Hello From The Philippines!

We know most of you are probably suffering from a cooler climate, so we send you some hot weather and our love from Cebu.
It’s been an exciting week of adventures and God has moved in ways that have been so powerful.  If you haven’t been able to follow us on Facebook, I will put our daily posts below so you can see what we’ve been up to.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  It has been so so good for us to be in this environment of passion and excitement for God with our friends at YWAM Cebu.  To be surrounded by so many young people with a heart for missions and outreach has reminded us of where our love story and mission for God together began!  We hope you can experience a little taste of what it has been like through these posts below.
Blessing and Love,
Dennis and Emily
Monday

Today was a day of preparation for our feedings and ministry the rest of the week. We started out with a powerful time of worship with our friends from Ywam Cebu! Then we had a lot of rice, sardines, and noodles to buy for our giveaway tomorrow where we will share the gift of food and the hope of Jesus! We even had a special donation from a young friend of ours who will now help provide new shirts for 100 kids!!! What a blessing to them! Thank you for sacrificially giving Elise Adams! You are making a difference in these little ones lives!

In the midst of preparing, we also visited two of our sites. As always, it’s such an eye opening experience. Especially when we see the kids’ playground is the same dumpsite where they get food, work, and make a home. (See parachute video) We are reminded of the great need and asking the Lord what more he would have us to do as klm. While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the need, the Lord has shown us that being obedient and doing what he has called us to do makes a difference in lives.

Dennis was once like these dump children and one time went 4 days without food. His life was changed when someone said yes to God and helped provide the gift of food and the hope of Christ in a similar way. Where is God calling us to be obedient and step out to take a stand in our lives? When we all do that, change around the globe is possible on a large scale. Let’s rise up church!

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101357830703846/10101357830559136/?type=3&theater

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Tuesday

Finishing up ministry for the day and reflecting…boy was it a very init (hot) day!

The day started with a huge team effort. We had our kitchen helpers preparing a big meal of pancit sandwiches for the feeding program today. Our ywam/USA team took on dividing rice and packaging it along with the sardines and noodles for our families.

200 bags later, we began preparing a tool we used to tell the Gospel for our sweeties. Each bead we packed into bags along with the chord so they could make a bracelet as we told the story of Christ.
Black is for our sin
Red is for Jesus who died for our sins
Blue is for believing in Jesus and putting our faith in Him
Yellow is for the change in our lives that we shine to the world
And Green is for growing in him through the Bible, prayer an doing to church

After all the preparation and an amazing group of willing people, families began arriving over 2 hours early! Not only that, but we had so many, we had to tell the Gospel three different times to get them all through.

We had a team working inside with adults and a team outside with our sweeties and we eventually came together for our feeding. We had some great helpers engage the kiddos in song before eating! So thankful for our team friends who stepped in to help and love and translate!

A large majority of our parents accepted the Gospel and we’re able to hear about ways to get connected into the church. Our littles were able to tell the story of the Gospel with their bracelets and many of them prayed to receive Jesus as well.

My eyes well with tears at a few things today.
1. To see such a God ordained team today work so hard in the heat to help reach families.
2. To see how many of the families were able to hear the truth of Jesus’ love for them.
3. The ability for our kids to take their bracelets into their neighborhoods and share what the beads meant to their friends.
4. The provision of God through all of you!!! This would not have been possible without our friends who helped and our church who stood behind us to help make this day possible!

Again, a theme runs in my mind’s of the magnitude of what God can do with willing hearts that give sacrificially through time, serving, and financially supporting klm.

Today over 300 kids and parents lives were impacted because of God’s hand and open hearts to serve, love and give. Thank you for helping change lives!

So much more to come!

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101358575117036/10101358573689896/?type=3&theater

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101358575117036/10101358574019236/?type=3&theater

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101358575117036/10101358574398476/?type=3&theater

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101358575117036/10101358574682906/?type=3&theater

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Wednesday

After dump site day, I always have to ponder about what it is I can say that will help you to experience the realness of it all.

I’ll try to describe the senses that we smell, see and touch on days like today.

1. I drive on the long road back to the dump and all I can see is puddles of muddy, stinky water and trash everywhere you look. We pull up to the dump stations post and see the families already gathering.
2. I smell the trash as soon as I step out of the van. It smells like a mix of rotting food and decomposing trash and steamy mud and water. Some of the kids and families are covered in that smell. The kids faces full of dirt and mud from what they live in.
3. I touch hundreds of hands with high fives and fist bumps…I touch the sweet heads of several children and smile, hoping they can feel the deep love of Jesus through my face…I kiss the heads of one of the babies the mamma asked me to kiss.

Beyond physical touch, every ounce of my being is touched. My eyes constantly In a watery state as I see my sweeties…God’s sweeties…some without clothes, some with rotting teeth, some with hair that hasn’t been washed in weeks..I hear stories from Mom’s of their husbands away or in prison….I hear the panic in their voices as their side of the dump was not able to be put on the names list for distribution…the look on the mammas faces when they realize they were one person away from getting meals for a week or a t-shirt for one of their kids.

I also see hope as I hear the kids laugh and dance In circle with us, somehow shaking the hardship of life off for a few moments and being able to feel happy for a time. I see them eating a meal and smiling…I see the absolute joy when they get a shirt that still has a tag on it. I see them proudly strap on a bracelet that they have just made with beads that we have told the story of Christ through.

And I feel hope in my heart that Jesus will use these 5 loaves and fishes, and multiply it to make disciples for his kingdom.

In the midst of my range of emotions, I don’t take lightly that so many hands helped make today possible…from a sacrificial gift of vacation money, to sacrificing time to come across the seas, to those who have given constant monthly partnership to help sponsor these kids…God use this to touch these lives…

And when it’s all done in the end church, may we all truly be able to leave a Kingdom Legacy in the places of the world God calls us to touch.

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/10101359355742656/

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101359398941086/10101359397603766/?type=3&theater

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101359398941086/10101359397728516/?type=3&theater

https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101359398941086/10101359397987996/?type=3&theater

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Thursday

Today we shifted from feeding ministry to ministry focused on gathering pastors and ministry leaders to start a conversation…a conversation about the hindrances to unifying and working together to see transformation, looking at what is already happening in this city, areas of lack and needed ministry within the city, and what action we were going to do. We ended with a time of prayer and commitment on what piece of the puzzle God was calling us each to be and collectively looking at how the bigger picture of the Kingdom of God comes into view when we each play our part.

The ministerial will work together to do some mapping of the city and look more strategically at how to see more people reached for Christ in a city where less than 5% of population is churched. We were thankful to get to be a part of the conversation and look at how klm can increase discipleship in each of our feeding area sites and of course share a meal of roasted pig!

We also are saying see ya later to one of our mission trip team members tonight as we send Pastor Steve back to the USA. We are so grateful for Lifespring’s focus on missions and ministry and for allowing their pastors to be a part of local and global mission. The rice distribution yesterday at the dump site would not have happened without our Church’s support!

It’s just another picture of what God does when His people join together in mission…a message that rings clear today from the Philippines.

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Friday

Dennis and I got to sneak away for a few minutes to have lunch with his family- A Christmas celebration of sorts since we won’t get to spend the actual holiday together. While oceans and language barrier for me might separate us, the love between family is strong. I am so blessed to have families from two nations and don’t take that lightly after our outreach tonight.

We got to go with our friends from YWAM Cebu tonight to an area where we had never been. Tangke is a fishing barangay close to the water. The YWAM team has been faithfully serving this area and it was so evident in the way the little ones ran along with the van both before and after the feeding and ministry time. They shouted “YWAM, YWAM!”

It was also evident in the way these littles loved on us…there were hugs, high fives, and many children clinging to and wanting to be held tonight…and for my mama heart, that was just fine. 😭😭

From the moment I got out of the van, I had my hands filled with precious children’s hands who led me down the path to the beach…we quickly started a game of red light/green light Filipino style. Their laughter is still ringing in my ears.

The fishing village is quite unique..we walked to the beach and boats abounded, as well as kids and mamas…YWAM did an amazing job leading in song and dance, sharing the Bible, and we were able to encourage some of the mamas tonight..But I think what struck me the most were the amount of young sweeties whose mamas were not around..they were passed from person to person or kid to kid as one explained that they just all take care of the baby that I am holding in the picture..this is the case for several of them.

These sweeties need a home..a safe place and my heart yearns with a discontent to find a way to help. The need tonight was overwhelming and as I held little ones and prayed over them, I wondered which would be sleeping on boats without a roof to cover their heads. My heart remained a bit in Tangke tonight…and I pray the Lord might use us there in some way…

Lord watch over those who are too little to watch over themselves in that village tonight and show us all in our various corners of the globe how we can be a puzzle piece to help a world in need.

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https://web.facebook.com/emily.richardson.98229/videos/pcb.10101360825906436/10101360822153956/?type=3&theater

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