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 :).)

..

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.

..

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

BlinkAdd to Blinkslist del.icio.usadd to del.icio.us digg.itDigg it StumbleUponStumble It! Redd.itredd.it Vineseed the vine
..

..

Advertisements

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:

..

..

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!

..

(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!)
..

Related post:
..
CNN Hero Efren Continues to Inspire!
..
..

BlinkAdd to Blinkslist del.icio.usadd to del.icio.us digg.itDigg it StumbleUponStumble It! Redd.itredd.it Vineseed the vine
..

..

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?

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

..
..
BlinkAdd to Blinkslistdel.icio.usadd to del.icio.us digg.itDigg it StumbleUponStumble It! Redd.itredd.it Vineseed the vine
..

Help Provide Safe Drinking Water to Thousands in Africa

For only US$ 33, each of us can help provide clean, safe drinking water to tens of thousands of people in Africa.

I just received an email from BirthdayAlarm. They have teamed up with the non-profit organization charity:water . The vision of Charity: Water is to help provide clean, safe drinking water to billions of people all over the world who don’t have access to it. Its founder, Scott Harrison, had the inspirted idea to celebrate his 32nd birthday in September last year by asking for donations of US$ 32 each from concerned individuals to help benefit needy people in Kenya, particularly a hospital which sees about a hundred patients a day, but out of whose taps can come only muddy water.

92 people responded, and most gave more than $ 32 each. They were able to raise $150,000. They dug a well which gave that hospital and the community around it access to clean drinking water.

The idea worked. So this year, they’re aiming to raise ten times that amount, in order to help provide water in Ethiopia. They want to provide wells to at least 300 villages in that country.

For his 33rd birthday this September, Scott is asking for $ 33 from people whose hearts are moved to help provide this very important resource. Most of us take water for granted, but there are tens of thousands in less-developed places who don’t have ready access to it.

Thirty-three dollars. It’s worth it. Give a gift of life. Let’s give a gift of drinking water for thousands of our fellow human beings.

Check it out here:

http://www.charitywater.org/birthdays/intro/trailer2.html?MID=15

or at

http://borninseptember.org.

 

God bless you, Scott!

..

American Idols Shout to the Lord

I don’t really watch American Idol, so I missed the two episodes last week where, it turned out, the remaining contestants sang Darlene Zschech’s beautiful song Shout to the Lord.

I was just alerted to this through my favorite blog Parchment and Pen, which asked: What’s up with American Idol and Jesus? and posted a link to this YouTube video:

Maybe the program is just pandering to the strong conservative Christian market base, but that’s OK. Thanks be to God that praises to Jesus Christ are sung on US TV primetime.

(Seems that something happened behind the scenes, though, because the name “Jesus” was replaced by “Shepherd” in the first night’s performance, during the actual Idol Gives Back telecast. But the same song was sung again the following night, with the name “Jesus” placed back!)

Canadian Idol, on the other hand, seems to be already open to Christian songs. Their 2004 winner, the very talented Kalan Porter, performed this awesome number on that show, a moving rendition of MercyMe’s I Can Only Imagine:


..
(Bonus clip 🙂 : Porter also sang this powerful song, for which a fan made a video montage on YouTube:)

..

(Note: Wikipedia has a note about the performance of Shout to the Lord in last week’s Idol Gives Back show where the name “Jesus” was replaced by “Shepherd”, but was placed back in the following night’s repeat performance of the song. The Parchment and Pen post from which I got the original heads-up has interesting views on this from various commenters.)
..
..

BlinkAdd to Blinkslist del.icio.usadd to del.icio.us digg.itDigg it StumbleUponStumble It! Redd.itredd.it Vineseed the vine
..

..

Muslims > Catholics? > All Christians?

A friend emailed me the news clipping below. It’s about Islam surpassing Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion.

This confirms a trend which a Catholic priest shared with me when I interviewed  him in 2004, while Perry and I were in the Netherlands.

Father Ype said that church membership and attendance in the various parishes he had served in the Netherlands had been declining steadily over the years. In fact, he said, some parishes had to be dissolved and merged with adjacent parishes because of the lack of parishioners.

The church has also had to withdraw from some buildings because of lack of funds, aside from dismally low attendance. Some of these church buildings, government properties, were then leased to Muslim communities—and converted into mosques.

Fr. Ype said that this was not just because of the fact that Muslims generally do not practice birth control, although that was true (he surmised that birth control might be against Islam’s teachings, just as its more popular forms are also contrary to official Vatican teachings—the problem is, Muslims generally follow their official teachings whereas Catholics do not practice many of their church’s official teachings).

But much more important than the comparative growth in population, Fr. Ype says, the biggest factor in the decline of the Christian faith in his country and the rapid rise of Islam, is that Muslims pass the faith on to their children, whereas Christians do not.

Muslim parents are generally very diligent in teaching their children about their faith and traditions, and can be very strict in seeing to it that these are adhered to.

In contrast, Christian parents are very lax and lenient. They usually adopt the attitude of letting their children choose which belief, if any, they would follow. And, of course, in the setting of postmodern relativistic Europe, and in the midst of the attendant peer pressure and molding from the educational system and the media, the children, unguided by their parents, usually end up not believing in Christianity.

That is why Fr. Ype predicted, and I also predict, that it will not be long before the Netherlands, and in fact most of Western Europe, will be predominantly Muslim societies. what with the influx of Muslim immigrants with very strong respect for their religion and traditions. Christian households already have less children than Muslim families, yet they do not care to pass on the faith to these few children. When the Christian parents die, who will carry on the faith in the next generations?

The demographics of Europe will change dramatically in the coming years because of strong Muslim influence—and Christian parents who do not care for their faith or traditions.

-=-     -=-     -=-     -=-

Muslims more numerous than Catholics

By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer

Sun Mar 30, 2:48 PM ET

Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

“For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican’s yearbook.

He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population— a stable percentage—while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.

“It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer,” the monsignor said.

Formenti said that the data refer to 2006. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations, he said, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own data.

When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population, Formenti said.

Spokesmen for the Vatican and the United Nations did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

..
..

BlinkAdd to Blinkslist del.icio.usadd to del.icio.us digg.itDigg it StumbleUponStumble It! Redd.itredd.it Vineseed the vine
..

..

Reaching Out To Children

Bad blogger. BAD, bad blogger. Haven’t visited his own blog for two weeks. Shame!

So very sorry. Been busy. Aside from the evangelism and discipleship program for microentrepreneurs which my wife and I are mainly involved in right now, I’ve also been preparing for a possible short-term teaching stint in Davao City, in the southern Philippines. I’ve been asked to teach a summer module on the Old Testament prophets (listed as Isaiah-Malachi in modern Protestant and Catholic Bibles). Lord willing, if everything goes well, that will happen this coming Apr 21-30.

And, this weekend, I accompanied my wife as she checked out some communities where the ministry she’s involved in will give gifts to children from economically disadvantaged families. These gifts are solicited by Samaritan’s Purse from children of more economically advantaged families as part of their Operation Christmas Child program. Through this program, Christian families, particularly the children, are given opportunities for hands-on giving to financially disadvantaged families from other countries, especially to other children from all over the world. This teaches them that Christianity is about loving God AND loving other people (cf. Mark 12:28-34), including those from other countries.

The Philippine partner of Samaritan’s Purse, Sowers of the Word Ministries, has scheduled gift-giving operations in Zambales and the Mountain Province from April 7-9. As part of preparations for those activities, scouts have been sent to “prepare the way”. My wife was the scout for the Zambales area. I accompanied her as her regular “go-fer” and bodyguard 🙂 .

We went to the municipality of Botolan, about 200 kms NW of Manila. Because of traffic conditions, the 200-km trip was a five-hour bus ride. Our bus left the station at 8am Saturday, and we arrived at Agora, Botolan, at 1pm.

Most of the beneficiaries of the Apr 7 gift-giving will be Aeta children. The Aetas are an indigenous tribe, many of whom were forced to evacuate their lands and were resettled by the government in the wake of the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 (said to be 8-10 times greater than the eruption of Mt. St. Helens). The volcano is located at the borders of the provinces of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac. The eruption totally destroyed the United States’ Clark Air Base in Pampanga, and severely damaged the U.S. Naval Base in Subic, Zambales, at that time said to be the largest U.S. Navy installation in the Pacific.

Below are some pictures from our “scouting trip” 🙂 :

Perry and Mel on a carabao taxi

Me and Perry on a carabao “taxi”

(The locals jokingly refer to this carabao-drawn bamboo platform mounted on two wheels  as their version of the taxi. The driver and the passengers have to sit on the sides and balance each other, or else the whole thing will collapse 😦 ).

..

Perry on her way to the venue for the gift-giving

Perry (with backpack) on her way to the venue for the gift-giving

..

Perry with some of the children

Perry with some of the children

..

Going on up…

Going on up…

..

Aeta children

Aeta children

..

Aeta Child

Aeta child

..

Aeta child with older sister

Aeta child with older sister

..

Some more children

Some more children

..

..