)
Us sponsor children at IT Tender are inspired by a girl named Christine. Christine became a sponsor child in 2011 when IT Tender first established its Sponsor-A-Child-Now (SACN) program. Her life and her success are the result of God's faithfulness to IT Tender. By God's amazing grace and the support of the ministry, she is the first SACN client to graduate from college. Now let's take a look at the story of her life and how she completed her studies through her own testimony...
"Before I start my story, let me first introduce myself. I’m Christine, a graduate of 'Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa' (University of the City of Muntinlupa) with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. I remember in 2011 when IT Tender went to our community and introduced their 'feeding program'. First, I was curious. Honestly, I’m not just after the food, but I was interested in what they were doing and teaching, so I joined. To make a long story short, their activities like the bible study led me to the SACN Program. They supported me for many years because of my hard work in my studies. In my high school days, I did my best to make them proud of me. I earned a lot of honors and awards. All of the recognition and awards are just a simple return for sponsoring my studies. Until I graduated college, IT Tender has been part of my success, and I’m so blessed!
Through Sponsor-A-Child-Now, I was able to experience many exciting things in my teenage life - opportunities and events that I would never experience on my own. IT Tender treats us like special people. They give us what’s best for us. They value us like a real family with no exceptions. SACN really played a big part in my life. They helped me not only in my studies, but also in my way of living. At a young age, they taught me who Jesus is in my life. It helped me make it through college life, which was a big challenge to the point that I didn’t know if I could finish my studies.
In 2014, when my mother passed away, I was totally messed up. I didn’t know if I could go on. My life was in chaos, but later on I realized that I’m not alone because there were so many people counting on me. So I decided to focus on my studies and didn’t let the miseries ruin my life. I believed that if I could overcome all the struggles and problems in my life that my mother would be happy, even if she’s not around. I sacrificed everything just to finish to my studies. And now, I’m a degree holder. Thank you God!
My simple encouragement and advice to the other sponsor children is this: if you have a dream in your heart, put God at the center, because He will guide you towards what’s best for you. Always obey your parents, because our parents are still our partners in reaching our dreams. And also, hardwork and sacrifice are the best recipes in reaching your goals.
I will take my Board Exam this December 2018. But for now, I have enrolled at PCCR (Philippine College of Criminology) for my exam review. Hope for the best. Please pray for me. Thank you."
*Contact John Coffey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sponsoring a child to go to school in Manila, Philippines.
"Canadians Team Up With Filipinos for an Epic Camp"
by Thessa (Sponsor Child / Youth Volunteer)
Exciting and well-prepared are words that sum up the recent kids camp and family day events. The events created some of the most unforgettable memories a child could have. Certainly, the kids are so happy to share with their friends and classmates their awesome summer vacation stories. The smiles embedded on their faces bring joy to our hearts.
The first time IT Tender announced the kids camp, everyone got very excited. Even the parents were so happy for their children to join the event, because their kids will make new friends, go to a new place, learn new lessons, and enjoy new experiences. The said event was lead by the WMB/"Wumba" Team (a group of passionate volunteers from Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church, Canada). Together with the SACN (Sponsor-A-Child-Now) Youth, they volunteered to serve the children at the camp. There were a lot of things to learn from the activities conducted like t-shirt painting, coloring stones, designing pouches, and more. These craft-making activities taught the children about salvation. It is important for the children to open their eyes to see God’s love as they grow up. The children also learned about the importance of friendship, responsibility in taking care of themselves, and respect for others and their leaders.
Aside from the kid’s camp, there was also the SACN Family Day, an event held every year by IT Tender where they promote putting family first. Even though it was a simple celebration, the happiness can never be underestimated when we spend quality time with our family. As long as God and His Word are our foundation, these families can withstand trials and problems.
Because of these events, we could say that God continues to bless us, and these are great opportunities to praise God. I am reminded of the bible verse, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
*For more pictures and stories about the Canadian team from WMB Church and their mission in Manila, click here to check out a blog entry from John & Jam Coffey.
"Here Come the Renegades"
by Ejieboy (Sponsor Child / Youth Volunteer)
& Jizza (Program Manager / Social Worker)
In May, the youth of Sponsor-A-Child-Now, released the first edition of their very own local newspaper. The goal of the paper is to give these children and youth an avenue to share their talents in writing and in the arts. Headed by Hannah, the president of our youth volunteers, and with the help of many other youth volunteers, they aim to share good news about what’s happening in the ministry and also about the lives of the families in the program. The youth call their paper, “The Renegades”. Here is an the explanation of the title from Ejieboy, one of the youth leaders:
“Today, there are so many changes happening in our world and many things about to happen. We witness it through facebook, twitter, pop songs and many other things. 'Trending' things can affect us in positive or negative ways, but they can also keep us away from God. As both a child of God and a resident of this world, sometimes we cannot help but go with the flow of this world. The Bible says, 'Do not conform to the pattern of this world' in Romans 12:2. We must choose what is right and be like Jesus Christ. He is our perfect model.”
The Renegades aspire to be a positive voice of and for the children as they share their faith in God. They also use their newspaper as a medium to reach out to the community. The said paper is distributed to the three focus communities of IT Tender. To God be all the glory!
Here is the logo of The Renegades and also a group photo of the contributors:
Lastly, it's been over a year now since the fire destroyed one of the communities we've been serving at IT Tender. 50 families lost their homes in the fire. Shortly thereafter, another 100 families lost their homes when another of our communities was demolished for the building of a commercial property.
If you haven't already seen it, Jam Coffey put together a video to show how, with the help of our charity and some generous partners and supporters, the families overcame the tragedy they experienced. To watch this powerful video (including a music video performed by the youth at the end), click here to check it out on youtube.
Thank you for all the support and prayers. From all of us at IT Tender, God bless you and your loved ones.