CNN Hero Efren Continues to Inspire!

I’ve just finished watching a local Philippine TV show featuring a segment on CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida and the Dynamic Teen Company.

It was truly inspiring! I was specially touched by the story of Cris Valdez, at only 10 years old the youngest volunteer for K4. This ten-year-old regularly saves money from his daily allowance so that he can give away slippers to children who are more needy than him on his birthday!

As a volunteer, he also helps in giving baths to the smaller children from the depressed areas and administering medical aid such as cleaning wounds and applying band-aids. When the episode was taped for TV, the DTC team was serving children of homeless families living in a cemetery, and Cris was very actively helping out.

Here’s a video of Cris showing how he was when he first came under the care of DTC:


(Note: I think the DTC people initially named the child “Kesz” when he first came under their care because that was how he pronounced his name at that time. But by the time he was interviewed for the TV program, he could talk very well indeed :).)

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What a HUGE difference Efren and his team have made in the life of this child! Thanks be to God!

Efren and DTC are very effectively instilling godly values in their volunteers and child beneficiaries. They are spreading not just education but solid character formation!

Kudos, blessings, and power to them. They make me so proud to be Filipino!

Go, Efren! Go, DTC! May God continue to richly bless and empower you. And as more and more people see your good works, may they also give glory to your Father in heaven Who is using you mightily to bless others.

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Related post:
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Filipino Slum Kid is One of the CNN Heroes for 2009
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Filipino Slum Kid is One of the CNN Heroes for 2009

Efren Peñaflorida rose from the slums of Cavite, Philippines to help other slum kids. Now his work is being recognized and supported by people all over the world, and he has been recognized as one of the CNN Heroes for 2009. His story is a very inspiring example of how one man can make a change, even with very limited resources.

The CNN print article on him is here, and the CNN video feature is here.

His story is also featured here: CNN honors Peñaflorida as modern day hero,

and at a TV Patrol episode:

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You can visit their group’s website at Dynamic Teen Company—Making a Difference.

He’s also part of the Facebook group “We Are The Change”—of which I am also a member :-).

We can do it, people. We CAN make the world a better place—even if just one starfish at a time :-). Efren is doing it. Let us all support him and others like him—and also do our part in making the world a better place wherever God has placed us.

May God’s rich blessings be upon all of you!

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(Acknowledgment:
I first became aware of Efren Peñaflorida, his work, and the CNN Heroes program through a post at Rico Hizon’s Facebook “wall”. Mr. Hizon is a Business News Anchor with BBC World News. He’s the first-ever Filipino broadcast journalist to work for two of the world’s most prestigious television news networks, CNBC and BBC World News. His Facebook page is full of good news and inspiring stories about the Philippines, aiming to unite and inspire nationalism among his Filipino FB friends. Kudos to you, Mr. Hizon!)
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Related post:
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CNN Hero Efren Continues to Inspire!
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Holiness Stems From Thankfulness

Still very busy, but I’ve just read some great food for thought—HOLINESS STEMS FROM THANKFULNESS.

This one’s actually from Spurgeon. He says that we strive to live lives that please God because we are thankful for His love, mercy, and grace. Any attempt to live a holy life that pleases God, that is not an outflowing of our thanksgiving to Him, will be short-lived and will surely fail.

Hmm…good meat to chew on…

Have a blessed day. May it be full of reasons to give thanks to God

THE Big Story

Here’s an interesting presentation of THE Big Story of God, humans, and the world:

Please bear in mind that this is a three-minute summary, so do give the presenter some leeway if he does not include some details we would prefer to see if we were the ones to present a Big Story 😉 .

What do you think?

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Note (added 10/10/08): This presentation was developed by James Choung, who explains it further here.

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Dying for Rebels

(…continued from To Understand, Stand Under)

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And what does the Bible say?

That the Almighty Creator God, who is love [1], loves us so much that Jesus Christ died for us to take the penalty for our sins [2].

We are by nature rebels, shaking our fists at God, thumbing our noses at Him and declaring that we don’t need Him, and that our standards of right and wrong are better than His. Because of this we do not deserve to be in His presence. The penalty for our rebellion against the very One who created us is death—eternal separation from God. I have discussed this in my post Will Dead Babies Go To Hell?

But God loves us so much that Christ died for us—even while we were still rebels [3]! Even while we had not yet given any indication that we were willing to lay down our arms, to set aside our desire to live separate from Him, in fact even to live in a world where He does not exist—even while we were still sinners, as the Bible says, Christ died for us!

The King of kings dies for the sake of rebels against Him

The King of kings dies for the sake of his rebellious subjects

THIS is the difference between Christianity and other religions or philosophies. If you analyze them closely, other religions are ultimately about what human beings can or should do in order to gain the favor of the god or gods in that religion, or to progress from one level to higher levels of existence. There are rules to follow and specific behaviors or actions that must be performed. This is the common denominator among the other religions. Unfortunately, this common denominator, and the expectation among many people that it is a necessary part of ANY religion—that certain behaviors must be done first before the god(s)’s favor can be earned—has been exploited by various cults which have taken advantage of so many people through the centuries.

But Christianity is different. Where other religions would say that we have to earn a god’s favor, and teach what we should do in order to do that, Christianity says that God, the true God, the One who created us, already loves us—even while we were and are still rebels. His love, His favor, is already on us. We do not have to do anything to earn it. And His love is so great that He actually died for us, in the person of Jesus Christ, in order to pay the penalty for our rebellion, so that we can enjoy a blessed life with Him in eternity.

The other systems talk about what we should do in order to gain heaven (or higher levels of existence, or whatever else they call it in their systems).

Christianity is about what the Almighty Creator God has done so that we can gain heaven.

The other systems are about what human beings should do. The Christian God, the one true God, says, “I have already done what needs to be done. What you have to do, for your part, is to believe that I have indeed done it.”

If we do that, if we believe that Jesus Christ, in dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our rebelliousness, has done what needs to be done in order to reconcile us rebels to God and to make us deserving to live in eternity with Him—if we believe this first, then we will understand the rest.

Then we will be able to obey what needs to be done next—to lay down our arms, give up on our rebellion, and surrender to the One true God.

To be continued…

[1] Read 1 John 4:8
[2] Read John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10
[3] Read Romans 5:8

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This is Part 4 of a series. Other posts in this series:

Part 1: Judging God

Part 2: Original Sin

Part 3: To Understand, Stand Under

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Kudos To My Beautiful Wife

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a good holiday, and you’re all having a good start to the year.

Perry and I are having a GREAT start. We’ve been offered an opportunity to join a project which will benefit tens of thousands of Filipino micro-entrepreneurs. We had to create the proposal and some samples last week, and over the weekend, for submission this week. We really are praying that God will grant us this project. All praises and thanks be to Him!

My wife is truly a blessing. She is not only very loving, caring and understanding, dealing with all my baggage, but she’s also very wise. I always learn so much from her, most recently in connection with the offer regarding this new project.

Courting my wife at Keukenhof

Courting my wife at Keukenhof, the Netherlands, 2004 

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It was possible for us to join the project because she was never idle during the 22 months that we were in the Netherlands, when I took up my Masters in Theology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. She tried repeatedly to apply for a work permit but was never granted one all the time that we were there. Still, she kept herself busy. She wrote books and devotionals and children’s activity books and coloring books. She even started plans for other, much bigger projects (which she doesn’t want me to talk about now, because she’s still developing them).

Well, I finished my studies and we came back to the Philippines two years ago. She was recruited by a local partner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and now works both for that local partner and for the Philippine Bible Society. We set up a publishing company last year and published one of her coloring/activity books. The other projects were shelved and put on the back burner.

Until the last week of December. An old friend called her up and said that their organization was looking for some material for use in a new development which they want to begin this 2008. The friend knew that Perry was interested in such projects, since Perry was involved with microfinance NGO’s before we left for the Netherlands. The friend asked if Perry and I could develop something, even just a draft, which she could present to the decision-makers this first week of the year. Well, guess what? my incredibly gifted wife had already written something which fit perfectly with the project—two years ago, in Zaandam, the Netherlands! All we had to do was polish it and tailor it to the organization, and prepare a project proposal—which we all did in one week, last week.

It was still a bit tough, specially given the time constraints. But it was much easier than starting from scratch. We were able to submit something because Perry never allowed herself to be idle during the almost two years that she was not allowed to work. If she had not continued developing new materials and new projects all the time that she was being kept from working in the Netherlands, we would have been unable to take advantage of this opportunity when it knocked.

A great lesson from a great wife—a true woman of wisdom. Don’t just wait for opportunities, or be alert to them. We must also keep ourselves ready to take advantage of them when they do come. Never be idle! Continue developing yourself, continue developing new ideas, projects, and products, so that when the opportunity, contacts, and resources come, you will be ready.

Beauty at Swan Lake, Keukenhof

I love my wife! After 17 years of marriage, my love and admiration for her continues to grow. I love her even more than before. And I don’t just love her, I admire her—I’m a die-hard, life-long fan. God bless my wife! God bless Perry!

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