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

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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:



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!


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!

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Back from Davao; For My Classmates: Don Carson Links

I’m back from Davao where I taught a two-week summer class on the Old Testament prophets, at Koinonia Theological Seminary.

Davao is at the lower right corner of this map, while Manila is at the top half of the map. It’s about 961 km (597 miles) from Manila, 1hr 40mins by plane.

I promised my students I’d give them the links to a pages containing links to Dr. Donald Carson’s audio lectures and sermons. So, classmates, here they are:

D. A. Carson Audio sermons and lectures – Free from around the Web; and

D. A. Carson MP3s.

Dr. Carson is one of my favorite Christian scholars, and I highly recommend his books, commentaries, and audio lectures and sermons. Widely read, sharp intellect, and an able defender and promoter of the faith.

He has also preached at All Souls Church in London, which used to be headed by the Rev. Dr. John Stott. His sermons are excellent examples of solid exegesis and application. His messages at All Souls can be downloaded from their site. Just search for sermons by preacher, “Don Carson”.


How to Help Improve Philippine Society?

This week I came across this question from Francis Kong, posted at Yahoo! Answers. He asked:

What can we do to help make the Philippines a better place for ourselves and for our children?

It is not only the government’s job to improve the future for our children.
It is the responsibility of every Filipino to create a better Philippines for the coming generations. All of us must think about how we can contribute.

The question is posted at this link:;_ylt=Al63Ma4yNZfqjJqZbeLsyxjsy6IX;_yl

I posted my two cents’ worth:
Wow, this is like a chicken-and-egg question. My suggested answer is: SHORT-CIRCUIT THE CHICKEN-AND-EGG SITUATION.

We definitely need better leaders to set examples, implement laws correctly and justly, set the right environment for the proper growth of the populace (economic, political, etc.) That’s the chicken.

Problem is, we also need an electorate that’s better educated and motivated to put the right leaders in place. That’s the egg.

Theoretically, without the right leadership, the environment will not be conducive to breeding healthy eggs. Corrupt leaders simply keep the environment contaminated by maintaining the masses’ dependency on them through bribes and the patronage system; by taking advantage of regionalistic preferences (i.e., he may be a devil but he’s OUR devil,,,and our devil will always take care of his own); through fear and intimidation, etc.

Because of this, the eggs, er, people, will always put into office the wrong kinds of leaders. And the right kinds of leaders will be disillusioned and opt out (e.g., Mrs. Monsod, if I understand a recent TV interview correctly).

The process must be short-circuited by a force coming in from outside. This force would include business leaders, educators, and everyone else willing to contribute and actively participate in helping Philippine society.

The process of short-circuiting would involve (but would not be limited to) the following:

1) Subsidizing education for the children, to train, equip, and support capable teachers who would not only teach CORRECT skills, but also right and godly values. (Note regarding skills: have you seen the essays and answers to simple questions submitted in many job interviews nowadays? These indicate how much our educational system has deteriorated, and has been simply a huge collective diploma mill for many years now.)

2) Include ENTREPRENEURSHIP as a core subject in childrens’ and youth’s education. For so long, our educational system has trained children to aspire to be employees (a company prexy is still an employee). A successful entrepreneur who has right godly values will have more positive impact on society—not the least of which are providing income to more people, and imparting godly values to many through his or her godly example.

3) For the older people, setting up businesses and cooperatives in the provinces, and train the people in entrepreneurship. Hopefully, this would have two effects: (a) encourage the people to stay in the provinces and stop migration to the “dream” urban centers; and (b) teach them to fish, and not just feed them with fish for the day.

4) IMPORTANT: The training in entrepreneurship should not be just the old “Livelihood training programs” such as soap-making, candle-making, detergent manufacture, etc. These have been tried for years and found wanting, with very few exceptions. This is because the people who are trained in these livelihood skills all start producing soap, or processed meat, or candles, or whatever, all at the same time, and compete with each other and ultimately kill each other’s businesses quickly (while the NGO’s and mission organizations which conducted the livelihood programs feel self-satisfied with finishing their targeted programs for the year and send self-congratulatory reports to their foreign partners and supporters, complete with numbers and photos, to ask for money for more programs next year—while the people they have “trained”, and who have killed each other’s businesses, look for other “skills” and other NGO’s from whom they can borrow capital again, to try again and again…). The help should include the provision of solid and actual marketing contacts, establishment of cooperatives, etc. Through cooperative ventures, the people band together instead of killing each other (one possible setup would be for certain persons or families to take care of the soap supplies, another of the processed food supplies, another of the garments supplies, etc). Through marketing contacts (if possible, marketing CONTRACTS), the people are enabled to actually sell the products or services which they have been trained to provide. A big problem with current livelihood trainings is that the beneficiaries have no contacts, means, training, or skill to properly and profitably market their products and services, and they all compete and kill each other selling within the same community.

5) For big business to altruistically share in the improvement of the community by providing marketing outlets and sharing their marketing infrastructure with the small entrepreneurs; setting up scholarship foundations for competent children from poor families; subsidizing hospitals, health centers, and drugstores for the poor (usually, small entrepreneurs are stopped dead in their tracks by illness in the family); setting up housing programs in the provinces and opening marketing and production ventures or small branches of their firms near these settlements. These need not lead to losses for big business. It should be possible to figure out population sizes which could be resettled in given areas and where the company’s branches could be set up profitably, which would provide marketing outlets and business and employment opportunities for the resettled people.

These are only a few suggestions. We could come up with many more possible ways to short-circuit the chicken-and-egg process of corrupt politicians always being elected and supported by a beholden electorate. The point is to achieve two important goals:

1) instill correct, godly values in the youth who will be our future leaders and electorate, and

2) break the hold that politicians have through the patronage system, which is made possible by the dehumanizing poverty of many of our countrymen.

Such actions would also hopefully neutralize the growing hostility and resentment felt by the poor towards the rich. This would lead in turn to a more stable and manageable environment in which it would be easier for the two sides to communicate with each other and appreciate one another’s points of view.

Well, just a hurried and abbreviated answer to a very complicated question. I have many more ideas, but space and time are limited in a Yahoo! Answers context. We can talk further, if you want, through email or even personal conversation. I would certainly love to explore this question further, and join forces with others who want to do something solid and practical for our country.

Shalom! Peace and wholeness to you!


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