Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Philippines - April 2013

Well, if truth be told, we've been doing so much traveling this past year that we failed to take the time to post our trips on this blog.  Let's see if we can correct our ways going forward given all of the 2013 travel planned to our microfinance partners.

Trips to The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), our microfinance partner in the Philippines, never disappoint!  As high as our expectations are every trip, CCT always finds a way to exceed them.  The April 2013 trip was no exception.  If you would like to visit CCT with PEER Servants, mark October 11-20, 2013 on your calendars and contact us at info@peerservants.org to get more information.

PEER Servants President, Todd Engelsen, accepting CCT's Award
This trip was our smallest yet to CCT - just Jeremy Schuh, PEER Servants Corporate Intern, and President Todd Engelsen.  There were two primary reasons for the trip.  The first was to accept an award CCT was giving PEER Servants for our 5 years of partnership at a gala event in Manila (see picture).  The second was to complete work on the next case study on CCT, "Spiritual Integration in Every Nook and Cranny of Your Microfinance Operations".  The award was a real honor to accept from CCT, and Jeremy did a great job completing his research to be able to write the case study.  As usual, God had far more planned for this trip than we did.

Francine, one of CCT's inspiring "Community Partners"
The first surprise God had for us was the opportunity to meet some of CCT's amazing clients, or "community partners" as they call them.  Over the years, we have met many of CCT's community partners, and most of them are just that - partners in effecting community transformation.  It's one of the reasons CCT may have as much kingdom impact as any Christian MFI with which we are familiar - they don't do all the work, they partner with the Holy Spirit and their "clients" in doing it.  One of those inspiring community partners was Francine, pictured here.  She started with under a $100 loan, but has since grown not one business, but two (the second for her daughter).  She has come to a strong faith in Jesus and is now hoping and praying her husband will come to know Jesus in a similar way.  Click here to check out Francine's story and join us in praying for the salvation of her family members.

God wasn't done with his surprises.  You know when Jesus talks about the first becoming last and the last becoming first?  Most may think that only applies to heaven, but we are supposed to be the ones extending the kingdom of heaven to earth.  We were reminded of that on this trip when we had the opportunity to meet

Jervie (right) and Jerby (middle) with Todd Engelsen
Jervie and Jerby, pictured here with Todd Engelsen.  Both of these handsome and sharp young men used to be living on the streets of Manila.  CCT saw them, and saw them as God sees them.  They provided them a safe place to live, food on their table, and access to excellent education.  Through that kind of love, Jervie and Jerby embraced the even greater love God has for them and desired to follow Jesus.  Remember the gala event in Manila at which PEER Servants received their award?  Not many present at that event will remember PEER Servants, but no one will forget Jervie and Jerby.  As they gave their testimones, those who heard couldn't help but celebrate the fact that the kingdom of heaven was among us.  Many in that room were "first" in the eyes of the world, but some had chosen to become last, so that those the world would consider "last", like Jervie and Jerby, could become first.  They were the ones that evening who brought the greatest joy to those present, the joy that comes when we see the kingdom of heaven being extended to earth.

Do you want to see more of the kingdom of heaven being extended to earth?  Join us October 11-20, 2013 for the next trip to the Philippines!