What is the hardest thing about being a missionary in the Philippines?

Aaaaagh! Tough to answer in a few short sentences. Depending on the day you ask, it could be anything for us from not quite getting the challenging dialect of Cebuano, to the difficulty in finding dark green, leafy veggies, to being unable to get things done quickly & honestly at government offices.  LOL  For us, probably the time far-away from our family has been the hardest over all these years. We’ve missed births, deaths, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, baptisms, reunions …. you name it. All else pales to missing people you love and hold dear. Our nieces and nephews have grown up without us. When Friederich’s father passed away in May 1995, the snail mail brought word of his death two weeks after the funeral. It’s times like that when you feel very, very far away. Thank God for the internet, for Skype calls, Facetime, WhatsApp, and more. Bottom line is: where God calls you to go, He will always provide the great grace to be there. We have experienced a special ability to adapt wherever we have lived. That’s the special “G-Factor” (ie: God-Factor) in the whole calling of being a “sent one” to a foreign field. We focus on what we love, focus on the people and the good things all around us. We also keep a sense of humor and try not to let life’s daily struggles get us down. Those happen in every country around the world. In other words: bloom where you are planted!

Is it true that your German volunteers work with you for 10 months?

Absolutely! It’s true. Amazing, isn’t it? Yeah, we believe we have “the best of the best” who come work with CFM in Cebu City. They apply through our partner organization in Germany, APCM. So, if you are living in Germany, are over 18 yrs. old, and are looking for a place to do an exciting FSJ (free social year of service), call the Gospel Forum in Stuttgart and ask for the APCM representatives. They’ll send you to Carmen or Evi, and these two amazing women will have you fill out an application form. Beware — there is an interview process, an in-depth cross-cultural training, and you gotta be healthy and strong to come here for ten months. CFM normally has four volunteers who stay with us from mid-September to mid-July. They work hard. Sweat alot. Laugh and explore alot, too! And, they make life-changing experiences that you simply cannot learn in a textbook at home in school. Applications for APCM are taken each fall/winter, so get your foot in the door now if you are interested.

Check out their Facebook page:  APCM – Deine Zeit im Ausland

Can I sponsor a Pro.Vision Kid?

Yes and no. Yes, if you live in Australia. You can connect with ONE Foundation in Adelaide (our strategic partner) and they’ll send you all the info you need & get a sponsorship packet to you.

Otherwise, CFM does not offer individual child sponsorships. Why not? Glad you asked. The time, effort, and cost to manage individual sponsorships is beyond our capacity (funding and manpower). We’d rather our staff BE with the kids than sit behind a computer and do data entry and write to sponsors ABOUT the kids.

So, what we CAN offer is to sponsor our ministry! You can specifically pick an area of the city and invest in that particular Pro.Vision Kids neighborhood. In this way, your money goes to help make things flow in that community.  That’s a HUGE way to transform lives. Also, because of the high risk areas in which we work, we have turnover rates. Teen pregnancies, school drop outs, families falling apart and moving, chip away at the sponsorship program. Kids just disappear and we end up with a willing sponsor and no child. So “adopting” a group is the way to go. Or, just giving to the general operating costs of Pro.Vision Kids is the ultimate; you help pay for our staff, transportation, food, weekly rice, school costs, medical needs, special gifts, and so much more!

We’ll even send you photos to put on your fridge and to show your friends ALL THE COOL KIDS that you are investing in! Pray about it! You can make a huge difference in the life of not just one, but many “slum kids” from super poor areas. You’ll be part of our Pro.Vision Kids team.  God bless you!

What kind of work would I do if I came to volunteer?

That all depends on you!  First and foremost, the key deal is that you are coming to serve and to learn. Having a humble attitude toward others is high on our list of “necessities”. Super important. Hopefully you are flexible and patient — because things don’t always flow here like they do in your place. Are you gifted practically?  If so, there is always work to be done in the office, or repairing buildings, cars, plumbing, or computers. A big job each week is packing rice for distribution, and cooking yummy (healthy!) food to feed the kiddos.  If you would like to work with people, then you need to speak English well.  A good part of our ministry is with children and ranges from leading small group Bible studies, to after school tutorials in English and Math. Helping in the kindergarten is pretty much left to our Filipino licensed teachers — but creative volunteers ALWAYS have found a way to pitch in and assist or create a cool activity. So areas like helping in our medical clinics, to leading sports, or music, or dance, or art, or computer clubs. Actually, there is alot to offer underprivileged kids & youth — you simply have to take initiative and roll up your sleeves. If you play an instrument well or can sing…there will be plenty of opportunity for your gifts.  We appreciate those who come who can help in several different areas. (We LOVE multi-taskers!)  We work on a rather tight budget, so any projects need to be funded thru your own resources.

Isn’t the Philippines already a Christian nation?

Yes, the Philippines boasts in being the only Christian nation in Asia.  However, due to lack of solid Bible instruction and many traditions, there are millions still unsure of their personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Religion holds a central place in the life of the majority of Filipinos, including Hindus, Buddhists, animists, Muslims, Aglipayans, Protestants and Catholics (ca. 83% are Roman Catholic).

Christianity and Islam have been superimposed on ancient traditions and acculturated. The unique religious blends that have resulted have given rise to numerous and diverse beliefs and extreme non-biblical movements. These movements have attracted thousands of Filipinos, especially in areas like Mindanao. Many have been swept up out of a sense of fraternity and community.

Animism is the term used to describe the indigenous spiritual traditions practiced in the Philippines during pre-colonial times. Today, a handful of the indigenous tribes continue to practice it. The traditions are a collection of beliefs and cultural mores anchored more or less in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect be accorded to them through nature worship.

Folk religion remains a deep source of comfort, belief and cultural pride among many Filipinos. Animism’s influence, along with superstition, pervade daily life. Elements of folk belief have melded with Christian and Islamic practices to give a unique and often confusing form of religion, often mixed with fear and uncertainty.