As the Fall season comes to a close, and as the realities of Winter begin to set in, I’m taking time to pause and reflect upon the past few months and all that has unfolded. One thing that stands out to me is the fact that our lives never stand still. Our surroundings and our circumstances are constantly changing. As the seasons change, so our lives are constantly changing.For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) The past 3 to 4 months has primarily been a “season” for planning; strategic planning for Faith+Work, planning for next year’s programming in the Philippines, planning for project/ministry budgets, and planning new Faith+Work initiatives with CBM partners in various places around the world. In this update, I’ll share some highlights from this “season” of ministry with updates on CBM’s Faith+Work focus, and our ongoing work in the Philippines. I hope you find these updates encouraging and as always, if you would like more information please feel free to reach out to me. I give thanks to God for each of you, and for your ongoing prayers and support.
Thankfully though, as followers of Jesus we can take comfort in knowing that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). We serve a God who does not change, and does not become overwhelmed by the changing circumstances (or the uncertainty) of our world. The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “
FAITH+WORK: A “Season” of Planning
Just in case you’re wondering what exactly Faith+Work at CBM is all about, let me provide you with a brief explanation. When we talk about Faith+Work we are primarily talking about how our Christian faith integrates with the work that we do from Monday to Saturday outside the walls of our churches. In essence, Faith+Work emphasizes whole-life discipleship, living an integrated life rather than a compartmentalized one, closing the gap between Sunday and the other six days.FORMATION, CREATION, MOBILIZATIONFormation is all about teaching a theology of work that eliminates the divide between the sacred and secular (dualism), redirects Sunday towards Monday, and empowers the whole people of God for service and work in the world. Creation is all about inviting people to join God as co-creators and as stewards of his creation through work and business that produces goods and services that will enable people and communities to flourish and provide meaningful work for individuals. Mobilization is all about establishing networks of Christians scattered out into the world who see their work as their way to participate in God’s mission and his plan for the redemption of the whole world. At CBM, our approach to Faith+Work with church-based partners around the world, including here in Canada, will focus on these three foundational pillars. We’re excited to see how God will use our work in the marketplace to impact lives and transform communities over the coming months and years.
Over the past number of months, together with my colleagues Terry Smith and Brenda Halk, we have been building a 4-year strategy framework for CBM’s Faith+Work focus that will help guide us as we move forward. Last month, we presented this plan to CBM’s leadership and received unanimous support to begin implementing its various elements. Without going into great detail, I want to briefly share the three foundational pillars that the plan is built upon. They are:
PHILIPPINES: A “Season” of Planning
The 2022 planning process for CBM’s work in the Philippines, with our partner Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries, has gone very well despite difficult circumstances that continue to exist due to the pandemic. What began back in 2016 as a single project in Capiz province with Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM) has now grown into a vibrant partnership with several projects and initiatives being undertaken each and every year.
Despite a very difficult year that seemed very overwhelming at times, KPM has successfully implemented all of their 2021 programming objectives with only minor adjustments due to pandemic restrictions. We are so thankful for KPM’s dedication to the work and for the many ways that God has used their faithfulness to advance his Kingdom.
In 2022, KPM will facilitate programs centred on early childhood education, discipleship and financial aid for college students, practical theological education for pastors, livelihood and income generating projects for poor and marginalized individuals and families, relief and rehabilitation for affected individuals and families of natural calamities, as well as, their two Faith+Work initiatives, FOOD for LIFE and BUGANA Livelihood Center.
KPM continues to demonstrate their deep commitment to Integral Mission and spreading the Gospel through word and deed through all their activities. We are so thankful for their partnership in God’s mission in Capiz province.
CAPIZ CONTINUING THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (CCTEP)
One of my greatest joys over the past month has been witnessing the completion of the 3-year continuing theological education program, known as CCTEP, by a group of 30 Baptist pastors from Capiz province. Over the course of 3 years, these pastors have completed 18 courses (6 per year) on relevant and contextual courses aimed at strengthening their leadership and skills as pastors.
November 24th marked their “graduation” from this program. It was a wonderful time of celebrating this significant milestone in their life and ministry. The celebration was attended by the General Secretary of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), which demonstrates their full support for this program.
Although I am disappointed that I was not able to attend this celebration in person, I was thrilled to be able to attend virtually and to share congratulatory messages from various CBM staff. In the picture below you will notice all of the pastors are wearing a stole. In addition to receiving a “Certificate of Completion”, all the pastors received a stole as a commemorative symbol of their hardworking and dedication to their professional development. The stoles were made locally in Capiz province and are a great representation of their local Capiz faith and culture.
CCTEP will be re-launching in 2022 with a new batch of pastors eager to learn and grow in their leadership and skills for their pastoral work. Please be praying for both the pastors who have just completed the program and for those who will begin in early 2022.
Prayer & Praise
- Please pray for CBM’s partners around the world as projects begin to wrap up for another year.
- Please pray for CBM field staff during this Advent and Christmas season. It is not easy to be so far away from family during this time of year.
- Please pray for CBM’s partner in the Philippines, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM) and Rev. Job & Phoebe Santiago as they continue to provide leadership and support for people in need throughout Capiz province.
- Please pray for our family as we continue to transition and bring closure to our time living in the Philippines.
In my new role of Senior Associate, Faith+Work and Philippines, I continue to serve as a CBM Field Staff. As such, it is necessary for me to raise financial support. If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission with our family, please contact Barb Keys (email@example.com or call 1-905-821-3533) at Canadian Baptist Ministries. You can also go to my page to give online or for more information. We are only able to follow God’s leading in our lives thanks to the monthly support of generous individuals and churches.
All donations of $10.00 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt at year-end.