In 1997, the ICPE Mission started in the Philippines upon the invitation of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, the Archbishop of Manila. Today, in solidarity with the Church in the Philippines as the Church of the poor, our vision is “Empowering the poor through God's compassionate love in the heart of Asia.”
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Balikatan Ministry, Rizal Province
In 2006, the ICPE Mission began to serve in Montalban (now known as Rodriguez), Rizal Province, where slum dwellers were relocated without job opportunities. Many families struggle to earn and live on US$ 5 daily. Social problems of gambling, alcoholism, abuse and drug addictions persist due to unemployment.
The ICPE Mission is reaching out to these families with the goal of empowering them to overcome their poverty and its consequences. This is done through the Balikatan and Seeds of Faith Ministries.
The Balikatan Ministry (meaning “shoulder to shoulder” in Filipino) helps adults to grow in their Christian faith and empowers them to take responsibility for their lives and families. It seeks to do so through sessions of bible sharing, prayer, praise and worship, faith formation, personal development seminars, microfinancing and livelihood projects.
In March 2012, the Balikatan Community was born when nine women took another step in making a deeper commitment to being a disciple of Christ, and sharing Christian life as a community encouraging and empowering each other.
The Balikatan Community members reach out to their neighbours and share the story of Jesus in their lives. They then invite them to be part of the Balikatan Prayer Group.
As many of the Balikatan members have been squatters who have been resettled in an area without any employment prospects, most of them have no regular work. They live from day to day trying to sell items/food on the streets, washing laundry, or some work as scavengers at nearby dumpsites. Many of the husbands have no regular employment. They serve as construction workers on short term contracts whilst some fortunate few are employed as security guards in areas outside Montalban.
To help them seek means of employment, we continue with ongoing projects of small loans to help them set up businesses, and assist them in finding sustainable livelihood projects. One such project has been the making of pressed flower cards and calendars. This is in collaboration with Care Channel International. Another project involves selling of used quality clothes and items. As part of empowering, we continue to help the members find ways of income that can help sustain their lives and families.
Seeds of Faith
This is the name that our youths chose for their ministry. These youths were some of the first batches of children from the Children Ministry started in Montalban. As they are now teenagers, our focus is to help them apply their faith to the life questions that they are beginning to ask so that they would be able to make life-giving choices for themselves.
As they would joke, they want to grow to be ‘trees of faith”, oaks of God’s righteousness planted and rooted in Christ! This is our vision and prayer for them.
Today, the group consists of several working youths, college and high school students. They meet together weekly for praise and worship, Bible study, faith sharing and formation.
We continue to empower them to be young men and women disciples of Christ who will influence their generation for Christ!
We raise funds to assist the medical needs of children and adults who fall ill. Many of the poor children are unable to see a doctor or get medicines due to the lack of finances. At times, their conditions deteriorate due to the delay in seeing a medical doctor, and getting the necessary care.
From the funds, we have also helped adults and children seek dental treatment through two Dental Missions, one in 2011 and anotherr in 2012. Many children and adults suffer from poor oral and dental care due to lack of hygiene, unbalanced diet and unaffordable dental treatment. In January 2012, a 15 year old girl finally received a set of dentures after suffering years of shame because of her decayed and cavity-filled teeth. Instead of mumbling to avoid showing her decaying teeth, she is now growing in confidence and flashing a winning smile.
This year, we continue to assist two siblings with a long term condition of Nephrotic Syndrome seek medical treatment and chemotherapy. In addition, a four year old boy is being assisted to have corrective surgery for his imperforate anus and a four year old girl for cleft lip surgery.
These funds enable us to help some of the children and adults in need of medical assistance.
The Children Ministry seeks to plant seeds of faith and nurture hope in young lives. We had started with a handful of children in Montalban, Rizal Province, and with our move to Tagaytay, it continues to grow and develop in Tagaytay.
Most of the children come from large families with as many as 5 to 9 siblings and often lack individual attention. To help each child realize their unique and lovable identity as a child of God, we provide them with faith formation, retreats, birthday celebrations and educational trips. From the opportunities to serve at the annual Back to School Mass to performing Christmas nativity skits, we help each child develop self-confidence and find their God given talents.
Coming from low income families, the children do not have a balanced and nutritious diet. This leaves them easily susceptible to sickness and skin diseases. Most of them are also underweight. Therefore, we run vaccination projects and give multi-vitamins and milk supplements to assist the children in their physical development. Through generous donations, each child receives a set second hand clothes and educational materials or toys for Christmas every year.
In Tagaytay, every month, we reach out to a 23 children between 5 and 8 years of age, with the same vision of nurturing and planting seeds of faith in young lives. We share gospel stories and provide basic catechesis through songs, prayer and fun activities. In addition, we are befriending the children selling in the streets of Tagaytay.
Recently, we have started to reach out to children in a nearby temporary settlement area in Tagaytay.
As the ministry expands, we hope to continue to nurture the faith and development of children.
Please contact us if you are interested to partner us in any educational or health projects!
The Children’s Educational Sponsorship developed as a result of our work in Balikatan Ministry and the Children Ministry. There are many children who cannot have an education because their parents are unable to earn enough income to send them to school.
This ministry aims to empower the children and youth through raising and providing funds from sponsors to enable them to attend schools and support their educational needs.
Through the help of our sponsors, school start up supplies (notebooks, stationary, papers, pens) have been given to 120 children as they started the new academic year in 2012. Once a month, we open our house to children and youth to read and browse through our collection of English story books. These second hand books were donated to help the children nurture a reading habit.
You, too, can empower someone to improve their life! Please contact us for more details.
Come & See
We welcome all who would like to visit and find out more the ICPE Mission. Come, see how we live, and discover more of God’s call in your life.
Retreats and Time Out
There are opportunities for retreats for those who wish to spend time with the Lord, to seek his direction or simply to rest and be refreshed...
Gathering round the table of the Lord
Once a fortnight, we invite our neighbours to gather with us round the table of the Lord and celebrate the Eucharist together. It is a good opportunity to pray together as a neighbourhood, and share the presence of the Lord. Our regular fortnightly Eucharistic Celebrations continue to draw an average of 30-40 adults and children. We begin with a short time of prayer either through songs or a simple reflection before Mass. For those who are interested, individual prayer ministry is also available before Mass.
Sharing Jesus through House Visits
What started as visits to invite our neighbours for the fortnightly Eucharistic celebrations has now led to the ministry of befriending and praying with the families in our Barangay (‘village’). Every fortnight, as we visited the 40 or more families living near our house, many opportunities arose to encourage them in their faith and to evangelize through our friendship. Neil, age 34 and the father of a 10 year old said “Thank you for coming and listening to me. You are really my friends.” Through the visits, we have also gained a better understanding of the challenges of drinking and gambling that are prevalent in our area. We pray that the families will encounter Christ’s transforming love so that they will be able live fully the Gospel values in their lives.