Barner Christian Academy

The Latest News

2/19/2015

Would you like a cookie?” While PJ was recovering from his surgery on both knees at Davao’s local “Tebow CURE” Hospital, our Barner Christian Academy (BCA) teachers were training ten select first-grade students to give a presentation at the hospital.

I’d baked dozens and dozens of chocolate chip cookies and brownies for staff and patients, and also for our own BCA students who would soon be arriving.

Our BCA bus arrived and the colorfully-uniformed children piled out with BCA teachers/staff. PJ was still in recovery, so the kids went from room to room in the hospital to sing with the patients.

“Praise God you came!” one of the floor nurses exclaimed. “Please visit this little three-year-old first. She had club foot and was just operated on this morning. She is still in some pain, and keeps crying.”

As the BCA children marched single-file into the female pediatrics ward, Elvie handed the girl a stuffed animal and then the kids began to sing. The little girl’s whimpering settled down as she listened intently to Christian worship songs. After each child greeted her individually, we then prayed for her healing and went on to the next patient.

The staff was very touched, and then the kids stood around the staff and serenaded them as well, cheerfully reciting Bible verses and singing.

After the children spent a few minutes in the hospital playroom, PJ finally was wheeled back from the recovery area to his room. The BCA kids came up and gathered around his bed, singing for him as well. Cookies, brownies and juice followed, and after the kids all prayed for him out loud, they piled back onto the elevator, climbing into the BCA bus and headed home.

The next day the floor nurse came into PJ’s room. After accepting an oatmeal/chocolate/carrot/peanut butter brownie we offered, she expressed her deepest appreciation for our thoughtfulness in inviting the BCA students to sing.

“It had been a long day for all of us,” she confided, “and something about the little children’s voices and also your prayers for so many individual members of the staff, really lifted up our spirits and made our day! Praise God for your BCA kids!”

Thank you Lord that these little children were able, through their smiles, laughter and voices, to bring the light of Christ into the lives of many whose bodies are “on the mend”.
  

Until next time… Let the Islands rejoice!

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Prayer Request: Please pray for PJ’s speedy recuperation. Since the tendon in his right knee was tightly wrapped around the calcified growth, the surgery to remove the growth became somewhat complicated. The resulting recuperation time and physical therapy is expected to increase substantially.

Please also continue to pray that Nyack Bible College will provide a favorable financial aid package so that PJ can fulfill his dream to attend there this fall, even though he is the son of missionaries.

Please also pray for a confidentially life-threatening personal request of some of BCA’s long-term staff.

Praise- Praise God that PJ was informed while at the hospital that he has officially had more visitors and well-wishers come to share and pray with him than anyone else in the history of the hospital! Yay, friends and Christian fellowship!

Praise God also that we were able to have Wednesday evenings' church prayer meeting in PJ's hospital room with him!

Upcoming Events:

3/6: Annual Board meeting for Davao Christian Leadership Foundation (I chair).

3/8-9: Faith International Academy Board Retreat with guest Speaker Paul Campey (I chair)

3/12:  I visit as guest speaker for the Faith International Academy Elementary School Chapel

3/15: Harold, a retired CPA from Iowa, will be visiting BCA en route to Indonesia to teach seminars on Christian budgeting and personal financial management/poverty alleviation.

4/1: Mike, A retired American soldier will arrive in Davao as a career missionary for BCA.

4/3-4: Good Friday Worship Service, followed by Church board (CMT Church Ministry Team) Family retreat at Father’s House Boys’ Home on nearby Samal Island

4/2: My brother Phil arrives from New York with his family to teach and train in a series of puppetry workshops.

April 21-26: Philippine National Missions Assembly in Iloilo City

BCA has 383 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund: $87,302:
3-Acre Property
Need: $56,000 Raised-PTL! $56,000 Remaining: $0
Administration/Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Building:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $31,302 Remaining: $5,698 

Present need: $636 foe fuel for BCA’s buses in January.

 

Rev. Paul, Elvie, PJ and Abigail Barner
Philippine Missionary Church Planters
Barner Christian Academy of Davao City, Inc.
PO Box 82,224
8000 Davao City, Philippines 011-63

BCA Landline: 011-63-82-234-4000
Paul's Cell Phone: 011-63-947-329-0441
Magic Jack Computer phone: (518) 772-2359
New York Contact: (518) 449-2105

Home address: 18 Eileen Drive, Rensselaer, NY 12144
BLCKIDS@yahoo.com

For online giving: www.christianaid.org CODE: 801-BLC

PLEASE NOTE: OUR PJLILTIM@SKYINET.NET ADDRESS IS DISCONTINUED. PLEASE INSTEAD USE BLCKIDS@YAHOO.COM THANKS!

2/12/2015

American Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday (2/12), Happy Valentine’s Day (2/14), 86th Anniversary of Sir Alexander Fleming’s Introduction of Penicillin (2/14/1929), American Presidents’ Day (2/16), Religious Season of Abstinence/Lent Begins (40-days preceding Easter/Resurrection Sunday) 2/18.

“Are you hungry?” Elvie asked the three grown common laborers who were digging out tons of gravel and sand from the community drainage canal.

Sixteen months after the devastating 6-ft-deep floods of Halloween, 2013, our family car is finally released from the repair shop. The BCA library roof has been replaced after winds and rain had compromised the rotten beams which we’d built 15 years ago.

Yet the cause of the floods; the ever-filling of the open community sewage canal, is being excavated by Along, Jerry and Loloy. Cheerful guys, these poor, common laborers rarely eat anything before coming to work, so they often have only a hundred bucketfuls of dirt dug after an eight-hour day of labouring in the hot tropical Philippine sun. They take turns as Loloy digs and fills each rubber bucket (made from sewn-together tire treads). Then Jerry hoists the bucket up eight feet into the air to Loloy to dump onto the dirt mound along the side of the road, to be removed a week later buy a dump truck.

One day I had made some homemade bread and the kids were not eating it fast enough. Elvie decided to give it to the canal workers so that the bread would not be wasted by going stale. Feeding them became a daily practice, and we even intentionally cooked up extra food at dinnertime so that we could feed the “canal guys” lunch the next day.

Then something amazing happened. The canal guys started staying after-hours to help BCA staff paint walls, weed BCA’s rooftop garden, carry groceries and even do odd chores in the school, all this after a hard day of intense labor! They even occasionally fed our two dogs and washed our pickup truck without being asked.

A rash of burglaries have recently been hitting our neighborhood, but the canal diggers have become like security guards, keeping an eye on whoever comes in and who leaves the campus. Even the hundreds of BCA students have befriended the canal guys.

Sunday was a special day for our church (which meets on the BCA campus). We celebrated 18 years since beginning worships services in an alleyway a few blocks away from the present BCA campus. It was February 9, 1997 when we gathered eight believers to celebrate God’s salvation. This week, with nearly five hundred worshipping together, we looked for the canal guys, but they’d gone home to the mountains, as is their weekend practice, to be with their families.

During Sunday’s church celebration, many BCA students sang Christian songs which they’d memorized, after which their parents performed choreography. Eleven tambourine dancers, all aged less than ten years old, performed to a worship hymn. Our own two kids, PJ and Abby sang a duet of “God is in Control, as PJ also accompanied with guitar and a young lady from the youth group hid behind him to hold the microphone for him.

Since Filipinos celebrate Valentine’s Day for the whole month of February, the theme of the occasion was “God’s Love”. As God’s faithful followers, we thank God for His great love for us (John 3:16 & 1 John 4:8) by feeding hungry canal diggers, schooling poor Filipino children, and praying for God’s Holy Spirit’s upcoming global revival of repentance and salvation across this great planet.

Until next time… Let the Islands rejoice!

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Prayer Request: Please pray for our son PJ, who will be having surgery on both of his knees this Monday (2/9). Since he was a toddler, His mom Elvie noticed the pain he had in walking. He is now seventeen and about to head off to college. Just recently, American Football player Tim Tebow built a paediatric orthopaedic “CURE” hospital here in Davao City.

Bringing PJ for an appointment, he was diagnosed with excisidyostosis in both the right and left tibias. Kind of like ever-growing bone spurs, located where the tendons overlap, which can often be quite painful (and could eventually lead to bursitis or tendonitis. The doctor said the operation is relatively simple, involving a small incision after which they will chisel, cut and sand down the extra bone, followed by coating it with wax so the extra growth will cease. It doesn’t even involve a cast, just a covering of soft pads and then he’d be on crutches for a few days. No heavy exertion for 3 wks though. Perfect timing, as in three weeks PJ is slotted to join a school field trip in which they will be building houses for the poor.

PJ has never been anesthetized during a hospital operation before, so he was pleased to be informed that he’ll be asleep for the entire operation. He’ll fall asleep and wake up with those troublesome growths gone for good.

Since this is a busy week for PJ, it is fortunate that his teachers have given him his homework in advance. Being a member of student council, he is supposed t deliver goodies to families for Valentine’s Day, as well as help baby-sit children of young couples who want to date on February 14.
Praise- Praise God that BCA’s surprise government inspection this past week seemed relatively positive. Two minor recommendations were to lower the blackboard in one classroom for the children to see at eye-level while seated, and also to use BCA’s shorter, wooden desk-chairs for the preschoolers and the higher, plastic desk-chairs for the elementary graders.

Praise God as well that, after last week’s email diary about boxes of aid that have arrived from American friends, two additional families have inquired about how they too could possibly send boxes of aid for our CA kids.

If you are also interested, please look for an “Oriental store” in your city or town. Or if you know a Filipino, ask them how to send “balik-bayan” cargo boxes to the Philippines. These boxes are quite large and only cost $80-120, regardless of weight. They are shipped door-to-door and require no customs fees. Compare that to even small packages sent via the Post Office which require BCA to pay $3 apiece for customs. There are hundreds of international shippers of Philippine “balik-bayan” cargo boxes, yet the most common is “LBC”.

Upcoming Events:

2/22: Flo, an American sponsor of a BCA student, will arrive to minister at BCA for a few weeks.

3/6: Annual Board meeting for Davao Christian Leadership Foundation (I chair).

3/8-9: Faith International Academy Board Retreat with guest Speaker Paul Campey (I chair)

3/12: I visit as guest speaker for the Faith International Academy Elementary School Chapel

3/15: Harold, a retired CPA from Iowa, will be visiting BCA en route to Indonesia to teach seminars on Christian budgeting and personal financial management/poverty alleviation.

4/1: Mike, A retired American soldier will arrive in Davao as a career missionary for BCA.

4/3-4: Good Friday Worship Service, followed by Church board (CMT Church Ministry Team) Family retreat at Father’s House Boys’ Home on nearby Samal Island

4/2: My brother Phil arrives from New York with his family to teach and train in a series of puppetry workshops.

April 21-26: Philippine National Missions Assembly in Iloilo City

BCA has 383 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund: $87,252:
3-Acre Property
Need: $56,000, Raised-PTL! $56,000, Remaining: $0
Administration/Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Building:
Need: $37,000, Raised: $31,252, Remaining: $5,748 

Present need: $28 for BCA’s “PH” Bus: 1 quart brake fluid ($5), 4 rubber cups @ $2 ($8), 3 Spark Plugs @ $5 ($15)

 

Rev. Paul, Elvie, PJ and Abigail Barner
Philippine Missionary Church Planters
Barner Christian Academy of Davao City, Inc.
PO Box 82,224
8000 Davao City, Philippines 011-63

BCA Landline: 011-63-82-234-4000
Paul's Cell Phone: 011-63-947-329-0441
Magic Jack Computer phone: (518) 772-2359
New York Contact: (518) 449-2105

Home address: 18 Eileen Drive, Rensselaer, NY 12144
BLCKIDS@yahoo.com

For online giving: www.christianaid.org CODE: 801-BLC

PLEASE NOTE: OUR PJLILTIM@SKYINET.NET ADDRESS IS DISCONTINUED. PLEASE INSTEAD USE BLCKIDS@YAHOO.COM THANKS!

2/5/2015

Canadian Family Day (2/9), New Zealand Waitangi Day (2/6), 63rd Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation (2/6/1952), 23rd Anniversary of Western Europe’s Maastricht Treaty Creating the European Union (2/7/1992), 55th Anniversary of Hollywood Walk of Fame (2/9/1960), Silver Anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s Release from 27 years in prison (2/11/1990).

“We have boxes!” Each month, God touches the hearts of friends in other countries to ship boxes to Barner Christian Academy…sometimes one or two boxes and sometimes more.

Opening these boxes is always exciting, as you never know what surprises will be inside. Could be used clothes, stuffed animals or hundreds of colourful, bread new flip flops for our orphan children and poor families. Toys, canned food, books, stuffed animals and school supplies are all special treats for our needy BCA students.

Two large boxes were recently waiting for us one evening as our family of four arrived back home from errands downtown. The shipper had been a friend in Kentucky whose Senior Citizens group in her church pastes Bible verses onto used greeting cards. “For God so loved the world…(John 3:16) began a shiny Christmas card, typed in one of the Philippines’ 365 different languages and dialects.
Hidden in between stacks of cards in one box was a special treat for Elvie, packed and wrapped for her by Kentucky Seniors. And for me, there were spices that we can’t find in the Philippines for cooking American-style (plus a few cans of Ravioli- mmmmmm!)

The very next day (Tuesday) a pastor from the mountains made the 3-hour trek to the city and to our school to visit our family and to pray for our ministry. The husband, wife, daughter and grandmother came. Before they left (5 hours later) we’d had lunch and put together a few bags of clothes and food (including a fragrant loaf of my fresh-baked bread) for them to take with them back to the mountains.
As Elvie shared with them about this ministry, I filled a handbag with Gospel tracts, Wordless books and other witnessing tools (including some “versed” greeting cards) for them to use in their evangelism ministry among mountain farmers. We joined hands around the handbag as we prayed for God to use every tract inside to save souls.

After the family left, Elvie and I continued to pray for their ministry. The very next day (Wednesday) FIVE more boxes arrived from Utah, USA! We give and God replaces, like with King Solomon of old with the Queen of Sheba, receiving more than we gave! We can never out-give God!

On Thursday night after picking up PJ and Abby from school, it was our family night-out. So we ate at our favourite barbecue restaurant. Then when we got home, as PJ and Abby did their homework in the BCA library, they also helped us to open and sort-out the contents of the five newly-arrived boxes.

Yay! The paper shredder I’ve been patiently anticipating and praying for over a year now finally arrived, waiting for me inside one of the huge boxes, wrapped in a blanket to give to the poor. The next afternoon I filled a dozen bags with shredded documents!

Friday morning was PTA meeting day at BCA, so classes were cancelled. The parents listened to Alex, BCA’s discipleship coordinate for men. He shared from 1 John 3, “How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called the children of God!”

Yes, God lavishes upon us (His children) many gifts in this life. We have these various abundant gifts not to hoard, but to give away. Yet the one most valuable gift cannot be given away…only shared. That is the gift of His adopting us as His very own precious children!

Until next time… Let the Islands rejoice!

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Prayer Request: Please pray for 32 new believers who were baptized at our tenth church plant (San Vicente, Babak, Samal Island) this past Sunday afternoon! It was followed by a church picnic and was a joyous celebration for us, since these families all had come to church a year ago when we’d extended our student sponsorship program to their island.

Our ten church plants include: 1-Lamano, 2-Laverna, 3-Purok Ocho & 4-Communal (closed), 5-Emily Homes, 6-Panantongan, 7-Asuncion (reorganizing), 8-Agdao, 9-Golden Hills, 10-San Vicente. Our 11th we are planning in Babak, Samal at our Boys’ Home.

Please also pray for our plan to combine our two orphanages so that we can rent the one to bring funds into the other for initial capital to raise crops.

Praise- Praise God that the church family to whom we presented the invitation to become the new houseparents/ administrator of our Father’s House orphanages is strongly considering accepting the position.

Praise God also that, after church Sunday over a dozen young people came to the parsonage to watch Christian videos and have lunch. They feasted on a Filipino lunch along with American snacks (chips, dip, cake, cookies, sandwiches, Koolaid and popcorn).

Also praise God that, when the speaker PJ had chosen for giving the Bible challenge at High School Chapel backed out last minute, he asked one of the parents to be the replacement. The parent agreed and gave an inspiring, emotional challenge on the Biblical topic of forgiveness.

Upcoming Events:

2/13: Annual Teacher Appreciation Ceremony/Presentations at BCA

2/17: Bimonthly Board meeting for Faith International Academy (I Chair) Discussion: “Global Ends and Moral Owners” (Revision of Board Manual, Section One), plus proposed Teacher Appreciation/Incentive package & Budget Presentation.

3/6: Annual Board meeting for Davao Christian Leadership Foundation (I chair).

3/8-9: Faith International Academy Board Retreat with guest Speaker Paul Campey (I chair)

3/12: I visit as guest speaker for the Faith International Academy Elementary School Chapel

3/15: Harold, a retired CPA from Iowa, will be visiting BCA en route to Indonesia to teach seminars on Christian budgeting and personal financial management/poverty alleviation.

4/3-4: Good Friday Worship Service, followed by Church board (CMT Church Ministry Team) Family retreat at Father’s House Boys’ Home on nearby Samal Island

Easter, My brother Phil arrives from New York with his family to teach and train in a series of puppetry workshops.

April 21-26: Philippine National Missions Assembly in Iloilo City

BCA has 384 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund:
$87,202: 3-Acre Property Need: $56,000 Raised-PTL! $56,000 Remaining: $0
Administration/Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Building:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $31,202 Remaining: $5,798

Present need: $37.50 for a new muffler for BCA’s “M” Bus. The old one is very loud.
1/12/2015

93rd Anniversary of the First Insulin treatment on a Diabetes Patient (1/23/1922), 110th Anniversary of the Discovery of the World’s Largest Diamond in South Africa (3,106 carats in 1/25/1905), Australia Day (1/26), First Prohibition Law passed (Tennessee-1/26/1838), United Nations’ International Holocaust Remembrance Day (1/27), Space Shuttle “Challenger” exploded (1/28/1986)

“Give up!” During a recent ministry seminar, we sixty delegates were challenged to carry-out the Great Commission of Jesus (to share the Gospel of salvation out to the uttermost parts of the earth) by “giving up” and to “think smaller”. At first I and the other delegates sat stunned by such a statement, but the explanation was just around the corner…

To “give up,” it was explained that we believers should sacrificially “give up” what we can afford to give to others so they can be empowered to do more for Jesus.

To “think smaller,” it was mentioned that most sinners who accept Jesus into their hearts do so when they are children. Yet a majority of the resources used for evangelism are designated for adult ministries. Instead we should also “think smaller” and evangelize the “little people” (children).

Elvie and I brought PJ and Abby with us as we recently visited a government detention center for juvenile criminals. A big difference between this government home and our own Father’s House children’s homes is that we get the street children before they get caught breaking the law, while the government home is to hold the kids after they have committed crimes.

Since PJ and Abby had accompanied us to the event, our son PJ nudged me, pointing to a chubby boy in the front row. “Hey, That’s Jason!” A year ago during an evangelistic outreach on the streets of Davao City late one night, we had befriended many “dirt-poor” street-children. A few days later four of those boys found their way miles away to our BCA school campus and even stayed overnight as we ate dinner together and watched Christian videos. The next day they sat-in on BCA’s first grade class.

They had such a good time, we researched whether they could join the boys in our Father’s House children’s home. But since the boys are not orphans, their parents insisted that the boys continue begging on the streets and sleeping on the sidewalks amidst dangerous prostitutes, gays and drug dealers.

Yet ten-yr-old Jason is so very talented, it is a shame that he is stuck in a government detention center (he had been caught by the police for stealing).

Even though the juvenile male delinquents have a roof over their heads and food and clothes, the home is boring for them. So during our visit there, we played games with them and distributed gifts. We even were given permission to share a Bible message!

“Jason,” I challenged, as I was finishing up my Bible challenge, “I know that you are an excellent rapper. Can you please perform for the other 39 boys here?” Through cheers and applause, Jason was convinced. You could hear a pin drop as his housemates waited in rapt anticipation for what this ten year old boy could do. Suddenly he began and gave an incredible performance. His words all rhymed, and congested together rapp-style in an incredible montage of supersonic skill. Thunderous applause deafened us as a huge smile spread across Jason’s face. His housemates: murderers, rapists and drug “messengers” now considered this newly-arrived resident as a superstar. Why? Because we and our friends “Gave up” some of our time and “Thought smaller” thus carrying out a portion of Christ’s Great Commission! 

Until next time… Let the Islands rejoice!

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Prayer Request: Please pray for our upcoming board meeting for our Father’s House children’s homes, as we schedule renovations of the boys’ personal lockers, electrical connections and beds (presently made from tree branches and thin sheets of plywood). Also our administrator will present what is yet lacking to finalize government paperwork and personnel changes, which will make it possible to have children (like Jason) sent to us to make their juvenile detention homes less crowded and also make the children’s lives more Christ-focused.

Please also pray for the distribution of “Samaritan’s Purse” Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in local churches during the months of February and March.

Please also pray for the Governing Board of Faith International Academy as we plan our upcoming March Board retreat, during which our goal is to pin down the policies surrounding the decision-making process for the new organization.
   
Praise: for our recent church board meeting in which the decision was made to use the $7,777 Building fund which they have been collecting over the past eighteen years. The plan is to build a foundation and pillars to hold a cement slab above BCA’s school gym. Upon this they will hold open-air partially-enclosed worship services instead of sharing the stage of the school. The storing of the musical equipment and sound system in cabinets from week to week has caused damage over the years. Also students end up playing with (and dropping) church stuff, plus some items have been stolen after school performances when families and friends attend the school functions. After the school finishes building its new campus, it will focus on placing funds in escrow to repay the church should the church ever find a property of its own which it can afford.

Upcoming Events:

2015:

1/23: Annual Tree Planting by BCA students

1/24: Local Kiwanis Centennial Celebration: People’s Park, Davao City

2/2: Annual Board meeting for Father’s House Orphanages.

2/4: I speaker for the Faith International Academy Faculty/Staff Devotions.

2/11: Flo, the retired Kentucky sponsor of a BCA student who has been leading her church Women’s group in making Gospel tracts out of used greeting cards (for our evangelistic community youth outreaches) will be fulfilling her dream to visit BCA for a few weeks.

2/13: Annual Teacher Appreciation Ceremony/Presentations at BCA

2/17: Bimonthly Board meeting for Faith International Academy (I Chair) Discussion: “Global Ends and Moral Owners” (Revision of Board Manual, Section One), plus proposed Teacher Appreciation/Incentive package & Budget Presentation.

3/6: Annual Board meeting for Davao Christian Leadership Foundation (I chair).

3/6-7: Faith International Academy Board Retreat with guest Speaker Paul Campey (I chair)

3/12: I visit as guest speaker for the Faith International Academy Elementary School Chapel

3/15: Harold, a retired CPA from Iowa, will be visiting BCA en route to Indonesia to teach seminars on Christian budgeting and personal financial management/poverty alleviation.

4/3-4: Good Friday Worship Service, followed by Church board (CMT Church Ministry Team) Family retreat at Father’s House Boys’ Home on nearby Samal Island

Easter, 2015: My brother Phil arrives from New York with his family to teach and train in a series of puppetry workshops.

April 21-26: Philippine National Missions Assembly in Iloilo City

BCA has 380 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund: $87,102: 3-Acre Property
Need: $56,000 Raised-PTL! $56,000 Remaining: $0
Administration/Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Building:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $31,102 Remaining: $5,898 

Present need: $40 fluorescent light bulbs, starters and ballast
1/15/2014

January 15, 2015:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (1/19)

“Wake up, Pastor Paul!” Little First-grader JC put his two hands on either side of my head (from behind) and gave me a tender shake. Since our family car and pickup truck are both in the shop for repairs, Elvie and I were riding downtown (to do our errands) with the students in one of our BCA school buses.

It’d been a very busy few days, so I was somewhat drowsy. “At least I can get some shuteye here in the front seat” or so I thought…

“Wake up, Pastor Paul!” Eight times (until JC finally reached his stop) my friendly “human alarm clock” gave me a running commentary and shook me back from dreamland when my eyelids got heavy.

This past Sunday during church I had preached on the first commandment “Only one true God” from First Corinthians 8, reminding the congregation to Worship, Work for, and Welcome the One True God in our lives. These three commands seem obvious to a believer, but often we need somebody like JC to keep an eye of accountability on us to shake us awake from straying from God’s clear commands. And the most obvious one, mentioned over and over in scripture is to keep God: (1) First and (2) Foremost as the (3) Focus of our lives.

While at the store I had to pick up a t-shirt, but forgot my size. So I tugged on the back of my t-shirt and confronted a man passing by, “Excuse me sir, but I can’t remember my size. Could you look at the tag and tell me what it says?” Of course the man was friendly enough to comply. Sometimes the reminders needed for integrity in our lives are not to shake us awake, but to come alongside a fellow believer to remind us of where we stand as a follower of God: what our special identity is with the Creator.

Also this past week we received notification from three American donors, two from Florida  who gave for BCA’s new building.  The first wanted to bring our “Remaining Funds Needed” down below $7,000, so gave $110! The next gave another $1,000! That brings the still-needed total for the BCA building down to below $6,000! Is God awesome, or what? One of these two donors is trying to convince her church missions committee to pray regularly for the exciting work God is doing here in Davao City. The third donor (from Vermont) was challenged by last week’s email which mentioned the need for funds for fuel for our school buses. So they gave $500 for fuel, library paint and school supplies.

There are so very many ways to “Keep God First” in our lives. Like CJ, we can shake others awake when they stray from their main focus. Like the “t-shirt man” we can assist others when they request help, and like the three donors, we can help carry other’s burdens so that their attention can stay focused on the purpose for our existence: Pleasing Our Creator.
Praise God for the opportunities He has given each of us today to “Keep God First” as the First of the Ten Commandments requires.

Until next time… Let the Islands rejoice!

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Prayer Request: Please pray for the ongoing succession of “Surprise” inspections anticipated over the course of the next few weeks. The government is especially strict when it comes to inspecting private Christian schools like ours, even more so than during their inspection of government public schools. We work with the very poor, who cannot afford to pay the tuition and expenses required of students in public schools.

Also please pray for comfort for one of BCA’s secretaries, Orbina, who had a miscarriage this week.
  
Praise: for a New York Home Economics teacher who, over the course of 2014 recycled bottles and cans left over by students and gave weekly to BCA. Her total donated “bottle money” for the year was almost $200!

Upcoming Events:

1/15-18: Pope Francis visits the Philippines

1/17: Church Leadership Team’s (CLT) Vision-Casting Meeting for 2015 (I chair)

1/18: Church Ministry Team’s (CMT) Planning Session Meeting for 2015 (based on CLT’s vision: I chair)

1/19: Operation Christmas Child (OCC) Day-long follow-up seminar in Davao City.

1/23: Annual Tree Planting by BCA students

1/24: Local Kiwanis Centennial Celebration: People’s Park, Davao City

2/2: Annual Board meeting for Father’s House Orphanages.

2/11: Flo, the retired Kentucky sponsor of a BCA student who has been leading her church Women’s group in making Gospel tracts out of used greeting cards (for our evangelistic community youth outreaches) will be fulfilling her dream to visit BCA for a few weeks.

2/13: Annual Teacher Appreciation Ceremony/Presentations at BCA

2/17: Bimonthly Board meeting for Faith International Academy (I Chair) Discussion: “Global Ends and Moral Owners” (Revision of Board Manual, Section One), plus proposed Teacher Appreciation/Incentive package & Budget Presentation.

3/6: Annual Board meeting for Davao Christian Leadership Foundation (I chair).

3/12: I visit as guest speaker for the Faith International Academy Elementary School Chapel

3/15: Harold, a retired CPA from Iowa, will be visiting BCA en route to Indonesia to teach seminars on Christian budgeting and personal financial management/poverty alleviation.

Easter, 2015: My brother Phil arrives from New York with his family to teach and train in a series of puppetry workshops.

April 21-26 Philippine National Missions Assembly in Iloilo City

BCA has 375 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund: $87,052:

3-Acre Property
Need: $56,000 Raised-PTL! $56,000 Remaining: $0
Administration/Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Building:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $31,052 Remaining: $5,948

Present need: $145 for ongoing library renovation: (for “loft” storage room) 6 sheets ¾” plywood @ $22 = $132, 1 kg #2 finishing nails $2, 2 kg #4 common nails @ $2 = $4, 1 kg #3 common nails $2, 1 quart Polytuff sealer/hardener $5.

2014 Donor Receipts: Have now been mailed out for all who have donated to BCA in the past year (not including funds given through Christian Aid, since they send their own receipts). You should receive yours before February 1. If you desire a copy sooner, please email me at blckids@yahoo.com with your request.

1/8/2015

January 8, 2015:  Happy “Clean off Your Desk” Day (1/12) and “Be Kind to Food-servers” Month (January)

“I came to bring you life…more abundantly!”

As BCA kids received their brand new, packed-full backpacks, I explained the similarities between these special Christmas gifts and also the new life we have when we become believers in Jesus Christ.

“Open yours up and see how many awesome treats are inside! There are toys, food, stuffed animals, school supplies…so much stuff!” The faces on the little BCA kids, hundreds of them, reflected the wonderment that only a child’s eyes can contain. Turning my thoughts back to my own growing up years when I had gifts with my name on them under the family Christmas tree, it was exciting to see that same type of satisfaction on the faces of children who may never have had  Christmas gifts before.

“Salvation is in some ways like these backpacks.” I challenged the students. “It is free, just like the backpacks. However, somebody bought them for you, just like salvation. Jesus bought you eternal life when He died on the cross for you. The gifts inside your backpack are no good to you until you receive and open your backpack. Like salvation, in which there are lots of “perks” as well as the obvious gift of eternal life. Gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control are yours. In fact, “every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” I am sure that all believers in Jesus would agree that, “if heaven never was promised to me, it’s been worth just having the lord in my life.” Would you like this awesome gift, that keeps on giving, every day of our lives? Just pray this simple prayer with me: Jesus, I am a sinner…”

A few days later, while I flew with Elvie, PJ and Abby to Guam to renew Elvie’s American visa, while waiting eight hours in the Manila airport terminal, a Greek-speaking couple from Cyprus sat alongside our son PJ. After they conversed an hour or so, PJ discretely turned  around to me and whispered, “Dad, it’s your turn…” Wow, time went by so quickly, as I once again shared with this young man and his wife the same message that I’d sha4ed with the BCA kids…that there is sooooo much more to salvation than the gift of eternal life. What’s better than eternal life? Abundant Eternal life!

Friends in the USA experienced some of the exciting joys that God provides for believers recently as well, when packing up some much-needed supplies to ship to our Davao ministry: “We finished packing a fifth box yesterday, loaded up the truck, and headed for the Asian grocery store...the new owner asked me how many we had, and if this would be our last shipment for the year.  We brought in the boxes while she waited on a customer (the store was jam-packed with 30-40 boxes waiting to be shipped).  

"I couldn't figure out why she would ask me that, so when I went up to the counter and she asked again, I said I never know what donations would be coming in, but we'd probably have a few more before the end of the year.  She said the previous owner had told her (nicely) to give us a free box before the end of the year, so since we had five, she only charged us for four...and handed me back a $100 bill.  God is so good (and so are the store owners)."

Our American friends also mentioned that lots of the stuff they’d sent came from generous gifts and donations from their pastor.

As we are now getting used to writing “2015” instead of “2014” on all our paperwork, we can ask ourselves, “How will we use this delightful New Year God has granted us?” While challenging our church members on the last Sunday of the year, I also set sixteen goals for myself to accomplish these next 365 days (listed at the end of this email). I’d listed among these goals to get PJ enrolled in an American college and also to acquire dual citizenship (USA and Philippines) for him.

Like PJ’s prospective dual citizenship, we are citizens of two worlds: Heaven and Earth. While here, we learn and grow in our relationship with Jesus. But one day we will say goodbye to this world and enter into our glorious new home. Like those 373 backpacks filled with special treats, God has so many exciting surprises in store for us during this brand-new year of 2015!

Until next time… Let the Islands rejoice!

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Prayer Request: Please pray for God’s favor regarding PJ’s college applications. The schedule for most of the institutions’ notifications of acceptance and financial aid is January/February.

Also, please pray wisdom as we transition our girls’ orphanage into a home for widowed families. Please also pray for the two orphanages’ administrator Callem to get our Government Social Services permit for the two homes processed at the beginning of the year.

Praise: for an American family who, during their holiday reunions challenged each sibling to give to this ministry at the same time. What an exciting blessing, as over $200 was given, and was used for fuel for our school buses!

Upcoming Events:

2/11: Flo, the retired Kentucky sponsor of a BCA student who has been leading her church Women’s group in making Gospel tracts out of used greeting cards (for our evangelistic community youth outreaches) will be fulfilling her dream to visit BCA for a few weeks.

3/15: Harold, a retired CPA from Iowa, will be visiting BCA en route to Indonesia to teach seminars on Christian budgeting and personal financial management/poverty alleviation.
Easter, 2015: My brother Phil arrives from New York with his family to teach and train in a series of puppetry workshops.

April 21-26: Philippine National Missions Assembly in Iloilo City

BCA has 373 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund: $85,941:
3-Acre Property
Need: $56,000 Raised-PTL! $56,000 Remaining: $0
Administration/Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Building:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $29,941 Remaining: $7,059 

Present need: $150 for the remaining balance of our school buses’ fuel bill for December.
Paul’s Goals for 2014 (accomplished 12 of 19):

  1. Turn 53 years old (done)
  2. Read Bible through 3x (done)
  3. Run 300 kilometers (done)
  4. Bike 300 kilometers (done)
  5. Visit Israel and baptize PJ and Abigail (done)
  6. Weigh 165 pounds (well, that plus a little bit more…undone)
  7. Read 52 books (undone)
  8. Memorize James 1 (undone)
  9. Buy new BCA campus (undone)
  10. Have regular morning personal devotions with God (done)
  11. Pray with three people to receive Jesus into their hearts (done)
  12. Create blueprints for second floor of our new home, to replace our glutted home destroyed in the severe flooding before Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. (undone)
  13. Build an Administrative Building on the new BCA campus (undone)
  14. Tithe 10% to church every week, even when out-of-town (done)
  15. Have all seven BCA school buses [plus our car fixed and running again after Haiyan/Yolanda typhoon (undone)
  16. Develop in our two orphanage boards updated job descriptions to replace our former administrator (done)
  17. Send $2,000 in emergency aid with Elvie’s team to the Palo/Tacloban area for relief from Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda (done)
  18. Practice my French horn regularly (done)
  19. Develop early n=morning 5 minute prayer time (done)

Paul’s Goals for 2015:

  1. Turn 54 years old
  2. Read the Bile through 3x
  3. Buy a new campus for BCA
  4. Demolish our destroyed old home and build the first floor of our new home
  5. Lose 30-50 pounds (from 180)
  6. Memorize James 1 and 2
  7. Achieve dual citizenship for PJ (must be done between the ages of 17 & 18)
  8. Enroll PJ in college in the USA
  9. Begin swimming again (with club membership)
  10. Renew USA driver’s license
  11. Visit 16 New York churches on furlough from June through August
  12. Memorize 200 vocabulary words in the Cebuano language
  13. Reorganize my office
  14. Tithe 10% to church every week, even when out-of-town
  15. Find eighty new sponsors (total 453) for BCA’s potential new students in poverty
  16. Revise our girls’ orphanage into a home for families with widowed moms.
1/1/2015

January 1, 2015:  Happy New Year 2015! (1/1/15), First New Year’s Day as the Julian Calendar takes effect (1/1/45 BC), President Eisenhower’s Proclamation includes Alaska as a portion of the USA (1/3/1959), Epiphany-celebration of the arrival of the Magi to Bethlehem to see the Christ-child (1/6)

“Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Sharing from Matthew 3, I challenged our listeners to consider the gifts that we give to others at Christmas time as given to Jesus as His birthday presents.

Because of the many who have given for the backpack distribution this year, we are able to reach out to hundreds of BCA kids. But the gifts themselves have not been the only presents we have provided for our Redeemer. It has also been the time involved to give out these gifts, which in the “Third World” always seems to take twice as long.

Consider this past Monday: it was to be the busiest day for our Christmas giveaways: five different locations! We got up early and were ready with our BCA staff at 6:30am. We loaded up one of the BCA buses and also our family pickup truck, with gifts for nearly 200 kids, and then drive it all to the pier. After waiting at the pier an hour (the previous ferry filled up to capacity and left just as we had arrived) we drove our vehicles onto the boat for the 20 min. ferry ride.

Landing a mile away across the bay at Samal Island our first stop was Babak. But when we got there on the bumpy dirt road, the church and its gate were locked up! Elvie asked our school secretary if she had confirmed with the local pastor about our visit, and although she had sent him a text message, he had never confirmed and therefore knew nothing about our arrival date or time.

Driving to the local fresh-foods open-air market we met some of the Babak church members who were surprised that we were there. So we rescheduled for the following Sunday afternoon, and they assured us that all the kids sponsored by BCA’s school program from their church would be there.

Elvie and the ladies bartered with the ones running food stands and got fish, bread, rice, noodles and banana leaves. After stopping at a tire-fixing “Vulcanizing” corner shack to pump air into our soft tires, we headed to our Fatehr’s House Boys’ home to while away the time until our afternoon program was to start at the Pinaplata church (also on Samal Island).

Our bus and pickup truck were greeted much differently at our second stop than at our first one. Instead of locked gate and doors, Eleven orphan boys ran out to meet us, hugging and “blessing” each adult of our dozen-member team. Elvie led in games with the kids, and the five or six kids with us learned from the orphans some fun games that were made-up by our creative orphan boys. After lots of games, we all sang Christmas hymns and then Pivy (our sign language teacher visiting from New York) taught the kids how to sign “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.

As the kids all played some more and some of the adults cooked-up the groceries they’d purchased at the fresh market, I curled up across two of the boys’ small wooden beds and stuffed a backpack under my head to catch up on some of my sleep hours sacrificed for our early-morning departure from the school.

Shaken awake oh, too soon, we all gathered around two end-to-end tables and (after saying grace for the smoked fish, noodles, fruit and rice spread before us) dug our hands and fingers into the community pile of food laid-out on huge banana leaves. No silverware nor plates to wash when you eat with your hands off of a community six-foot long banana leaf!

Before heading off back to the bus and truck, Pivy taught the alphabet in sign language and each boy, one-by-one spelled out for her (she cannot hear) their own names in sign language. Elvie also promised the orphan children that we would all return Sunday after our visit to the Babak church, and stay overnight to play games with the boys. We’d even bring the orphans from our girls’ home along with us!

Our fourth stop, a half-hour drive away to Pinaplata, required us to pass under a bridge, on a very narrow cement low-water bridge. The big BCA “jeepney” bus would have trouble turning around, and the pickup truck would have to wait to cross until the ordeal was completed in giving the monster bus an about-face. So we sent a scout ahead first to see if the church was locked up like the first one was. Sure enough, it was. The families had decided to take a public bus to the last church so we could meet with those from four different locations at once: Pinaplata, Kaputian, Sian and Bandera. So another forty minutes later to the other end of Samal Island we finally unloaded our huge boxes of Christmas backpacks.

En route, since the day was getting quite sultry, we stopped at a corner “Sari-sari” store to pick up some cold bottled water for our New York guest and fresh tapwater in cellophane bags for the rest of us. Boy, that water wetted our whistles!

After the boxes were unloaded Pivy taught the sign language for “Hark the Herald Angels” again and the island children also performed Christmas songs and recited Bible verses for us. After their performances, Elvie read from Isaiah 9 about the names prophesied for Jesus: “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God and Prince of Peace”. Using my notes from a message I had given a few weeks earlier (added to some of her own), she translated into the local vernacular for their island families (mostly moms and their kids)

Then the children excitedly awaited their names to be called for the long-anticipated backpack giveaway. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, a friend whose husband was about to enter hospice for the final stages of cancer, sent me a message on Facebook, “How many backpacks are you still lacking?”  The answer was 53, which I would inform her about when I was to return home a few hours later.

Name-by-name the Island children picked numbers to receive boy or girl backpacks filled with toys, school materials and food appropriate to their respective genders. We were served a small meal (of fish and rice) prepared by the pastor’s daughter and her husband and son to celebrate my dedication of their small new house. Then we walked to the Oceanside to analyze the condition of the boat we’d purchased last year for pastors to reach and evangelize remote areas of Samal Island as well as the neighboring one, Talicud.

It was dark when we got back home, but most of the huge boxes were empty and our hearts were truly filled. Ensuing days would include distributing piles of wrapped gifts of clothes and toys for poor children on an overnight trip to Panabo (we slept side-by-side with about fifty adults and children on a hard cement floor).

A dozen different locations, nearly five hundred children in total reached, as we not only gave backpacks to BCA kids, but also personally provided food and clothes to sea gypsies, mountain tribal beggars along the sides of the road, and juvenile criminals in local government containment camps. We ate breakfasts of assorted meats while traveling: pig intestines, chicken necks, lots of fish (bones, head and fins) rice, Coke and almost no vegetables except cincamus (Philippine turnips).

On our way home in the afternoon, the day after Christmas we watched as trucks emblazoned with “City Engineer’s Office” parked along the roadside to pick up the thousands of mountain tribespeople and drive them back to their mountain villages. They’d been sleeping on the sidewalks, in public parks and under the bleachers of open-air basketball stadiums, so they could beg from shoppers during November and December.

Then on Saturday evening we had church members and their kids sharpen 200 of our leftover pencils to have the congregation write on index cards their goals for 2015.

Gold, frankincense and myrrh may not be the presents this year which we’d provided as gifts to Jesus, but alternate gifts are the ones we have brought: backpacks, food, clothes, time and energy. Oh, and our American Facebook friend whose husband is entering hospice? She paid for all the lacking 53 backpacks! Praise God for the wise men of today, who are still giving birthday presents to Jesus!

Until next time… Let the Islands rejoice!

Please pray: (as you stay on your knees, we’ll stay on our feet!)

Prayer Request: Please pray for the hundreds of BCA kids (of all grades) as they work on their holiday assignments in preparation for their return to school January 7, 2015. Also please pray for them as they travel. One year while ridging to a remote swampy area to visit with relatives, one of our BCA pupils was fatally bitten by a dengue-ridden mosquito.

Praise: for the last 71 lacking backpacks for us to distribute to poor Filipinos this week: donated by funds from friends in Singapore, Pennsylvania and New York!

Also praise God for the restful week our family is able to enjoy in nearby Guam as Elvie renews her semiannual American visa.

Upcoming Events:

1/6: Barner family returns from Guam.

1/7: Faith International Academy classes resume.

1/7: Faith International Academy Identity Celebration. (I speak as board chairman)

1/20: Mike, a Christian retired single soldier from New York, will visit BCA and may stay as a career missionary.

2/11: Flo, the retired Kentucky sponsor of a BCA student who has been leading her church Women’s group in making Gospel tracts out of used greeting cards (for our evangelistic community youth outreaches) will be fulfilling her dream to visit BCA for a few weeks.

3/8: Harold, a retired CPA from Iowa, will be visiting BCA en route to Indonesia to teach seminars on Christian budgeting and personal financial management/poverty alleviation.

Easter, 2015: My brother Phil arrives from New York with his family to teach and train in a series of puppetry workshops.

April 21-26: Philippine National Missions Assembly in Ilioilo City

BCA has 373 sponsored students. As God sends new sponsors, we will add more out-of-school children to the sponsorship program.

BCA’S New Campus Fund: $85,891:
3-Acre Property
Need: $56,000 Raised-PTL! $56,000 Remaining: $0
Administration/Temporary Classrooms/Multipurpose Building:
Need: $37,000 Raised: $29,891 Remaining: $7,109 

Present need: $104 for paint for decorating BCA’s external wall and also to seal library roof: $31 for 2 gallons paint acrylic base latex brown cap, $22 for 1 gallon paint happy glow yellow island prima, $18 for 1 gallon fortune red island paint roofkote, $16 for  1 liter paint for outside wall black island prima semi gloss acrylic. $15 for 1 gallon white island prima semi gloss acrylic and $2 for 3 paint brushes (3/4 inch).


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Last edited March 1, 2015
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