Lupang Arenda is not much to look at. It is one of the poorest areas in the Philippines and is often hit hard during typhoons and hurricanes. On the banks of Laguna Lake more than 50,000 families make this 200 acre plot of soggy ground their home. Some are refugees from one disaster or another who have nowhere else to go.
On our first visit to Arenda we were escorted by a youth organization called the Overcomers. They had started a children's ministry feeding and teaching life skills every Saturday morning. Their goal is to point these young hearts away from a life of prostitution or street gangs, and give them an opportunity for at a better education.
We want to continue to help the "Overcomers" expand on their great work for the children of Arenda.
Since 1998 the LaFontaines have been hosting these crazy fun events with a goal of reaching out to the kids in our neighborhoods who may never darken the door of a church. To date we have written more than 10 musical drama programs, and are currently working on making them available to others. Churches, schools and other organizations will eventually be able to open a box that contains two days worth of activities, dramas, original songs, and important life lessons for children.
Give The Gift of Music
Music plays an important part in our lives including when we worship God. In 2006 we started a program that provides musical instruments and sound system components to churches in the Philippines.
It may seem like a small gesture but the impact has been powerful. Testimonies keep coming back that the churches are encouraged and their outreach efforts are more effective with the instruments. This ministry has also encouraged many that have a gift of music to lend their gifts to the work of the Lord.
The dates are set! We will travel to Zimbabwe to minister in the month of August! Our plans include hosting a large music conference for musicians, singers and technical training, assessing the needs of churches and the LaFontaines will be singing for a convention in the capital city of Harare.
Work has begun on a series of instructional videos that will cover a wide range of topics that will help strengthen churches and families. Be on the look out for the first videos to be released later this year.
Rubber Tree Project
We are always looking for ways to build sustainability for the projects that we support. Obviously, some projects need continuous financial support but with some innovative and forward thinking many projects can find ways to fund themselves and even provide for other needs.
This is exactly what we have found on a mountain side in the Palawan Islands. A generous donation of land started the process. Now more than 40 acres of land has been cleared and rubber trees are being planted. As they come to maturity they will yield profits that will fully fund many mission projects. Each tree costs only $1.00 USD to plant. Donors that love environmentally friendly, sustainable projects will love this one!