A decade milestone: Transforming children's lives and their communities

16 Jan, 2012 | Philippines
OM International
Urging people to “come and see God’s goodness”, OM Philippines-Cebu Children’s Ministry gathered about 1,000 children, church workers, friends and guests to the 10th anniversary on 24 September, 2011 at Family Park, Cebu.

The regular weekend outdoor Bible class that started in the port area in 2001 after an MV Doulos visit now reaches 14 areas in Cebu with the partnership of local churches.

Every year for the past five years the Children’s Festival in October has been OM Philippine-Cebu’s highlight activity, reaching 200 to 300 children.

“But this decade milestone is bigger,” said Anelfa Rizon, Children Ministry coordinator. “As preparations went underway, [Team Leader] Sally suggested a full involvement of our partner churches.”

Partner churches helped organise the event, and each church set up a booth to showcase their ministries. “It was a good sight to witness how everyone worked hand-in-hand to make this happen,” said OMP Cebu staff Lilia Calca­ben.

While a typhoon brought heavy rains in the northern part of the country, it was sunny at the Family Park. The green field with trees gave the children space and fresh air. Kids also enjoyed the mini zoo and fish pond. Several tents were decorated for the occasion with coloured balloons and banners brightly on display. It was a Saturday of play, sharing, and thanksgiving to God for the 10 years of a fruitful ministry.

“It was a big encouragement to see more than a hundred volunteers committed to take care of the children for the entire day. Some of these volunteers were once children of the outreaches themselves,” Anelfa said, adding that it took them more than a year to prepare and raise funds for the event. “Partners and friends, both local and foreign, gave their financial support to this activity. There are also Filipinos who sponsored food and other materials.”

OM South East Asia leader Kenneth Bong (from Singapore) and OM Philippines Field Leader Jun Diaz gave words of encouragement to honour the people and partner churches who made everything happen. They also prayed for the next 10 years.

Each child wrote prayer requests on a piece of paper tied to a balloon and released it into the air. Said Anelfa: “It is an apt symbolism of how we release all our dreams into the hands of God as we continue to move on and grow in the ministry He has entrusted for the many more years to come—with awe and gratitude towards His infinite goodness!”

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