Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kids are fun...

Its testing week at school, so the kids are in study mode! I was on duty last night in the Cherne Home and was little apprehensive... I knew I would have to help them study for their tests and was kind of worried I would not be of much help.  Science is not my strong suit (mixtures and solutions---WHAT?!) and I am completely out of the loop on Filipino Civics---the kids were very forgiving though!  :)
They didn't have anything to study, but apparently they wanted in on the fun!

After studying comes...UNO!  Right?

Studying the solar system---they were quickly brushing up before I quizzed them!

Being silly....

The girls are teaching me about secularization in the Philippines in the mid-late 1800s!

Studying is fun!
A litte music to help the study-ers!  As I recall, it was a Christmas song they were singing!  ;)

The photographer!  She is good at self-pics!  ;)
The girls study hard...and ALL over the place!  ;)

I'm being educated....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turkey Day---Pinoy style!

In the US, Thanksgiving is synonymous with food, family and fun, with a turkey or two thrown in there as well!  In the Philippines we, er Americans, celebrate in the same fashion...

First comes the......
Turkey Coloring Contest!!! 
Which one would you pick? 

I am glad that as staff members we are NEVER allowed to judge---it is just so hard!

Then the turkey calling contest and a guest appearance by the celebrity bird himself!  About a minute after this picture was taken the turkey had an accident on the floor and had to be escorted out rather quickly...
Then come the Mayflower and turkey-themed running games!

PICTIONARY with Thanksgiving related words!

The last activity of the program was craft time!  Every child made a cross and wrote what they were thankful for.  So many of the kids said they were thankful for CSC, food, the teachers and staff and Jesus!  From the mouths of babes...
I just had to share with all of you Joemar's cross! 
He is thankful for:
 Auntie Sandy (his favorite Auntie!),
 McDonald'---where he works every day,
 Uncle Patrick---his house father,
 Uncle Bobong---his supervisor when he works at the school,
Jacob---his roomie,
and ME! 
Truth be told, when I saw my name on his cross, I teared up.  You know that you're someone when you have a place on Joemar's Thanksgiving cross.  He is one of the coolest guys I know!


And the winners of the coloring contest are.................................................................
The boys swept the competition this year!  ;)

Last, but most certainly not least, comes the fellowship and FOOD!  The winners of the coloring contest attend the Thanksgiving feast with the staff members!  The food was great, though some of it was a bit unusual for the kids' palates---hands down the turkey was their favorite part of the menu!

I had to give my pies some face time!  ;) 
Sugar-free chocolate pudding pie
Homemade squash pie (there was no canned pumpkin to be found on the island!)
Chocolate pecan pie

Here at CSC we have so many things to be grateful for.  God provides our needs in the most surprising and miraculous ways.  I am blessed to have this for a job---I get to spend time with and be loved by some of the most special kids I have ever met.  I see families come together by God's hand on a regular basis and I see prayers answered everywhere I turn. 

Thank you for your part in this ministry. 
We are grateful for you---just know that your name is on our Thanksgiving cross!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


So, life in general is quite busy here in Cebu!  But the things that I am busy with are often less interesting than the things the kids are busy with!  Go figure.  Check out the pictures below to see what our kids are up to at any given moment.  Their endless energy astounds!

Connect Four!  The kids were actually shouting "BINGO!"  It was quite cute, I shouldn't have corrected them! :)
Double dutch magic!  The girls are eager to jump in!
Cameras!  A popular activity is posing for pictures!

Really and truly it is!
We have MANY eager readers, and yes, that book is about as big as her!

Here they were actually playing Bingo.  ;)

Swinging!  I still think it pretty much rocks!

Toddlers figuring out puzzles!

When these kids are actually on the waveboards, they cannot be stopped!

The toddlers were competing in a no-holds barred obstacle course!  It was intense!  ;)

Prepare for extreme cuteness coming your way....

This picture is a heart-melter!  Don't even try to fight it.... 
God Bless you all!  Thanks for visiting our website and my blog!  Continue to pray for CSC as we care for some of the most amazing children I know!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Greetings all!

The concept of giving is not very far from our minds here at CSC.  Visitors are often amazed when we tell them that CSC is entirely supported by donations, but amazingly it is the truth.  God works on the hearts and minds of people and after 30+ years, CSC is still standing and has even grown and progressed.  It has reached beyond the humble dreams its founders dared to utter oh so long ago.  But, tis the nature of our God.

There are many ways that people give to CSC.  For instance, we get huge boxes that people fill up with any number of things they think our kids will love and need----then those of us on the Childcare team get to feel like its Christmas morning every time we rip the boxes open and see all of the treasures inside.  Truth be told, I have squealed with delight on more than one occasion, but today, in fact, I squealed when I was shown a ziploc bag of diaper pins!*  The best "Christmas" happened last April when we went through 13 boxes and realized that they contained millions of toy cars, shoes galore, clothing, small toys perfectly made for birthday presents, a child's keyboard, a dollhouse, Barbies, baby dolls, stuffed animals, crayons, coloring books and 5 dismantled bikes---yes, you read it right!  I think we were as excited as the kids were!  ;)

Sometimes the blessings come in the form of people.  Visitors and work teams come and bless our kids with their time and their playfulness.  We have many faithful visitors that come regularly and plan camps for our kids, lead Bible studies, and just play, listen, and care about our kids.  But we also have many people that come only one time and are touched and are excited to spread the word about CSC when they get back to their home.

People pray for CSC.  A powerful measure, to be sure.  For those of you who pray for this organization, thank you.  I see time and time again God working for the good of CSC and it is because of prayer.  There is no question that things come to us at exactly the right time because someone is praying that our needs be met.

People give financially, of course.  Some happen upon our website randomly, some give while attending our banquet, because they know someone connected to CSC or because they have a personal connection to CSC themselves.  Sometimes it is to a special project, such as emergency dental work, costly medications, or for a specific need.

Another opportunity to give is to donate funds to sponsor a school day.  It is called a Day of Hope, and it literally is the opportunity to provide a day of learning for our kids.  Well, I was blown away when 2 days ago, my mom sponsored a Day of Hope in my honor!  Not only did CSC benefit, but so did our kids and I was blessed to boot!  That is what is so cool about a place like CSC.  One act of kindness turns into many blessings.

Thanks so much, Mom!

Such special girls---they also wanted to thank you, Mom!

 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”   
Luke 6:38

Thank you for giving in all the ways that you do!  Just as we have been blessed by your giving, I pray that you also feel blessed!


*Side note, diaper pins (good ones) are about impossible to find here. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


 CSC is in a time of transition.

Mitch and Ruth left a couple of weeks ago to return to the US for their year-long furlough----the office is noticebly different with Ruth gone and I have already had to remind myself that “the thing” I have to ask Mitch---he was kind of the “Answer Man”---will have to be asked of someone else.  Or will have to be “Googled”---Google knows almost as much as Mitch!  ;)

A farewell lunch
Praying over the Ohlendorfs

Similarly, Sandy is also in transition mode; she is now back in the Philippines after being home in the US for a year.  She has resumed her role as Child Development Director, and Amy and I are once again a 3-person team---which is wonderful because we often need to be at 3 different places at one time!

Speaking of life changes----Amy's life is about to change completely!  She is getting married in less than 2 months!  She is planning for the big day while also teaching preschool and serving on the Childcare team.  Can you say busy kaayo?! 

I have also been in a bit of a transition as I moved out of the home I was living in last year to a smaller apartment closer to the shelter.  I now have to fight the lizards, ants and roaches on my own and I am sort of failing miserably---I miss Katie (the dog) and Kali (the cat) who saved me from all of the creepy crawlies.  I no longer scream when I am startled by them---I just sharply inhale and then have to psych myself up to spraying them or smashing them with the nearest heavy object.  Ah, personal growth, such a beautiful thing.
My bathroom/closet

Here is my entryway---come on in!

Speaking of creepy crawlies---this is a cutlery garage!

My 2 burner, well, actually it is only a 1 burner, the second one is currently broken....  ;)

The makeup in our homes is changing as well.  We have received several new babies and will likely be admitting some older children later on.  The babies are adorable, Uncle Paul says that CSC always gets the cutest babies, and I am inclined to agree!  As a member of the Childcare team, I am also on our Referral team, the committee that decides who will be admitted.  I feel privileged to sit at the same table with our hard-working social workers, who live and work “in the trenches,” Uncle Paul, who is truly an icon at this organization, my colleagues on the Childcare team, who have proven their dedication to CSC for many years, Marlys Healy, our Medical Director and the catalyst for this ministry, and our counselors, who give each of our children time, attention and validation---their case loads are HUGE!  What an impressive committee, a powerhouse, a wealth of experience, knowledge and HEART----I am humbled---I sit there praying I will absorb, through osmosis, a fraction of their wisdom and strength.
Just a few of our new kids...

She is clearly still figuring me out!  ;)
I have a feeling this one is going to be spunky!

Look at that face!
Gwapo na siya----He is cute!

I am also sobered at those meetings.  Even though these babies are 2 weeks or 1 month old, the heartache and despair they have come from is unreal.  I pray that God has protected them from the stress and chaos of their prior living environments and that their memories will start here, at CSC.  Under the watch and care of our Aunties, who love these kids so tenderly, I pray that they will finally understand love as God originally intended for it to be lived out.  And our house parents, they are the salt of the earth.  They invest in the spiritual and personal development of each of our children---they care endlessly day in and day out for every child that comes and goes and they don’t forget. 

Here, our children learn about God and even though they don’t, nor do we, understand why their family was so devastated by poverty or depravity to the point of dissolution, they learn and, we know, that God has an even better plan.  God is good at making beauty from our messes.  He often gives us rainbows after the storm.

Please pray for our staff and our houses as we all flex during these times of transition.  These changes are joyous ones: new kids, much needed relaxation for hard-working staff members, a returning leader, a wedding, and a new home (for me!).  But change is hard too, so your prayers are always welcome!

I pray that you feel God’s presence strong around you---I know His hand is on CSC---I see it everyday---in His provision, in answered prayers, in protection, just to name a few.  That to me has been the most unexpected blessing I have received in my time here.

Thanks for caring about CSC, our kids, our staff members, our workers, our mission.  You are all a part of this beautiful legacy.