Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas by Candlelight

I wrote a few days ago about how this was the season for power outages. Christmas day we had two brownouts, one in the afternoon, and one as we were getting ready to sit down to Christmas dinner with Jesse and Kay and their kids. Chris said it was like a Little House on the Prairie Christmas. Fortunately we had plenty of candles and we cook with gas.  The food was excellent and I was even able to make a fresh pot of coffee using my coffee press. Woke up today, and we had yet another outage that lasted all of five minutes. Maybe someone was flying a kite. The joys of living in the Philippines.

Power is back on now (for now).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Best Sonshine Center Christmas Ever

Tonight we celebrated the Christmas season at the Sonshine Center with our Second Annual Christmas Fundraiser Banquet.
We did the Filipino version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Our very own street kids put on the show.


It was a blessed night for the kids and staff, and those who attended.  More pictures of this wonderful evening can be found here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Tis the Season . . .

for power outages (a.k.a brownouts). For some reason we have been having brownouts more often than usual. Tuesday of this week we had three, each lasting around sixty minutes. Maybe it has to do with all the Christmas lights around the city? While the power grid has become more reliable over the passed several years, we still have the occasional outage. Our first Summer here we had an outage every afternoon for two hours. It is the worst when they occur in the middle of the night. You lay in your own sweat trying to sleep, and the bugs start to buzz around your ears. Once we had a city wide outage caused by a kite flying into some wires.  

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Test Before Testimony

Another excellent message I heard during my trip to Davao was given by Lisa Cox (pictured), a member of the pastoral team from the States. She challenged us saying that we often would like to have the testimony without the test. Indeed the test must come first before we gain the testimony. Using the example of Abraham offering his song Isaac, she taught that you cannot have one without the other. Trials, challenges, and tests can be an opportunity for a testimony later. It depends on how we react to these challenges and trials.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Good Advice

I am passionate about a few things.  One of the things I am very passionate about is world missions.  As evidenced by recent life choices, missions and the world harvest is one of the greatest (second only to my family) passions and purposes in my life.  I recently had a very wise and more experienced minister give me some really good advice.  Linus LeFever of Acts 29 Ministries was a member of the pastoral team on my recent trip to Davao.  He told me, "Don't let you passion turn into aggression."  Now what does that mean?  It means don't let something that you believe in so strongly become an aggression that pushes people away.  A person can be humble even though he has great passion for what he is doing.  Someone who has his passion morph into aggression is not so humble, and now we see his passion turning into a prideful arrogance.  This kind of aggression can lead to burnout.  I truly appreciate this piece of advice, and I am sure I will be chewing on this for quite some time.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Preschool Fun

Posted by Chris

One of the Kinder 2 preschoolers leads her classmates as they read together. The privilege to help children learn to read is an honor. I have sat with two of my own children as they wrestled with letter sounds and stringing words together. It is a joy to be a part of such an amazing gift.

A BRIGHT student and Ma'am Lily, the teacher, work together to practice reading in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. There are 5 BRIGHT students who will take their Elementary Equivalency tests in February. Keep them in prayer as they study for the next few months before the test.

Some of the preschoolers enjoying their lunch. At the Sonshine Learning Center, students' spiritual, relational, emotional, mental and physical needs are met daily.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

While the rest of the Philippines went to work or school or had a normal day, the staff and families of the Sonshine Center celebrated Thanksgiving. A small army of cooks (including Chris, Eric, and Faithy) prepared the feast, and we had the big dinner at the home of Jesse and Kay. For the first time ever, I did not eat too much. I am finding that I simply cannot pig out the way I used to, even when the food is as good as a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings--we even got Stove Top stuffing delivered from Manila.







Monday, November 19, 2007

Pressure

Pressure isn't always bad. Especially when it comes to water. For three years we have lived without water pressure. When someone was doing the dishes, you could not take a shower. If a toilet was flushed, you had to wait until the tank filled up before you washed your hands in the sink. Then when the laundry was being washed in our washing machine, all other water needs had to be put on hold. It would literally take an hour to wash a single load of laundry.

Then something wonderful happened. About a week ago we got our pipes cleaned. It's like we have a whole new plumbing system. You can actually wash the dishes and have someone take a shower at the same time. Laundry now takes thirty minutes to wash. And showers are wonderful. We used to do the fill the bucket and dump method, but now no more. For three years we lived without water pressure. I am glad those three years are over. We will be sure to have our pipes cleaned yearly.

Now we may have to get a "widowmaker."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Trip to Davao, THIS is Church

The exclamation point at the end of this trip was Sunday morning service at God's People Christian Fellowship Badjao Community Church.

The Badjao community is a true squatter village. The Badjao people do not own any land. Their entire community is built over the water with their houses and buildings on raised stilts. Many of the families depend on the ocean for their livelihood. Many of the Badjao men I met were pearl divers.

They are very poor but also very passionate about Christ. They are true worshipers, praising God with all their hearts. In their poverty they still have much joy.

During praise and worship the place was literally hopping. Since the church, just like their homes, is built on stilts over the water, the building was swaying and moving up and down during worship.


We had a powerful time of prayer. Many people came forward for ministry.


When this man came to church he was blind. When he left church that day he could see. Prayer really does work. Prayer really does change things. Miracles really do happen. I have now seen this with my own two eyes, just like this man.

Here is a member of Davao's finest, one of our police escorts for the day.

Near the church is a mosque that is unfortunately very hostile to this church and to Christians in general. There have been some incidents of violence toward the church and its members. This is why we needed a police escort for our visit. There was even a gang of rough necks (or as my friend officer Jimmy Capone would say, "knuckleheads") that had to be kicked out of the church service.

My visit to this church has blessed me in so many ways. These people are some of the poorest I have ever seen. Their homes are literally little shacks built on stilts. And yet in the midst of their poverty, they are very rich in their faith in Christ. This fact makes them richer than most. Their faith is powerful and passionate. They love Jesus with all their hearts, and it shows.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Trip to Davao

Last week was incredible. I was in the island of Mindanao in the city of Davao. I joined a team of pastors from the United States and Calvary International missionaries to help minister at a tribal pastors conference.

In Mindanao there are thirty-four tribal groups. Twenty-five of those tribes were represented at this conference. Over 500 pastors and church leaders from these people groups attended this conference. Many of these tribes were recently considered unreached. Praise the Lord they are unreached no more.

Some of these tribal peoples have a very rough history. One pastor used to be a member of a tribe that practiced cannibalism. He became a born again Christian and stopped this brutal practice. He attended Bible school and is now pastoring a small congregation. He said he can no longer practice cannibalism because he now knows that all people are created in the image of God, and that he should love them and show them the love of Christ rather than kill and eat them. AMEN!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Travels

Last week our family joined the Calvary International missionaries here in Asia at our Annual Reunion of the Asia-Pacific team. This year we enjoyed the Costa Aguada resort, a place we have visited twice before.

Also tomorrow the 7th, I leave for Davao in Mindinao for a pastor's conference. I will return home on Monday the 12th. Please keep my family in your prayers while I am gone.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

Three Years


“Anyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”
Matt. 19:29

Three years ago today we left our home in the United States and moved here to the Philippines. We left our families and friends and our American life to move to Iloilo to serve Christ and His people here in Asia.
These three years went by very fast. It has not always been easy, but we absolutely have no regrets. Our family has grown and become stronger. Our faith has grown and become stronger.

I don’t know how long we will be here in the Philippines. I don’t know how long we will be missionaries. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter. It is not our decision. All we can do is hear and obey.
I celebrate these last three years on missions, and I hope there are many more.

For Christ and His Kingdom,
the Anasco family of missionaries

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Back Home


For security reasons, I did not post from “Nevada.” I am now safely back home in Iloilo. The hardest part of making these trips is being away from my favorite people. I really hate to be away from my family. I got home around lunchtime. I love coming home to the hugs and kisses of my wife and kids.

I was in “Nevada” for three days. It is always good to visit there. This was my fifth trip to “Nevada.” We had nearly sixty students at the Bible school. Many of these students are already helping lead and pastor churches in the Underground, or will eventually plant their own church after they graduate.

Our agency, Calvary International, has been conducting Bible schools (CBI, Calvary Bible Institutes) throughout Asia for almost twenty years. Statistically one in three CBI graduates go on to plant their own church. There are over three billion people in Asia. Calvary Bible Institute is training church leaders to help transform over one-third of the globe for Christ.

Helping train church leaders, this is why I love being a missionary.

Pictures from this incredible trip can be found here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

From Cambodia

Today I completed my first day of teaching here in Cambodia. We have about eighty students. They are all very eager and excited. They ask many questions, and just want to know more and more.

What am I doing here? How did I get to be here? In the midst of my teaching time today, I glanced up from my Powerbook and was about to move on to my next point--I looked up and saw the students looking at me, waiting for the next point, and I could not help but wonder “how did I get to this place?”

It is very humbling for me to be doing this. I am by no means an expert or a theologian. I do not have a Master’s in Divinity. There are so many more who are more qualified that I am. So what am I doing here?
While, yes there are many more who are more qualified than I--better theologians or more experienced teachers--they are not here, and I am. So I can only ask that God would use me and speak through me. He is the final and best expert on this subject (after all this is a Bible school). So in all my limitations and inadequacies, all I can do is depend on His anointing.

I love doing this. I love helping the local church in Cambodia.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prayer Alert

Tomorrow morning I leave for Cambodia and "Nevada." Please keep me and my family in your prayers. I return to home on the 27th of this month. I will be teaching in a Bible school in Cambodia for three days, and then also with the Underground Church in "Nevada." While Cambodia is a free and open country, "Nevada" is not. Please pray for my protection, and also keep my family in prayer while I am gone.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My Brother, My Mentor


I believe in having a mentor. I believe in submitting to someone and being accountable to someone. I believe in finding someone who has more life experience and more wisdom, and spending time with that person to learn from and build relationship with. I am privileged to call Chaz Yandall my mentor.

To talk to him, he would not lay claim to that title. He says we just hang out, becoming closer as brothers as we also become closer to Christ. Truly he does bless me as a great friend and brother.

At the same time I learn much from him and his experience. First there is the uniqueness of his family. He and his wife Terrie have twenty six kids. That is not a typo. The full story of their very special family is another blog entry altogether. Also Chaz is a pastor and missionary here in the Philippines with almost twenty years experience on the field. Most of all is the strength and simplicity of this faith. He is truly a Christ follower.

Today I had lunch with my mentor, to glean from his wisdom and seek his input on some of my questions. We went to my favorite Filipino restaurant, eMillion. The food was great, the company was even better.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Faithy


My favorite little girl is not so little, today is her birthday, today she is seven. We enjoyed cake at the Center with the staff, then we went to SM City and rode rides all afternoon, and then we went out to dinner at her favorite place, Bigby’s in Smallville, followed by dessert at Blue Jay’s.

Faithy is a wonderful child of God. She has a heart to share with others, and also a heart of true compassion. Also she is our own cartoon character, always joking and trying to make people laugh.

More photos from this special day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sorrow

from Chris
This is the second blog entry that I have written, and I wish that I were not writing this at all because the circumstances are truly sad.

Last week one of our very own Scholarship students passed away due to medical complications with his kidney. Jhannell was such a quiet and sweet boy. He graduated from the Sonshine Learning Center preschool in March and had started first grade in June. He was seven years old.

We mourn with his family, but we can rejoice for him because now he is in a place where God “will wipe away every tear from his eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4)

From one of the songs we often sing at the Sonshine Center:

“Come and go with me to My Father’s house
Come and go with my to my Father’s house
There’s a big, big house with lots and lots of room,
There’s a big, big table with lots and lots of food,
There’s a big, big yard where we can play football,
There’s a big, big house, it’s my Father’s house.”

He is no longer singing about this, Jhannell is now experiencing it firsthand.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Guam, USA

We had one of the most enjoyable and relaxing family vacations ever in Guam, USA. It was so cool to be in the United States of America, we were in our home country. There is something about being on your native soil, seeing the Stars and Strips flying overhead, hearing English (or rather American) being spoken. I love America, and I appreciate my country even more now living overseas.

Guam is a tiny island in the middle of the big Pacific Ocean. The beaches on the island are beautiful, with white sand and clear, blue water. We all enjoyed the sand and surf.
For this expatriate, Guam was a breath of fresh air for so many reasons. It was nice to be in a clean, first world place. Guam was so familiar, from the street signs to the stores, it was a little slice of America. While I am getting more and more accustomed to my Filipino home, I am still an American. It was wonderful to be in a first world country where the streets are clean, where it is safe to drink the water from the tap, and where the restrooms have toilet paper. Being among these familiar things has truly recharged my batteries.

For this family vacation, we considered going to Beijing or Shanghai, or perhaps back to Hong Kong. I am glad we went instead to a place that had things like fun beaches, and familiar things like Circle K convenience stores and good American food. Four days in Guam was exactly what our family needed. We will be back.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

First we had the Danny's Big One, and today we had the big Thirty-seven. Today is my birthday, and I am thirty-seven years old. My wife, Chris, keeps reminding me that the big FOUR-OH is approaching. Actually I still feel pretty young. Having three kids, and the fun they bring, definitely makes me feel younger.

Jason Branch is my oldest friend. Not in the sense that I do not have any friends that are older in age than him, but in the sense that we have known each other so long. There is no one else, besides family, that I have known longer. We met when we were just six years old.

He and his family made their second trip to the other side of the world. Last year they came around this time, working with the Sonshine Center, blessing the street kids, and this year they have returned. This was a great birthday gift, a visit from my oldest friend. They will be here until the 11th of August, working at the Sonshine Center, specifically in the area of the feeding program. I know they will be a blessing, and I know they will be blessed.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lasting Impact

Today we said goodbye to Jimmy and Beth, and their team from Christ’s Community Worship Center. They had a challenging and blessed time of ministry. We ministered in the remote mountain village of Alibunan, we shared God’s love with the street children of Iloilo at the Sonshine Center, they also traveled to nearby Bacolod and preached on the radio, ministered at an orphanage, and preached on Sunday morning.

They have just left, but their impact will be far reaching and long lasting. You never know what kind of seeds are planted in the hearts of those you minister to. All we can do is be obedient to the call, and just go when the Lord says “go.”
Pictures of their trip can be found here.

For those of you who have yet to make a trip to the other side of the world, I ask again “Why not you?” When are we going to read about your missions adventures and see your pictures on this blog?

City of Smiles

Jimmy, Beth and their team are wrapping up their short term missions trip here in the Philippines. We spent this weekend on the nearby island of Negros in the city of Bacolod (a.k.a "City of Smiles"). We did a weekend of ministry with my great friend and mentor, Pastor Chaz Yandall. We helped with his radio show, we ministered at an orphanage and we also helped out with his church on Sunday morning.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Big One

Has it really been a whole year?
Today was a blessed day indeed, we celebrated Danny’s first birthday. We had a pool party and cake and ice cream with family and friends here in Iloilo. Also our good friends and also Danny’s godparents, Jimmy and Beth Capone were here to celebrate. As you may recall they were here this time last year.

Danny is an incredible little boy. He is such a blessing to all who know him. Thanks to all who celebrated this day with us, and also thanks to family and friends who sent him presents and cards.
More pictures can be found here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Back Again

This marks the third summer in a row that Jimmy and Beth Capone have come on a short term missions trip to the Philippines. Last year they brought their girls Natalie and Julianna, and two from their church, Chris and Lauren. The whole brood came again this summer, along with another team member, Sara.

They hit the ground running, after landing in Iloilo Sunday morning, we left for the mountains to hold a mini-camp in Alibunan. We played games, did crafts, and loved on about a hundred kids. Then we swam in the river located in a valley between two mountains. We roasted hot dogs for dinner and had s’mores for dessert.

Then we all tried to get some sleep. Up in the mountains life is pretty simple, they just got electricity a few years ago. We slept in a small, bamboo hut. Unfortunately we all woke up when the first roosters started crowing around 4:00 AM. Also since we were in the mountains it was actually somewhat cold. We went back into Iloilo City early Monday morning.

We have a full week of ministry planned. Thanks to Jimmy and Beth and their team for coming back to the other side of the world.