Summer in Canada is a time for such things as BBQs, sandy beaches, evening bon fires, and August corn boils (my favourite). We’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy these things over the past few months, but summer has also been a season of continuing transition for our family. It’s amazing how many beautiful places there are in New Brunswick that we have never visited. Last summer we had the opportunity to visit Deer Island for the first time, and this summer we finally visited Grand Manan Island.
We had the pleasure of visiting the folks at Seal Cove Baptist Church on Grand Manan and they were gracious enough to give me the opportunity to share about the work CBM is doing in the Philippines and within Faith+Work. We had such a great time visiting with church members and exploring the island’s beauty.
As previously shared, on July 1st, I (Michael) began a new role with CBM, and Melanie concluded her service as Global Field Staff. In my new role of Senior Associate, Faith+Work and Philippines, I am continuing to work alongside CBM’s partners in the Philippines, but a larger portion of my focus has turned toward assisting in the growth and development of Faith+Work throughout CBM’s network of partners and field staff around the globe, which of course also includes the Philippines.
Many people continue to ask what Faith+Work at CBM is all about. Well, it’s really all about helping people discover how their Christian faith connects with the work they do and how their work is an opportunity to participate in God’s redemptive plan for his creation, to bring glory to God, and to contribute to overall human flourishing. Faith+Work is not just for small business owners or corporate CEOs…it’s for everyone. Everybody works…even children have “home” work.
In this update, I’ll share some highlights from CBM’s ongoing work in the Philippines, new Faith+Work initiatives, and a bit about how my family is doing. I hope you find these updates encouraging and as always, if you would like more information about anything I mention here, please feel free to reach out to me.
I give thanks to God for each of you, and for your ongoing prayers and support.
The Philippines continues to be negatively impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccination rates still very low, and densely populated communities where it’s difficult to maintain physical distancing and good hand hygiene, the country’s COVID positive case numbers continue to climb. Just this past week, they logged the largest single day increase with over 22,000 cases being recorded. This is certainly cause for concern and I’d ask that you continue to pray for the Philippines, especially our partners in Capiz province who continue to serve on the front lines of helping impacted individuals and families.
Over the past couple of months, CBM and our partner, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM), have been providing food packs for individuals and families forced to isolate due to positive COVID cases within the family. These food packs have provided families with food to eat during their isolation/quarantine period. Beneficiaries of these food packs have expressed their deep appreciation to Canadian Baptists for supporting them during their time of need. In addition, CBM has provided financial aid for individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19 infections. Although the Philippines does have a free public health system, much of the costs associated with treating COVID-19 patients are not being covered. This places a huge financial burden on individuals and families and CBM is grateful to be able to offer some assistance thanks to the generosity of Canadian Baptists.
Despite these challenges, CBM’s regular programming with KPM continues, with measures in place to protect the health and safety of those involved. Just last week, the 17th course of Capiz Continuing Theological Education Program (CCTEP) was conducted at Capiz Evangelical Church in Roxas City. The 30 pastors participating in this practical theological training program have been so committed to learning and applying new knowledge and skills within their own ministries. The final course in this 3-year program will occur later this fall, which I will have the pleasure of co-facilitating (virtually).
KPM’s two Faith+Work initiatives continue to carry out business activities despite the tough economic environment brought on by the pandemic. The FOOD for LIFE and BUGANA Livelihood Center teams have done a terrific job of adapting and pivoting their activities to ensure the continued growth of these initiatives. FOOD for LIFE continues to implement chemical-free farming practices with more and more farmers and is currently constructing a storage facility to keep crops safe and secure until processing and delivery to consumers.
CBM’s field staff and global partners continue to discover the tremendous opportunities for community transformation and discipleship through Faith+Work initiatives and theological training. Over the past year, Faith+Work within CBM has spread from a missional approach being explored and developed in the Philippines, to now touching almost every region where CBM is working. A new Faith+Work initiative has been launched with CBM’s partner in Nagaland, India. New concepts for Faith+Work initiatives are currently being reviewed with partners in DR Congo and in Rwanda with CBM field staff. CBM’s africa team, led by Andre Sibomana, is completing a Certificate in Marketplace Transformation (5 courses) through the Institute for Marketplace Transformation (IMT), a new partner of CBMs focused on providing courses and resources for marketplace theology. Bruno & Kathleen Soucy have gathered a team from their network of staff and partners in Latin America to take a weekly course on marketplace theology with the goal of some completing the Certificate in Marketplace Transformation through IMT.
Aside from these new Faith+Work initiatives and courses, together with my colleagues, Brenda Halk (Senior Associate, Strategic Projects) and Terry Smith (Director, Strategic Projects), we have been busy developing a 4-year strategic plan for CBM’s Faith+Work ministry. The main goal of our strategic planning is to help bring focus to our work that will maximum impact and ensure organizational alignment of our priorities. This has been an exciting process and I look forward to sharing more with you in future updates as we begin to unfold CBM’s strategic plan for Faith+Work.
Kyla – Another aspect of our families ongoing transition is walking up to the reality that Kyla has graduated from high school and will begin her post-secondary education next week. I still find it hard to believe that we have a child going off to college. Where has the time gone? Kyla made some last minute changes to her post-secondary plan, which resulted in a late acceptance/enrolment to her new program. She will begin classes next week at NBCC in Moncton, where she will study Building Engineering Technology – Architecture. This is a 2-year program that could lead to good employment opportunities or further studies if she chooses. Due to her last minute decision, we struggled to find her a suitable place to live in Moncton, but thankfully we did finally find her an affordable studio apartment. We’d appreciate your prayers for Kyla as she begins this new chapter.
Sean – Next week, Sean will begin grade 11. Before then though, he’s filling up his days with the things he loves about summer. Sean had a fantastic summer at Camp Tulakadik as one of their Cabin Leaders. He spent 8 weeks serving at the camp, building lasting friendships, and growing personally in his faith and leadership. Sean is hoping that the school will be able to offer more sporting opportunities this year, especially basketball, which both he and Carter love.
Carter – Carter is also entering grade 11 and will be doing so at 6′ 3″ tall. Carter has surpassed me in height (I may now physically look up to him, but I hope he still looks up to me as his father). Carter also had a great summer at Camp Tulakadik serving as a Cabin Leader. We love the impact that serving at camp has in a young person’s life. We have seen such growth in our kids this summer, especially Carter who has grown in confidence and character.
Allie – Allie was worried, with her three older siblings all working at camp for the summer, that she was going to have a boring summer. Well, she had anything but a boring summer. In fact, Allie spent most of her summer at camp too, serving as a volunteer. She had the opportunity to help out in the kitchen, on the cleaning and maintenance crew, and in a cabin. She loved every minute of it and is already looking forward to next summer. Allie has a big transition coming next week. She has made the decision to return to public school after 3 years of home schooling. She is both excited and anxious and would appreciate your prayers as she takes this step. Allie begins grade 8, her last year of middle school.
Melanie – Melanie has set up her own counseling therapy clinic in Hampton, NB (Embracing Hope Counselling) and is busy providing care for people of all ages, and from all across Canada. As a nationally licensed counseling therapist, she is able to offer virtual care for people living anywhere in Canada. It has been really great to see Mel thriving in her new work…not only is she helping people in need, she finds her work life-giving. Please pray for Mel though, as it’s not easy to journey with people going through tough times day after day.
Prayer & Praise
- Please pray for me as I settle into my new role of Senior Associate, Faith+Work and Philippines. Although I am not new to CBM, beginning a new role brings about lots of transition and requires learning new things and making new connections.
- Please be praying for Melanie as she transitions away from CBM and dives more deeply into her own private counseling practice for individuals and families.
- Pray that God would continue to use her in this capacity for his glory and the benefit of those she provides care for.
- 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. Although we’ve made the decision to permanently settle back in New Brunswick, much of our lives are still in the Philippines, including our pets.
- Please pray for Kyla as she begins the next chapter of her educational journey this fall at NBCC Moncton.
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.