Wow! Thanks again to all for praying. The news on our Mary Gai's condition is looking better... esp since the new Brain doctor came on board... tests and prognosis are rapidly changing. We must continue watching and praying and I'm sure our son Darrell Blatchley will be having more updates to follow.
I was informed this morning that little Rhea went to be with Jesus. She had a long painful battle with Cancer this past year. I grieve her loss but am thankful she is now free from pain and in a home where there will be no more cancer...
Still needing prayers. Our son's wife Mary Gai in the hospital there has been more strokes, Migraines, etc, we appreciate the prayers and sensitivity of friends who care and understand when we don't answer every question. Stressed..
Many friends have been praying. We are so thankful. Lil 'D' has gotten out of the hospital and both he and Sandy Crogh Blatchley are doing well though tired. Our son's wife Mary Blatchley is still under heavy medication & I think she'll be going in for an MRI tomorrow to see what might be the best medical treatment. Prayers are still needed for her. Again thanks for the kind encouragement..
This evening Sandy Crogh Blatchley & our grandson lil' 'd' are doing better. Lil 'd' should be out of the hospital in the AM but we request continued serious prayer for our son Darrell Blatchley's wife Mary Blatchley. I'd rather not give too much detail as we nor the doctors are completely certain what is causing the strokes and other complications . More tests will need to be done... We are asking our Creator for a miracle of healing... Thank you all for your prayers, notes of love, encouragement, even suggestions. PS Sandy rested at home and is recovering today after drinking plenty of fluids, resting etc.
Whatever it is Sandy Crogh Blatchley and our grandson lil 'd' has, we don't know, nor do the doctors, but we are not the only ones getting it. The anti nausea meds were almost exhausted in Davao City last week. Similar symptoms in many people/kids. Thanks for the prayers. The almost nonstop diarrhea and nausea have slowed down in little 'd' this morning and currently Sandy is resting/sleeping for a longer interval compared to the many active hours between midnight and 9 AM.
Our grandson lil 'd' was taken to the hospital yesterday afternoon with, headache, LBM etc. He spent 5 days in the hospital last week with no diagnosis. When he got better they sent him home. His little brother Ken was also in the hospital for 4 days the week before. No successful diagnosis. Some yet to be detrained bug... Mary Gai our son Darrell Blatchley's wife went into the hospital with a stroke a couple days ago... currently under heavy medication. Then last night about midnight while assisting as a watcher at the hospital Sandy Crogh Blatchley began showing the same symptoms of our grandsons, LBM, headache, etc and I had to take her home. She is still experiencing those symptoms and we'd appreciate your prayers.
Some things don't matter much when it comes to the Bigger Picture of life. However I've found that many things are interconnected.
We love helping people especially children. Our heart is similar to a battery. Early this morning while trying to be a good neighbor I received strong Negative criticism about what we were doing and at the same time from other neighbors I received some wonderful Positive encouragement. An interesting note; (Some of you know we live and minister in 'The Muslim Friendship Village.') The COMPLAINERS were the ones who are claim to be CHURCH goers. the ENCOURAGERS were leaders in the MOSQUE.'
Some people are incredible rechargers, when we are together. We can laugh, work and play... and when the day is done we feel recharged. Other people can be negative and cause incredible drainage. About 1 1/2 years ago this little friend 'Chrioni' (pictured below) came into my world. In the Bigger Picture some would not think he amounts to much, yet for me he adds a plus charge to my day... I once heard a friend who worked to help kids, say he could survive on one word of encouragement for three months. But he said, He rarely received it that often... His family is no longer here, as they got discouraged and returned to their home country. You never know what part you may Play in the Bigger Picture... Your words of encouragement speak LIFE into the hearts of others. Thanks to so many of you for speaking into our hearts... it matters.
No one will or should like THIS picture... or the 2nd... Many including myself think we shouldn't even see what is reported as 'Man's best friend' in this condition. Yet frequently when I go down a certain street this lonely, starving dog is there in view of all who pass. 'Armchair critics'... that's people who typically are sitting in a chair doing nothing yet who are quick to say, 'What should or shouldn't be done... meanwhile they don't do anything to make a difference. When hearing an 'Armchair critic' I DO listen in case there's something of value, then after extracting what is of value I chose to IGNORE the rest... and ACT on what I can. For the past few mornings I've been walking to McDo and SEE street kids sleeping on the sidewalk. I ASK myself, "What can or what should I do?" Their REAL needs seem nearly overwhelming. By nature I love fixing and improving things. I dream of a better future, and live with the knowledge that we all will one day EXIT this planet READY-OR-NOT. Hopefully when I leave 'this place' there will be many kids who will be in better condition... I know SOME of what will happen in the FUTURE especially the important parts since I read the back of THE BOOK and I know how THE STORY ends. We continue to 'Spend Ourselves' for something that has GREAT value. This morning after eating two hotcakes while walking back to the child on the street I tried unsuccessfully to wake him. They are often awake scavenging at night... So instead I tucked the warm sandwich (from McDo) into his shirt where perhaps the delicious smell will do what I could not. Armchair critic... NOT! Simply doing what we can with what we have. Sorry... No. I didn't give the dog any food... But thanks to special friends who financially help, we distributed more than half a million meals to the kids/widows and those in need last year.
Amalia & entire family excited about their wonderful blessing... A new home. Dino climbed up the ladder to the top bed in the 3 tiered bunk bed. For the 1st time a bed and space for his own things.
Saturday, Amalia & her family moved from the shack of a 'house' that was built dangerously over the river... into their new home. Their old home hmm... difficult to describe (see daylight picture below), other than small, dangerous, no city water, no CR* (*bathroom), no electricity, no doors, & perhaps the best descriptive word... 'a-whole-lot-of NO'... Her mom MarLou & dad & their 6 children moved from the old home to the new in a caravan of tricycles. Friends including ourselves went with love, laughter and prayers and helped transport them between their old residence and the new home.
After a group prayer Sandy handed the house key to Amalia's mom, and with thankful hearts they moved in... They now live in a bigger home (about 20' long X 12' wide), which includes a CR*, city water, a kitchenette, bedroom & dining room, 3 doors, windows etc.
Inside the home Dino their oldest son (age 10) climbed the ladder to get to the top of the 3 level bunk bed and with a smile began storing his clothes and few personal items. For the 1st time a bed & space to call his own... Amalia & Melody the oldest two daughters have a daybed in the dining room, which some provides privacy for them.
The entire family are so thankful! Three of the kids have been out of school this last year due to family emergency as they worked together to help mama survive her deadly battle with Tuberculosis. Now they are looking forward to returning to school... The families future looks so much better... That's the power of LOVE... Thanks friends for your prayers...
Pastor Oning showed them how to use the electric plate to cook their food, no more having to cook on the floor or outside with a scrap wood fire..
Great news! Amalia's Papa said, "Yes!" The family will accept the blessing of a new home for them to live in, and 'We' also get blessed. Strange as it may sound, "When we 'Spend Ourselves' & 'Give' to those in need we are blessed!" (We thank God so much for friends who partner with us on many levels to make these blessings possible! It cannot be done without friends who participate in the blessing. Amalia's Papa drove part of her family in the tricycle to Family Circus and they took a tour of their prospective new home.
As Sandy Crogh Blatchley walked with Amalia and her mother down the lane to their new home I could tell they were excited to see the best home they've likely ever had. It has running water, electricity a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen etc. They no longer have to worry when it rains that their house may be washed out to the ocean. Nor do they have to walk around the holes in the floor for fear of falling into the river.
With thankful hearts, smiles and a prayer of thankfulness they welcome the gift and will be moving in as we complete a few details, such as building beds for their 6 children, etc.
PS Sandy jokingly asked how many trucks we'd have to rent to transfer them and all their 'belonging's' to their new home. Mama gently smiled and said (honestly), "We have nothing... so no truck is needed..." Yet I say (equally honestly) "Amalia's family are truly RICH beyond measure..." They know the Lord, and have great love and happiness and their smiles are priceless. "How many people with garages full of STUFF are dirt POOR when it comes to things that matter? Real Happiness cannot be bought..."
It was dark last night when we visited the family with six children and their mama. (Papa was likely out working). The little two room home is built out of scraps of wood and bamboo on stilts above the river. They have no electricity & no water other than the (foul smelling) dangerous river that flows next to & under their home.
With a flashlight Sandy Crogh Blatchley softly spoke to the mother who this past year has been through a battle for her life with the deadly disease Tuberculosis. Her oldest daughter stood next to her mom as Sandy extended an invitation for their family to come live at a new home we have built and prepared for friends-in-need. When Sandy prepared to leave, the mother whispered to Sandy, "I'm so 'happy' for the invitation! Yet the family has to ask papa for his permission for the family to move." Will papa say "Yes" or will pride stop his receiving a blessing for their family... We've seen friends and families in need refuse blessings before.
I hope, when we meet this afternoon that they will be bringing 'good news,' that we will be allowed to be a blessing!
5,000 kids... Sleeping on the streets & sidewalks of this town. What does it take for evil to win?... All it takes is good people... to do nothing... It had been several days since I last saw Michael... Traveling around town I kept my eyes open looking for him. Finally I found him at one intersection going car to car begging. He was so happy to see me he gave me a quick hug as I sat on the motorcycle waiting on the light, we agreed to meet again. A couple days later at McDo he joined me for breakfast. I told him about seeing a young man about his age near McDo who apparently just scored on snatching someones wallet. I warned Michael that people who do things like that will end up poorly. There are CCTV cameras all around our town now. There is reportedly a vigilante group that look for the criminal elements and when they ID a criminal someone can be assigned to 'Take out' or 'Eliminate' the garbage..." Michael understands what that means. There is an average of one person eliminated here every other day by the vigilantes. I asked Michael how his work (as we call it) on the streets was. He wasn't smiling when he gave me a thumbs down sign. Most of the streets are already staked out by other kids and they don't welcome competitors, Michael is a loner. He's been chased and injured before. The clock is ticking, it's a dangerous world and he's under a death sentence... We all are... It's just a matter of time. As we parted he was leaning against the side of the building watching me ride out. I've learned that there is a limit what I can do for some kids. If they won't help themselves... I've not yet reached that limit with him... He has much potential, yet the clock is ticking... For both of us.
Oh little Rhea... Our heart goes out to you. You've fought so hard to survive... Today... you had just tears and cries for mama who had to step out for a few minutes break... You've taken a turn for the worse... Your vision is gone... the pain is... And yet you are loved and our Creator who notes every time a little sparrow falls or a kitten, how much more He cares for you and will wipe away the tears... Cancer is terrible... That's true for young and old. Thank you so many who have prayed and who will continue...
Hard to say 'No' to those irresistible puppy eyes. We've been married for many years and a harder worker would be difficult to find. Sandy Crogh Blatchley has so many talents; Besides being able to play 30+ musical instruments (not at the same time) she can bake a cherrie pie, but the cherries are difficult to find this near to the equator. Her chocolate chip cookies are also delicious. She cares about others and it is not unusual to find her in the local prison checking on some of her special friends... That's my sweetheart... Sandy
Normally I don't like hospital visits... Not if I'm sick nor if I'm visiting the sick. And if I'm sick the shorter the visitor stays the better. Yet I visit the hospital a lot... Kids are our priority and I will do whatever I can to help the children. Visiting Rhea yesterday felt like getting hit in the stomach. This precious child... fighting for life against the deadly disease... cancer. I started praying for her before I even arrived and I haven't quit praying... she is hurting...
Rhea, for those who follow our Timeline you will remember her. Such a precious little girl. Her cancer treatments for the tumors were started last year and she was doing well but recently she broke her leg and her health began deteriorating... your prayers would be very much appreciated..
In the shadow of the moon, (next to the mosque) that's where I first met Lando. He had been living in a small wooden shack with no windows. It was surrounded by a mosquito infested swamp. His home was so short I had to enter the doorway by crawling on my knees. I was told by his wife that he'd not hardly been outside his home for almost 10 years due to depression... After meeting him and introducing Him to his Creator his life improved, and he was able to go outside. Also with the help of friends we rebuilt his home. He still has a unique personality that requires lots of grace... Sometimes when he's talking to me (he likes talking) his eyes seem to glaze over and he drifts off into a reality all his own. Yes, Lando is my friend... and more importantly he has a BF... & his BEST FRIEND is Jesus..
H2o - Want a glass of water? Yesterday evening our team gave water filters to families that had no running water other than perhaps a shallow well... The water they normally drink left sediment in the bottom of the bucket we used for the water filter and you could see floating stuff which did not look very healthy. Shallow wells are hazardous to your health... need I say more. Thanks to friends including Rotarian's in Grants Pass, OR this gift of water will hopefully do what my boss intends, lead them to find the Well of Life that will make it so they will never thirst again... Our Creator made it so those who are WILLING can SEE His hand of creation everywhere. Those who CHOOSE not to see the Creator, are similar to those who REFUSE to read... No better off than those who CANNOT read... Come, Taste and see that the Creator is good... A Cup of Living Water anyone?
We prioritize kids at Family Circus... When kneeling down and talking to a small child if an ADULT comes and tries to interrupt our conversation (with the child), baring a REAL emergency we'll ask the ADULT to be patient and wait their turn.
During the service if a small child starts crying we have already prepared a cracker or biscuit, which often is the best remedy.
Prior to the service we've prepared a hot meal such as spaghetti and juice, knowing that food in the stomach lends to better concentration and learning as compared to an empty stomach...
A couple days ago... A clerk sees me exiting the store & asks where I'm going. Impromptu, I respond 'heaven.' He looks at me with a serious expression & asks... "Can I go with you?" I reply sure and explain how to have a relationship with the Creator to ensure that we will get there... He now asks for additional information each time I visit the hardware store... When asked, "Where are you going?" What do you say?..
We find those who have LITTLE often have more than those who have a LOT... More happiness, more smiles, more joy... No, it's not because they have little... It's because they are thankful for what little they have. The joy we share with the people we love is priceless. May we love one another as He has loved us... Sharing our life, Spending Ourselves... Dispensing with all that we cannot keep, until all we have left is what we cannot lose... love, joy, happiness & peace
By: Bill Waterman
Our hearts have been aching this week... Yet looking forward to pouring a lot of love out on the children & their families coming to the tent this weekend.
The following was borrowed from a good friend of mine and an amazing person that is wise beyond her years. Emily Hime you put this better than I could and it sums up where I am in life very well. Miss hanging out with you, and getting your words of wisdom. Hoping to catch up soon.
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for. It doesn't interest me how old you are, I want to know if you are willing to risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine. It doesn't interest me where you live or how rich you are, I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and still be sweet to the ones you love. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments of your life. But most of all I want to know what you live for.
Who got up on the wrong side of the bed? Who had no bed to get out of? Here's another early morning encounter... Heading to McDo for breakfast, as I passed someone sleeping on the sidewalk something about that sleeping shape and what they were wearing looked familiar. He was about 30 or 40 meters down the street. As curiosity propelled me I checked him out, sure enough it was Michael, and I did recognize the shirt he was wearing as the one I'd given him for a Christmas present. (He was wearing both of the shirts.)
Next decision was, 'Should I wake him up or just order his food and bring it to him?' Not everything in my world is automatic. I really have internal difficulties and a tendency to withdraw from helping people who don't seem to want to help themselves. It doesn't help when the person I care about has a 3' circle of odor that surounds and follows him due to lack of bathing, etc.
Ok, decision made, I shook his shoulder and told him, "Breakfast is available." Then I walked ahead to McDo, while he woke up and shouted... I'm coming. We had another talk about goals, and responsibility. He's not lacking intelligence, just somehow he hasn't connected the dots at what it takes to get from where he is to where he needs to be...
My Boss let me know, He's serious about going out to look for those who need to be rescued, even set the example of compelling people to come in to His house to eat a banquet his Father had prepared... and he asked us to do the same... Before it's too late! I do understand that word "Compel" means more than a casual invitation to go to church. For Michael, I had to wake him up and tell a hungry teenager that I'd buy him breakfast... That was compelling enough for him to come and eat... So far it seems I've not succeeded in influencing him to change a whole lot, but then again that's not my responsibility. My Boss said, He'd be responsible to help them make the change. I still have to do my part. Job's not finished yet.
When what you do captivates your heart and you see someone else who is walking a similar path you feel the pain and joy they feel... The story of Fish & his friend is one of those stories..
Sports vs. Church
We minister to thousands of children each week. Yet similar to a 'car crash' for the majority of the thousands of kids we can anticipate there will be the 'cliff' they will voluntarily drive off in order to 'succeed' and as a result many end up in failure... Repeating the cycle and moral disasters of their peers. Built into the fabric of our world... "There is a way that seems right... But in the end... Destruction.. There is a better way..
Yes! This morning I treated three kids to breakfast... Will they EVER pay me back or invite me over to their house for dinner? If that was my priority I'd not have done it... Ronald age 7 was peaking in the window looking hopeful... I raised my eyebrows which in the Philippines means, "Yes". So he made hand motions to me through the window asking if it could include his sister's Norhida age 8 & Norloan the one year old baby. When again I indicated 'yes,' he ran almost 100 yards/meters (twice) across the street & parking lot to tell his sister the good news and together they came to join me (a bit shyly) for breakfast inside at McDo. They were nervous because they are normally treated as pests, or undesirables, because they are kids off the street. The guard is paid to shoo them away and to forbid their entrance into the restaurant. However since I was a paying customer and they were my guests they were able to come in and enjoy their breakfast with Uncle Darrell. Ronald's 8 year old sister was careful to watch over her sister and the signs of poverty were very clear. Clothing torn and worn, malnutrition in the baby and physical signs indicating the likelihood of internal parasites. After eating their food including the little one drinking the gravy from the little cup, they went to play in the children's (inside McDo) play area. Likely their first time ever... Pay me back? What a funny thought. The privilege to do something special for these little ones is more than enough payback..
Kyle Mazac's family and I really enjoyed Settler's of Catan, since then I've brought the game here & our team has learned to enjoy it on the tropical isle. This in part, reflects our relaxing this Christmas season... Note: Kyle we've some new ways of playing, by turning the pieces over prior to playing it takes the game to another level. Neither the round chips nor the land is revealed until your game piece is placed... We find that unless we take time to rest and relax we become next to worthless... or should I say, a liability to ourselves and others... Thankful for the Christmas holiday and Reason for the Season...
This is NOT about a Normal toothache! A beautiful young girl with a toothache. Nothing unusual about that. We have hundreds of kids needing dental care attending Family Circus every week. Sad to say, we lack the volunteer dentists to meet the need. (Pray for that if you would). Almost all of us if we live long enough will experience that. When I asked her (about age 11) she opened her mouth and showed me, "Yes" she had several cavities. Yet when I asked for a closer look at the extra painful tooth also with a cavity she broke into tears and was afraid for me to even touch it due to the pain! The tooth had broken through the skin on the bottom of her jaw and she didn't know what to do. Her parents are poor and typically money for food is more important than money for a dentist ... I explained that we could help her if she would let us. I think she will trust us enough to take her to a dentist in the near future... Pain stops many kids from seeking help (being afraid of more pain), at the same time pain can be a great motivator for them to be willing to accept assistance (to get rid of the pain). 'Yes,' as you can see the tooth has grown out of the bottom of her jaw.
Sandy's arm has been black and blue almost non-stop the past couple weeks. Ever since I introduced her to Sally (age 39 - a prison inmate), Sandy has been to prison multiple times every week to visit this precious lady who has been incarcerated for 4 years, 'Not yet sentenced,' and almost forgotten by society - Less than one visit from an outsider @ year... Until this year. She almost committed suicide a couple months ago due to overwhelming depression, but God spoke to her heart and confirmed that He knew where she was and that he loved her. Sandy has become part of the restoration that confirms to Sally there "Really is a God... " and that God Really loves her! Sandy Crogh Blatchley has a black and blue arm from the stamp they put on every visitor to the prison. She doesn't mind. Every time she sees it, it reminds her of her new and special friend, one that she has laughed and cried with and shared many precious moments. I've an idea that it also reminds her of those famous words spoken by her BF two thousand years ago "...When I was in prison..."
You try to pass good values on to the next generation and you wonder... Do they understand?? Are they really getting it? This morning I was eating breakfast with Michael at McDo. Remember for 17 years he's pretty much raised himself... Ever since he was a child he's had no mom and dad and a lot of his time has been spent wandering around town. I remember some of our first meals together, I'd pray over the food and happen to look up and see him already diving into his food. That was one of our early lessons, where I taught him the importance of expressing thankfulness both to people and to God. It starts with the basics, "Like saying, "Michael if you like to eat with me, I have a rule. Be thankful and be willing to say thanks. That includes thanking God." It took a couple times but he finally got it. Today as we sat down first thing he said was, "Pray over the food." He bowed his head and didn't touch his food until I'd prayed.
Today during our meal he pointed outside the window at a young man that I knew was from Family Circus who was begging outside. I said Michael, "It's sad, but Gerald chose to beg out there. He knows he can go to Family Circus for food and yet he didn't go this past weekend. He would have received 13+ meals. Choices..." Michael finished eating half his pancakes and surprised me by saying, "I want to give him the rest of my food..." He took his hotcake out to Gerald who accepted it gratefully... Kids don't just learn from what you say, they also learn from what you do. Good job, Michael.
PS After Gerald ate what Michael shared with him, Gerald came over to the window and did the motions to a song we sing every week at Family Circus... "I've got a home... that outshines the sun..." Then I made the motions to him for another Scripture verse and he immediately began singing it, with actions... His hands up to his head, making the sign of horns, "Your enemy the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour..." Though they may not always make the right choices, they are learning the Truth...
I felt like CRYING… Yet HAPPY as, "It's the most wonderful time of the year…" Taking beautiful pictures of our Family Circus children and families… People we call our friends and love like family. Yet my mind won't shut off. I'm taking picture after picture and it's like reading an intense novel, a book of stories parading in front of me. People who've had tragedies, perhaps even current. Grieving for those who aren't there. Some dead, others because of their choices are walking a path to eternal disaster. We've stepped into their lives and helped so many, wrapped our arms around them while saying with our words and actions, "We're here to help…" For more than an hour I'm taking their photos, smiling and my face is getting tired… Yet repeatedly my heart is wanting to tear up for thankfulness and sometimes because of feeling pain for their loss… One family their son wasn't there today and I know where he was, "I saw him in front of McDo this morning." Begging. It's his choice… Not need but choice. We had delicious food waiting for all who came to FC as we do every time we meet. Breakfast for his family and for those who came who are malnourished and in need there was an extra 12 meals each to prepare at home.
How those two emotions, TEARS and HAPPINESS can be wrapped around each other is difficult to explain. Yet that's where we are this Christmas season…
It's worth repeating... We don't take 911 for granted. We thank God for them. Davao City - one of the only cities in this part of the world where there is trained and equipped 911 emergency responders. They responded to the Superstorm Yolanda even though it was a 21 hour trip crossing land and ocean to help others in critical need. The response from the people of Leyte Island was thumbs up and gratefulness. Relief and workers pouring in from arround the world.
Take note, the pants are sitting there PREPARED & READY for the firefighters to step into them without wasting precious time when people lives are at stake! That is why we are determined to continue preparing for the next disaster even while we help with the current one. We have our list of Disaster prep items, things needed, including water filters, mosquito nets, tents, rope, emergency candles, hammers, granola bars, saws, etc. Basic items for helping rescue those at risk...
Achingly familiar... We've touched so many thousands of kids during the past 18 years here in the Philippines... Some we lose contact with over the passing of time. They grow up, move away, and some die young... Yet on a weekly basis we may be approached by a young person who approaches us and says, "Auntie Sandy or Uncle Darrell and then they smile and introduce themselves as one of our Family Circus kids...
The family of this young girl just passed the seventh anniversary of her death at the age of 11... I've been looking at her article (*See link below) and picture repeatedly for the past month. Every time I looked at it, I'd think to myself, "I knew her... Her face and that of her brother is so achingly familiar..."
Thanks Connie Brazell Tom Bohnert for asking if we would help you search for her family... The story also gripped Toms heart and though he never met her, he wanted to do something in her memory...
Her family sat with us this past week and shared more of that traumatic day which impacted every member of their family... Her younger brother who tried to rescue her while she was still alive and writhing on the rope, never returned to school. The son who collapsed on the rode as he pled with his father to run help his older sister relives the painful day... The dad arrived too late to rescue his daughter... And the reason she took her own life... simply wanting to not be a burden on her family. Her teacher had told her if she didn't pay the 100 pesos $2.50 for her school assignment she would not pass and would be stuck in the same grade the next year... Her wishes for her family, a job for her father, a backpack, to finish school, shoes, better work for her mama, her dream of a bicycle...
We paid for a jeepney to pick up her and other children from their community... Then the economic crunch and we had to cut routes due to insufficient funds. We had used more resources than we had and incurred debt trying to continue but had to stop, and say... "God you love these kids even more than we do... We will continue to do what we can but we have to work with the funds you supply..." I 'hate' and 'grieve' when we lose kids before their time... Still we have about 60 Jeepney routes of kids coming every week, and we love pouring into their lives... Touching thousands, yet grieving for the one's... like Mariannet... Not forgotten... Jesus Loves the little children... so very much (Webpage of newspaper article:
I am NOT the Grinch! When I was asked about donating money to a Christmas party I said, NO! Instead I chose to join with others across this nation who have chosen to cancel their expensive plans for a Christmas party and instead are donating the funds as a group/individuals to those hurting neighbors of ours who have lost so much in Superstorm Yolanda! The very 'Reason' for this season is to celebrate the 'Reason' which is 'God' loving us so much that He Gave His best that we might be rescued from the worst disaster! Not wanting to spend a lot of money on food, etc for a party benefiting people many of whom could instead use a diet, does NOT make me the Grinch.
One of the cover photos looks remarkably like our kids in the Circus tent, reading the intro sounds like some great practical advice both for people interested in going on a short term missions trip and for those who are welcoming them to come. We've had some extremely great short term teams/individuals with wonderful servant hearts, come to help us and we've had some incredibly BAD ones… Bad in attitude, complaining, selfish etc… I've not read the book but if the intro is fair sample of what's inside it should be a gold mine for anyone wanting to be a volunteer...
Sandy and our son returned from Tacloban safely. The relief convoy's return was celebrated and they were treated to breakfast. More updates later... Thank God for their safety
It's Sunday evening, Sandy Crogh Blatchley finally was able to get enough cell signal to send a text which said...
"Start traveling home soon. Pray for protection as people might be unhappy that we are leaving. We are doing well, this was a fantastic relationship building trip. Incredible God. 12 vehicle's in our convoy...
She should be arriving sometime Monday depending on road, condition, obstacles, etc.
Thanks to so many who are praying. I'll confirm when she arrives back safe... Together we are 'Spending our lives' to help others... because we care. It's not being done alone... That includes so many who stand with us enabling us to be an extension of their love... United in His love...
Superstorm Yolanda - Relief efforts continue. Prayerfully "No news is good news..." It's been about 22 hours since we've last heard from Sandy Crogh Blatchley and our son Darrell Blatchley who are in Tacloban, involved in relief work. I understand their plan for today was to go out and retrieve bodies via an inflatable boat which was brought in by Davao City. The stranded unrecovered bodies also implies that there could yet be survivors hanging onto debris... From the news we understand search and rescue has been too slow, and too limited...
Our son Darrell Blatchley & Sandy Crogh Blatchley texted me that the convoy arrived safe and that they were well protected. So far have found bodies lined up and things pretty much as described by the news people. Their cell phones have been able to send me messages but it's not clear yet if they are receiving mine. They did report their Davao group is well organized and tomorrow they take a boat they brought from Davao to begin collecting additional bodies... Not sure from the texts where the bodies are stranded...
Will update tomorrow as messages arrive... Thanks one and all for your prayers...
Monday morning Sandy was grieving because the Lord nudged her to prepare to go help those in impacted by the Superstorm… my reply to her, "We don't have the resources…
BUT God…" The God that nudged her to go is also the One who made it possible.
Monday Noon: I text Sandy, "I think you should start packing your bags…" She texted later, "OK. Just letting God do it… Up 2 Him!" That's the way the week has progressed.
Tuesday Sandy and our son Darrell (Aka DD) prepared for the trip not knowing the details of who they would join but trusting the Lord would open the door. Disaster preparation is an ongoing practice of ours even when there is no disaster because we know it will happen NOT 'IF' but 'WHEN'…
Wednesday preparing to send a convoy of relief personnel and relief goods, the Mayor put out a plea for volunteers to sign up to assist in the RECOVERY OF BODIES from the Superstorm devistation.
Thursday 4:57 PM Missionary Dwight Palmquist arrived in the impacted area and text me, "Tell the people who want to help from Davao that the Port at Surigao is loaded (overcrowded and back logged). There is a fuel shortage and looting in many areas is rampant and Relief vans or trucks are being robbed…"
The Mayor was being interviewed live outside City Hall. He emphatically reminded the people that this convoy was not a convoy from the "MAYOR" of Davao, Instead it was a convoy from the "PEOPLE" of Davao. DD at the time of the interview was purchasing a pair of army boots around the corner from City Hall. He was walking back to Family Circus and saw Mayor Duterte. DD heard the mayor in his interview saying, that after his PLEA FOR VOLUNTEERS to assist in recovering the dead bodies that there were ONLY TWO VOLUNTEERS THAT RESPONDED. The Mayor said, "It takes a very SPECIAL person to be willing to do such a job…" No names were mentioned but when he saw DD walking by he looked straight at him and nodded knowing that DD & Sandy were THE ONLY TWO that volunteered. There are others who will help in the recovery from Davao but they did not volunteer. Some of you may not know, our son is well trained for this endeavor being the creator and owner of 'D' Bone Museum – The museum is a popular tourist attraction on our island. As a missionary he uses it this as a means to help support himself in the ministry.
Thursday 6 PM DD & Mary his wife & Sandy & I joined together at Family Circus office for a word of prayer and a photo. Our family know the risks, DD spent time to record a video for his two sons and his wife Mary, reminding them that he really loves them. Not saying goodbye but saying, "See you later." Knowing that if he is not able to return they will meet again one day in the Home Jesus is preparing for all of us who love and trust in Him… Yes we are aware that we are "spending our lives" and that the King holds the clock that marks the time when we will cross the finish line…
Thursday 10 PM our son DD and Sandy joined the military protected convoy of relief workers heading down that dangerous road. Destination - Tacloban City the heart of the huge, devastated area impacted by Superstorm Yolanda.They have their cell phones though many cell towers were destroyed. I remain here in Davao with the ongoing Family Circus ministry. Sandy and DD are fairly self-sufficient in their needs and knowledge of what to expect and how to live in situations that are far less than desirable. I.e. potentially no running water, no operating stores, no CR (restrooms) etc… Sandy is the only lady in the group and is well known especially by the 9/11 responders having been there lending a hand with them at many local disasters.
DD is a Philippine National celebrity due to his frequent weekly TV programs on GMA (similar to the former Steve Irwin) where DD handle's Crocodiles, snakes, and documents all kinds of interesting adventure programs. He likely will be leading others in the messy process of body recovery… They are going to be willing hands for whatever they are asked to do.
Prior to Sandy boarding the bus she expressed her thanks that I encouraged her to follow what she knew was in her heart to do. She was remembering early on in the week when the storm had just destroyed so many lives she was not only sad, she was depressed that she was not able to go help. Remembering it was then that God began speaking and doing miracles and within hours it was clear… Sandy and DD were to go. This will likely, not be the only trip.) They both understand, they are putting their lives on the line to help others. It's not the first time and prayerfully won't be the last… They do it willingly and as we gave each other a final embrace Sandy again said, "Thank you for letting me go…"
It is NOT EASY TO STAY while the ones you love go, I had to wrestle with that, yet in my heart I know "That my assignment FOR THIS TIME is right here."
Mayor Duterte - Davao City has an excellent reputation for security and focusing on doing what can be done with the resources available.
Friday After traveling all night in the convoy Sandy texted me that she had slept well in the bus (No motion sickness). They arrived at the port this morning. The Mayor had hired a ferry reserved to transport the convoy and relief items. Now they are on the road again the last segment which may take another 4 hours before reaching Tacloban. Arrival time of course depends on what obstacles they have to avoid. They are UNDER ARMED GUARD who have direct orders to PROTECT THE CARAVAN and use LETHAL FORCE if necessary. I'm also convinced the Lord sent along His own SQUAD OF HEAVENLY WARRIORS who are standing guard. They should be arriving at Tacloban soon… I overheard that the convoy is carrying barrels of fuel, water, food, and enough medical personnel and medicines to care for at least 500 patients a day…
We will continue to keep you informed as more information is available. We remain flexible and know this is an ongoing effort and the recovery effort is just beginning. Much more assistance is needed. Though governments may have given and received millions for this disaster, REAL HELP that reaches the people impacted by a disaster is often nonexistent until someone personally goes and lends a hand. For those wishing to help especially financially… Specific donations providing relief for the Superstorm Yolanda Disaster are being received by the Assemblies of God World Mission (Google AGWM) Donations in partnership with Convoy of Hope…
There is a military convoy of workers and relief goods headed from Davao City into the heart of the disaster area Tacloban. Our son Darrell Blatchley and Sandy Crogh Blatchley is going with them. Your prayers greatly appreciated.
To know how to give, takes some reflection... As unthoughtful or cold hearted as it may seem, "I personally recommend sending funds though qualified trustworthy sources. Not to Government agencies (they have access often to their own disaster funds which may or may not be used wisely.) Certain NGO's are also notorious in their huge income of donated funds and then the appalling minimal trickle of funds that actually reach the destination. As little as $10 or less out of $100 may be used for relief! Also individuals who spam and get funds is a known danger. Know who you are entrusting your valuable resources to... As I have said repeatedly the Assemblies of God denomination is a good place to send funds. AGWM/Convoy Of Hope Disaster Relief #410946 (42) and you can specify for Yolanda Superstorm Philippines. They know their personnel on the ground and will distribute the funds to be of maximum effectiveness... Example: What is likely not needed is people sending boxes of random items that would need to be hand sorted unless you know who will be in charge of the distribution effort
There seems to be a sadness in in the air including my own heart as people are thinking about family and relatives many missing and many dead... For most there will be no closure of burial service nor a casket to weep over. No place they can point to, saying our brother, sister, wife, girlfriend... is buried there. 'Yes' for those who know Jesus as their personal friend, we know that He was there to welcome them to the Home where there will be no more pain and friends and family members can be one day be reunited. Our Creator loves us so much...
Today we've had hours of rain starting last night. If the new typhoon hits the devastated areas the already suffering disaster victims will have to endure more hardship.
We understand many have already gone to help, and we also want and plan to go. Some of our family and team will join with others in providing relief to those hurting. The task will not be done overnight. Recovery takes time. How many PARENTS have lost their CHILDREN. How many CHILDREN have lost their PARENTS? The impacted area is vast, many volunteers are heading in and as already pointed out by my friend Daniel Bray, piling resources in some areas while neglecting other desperately needy areas is something we want to avoid. We pray and look for the right door to go joining others in this enterprise. Together we can do more than alone. PLEASE keep praying... Again we ask you to use wisdom in donating... The Assemblies of God has a disaster relief fund #410946 (42) to receive donations. The have advanced funds and have a significant number people from the Convoy of Hope Disaster response team to transport in thousands of meal packs and much more, currently mobilized and moving into the impacted areas.
We are well. The storm thankfully passed us by. Sad for those hit but grateful for His protection. Had a wonderful morning with the children and their families. All very thankful for safety.
We are thankful for all who prayed, for those who took the time to send a note as well. We are getting ready for the thousands that will be in the tent this weekend. It's a wonderful time of the year and we celebrate the Reason for it! Lots of laughter, smiles giving of thanks and hugs!
I personally enjoy a strong storm when I'm sheltered and safe. Yet with our hearts wrapped around thousands of children whom we help each week, that enjoyment of the storm is tempered by our concern for their families safety. Too many have died in the storms wake. The Super typhoon is still passing through the Philippines yet as far as our information the children and families near us including the Circus tent that we meet in each week are all safe. The storm appears to be passing to the North of us. Labeled the Storm of the Year... Thankful that it's passing us by yet pray for those in its path and will see if we can be of any help to those in need...
For those of our friends that can and will pray, please remember us and others who may be impacted by the current Superstorm. The Philippines is being hit by a very large Superstorm and we may be in or near the storms destructive path. About a year ago another much smaller Superstorm Pablo hit this island and killed approximately 2,000. Once again... Please... Pray
No pictures... Just imagine... A couple weeks ago about 7 PM I was riding in a Taxi and as is my habit I give the driver a greeting and we begin a lengthy conversation... In short after discovering I was a missionary he informed me he is Muslim and requested if I could go to the ladies prison and visit Sally his wife. He said, though they're Muslim, Sally is lonely and it would bring her encouragement... He did not say why his wife was an inmate and I did not ask.
Last week we went to visit her. When she came out of her holding cell we started our conversation by explaining that her husband invited me to go visit her. She ask, How is my husband...? I said, he looked to be in good health, but he also looked sad, and explained he missed her and knew she was lonesome. She began to wipe her eyes, and explained that she has been in jail now for four years. She said her husbands Uncle had some drugs stashed at her house and the house was a raided by the police. Since she was the only one home they are holding her as an accomplice. REMEMBER I said she has been in jail for FOUR years. She is STILL waiting to receive a sentence... Her husband has visited her ONCE (perhaps afraid he might be captured as an accomplice as well - simply by visiting her in jail). She explained that since his one visit at the early part of her imprisonment We've been her ONLY other visitors. After prayer and encouragement we left her some reading materials and let her know we WILL return.
'Spending ourselves' for the King is NOT rocket science, it is simply loving Him and finding our what He likes and then letting love guide our steps and actions. Please remember Sally in your prayers, I know nothing can keep Jesus from making a jail visit...
This may sound like the start of a bad story... It goes like this... He told his potential girlfriend that if anyone was interested in being his girlfriend and or in the future marrying him; the only way it would happen is if that person was willing to do certain things... Something like this... Be willing to follow his God and go wherever God would direct. It would most likely mean leaving the country where she was born. Live with people she did not know, and she'd have to learn to speak a foreign language. Also she'd be required to raise their children (if any) there. And they would not be able to see their friends, relatives and parents for many years at a time. Also the young man had made a pledge to himself that he would not ever tell a young lady "I love you," unless in the same breath he was willing to say, "Will you marry me?" (This was his pledge because he knew that when a young lady heard those words from a man she would hope or think they meant something special and the young men often were simply saying it because they were thinking of what they could get on a temporary basis.)The young man that made that his requirement RARELY dated and yet STILL hoped that one day one of his 'girl' friends would (hopefully) meet the criteria to be that kind of a married partner.
I've an idea that most of you would feel that would not be a very good Speed-Date proposal... Yet in the fall of 1978 at Trinity Bible College I informed a beautiful redhead that, this was my criteria for both dating and for marriage... Being friends was not a problem... Being girlfriend/boyfriend was an important difference. I knew since I was a young child that I was to become a missionary. If my dream to become a missionary were to become a reality I knew that I had better not fall in love with, nor get married to someone who was not willing to have the same dream. It is difficult enough for two-to-become-one and remain in their same culture. Changing cultures adds many different stresses to relationships. A lack of transparency and honesty of what I anticipated in the future would have been an unwise mix. Uniting in marriage with someone who does not have the same goals in life, is a great recipe for disaster and would be certain death of my dream.
That red head young lady became sweetheart and then my wife. I still live with my sweetheart and she is my wife. It is my prayer that we continue to have fun and grow old together - until death do us part... I know I'm blessed. The 1st picture is at the start of our journey, 2nd picture was taken of us last year in Alaska. PS I did tell her I love her and I still say or text it to her nearly every day..
Awesome. Reminds me of so many of the incredibly tremendous kids we work with each week.
This past week we taught the kids and their families about responsibility. One lesson we used Dragon Fruit. So delicious and expensive to purchase. It can be grown from a tiny seed. We distributed small portions of the fruit each with many seeds, to the children and their families with a challenge to decide what they would do with them... "Eat now or plant for the future." Many held them like the treasure they will become. Some ate them wanting immediate enjoyment... What a contrast... Many were wise, who are learning to defer immediate pleasure for future gain... One young man had several seeds in his hand planning already to take them home to plant in a safe spot. Notice the boy next to him... NOT.
We all have the same kind of choices. Some people think they are looking to the future when they build their bank accounts or retirement (and it is wise). Yet fail to realize that the wisest plans must be for a longer term not just short term. We keep only what we give away no matter how hard we try... Only one life so soon it will pass... Only what's done for Christ will last... Eternity will be fun!
Mama Vilma never would have let this happen -- But she died about 4 - 5 years ago from cancer. That was near the time DionLee was dropped and the fall broke his back causing him to be hunched over and various other problems including difficulty breathing. A couple weeks ago (age 9) he was sitting next to my four year old grandson D.D. What a contrast in size, and everything... Then last week he was sitting alone in the tent looking miserable. Not only are his clothes worn out it's obvious he was in pain... Kneeling down I began to attempt a conversation. Tears were spooling up in his eyes, and I asked him to open his mouth so I could see the tooth. That 3rd picture was the best he could do in opening his mouth and until I got down on my knees and looked up into his mouth I couldn't see the problem. Then it was obvious... 3 rotten bottom teeth almost to the stubs. Grrr... It's not right. More questions I probably will keep bottled in...
Asking them will only make his papa unhappy and likely won't change a thing but to make life tougher for DionLee and maybe more beatings... We'll do our best to help, dental, more clothes... .. . When I see him on the street after school (He's in the first grade, class gets out at noon.) and he's begging, it's tough to tell him to stop even if I'm not convinced it's the best for him but... It's not just a question of black and white. This is his life... (DionLee and JuneLee - the later is a nickname). We love that young man and want the best for him... I know we can do so much more for him...
Asthma, it's a killer of a disease for our little kids... Dion Lee was struggling with it this morning and it kept him out of class. Fortunately it subsided later in the morning but he has a rough time when Asthma takes his breath away.
Many of you have been fishing... So you know what I'm pointing to in the picture below. If you've been following my latest posts you also know that some of our kids have enough worms that you could take them fishing every day of the week and catch your limit, without running out of a supply of worms.
We gave him a deworming tablet and it's working... Now he should start making some progress in his health... By the way this is a small one they can get much longer...
Feeding the hungry... Oh how does our Square Foot garden grow! Very well thank you! Thanks especially to Kent Sullivan and his Idaho team for helping us put in this section of the garden. Next Summer we plan on being in the states to pack up a container of blessings to bring back for the kids. I'm really praying & dreaming for a Bobcat. What a great help it would be for many of our projects...
PS We harvest and distribute vegetables every week for distribution.
We love these kids... DionLee - grinning from ear to ear as he does his own laundry. Shouldn't all 9 year olds know how to do the basics? I think WORK (chores as they were called when I was 9) should be part of a healthy child's responsibility.
I was teaching in the Public School class this morning about 'Honesty' and said I had 'FALSE' teeth... They wanted in the picture when I inserted them. OK... Did I say we love these kids...?
Then in teaching about 'Honesty' I included an object lesson about 'dishonesty.' And under normal conditions I try to insist they sit down and be quiet while I ask the questions and they supply the answers... But sometimes they are too glued to what the teacher is teaching and too involved to remember... "to sit down" which tells me they will likely also "never forget..." And a teacher has not accomplished their task of teaching until the students have learned... I feel the final test is not what grade the students received but whether the teacher was successful in passing 'wisdom' on to their students. 'KNOWLEDGE' is important and you can Google a lot. But 'WISDOM' is often hard to find..
I'm not a miracle worker. I cannot make a young man go to school. I cannot make a father take care of his children. The key to each person's heart is inside them. At the most I can influence, encourage, perhaps motivate and.. I can pray... I'm a fisherman, I work to catch 'em and His job is to clean them... There are signs of improvement in DionLee. This morning he went back to school... He's following directions better when he's at Family Circus. We have an open door and open heart to him. Yes we require some user friendly obedience from him for the door to remain open (as we would from our own children). He's a young man under construction and IT IS a PROCESS... He will need to be motivated, and there are many forms of carrots/motivation versus the stick/loss of privileges. "Work with us Dion and we will do our best to help you build your life on a firm foundation for a wonderful future..." It is easier for me to influence and motivate a 9 year old child. The adult's don't take well to correction even when done in love. Example: Politely asking a man to not pee on our flowers... or on the wall... He may get mad at me for asking. Hard cement/heads are difficult to shape. It's MUCH easier to work with cement while it is still wet... If we are willing to get our hands dirty... Thanks son for cleaning the CR... He never has had one where he came from... We'll work on that...
He's a PROBLEM... Yesterday he walked on top of all the seats, would't obey, repeatedly... His father told him to go home... He wouldn't obey... We asked his father where his other kids were... 5++ children. He said, "They've all ran away..." Yet papa said he's taking care of his children and feeding the kids... says he leaves the neighbor lady $5 a day to feed the kids... while he's off driving he says 16 hours a day and the new family??? I know how to do math... Something is not adding up... The child's NOT a PROBLEM, he's a nine year old boy, who's mama has died and his world has fractured... YES! there are problems, he's craving love and attention. He's finding it with us. Takes some patience and we are pouring our love into him and he's improving. We are speaking into his life and challenging him to seek a better tomorrow. "Patience" young man, "Keep going to school. Help us help you..." FRIENDS: Your prayers for D..L.. are very much appreciated. Please pray for this very precious young man... He's a Problem... NOT!
My siblings and I were also adopted (I was 4 years old) and have a similar testimony of God's hand on our lives. Including a miracle of restoration of relationships with our biological parents who now 50 years later have become valued family members again. Adoption can bring great pain and or bring tremendous blessings (and sometimes both). For me I find a special sense of restoration that has been occurring as our family is being re-united. My dad (Dean Blatchley) in the last few months we had together before he went to be with the Lord... was thankful to see this happening
A picture worth a thousand words
33 years ago Sandy Crogh Blatchley and our family (including our 3 sons the youngest was 4 months old) went to Thailand and we spent ourselves for the next ten years helping many children, families and refugees. We also studied Thai so when I watched the following video the Thai script was legible to me and it had a double impact. The storyline also follows our heart. I trust you will enjoy its simple but heartfelt message. Helping children pays...
Four years it took to grow this flower from a small seed. Then for one brief night it blossomed into this striking Dragon Fruit flower. Very few saw it except now for the digital photos. If it was successfully fertilized we should see the Dragon fruit in about one month... Eventually with additional patience and TLC we can expect to see many more flowers and hopefully more fruit... Our lives are brief, likened to a vapor that quickly vanishes. Before I go, my prayer is that I may have spent myself in such a way that this world (my temporary home), may have been blessed by my having been here. May we all contribute to doing more good than bad and bringing more joy than pain...
God bless you my friends,
What's wrong with these pictures...?
What's right with these pictures...?
The rain comes from God and blesses us all.
He sent his son, because he loves us all, even before we knew him... His son washed the dirty feet of others... And said to those who followed him. "Do the same kinds of things that I do."
The only Jesus they may ever see is... 'You!
Journal Notes - 2013
Discipline Lessons ... Follow my example and start your day off right...
Go eat breakfast at McDonald's!... Oh No! That's not really what I needed to say and you might not agree either. Today as almost everyday I started it off by reading the Bible... Then... I went to McDo for breakfast.
Finished eating my McDo pancakes early and rode up to the gate in front of the tent and was surprised to see at 7:20 AM it was already open. Service starts at 9 and we normally open the gate at 7:30 AM. The line of people waiting to enter the tent was already long. It was so much fun you could feel the excitement rising as the tent quickly filled up and the Lord’s presence was there...
The message today was, "Discipline: Living as I ought not as I want." Our priority is kids! We teach the message with drama, so the kids understand it. Our philosophy is if the parents listen and apply it to their lives as well; 'That's great!' But if not it's on their heads... in other words adults must take their responsibility for choosing what they do with their lives.
In contrast the kids while still forming their values, need to learn about the Truth and if we train them while young their future will have a solid foundation - again depending on their choices. That's why it's so wonderful to see the parents teaching their little children to pray and the older kids choosing to continue praying as they get older...
Discipline lesson 2
After the service four pregnant mothers in all stages of being pregnant... came to ask a question... They said (Talking mostly in Cebuano the local dialect) something about "too many kids" and some of the rest of the message I had difficulty understanding... Humorously I can understand a mother nine months pregnant wanting to change her mind about another child and thinking she had 'too many'... but obviously I was missing something essential so we went to the clinic and I listened as they again asked with translation.
I then understood they were saying the Jeepney (public transportation) that brings them was too crowded due to "too many kids" and could they please hire another Jeepney for more people that wanted to come?... Ah... the light came on... With a prayer I said, 'Yes.' The prayer was for the Lord to supply extra funds to hire the Jeepney which will cost us an additional $15 a week to bring in another 40 kids and their families to the tent. Believing it's what He would like for us to do, as we know He likes it when the tent is full. He said, "He wanted His house to be full and that no one be lost...
So I suggest you start your day off right and end it the same way by following my example and... "Go read your Bible..." (Yes, that's also what I do before going to sleep at night...)
Discipline lesson 3 . . .
Tuesday morning, my "day off" started with a hot cup of tea & honey, a good book, a gift and an idea 'restoration.' I'm a tool guy, and came by that character trait quite naturally. (The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)
Every couple years Sandy and I take a couple months in the states to raise funds and collect things for the work out here in the Philippines. One of the things people have kindly donated is hand tools, some new and some not... In our shop there's a bucket of some of the ugliest tools. I reached in and pulled out a rusty old hand made hatchet. It wasn't fancy and looked well worn... So taking the cup of tea and gathering a few tools I went to work... Fun, relaxing and the restoration process concluded with a functional tool, no longer just an eye sore neglected in a bucket sitting in the corner.
It's part of what makes me tick... Taking something or someone that others may have set aside and then putting some TLC, prayer and elbow grease and watching what God does in their lives. Little DionLee is one of those works in progress. About 9 years old, was being set in the corner and ignored as useless. He's in the first grade now. It takes time, he's a work in progress.
Then there's Cheryl she's six and kind of reminds me of another Cheryl at the same age. (My sister). A work in progress.
The Cheryl in the pink dress is similar to DionLee... Needing TLC, and some special attention. Her skin is a web of cracks, partly because of lack of soap and lotion wouldn't hurt. (We are working to provide both.) I've a hunch there is a medical name for her condition. (Anyone out there know what it is?) I've seen it before, perhaps partly caused by malnutrition.
Then there's Aryana she just turned 1 year old July 3rd. She has a congenital heart problem... and the family needs assistance. The monthly maintenance for medicine is about $57... my concern is she will end up like the little rusty tool, set aside because...
It's hard to know how to deal with the overwhelming needs when the resources are what they are... 'Impossible.' Yet knowing that "Impossible" is Gods specialty we will continue to do our best to help them... He loves a good restoration project and we all stand in need... of His restoration. Tools . . .
Hard work with dirty hands
Dirty hands, a dirty face... and a bunch of young men helping their Aunt Sandy get ready for a time of blessing later this week. Getting items out of our warehouse and prepared to distribute as a blessings to many of our families this week. We don't have to wait till Christmas to give gifts... It's happening all the time. Today's a holiday so they didn't have to go to school and were happy to be helping hands...
Last week I cleaned out my closet, and found clothes I had rarely worn for the past 20+ years. My size is pretty much the same now as it was back then so I packed out a full bag of mens clothes, to find others who could use them. I ask myself these questions, "How much is enough?" Or should I ask, "How much do I really need?" If I haven't worn it in the past two years then why not give it to someone who will?
The man with no shoes would look at me and say... "You're wealthy, you have a pair of shoes..." In fact I have maybe 4 pair.
Not really changing the subject... One pastor once told me... "We don't do Children's ministry... It's too much work..." In contrast we do Children's ministry and 'YES!' Looking at Aunt Sandy and the young men you can see, It's a lot of work." But it's also a lot of FUN... Yes! It's tiring... rarely do we have any problems with insomnia, and BORED... NOT!"
I'm blessed with an industrious Proverbs 31 sweetheart.
Hard work with dirty hands together with the boys
A very interesting subject! Today we were teaching the children about "Boy & Girl Relationships..." (Mom's and dads were listening and learning as well). We don't wait till they're teenagers to teach many of these important truths. No more than we wait until their are a teenager to teach them not to steal or lie. By then they've already formed most of their values... We teach them while they are young or else we live with the regrets...
First we welcomed a few of our pregnant mothers and one of our newest babies to come forward so we could all pray for them. At the same time we reminded the mothers and the children listening that at whatever stage their pregnancy is at the unborn child was in the process of being molded and shaped by God, and "No!" he did not give us an option to kill the small child just because it was unseen or even sometimes unwanted. We also reminded them that sometimes people call their pregnancy/child a "Problem." But God says, "No!" The pregnancy is not a problem it is a child and to be loved by God and by the family. We average more than 200 newborns added to numbers annually. We love them all very much!
One mother on the right side of the line-up, her baby is at the door ready to be born. The mother Julie age 27 is expecting her 8th child any day now. The midwife tells her that the child is possibly breach and that she needs an ultra sound... (You can do the math, her oldest daughter Jenna Rose is 13, then Ronald 12, Romella 11, Robert 10, RJ 8, Jamaica 5, Renyl 2, Ramcedric 1).
I know some might say... 'Whoa...' but that's not a sermon for today... We do encourage responsible parenting. And I think Julie is doing her best to be a wonderful mom and provider for her kids. Sometime life is difficult, and she makes sure her children are coming to Family Circus and that they are learning about Jesus.
For the newest child soon to be born it is not their choice that they were the 8th yet they need to know that they are welcomed, and loved, including loved by God, and prayerfully if there is a lack someone will make sure they have enough to eat... and that they receive a good education...
We were called by God to be a shepherd of his little lambs and we are doing the best we can with God's help and the help of his family... Thanks again to one and all... We love being a channel of His blessing.
Cristy and pregnant Mama
Kale from Garden
Part of today's harvest from the garden, delicious Kale ...
12+ pounds. Going to feed the hungry. Other garden items, ochre, egg plants, cucumbers, pii chii, etc...
Three children brought by separate families to dedicate them to the Lord... What a privilege... to have them come each week even before they are born, to pray for them while yet in the womb and then to watch them grow into young men and women who love Jesus.
18 years and counting we have 'spent ourselves' on this island to make an investment in the lives of the children. Now we are seeing a 2nd generation brought into the world by the very children we first ministered to when they were young... Investing in the future.
Dedication with Uncle Darrell
I carried Juna into the hospital this past week. She had high fevers and convulsions...
It was so good to see her completely well and walking into Family Circus today to take her usual place to serve others.
We are on the equator and even with the fans the tent is hot. She is one of the many volunteers that stand at the perimeter, looking for those who empty their containers of water and then hurrying to keep them filled with chilled filtered water during the service...
Mama's smile with Rhea
So wonderful Rhea made it...
She turned 3 years old August 11th! She's growing and surviving her intensive battle with cancer and the ongoing Chemo...
Thanks to all that are praying for her... She came to Family Circus this week and every week as long as she has the strength and health. Her next treatment is Thursday, "Thank you!" to those who give to help her family pay the medical expenses. Yes the chemo is being donated by the hospital (and they are thankful) yet the medicine, and sometimes blood transfusions, all add up to more than they make in a month.
No! It's impossible!... A few months ago, her younger hard working husband died suddenly! No advance warning that this was going to happen. One week they were making 'plans' for the future... The next week she was burying them. She was left a 45 year old widow with six kids her youngest child barely a year old. She was not prepared for the questions that hit her... Her large family suddenly struck by tragedy. Life was seemingly not fair, but she had to continue doing what she always did, food had to be found, kids needed supplies to go to school, shoes (black ones were required)... The government was not there to help... Her older sister came to help, and moved in with the family. She is a big help even though she only has one arm, the one hand she has is now constantly helping her sisters family in every way possible.
Then God talks to Linda (in the USA)... and she responds and every month sends a small amount of funds as she is able to help the family and they get food from Family Circus, and yes black shoes also (Thanks friends!)... God meets Nikko's families needs and makes the 'impossible' happen... "Impossible?" That's His specialty! If you are having a tough day and your situation looks impossible, don't give up. Instead get close to the One who makes 'Impossible' a part of his normal job description.
Nikko's mom will NEVER pass up an opportunity to tell us "Thank you!!" I just want to be sure to pass it on to you, as we are just a conduit to He who does the impossible... Thanks to all who help us bring miracles to these special friends!... We are blessed beyond words...
Inside the container
"Stubborn kids"... 'Yes' we've seen lots of them and have looked in the mirror to see them staring right back at us... How far from the tree will the apple fall? What the kids see in their parents they often copy and do it much worse or much better... As kids we are all imitators of that which captures our attention (or our HEART) - be it good or bad.
Example: This week - we just received our 2nd container of food (for 2013) from Convoy of Hope & friends... The container departed the USA two months ago and arrived at Family Circus about 9:20 PM Tuesday. The semi truck came down the narrow street and our guys were there with long bamboo poles to push the power-lines up and away from snagging on the tall container. We welcomed it with excitement and opening the doors we weren't seeing the 'work' involved, we were seeing the 'blessings.' It took us 6 hours to unload the 19+ tons of food (All unloaded by hand). Heavy barrels of soup mix, Manna Packs of vitamin enriched meals and boxes of macaroni. So thankful for all the hands involved in helping to make it possible. The hands that prepared the meals and those who loaded the food on the container, and then the hands here to unload... So many hands to bring food to the hungry children who really need it...
The container of food was transferred into the almost empty Family Circus warehouse a 40' container (provided by BGMC) there is now nearly 1/3 of a million additional meals of food. "324,696" meals to be exact - for malnourished children, widows, pregnant and nursing mothers. We will prayerfully receive one more container in about 2-3 months and as we close out the year we anticipate having distributed a record number of meals (for us) of 1 million+ for 2013.
Stubborn kids... You'd better believe it! I was raised by a dad that was accused of the same and we were blessed by God to have parents (*All of them) that we can be proud of who demonstrated that hard work and helping people is the best way to serve God and to 'Spend one's life...'
PS Please pray with us now for the funds needed for the next container... Stubborn kids, you bet... "Ask and be ready to receive..." That's what He said to do..
This morning Sandy asked me if I could go help one of the young ladies that attend Family Circus. Juna's parents had just texted her that their daughter had a high fever and was suffering from convulsions. They were very concerned for her and like other parents in Jesus day, this child's parents reached out to Sandy who they knew really cared for their child.Â
At her home I picked her up and began to pray as I carried her out to take her to the hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital at the Emergency entrance we were greeted by a nurse who is one of the sons of Pastor Eng a dear friend of our family. We haven't gotten the results back yet, but we know that our best Friend Jesus really loves these kids...
Please if you would, a prayer for Juna would be greatly appreciated.
The BEST Doctor
This past week Jairos five years old was at the hospital. He and his family love going to Family Circus to learn about Jesus.
The doctors were planning to do a spinal tap. They were pretty sure he had Spinal Meningitis...
I went to the 3rd floor Special children's ward at the Government Hospital and seriously prayed for him. The doctors now say he's... just recovering from pneumonia.
Did I mention that we know the best children's Doctor available and his name is... Jesus?
Learning #101 ...
'Michael it's back to the basics.' Eating breakfast with this young man is a privilege and a responsibility... I know he's hungry and he's already reaching out to eat... but first we were going to start with prayer over the food and giving thanks to God for His blessing. Yet before starting to pray, first I pause and ask him to wait a moment as I explain to Michael, "I know you've not had a father or mother to help raise and teach you some of the basic things as you grew up. We call that learning #101...
It's like learning in to read in the first grade. In November you'll be 18 years old and one of those basic things you need to learn is how to give respect. Since I am buying your food you can respect me by joining in giving thanks to God the One who made our food. When we pray we will stop what we are doing for a moment and bow our heads even closing our eyes and I'll tell him thanks and will ask for his blessing over both of us..." Michael agreed to join me by bowing his head while I prayed and gave thanks...
For the kids who have no parents and like Michael who have had little or no adult supervision as they grew up, entering into what others would call normal civilized life can be difficult... If I do not take the time to speak into his life... Who will? I've seen many others just like him and they often die young. Without supervision children will often go the path of least resistance... If I have another day to treat him to breakfast I plan on providing him a bottle of shampoo and more caring advice... Giving him another one of those missed #101 lessons... Rebuilding lost years is much more difficult than building them as they grow up...
Michael and Uncle Darrell
Am I weird or is it just a guy thing? I remember being 9 years old and God spoke to me and said he wanted me to be a missionary. Note: I'd just burn't the church down (by accident - maybe I'll tell how another day (OK I had this thing about playing with fire...). Anyway I understand kids a bit and last week when I gave a nine year old boy a gift (a book) - he quickly exclaimed “he didn't want it...”
Being the author I quickly took it back and he got nothing... However I was determined to find him something that he would like and that's what led me to buy him a dead frog... One of those 'You need this and just don't know it gifts...'
Saturday the night before his family were to fly back to the states I went to give him his gift and first told him the following story... There was a young man who just happened to be 9 years old. His family had to move and in the new town and new school he had no friends yet he was determined to be a part of the popular group of kids...
So identifying the popular kids he stayed around them and one day the leader ask if he wanted to join the group and explained it would hinge upon his passing the initiation test which was different for every member. He replied 'yes' and inwardly was determined that he would and could do anything they ask of him.
The next day the leader of the group came to him and standing at the front of the school asked if he was ready for the initiation test. His answer was 'yes' and he was determined to pass the test. The leader of the group pointed to where the vehicles dropped off the children for school and asked, "Do you see that that over there?" The young man looked where he was pointing and saw the body of a frog that had been flattened by many tires.
The leader then said, "Your initiation test is to take the frog and eat one bite of it. Let's see if you pass the test." The frog was disgusting looking and flies had covered it BUT the young man was determined that he could and would do whatever it took to be 'in' the popular group so picking up the dead frog he used his teeth and ripped off a piece, chewed and swallowed it. The kids watching him with the encouragement of their leader said, "Yuck... He's a dirty frog eater. He could never be a part of our group!" And he never was...
At the conclusion of the story as I handed the nine year old the frog I reminded him that one day he would want a friend and that there is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother and his name is Jesus... The tanned leather frog coin purse was received and appreciated by my young friend...
This afternoon I was enjoying a RARE bag of sweet and salty Kettle Corn... Mm good. All of a sudden enjoyment turned to unexpected pain as i bit on a kernel and broke my tooth. Trust me; It's no fun losing half your tooth. Ouch! I called the dentist ASAP. I was begging them for help and was in the chair an hour later. They repaired the tooth and it feels so much better. Some small details... Like many dentists here she preferred to drill with no anesthesia. I confess, there were a few groans that slipped out, but she did an excellent job and I wasn't too much of a wimp.
At Family Circus we have been lacking volunteer dentists for several months and today after repairing my tooth the dentist volunteered to come serve the children at Family Circus on Saturdays. I love it when what I think is an accident (like breaking a tooth) turns into Gods appointment. Another note: We require the children at FC to be brave when treated by the dentist. A random tear is acceptable but not loud uncontrolled crying. Parents are rarely with the child being treated and "Yes" we give them anesthesia. You might be surprised how brave kids are ages 5 and above when they have been suffering from a toothache and for many, this is the first dentist they ever went to in their life and it was at Family Circus because the family had no money.
It has been our observation if an adult has a toothache they get their tooth treated ASAP (Just like mine). However the child is often told to be quiet and stop their crying because the family has no money... Grr I don't think that's fair nor is it healthy for the child. So we do what we can to meet their needs... Including caring for their toothache.
We find Family Circus kids grown up and working in various business establishments all over town and literally around the world. In SM Davao City this week Juvy Payaw an employee of Pizza Hut said, "Hi, and said she went to FC as a child. It's wonderful to see so many kids serving the Lord. They change so much from a child to becoming an adult but they remember our teaching them each week. Often they even quote the 4 Rules of Life... #1 God loves me...
Isn't it interesting the coincidence that occurred in the hospital after we prayed for Angel Concon... She had no more Dengue fever. I understand the Doctor's response was "Maybe it was just a virus." I say, "Thank you Jesus... You still answer prayer & heal the sick."
Angel Concon has Dengue and is in the hospital. Dengue is contracted from mosquitos, it makes you feel bad because it attacks the blood, and it's sometimes referred to as the bone breaker disease, perhaps because of how it makes you feel.Ronilo Oning Diayon and I went by this morning to pray for her, she has dark rings under her eyes and is very tired, and feverish. Her blood platelet count is quite low. 'Yes' it is dangerous many children die from it every year. I know Angel would appreciate your prayers. Her mom is watching over her. She's in her first year at College and had just finished her tests which likely made her already tired due to all the stress from her studies and tests. Angel also like to help as a volunteer at Family Circus
Angel in the hospital
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