The first day of a new ministry is always a good mixture of exciting/overwhelming, and entering into the squatter community of Cam Cam was no exception. Just an hour south of Manila, Cam Cam is home to 300+ families that have built their houses on government land. At anytime the authorities could evict them but the likelihood of that happening is slim due to the fact that Cam Cams elevation and proximity to a river leaves it susceptible to flooding every year. Right now a portion of the community is still six feet deep in water, and they say it will be another two months till the water dries up completely.
Seeing poverty can often bring up feelings of helplessness/sympathy/guilt – none of which can do any sort of good at all! But the first day as we walked along rickety bridges above garbage strewn water I sensed the Lord telling me to look for the richness in this community.
When you search you will surely find! Walking around we encountered such hospitality and joy. Everwhere we went we were greeted with warm “hello!”‘s and “what country?”. We were welcomed openly into homes where families shared their stories and would show us how far up their walls the floods usually rose.
As we worked with the Ywam Laguna ministry here that runs a church as well as programs for the moms, dads, teens and kids, we were able to see the ways God has transformed whole families to live with such hope even through their circumstances.
The youth in particular have taught me so much! They really are the leaders in this community and they were always helping teach sunday school, performing dances and raps, leading worship, MCing, translating for us, and even reaching out into a neighbouring squatter area to do kids programs and share the gospel house to house.
I have been so encouraged to see how rich these youth are in their faith and so I asked a few of them if I could photograph them at their homes and if they would be willing to share a bit about themselves with you. I hope you are as blessed by their faith as I am!
Name: Christian T. Jimenez
Interests: Playing chess, serving God
Future Dreams: Travel to other countries like USA, have a good job like engineer
Favorite Verse: Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – This verse is my favourite because it gives me a strength to do anything with joy and do not be sad when you have a problem, just pray and be glad in Jesus Christ.
Name: Janine B. Bechayda
Age: 16 years old
Interests: Reading bible, watching tv and playing guitar
Future Dreams: to become a missionary
Favorite Verse: Matthew 6:33 it says that “But seek first the kingdom of God and live in his righteousness and all of your needs is given unto you”. In this verse I realize that I don’t have to waste my time to become rich but instead of that give all your time to him to know him more and to have a deeper relationship to God and all our needs is given to us.
Name: Sydney A. Geriane
Age: 18 years old
Interests: Badminton, basketball, computer
Favourite character trait of God: My favorite character of God was when he created the humanity, ever since till now his love never changed. When I met God trials are always been there, but those trials test my character and helps me shape my faith. And with that faith, God will see me through.
Name: Erwina A.Duro
Age: 17 years old
Interests: Reading bible, composing rap song about God, and bonding with my friends
Future Dreams: I dream for a successful future, finishing my study, having a good work to help my family. But still it depends to God’s will because I know plan of God is better then my plan.
What does hope mean to you: For me hope is a feeling of desire and expectation that things will go well in the future and also hope for me comes from God that’s why we need to remember that until morning is come and sun still have shine there’s hope.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”
– 2 Corinthians 4:7-9