Brief Bio

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Quezon City, Metro-Manila, Philippines
I am a runner, pastor, sociologist, teacher, and missionary. After living in Chicago for 6 years, I discerned a call to go to Manila, Philippines to live and work among the urban poor, and combine my passions for ministry, running, and the oppressed. After serving in the Philippines in 2012 and 2013, I returned to the United States for two years to finish my dissertation, get ordained, spend time with my family, and work at a neighborhood center in Kansas City. Since then, I have been working in the Philippines with Companion With the Poor as a missionary. Each day I look forward to how God will direct my steps as I live into His work of restoring a broken world.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Picture A Day [March Part I] - Tatalon and Manila

A Picture A Day [March - Part I] - Tatalon and Manila 

3/1/12 – Statue in Manila.  “One of the greatest Filipinos, Apolinario Mabini. Whose thoughts and deeds gave life to our nation…joined Jose Rizal during the second part of the Philippine Revolution…known as the “Brains of the Revolution” and the minister of foreign affairs of the first republic of the Philippines….He warned Aguinaldo about the Americans and true enough, after the Treaty of Paris in December 1989, where Spain sold a country it no longer controlled, the U.S. forces fired on a Filipino patrol in February, 1899, and started the Filipino-American war.”  There are parts of our history as Americans that we (or at least I) are likely not aware of, though the world remembers it sure enough.  The US ended up occupying the Philippines for 33 years after the Spain had ruled it for 333 years, and though the US was instrumental in helping the Filipinos recover from the Spanish colonization, establish freedom, and fight against the Japanese’s 3 year reign during WWII, they still remember the initial conflict between our countries, and thus many scars still remain.  I have been prayerful about further reconciliation between our countries, and like my professor said to us all before leaving for our respective countries (Kenya, India, Philippines), as Americans we must always go apologizing because of the wounds we have caused throughout history (though again, many have been forgiven).

3/2/12 – Sites from the overpass.  Here you can see a bit of the color amidst the somewhat dismal color schemes of concrete, dirty rivers, and buildings everywhere.  The jeepneys (first picture) line the main thoroughfares here in Manila, and each has its own style and design (aesthetically that is; in terms of size and structural design the all nearly all the same, though some fit 16 and some 24).  I have come to enjoy riding these and the buses (preferably ‘Ordinary Fare” which means no air-conditioning, which is usually too cold anyway, and cheaper mind you).  The second picture is of two older ladies sporting their payongs (ubrellas) to protect from the noonday sun.  And while Americans might use this to shade themselves from the sun and prevent sunburn, the Filipinos actually use these so they don’t get darker and can keep a lighter skin color.   In face, in the same way that we use suntan lotion in the States, Filipinos often using “whitening cream” to look lighter.  We’ve determined that the same companies sell both :)

3/3/12 – ISACC Meeting.  ISACC, Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture, was started back in the 80s by socially minded Christians who wanted to seek holistic transformation in the city and culture (particularly Manila and the Philippines to start) through the church and the medium of social science.  Included in this group are sociologists, lawyers, doctors, writers, artists, political scientists, politicians, and even some theologians/pastors who are using their various disciplines to bring about change in the social, spiritual, and political systems here in Manila.  They have a weekly radio broadcast, a number of published books, regular seminars and training, and integrated Bible study material for the grassroots organizations.  I was excited to be a part of this annual meeting as they shared what God has been doing over the past year and where they sense Him calling them over the next three years!  Included in their goals for the future is raising up a younger generation of socially minded Christians and expanding their mission and reach to other countries here in Asia.  May God bless their work!

3/4/12 – Living Stones on the Rock Church (LRC) Fairview.  So my dad requested some more pictures from my ministry sites, thus prompting me to take a few more pictures at church this Sunday.  Currently I am serving at LRC Fairview around two days a week, doing an internship with CCT (Center for Community Transformation) two days a week, and participating in the Spiritual formation of the MMP (Mission Ministry Philippines) missionaries.  This is in addition to my studies through APU (Azusa Pacific University) and ATS (Asian Theological Seminary) and language studies at His Name Language School.  Most of the pictures of the youth in our church, though the second one includes Pastor Elmer, one of the other missionaries from Tatalon who helps with the music, and the third four of the adults who had birthdays in March and one of the pastors, Pastor Mike (on the right) who is saying a prayer over them.  It was a great time of worship and fellowship following, and they have me scheduled to preach already this coming week!

3/5/12 – Keeping it Simple.  So amidst all of the ministry, school, family time, community living, and internships, it is the cross that is at the heart of why I am in the Philippines.  While it is easy to stray from this reality, and get caught up in being busy and bettering myself and others in this world, the cross continues to remind me that our first call is to “come and die,” “to take up our cross daily,” and to “follow Him.”  It is only in this dying daily that we can also then be risen with Christ daily, and participate with Him through His Spirit and by His Son in bringing life, hope, love, and peace to the people and communities in which we live.  Praise God that He has given us this symbol to remind us of our calling and mission while on this side of Heaven.  As is cited during the communion, when we take the bread and the cup, we are remember Christ’s death (and resurrection) until He comes again.

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