Monday, November 12, 2012

God Answers Prayers (again) - Learning Tagalog!


This was the Dilemma...
Over six months ago, Lynnette and I had to stop our Tagalog classes that we were taking because it was too far from our new home which was closer to our church. It was killing me inside because I really enjoyed the classes and was learning a lot. We discovered that there was another Tagalog language school nearer to our new place, but because of the much higher cost it wasn't something we could sign up for. 

A few months went by and I really felt like God was leading me to take these classes so I shared it with Lynnette, but when we looked at our budget, we simply needed the money for other basic things. And even if extra money came in, we would need it to cover our expenses since we are short each month. So, I did my best to start learning on my own, but even my Rosetta Stone software stopped working on me. To make it even more painful, I met a missionary here from Canada who went to that same Tagalog language school near our place, and after a year and a half he is pretty much fluent, it was pretty inspiring to hear him speak, but I have to admit I was envious. But I knew that the money wasn't there so I just continued to pray for God to make a way. 

Just a Side Note...
Recently I've been really getting into video, and I had the opportunity to donate time to do a promotional video for a non-profit organization called Samaritana (an incredible Christian organization that ministers to women in prostitution). My hope is to be able to tell more stories of others through video to help their cause. Fortunately they really liked it, and I was excited because I had at least one video in my portfolio to promote my services. 

A long shot...
So, back to the Tagalog language school story. I decided to email the school to let them know that I didn't have the funds to take classes, but asked if they were willing to do a trade of services. I could do a promotional video for them (and web work too if they needed) in exchange for them to teach me Tagalog. I sent them that one video in my portfolio. I thought it might be a long shot, but it was worth a try since I had nothing to lose.

The God factor...
The school emailed me the same day and in it they were praising God because they really felt this was an answer to their prayers. First, they've been wanting to do a promo video, but never had the resources or funds to do it. Second they've been needing help with their website but couldn't afford someone to help them. Praise God, because my prayers were answered too! Its awesome how God works! Here are two things that I am passionate about getting better at, video and Tagalog - and God put them come together in one beautifully wrapped package.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Garces Newsletter - November 2012 Update!

Dear friends and family,

We miss seeing everyone face to face, and although it pales in comparison, we are thankful for the connection that Facebook can often provide! Thank you for following our journey as we minister here in the Philippines - it's already been a year and 5 months! We've already been seeing young people coming to Christ and sharing their faith with others. God is doing an amazing thing at Hope Chapel Metro, and we expect to see much more in the upcoming year!

For more details on what's been happening view our newest newsletter video for some highlights of the past couple of months:


DJ continues as the Train Pastor, overseeing our minichurches (small groups), discipleship programs/strategy, videos, and the programming of our services. He also disciples some young men in his minichurch each week. 

Lynnette has been continuing in her role as the Church Administrator, Accountant and Kids Venture (children's church) Director, which has definitely kept her busy! She has also been discipling young ladies in her minichurch each week.

Since June some of our regular supporters could not continue in there generous support which resulted in us being short $570 each month, but by God's grace He's provided each time through unexpected one-time donations and occasional website work for DJ.

However, starting in March we'll have a new rent expense of $300.

In total, we need to raise an additional:

$870/month ($570 + $300)


$9840 for the entire year

In order for us to continue in the Philippines, we would like you to prayerfully consider partnering with us in our mission through financial support. We would be incredibly grateful for any amount, for we know the sacrifice it often requires to give. And, as always, we would be blessed to have your prayers as well.

If you feel led to support us through a recurring monthly amount or a one-time donation, please let us know by Fri, November 23rd. You can give online at this link:
(Donations are tax deductible and 100% will be deposited to us).
Let us know if you would like to see a breakdown of our expenses, we'd be happy to send that to you.

May you be overwhelmed by God's love and blessing,

DJ and Lynnette


Hope Chapel Metro's First Youth Camp

Last weekend was Hope Chapel Metro's first Youth Camp let by one of our new young leaders! It was a great camp, lives were transformed and inspired. I had a chance to teach on the first night and Lynnette helped in ministering to the young women. 

Here is a short highlight video I put together of the camp:


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Garces Fostering to Adopt: Our Decision Confirmed

This was originally posted in Lynnette's personal blog (


"So, don't lose heart... though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

After a month of intentionally spending time with God in regards to "Fostering to Adopt", we have come to a decision. It has been very emotional and draining time of seeking for the directed path only because I was being stubborn in listening to God.

This past Saturday, DJ and I decided to start fostering in November. Our heart was set, which also meant that I would not be able to attend the Women's Arise Conference in January that I already committed to going several months ago. 

On Sunday, not knowing that DJ and I made a decision to start fostering starting in November and that I had already made a decision not to go to the conference, my friend Jay pulled me to the side and shared how she really needs me to go to the conference with her as her support.  My heart just sunk! I was torn... do I let go of my desires to foster a child or do I be loyal to my friend and attend the conference. After the meeting, I ended up crying to my friend Valeree because I knew in my heart that it was a confirmation from God that I have been pushing aside. God used Jay to shake my heart to listen to His voice. 

Hope Chapel Metro: Arise Women's Ministry

I got home from church and talked with DJ with tears discussing what was being confirmed in my heart. I shared with him how I felt that in this season God wants me to continue to focus on the ministries He has called me to serve Him in. As I was sharing with pain, the story of Abraham and Isaac resonated peacefully in my heart... which gave me great comfort. 

I told God that, "Lord, I will give up my own desires of fostering a child to be obedient to your call for me in the Philippines." tears, tears, I know God's dream for me is far more greater than mine. I know without a doubt God will bless us abundantly as we focus on drawing even closer to Him. I know that in His precious time God will give us a child whether through fostering or naturally.

Just last night, while in the process of mourning, I got a message on Facebook from a friend April Brangenberg. God bless her as God totally used her to speak encouragement to me... (Thank you April for sharing your wonderful gifts and praying for us)... Her message was a great reminder of what God has shared with me also. God is so amazing!

Here is the godly message she shared with me...

From April Pacleb Brangenberg

Dear Lynnette,

As I was praying for you and DJ regarding the possibilities you are facing about a baby, God brought two things to mind:

1. As much as your heart yearns to hold, love on, and nurture a child of your own, yearn even more deeply for God.

2. As much as you yearn to love on a child with your whole heart... God yearns to love on you... a zillion times more.

He knows you and loves you that much... already!

Can you imagine?

Allow Him to come ever closer to you. Allow Him to drink you in, to hold you, to feel the warmth and tenderness of you in His arms, pressed in so gently and securely upon His chest that you can hear His heart beat - just for you.

Allow Him to embrace you as He feels full and satisfied deep inside - as He breathes in the sweet perfume of you - in the same way that you love to breathe in that sweet, beautiful, joyful "baby smell."

Allow Him to enjoy you in the still quietness and trust of who God is for you... without your questions, fears and doubts. You know He loves you. You know He knows your needs. You know He will continue to provide for you.

You know He will continue to love, nurture and grow you in the likeness of His very own Son, Jesus, because you, dear Lynnette, have been created in your Father's image too.

Allow God to bless you.

And rest in His love.

He is so willing to do this... to do all of this... with you.

Invite Him. Welcome Him. Enjoy Him.

Now. And forevermore.

With much love and joy because we belong to Him,


Friday, October 12, 2012

Lynnette's MC Prayer Outreach

Lynnette wanted to challenge her Mini-Church (small group) to do a prayer outreach at a shopping center where our church Hope Chapel Metro has its services. Within the shopping center there are numerous stores, & restuarants to minister to.


TRAINING SESSION: Lynnette created a mini-training session prior to the outreach and had her MC ladies role play so that they may feel comfortable when doing the outreach. For some it was their first time doing such an outreach. 


PURPOSE: Lynnette's heart was to have each of her MC ladies "adopt" one of the stores and committ to praying for them for 1 week. The purpose was to bless the people by praying for them and building a relationship.


OUTREACH: Lynnette had the MC ladies go into their adopted stores and minister to either the store owner or the workers by asking if they can pray for them. The ladies were also asked to share 1-3 minutes of their testimony. The ladies left each store by sharing with the store owners and workers how they will be committed to praying for them throughout the week. In the end, the MC ladies recieved each store's contact information so that they may text or email throughout the week encouraging them through prayers or scriptures. 


FOLLOWUP: Next Sunday, the ladies will return to their "adopted" stores and follow up with them building bridges and relationships with the store owners and workers of IL Terrazzo. 

VIDEO: Here is a footage Lynnette documenting during their outreach: 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fostering to Adopt: House Visit & Possible Twins

This was originally posted in Lynnette's personal blog (

Today was the day that our social worker visited our home for the first time to evaluate our living conditions. I was a bit nervous as we live in a very small one bedroom more like a small studio. I wasn't sure what the "normal" was for a good evaluation. But he seemed to be pleased with the condo... Praise God!


Signing the Fostering License Application with social worker

We also began our Part II interview along with signing of the Fostering License Application.  The sense of reality started to settle while signing the papers to foster...on top of that my "nesting mode" started to kick in. 

Decision Of When We Will Foster: 
We shared with him that we are leaning on fostering a baby after January when I return from an Arise Women's Conference in Hawaii. But then, the social worker shared that just yesterday a young lady gave birth to a set of twins a boy and a girl... He looked at me and said "will you be interested?" My heart jumped as I always wanted twins. Then he proceeded in sharing that there were 5 more babies born within the past weeks. My husbands eye's went big signaling to the social worker that we'll start with just one for now. LOL. 

If it was up to me I wouldn't mind taking all of them. My desire is to parent 3 to 5 children. 

Possible Fostering In November:
The social worker shared that once we get all the paper work completed, we will be able to foster a baby as soon as the first week of November.  My heart swayed more to November versus end of January, especially when the social worker shared how many babies needed a home. My heart wanted to start right away.

I may have to prayerfully seek if I should go on the Arise Missions Trip in January. And try to convince my hubby that we can handle twins! ~wink~wink! 

Overall, I am feeling such joy and excitement that in a month we could be possible parents to a foster child for the duration of 3 to 6 months at a time. My "nesting mode" is definitely kicking in. I'm already staring at the walls picturing and imagining how each baby furnitures will fit and where the clothes, bottles, diapers etc... will go. 


Our first baby gift from the Galido's!

On Saturday, I'll probably go to SM Mall and price out possible items in case we start in November. I'm a minimalist so hopefully I won't make a long list. Thanks to my good friend Jay Galido for our very first baby gift! 

Prayer Request:  For protection, guidance, wisdom, and financial provisions. 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fostering to Adopt: Update - Next Steps!

This was originally posted in Lynnette's personal blog (


Meeting With Social Worker
It's been about couple of weeks now since our initial meeting with the social worker. We were able to get a better idea of the requirements for this initial fostering process. I feel great peace about this agency as it is one of the two that caters to "fostering to adopt" and the agency has a great track record of successful placement of the children with the government & embassay.

During our initial meeting the social worker shared with us that they currently have only 0-2months old babies for placements and there is a high rate for girls. Originally our heart was set on having a boy but now knowing that there is such a high rate for girls we are leaning more towards having a girl.

The social worker also shared that there are two divisions financially in fostering: first is subsidized which is where the agency pays you about $35 a month for the child's needs and monthly we will need to take the child in for checkups and evaluations plus home visits regularly for accountability. And the second division is the unsubsidized which is where the foster parents gives full financial care for the child and does not need regular home visits. We are not sure which route to take as we are living off of support.

"Practicing" Picture of Baby Zoe Galido 
(Our friend Jay & Nolan's 2 month old daughter)

Also, we learned that in order to be eligible to adopt we would need to live in the Philippines for a total of 3 years which was saddening... But the social worker assured us that we are still able to foster until we meet the requirements of 3 years. (So, it'll be 1 year and 6 months more to go for the adoption!).

Another limitation is that a child is allowed to live with the foster parents for only 3 months at a time. Therefore, after 3 months we will be getting a different baby or child each time. (Hmmm, am I ready for this emotionally of letting go of the child every 3 months?) We are praying that the agency will allow us to have the same child placed at our home until the 1year and 6 months is up for adoption.

Our Next Steps
Our next steps is to send the organization recommendation letters from 3 references whom we asked our close friends here in the Philippines along with our parents. We are also required to get a medical clearance certification for their evaluation process. In the meantime, the social worker will be contacting us to do a "house visit". So, we are going to just continue to move forward in faith until God gives us the red light.


Emotional, Mental, & Spiritual Preparations
As shared in my first entry that DJ & I will be committing to do intentional devotions regarding this next journey of our life as possible parents. The devotional times has helped a lot with my anxieties, concerns, and worries as it is a lot to process and prepare for.  However, I was blown away how God showed up in all this...

I normally follow a bible reading plan on "YouVersion" for my daily readings & devotional reflections. So, for my Day 1 of intentional devotions I opened up the reading plans and started to read the first two readings. The readings were a bit dry and I was feeling discouraged as I was eager for God to show us or speak to us through this time of reflection. Before I moved onto the third readings which was on Luke 1, I asked God to show up as I'm not receiving anything from the first two readings. 

I started reading on Luke 1 and I couldn't stop crying. I was first overwhelmed with how God totally answered my prayer about showing up through this reading. And second I could feel him showering me with the promises, hope, encouragement, and love he has for us.

Luke Chapter 1, was on the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth and how God blessed them with baby John (later known as John the baptist) from Elizabeth's once barren womb. 

Of all chapters, and of all scripture readings God orchestrated my readings to be on Luke 1. I was super blessed by the quality time He spent with me that morning. What a way to kick of Day 1! As each day went by I just felt God's grace, love, & peace that he has it all under control and that all I need to do is take one step and one day at a time trusting in him each way.

Prayer Requests
Here are some of my prayer request regarding the fostering to adopt:

  1. Whether to start fostering within the next month or to wait until after January when I return from a women's conference in Hawaii... Is it the right timing? Or should we wait to pursue on our 3 year mark?
  2. For financial provisions - Although as missionaries we live off the donations of our generous supporters, we are currently still about $200-$300 short of our monthly expenses. But some how for the past year God has always provided for us each month! I still don't know how we are surviving from month to month. It has really stretched our faith not knowing if we have enough for each upcoming month. With a child added on... my prayer would be: "Are we currently making a wise decision for this season in providing for this child?" Ultimately it is God who is the provider and I just need to trust in Him that he will continue to provide even if the "numbers" show differently. 
  3. For emotional, mental, & spiritual protection, wisdom, and discernment through all of this. 

I just want to thank all our loved ones who have been praying and encouraging us through this all. Stay tuned for the next entry on "Fostering to Adopt" journey.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shooting video for organizations that help women out of prostitution & sex trade


Saving women/children from the global sex trade...this is what my friends' organization is all about. A few weeks ago I contacted my good friend Chris Kanemura in Hawaii who just recently started up a non-profit organization called Made in Hope with a friend here in the Philippines, Michelle Tolentino. It serves to empower women who have been rescued from the global sex trade/human trafficking and prostitution, by providing education, skills training, and faith strengthening so that they can be transformed and have a sustainable livelihood. The organization that does all of this in the Philippines is called Samaritana, whom they partner with. Samaritana is an established organization in the Philippines, which is has been helping woman out of prostitution for over 20 years now. 

What's in your hand?...My pastor, Nolan Galido, had been saying this recently to encourage us that we already have what we need to be used by God to serve others. I called Chris really wanting to help out somehow, but I wasn't sure what I could do for them. It turns out Made in Hope and Samaritana needed a video to help bring awareness to their transforming ministries. Of course, I am far from being a professional videographer, I am a hobbyist like the thousands of others out there, but in my hand was a decent camera and some editing software. I felt that this was a way I could bless them and at the same time hone my skills. Lynnette, whose hobby is make-up, also had a chance to bless the women by doing the make-up for all those being interviewed for the video. That was in her hands.

Powerful stories of changed lives...were shared by different women as we filmed yesterday. Lynnette and I went out to Samaritana from 8:30am - 400pm, we interviewed amazing women who have stepped out of prostitution, loving staff workers and the dedicated directors, Jonathan and Thelma Nambu, who run the organization. We were so blessed to be able to record their stories, and of course to simply spend the day with them. The women were so excited to have Lynnette do mini makeovers on them, and asked her to come back in November to do a make-up workshop for all of them.

Award winning documentary?...probably not. But, I'll be creating a few videos (a short teaser, a med 3-5 minute promo and a longer 10-15 minute video) from all this footage. For now I'm mainly focusing on a 3-5 minute promo for Samaritana's anniversary in November, and a video for Made in Hope to promote their cause. I'll admit, that this process is scary, since I haven't done anything this involved before, but I hope that they can use it as tool to bring awareness and inspire others to support their organization as they literally transform lives from the inside out. I'll post the video as soon as it has been completed.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Hoping to Be Foster Parents...& Eventually Adopt

This was originally posted in Lynnette's personal blog (


Since I (Lynnette) was 12, I’ve always wanted to adopt and one day have my own orphanage. The passion started due to my up bringing as I grew up somewhat like an orphan living from different family to family. 

Now living in the Philippines, day in and day out we see so many street kids. The thought of fostering & adopting would linger in my heart quite often- When I see the street kids I just want to give them all a bath, feed them, & most importantly love on them… I want to love the kids and help raise them to be disciples of Jesus.

For some time now as a married couple DJ & I have been thinking of fostering to adopt but never really pursued it. We were really encouraged & inspired by reading our friends Charlotte & Alex's story of their fostering experience on Facebook. Soon after, we decided to pursue it as well.

As a side note: DJ & I have about 12% chance of conceiving. We were heavily contemplating whether to get checked here in the Philippines to pursue possible procedures, but the costs were too high. Our missionary insurance doesn’t cover the check ups or any possible procedures. The check ups alone are $300. However, we are not going to completely close that door…perhaps in the future we will pursue the check ups & possible procedures… if it’s God’s will. In the meantime fostering to adopt really speaks to our hearts.

Last week after researching on some fostering organizations, DJ & I emailed an organization to inquire about being possible foster parents to adopt.  We were not sure if we are even eligible being that we are US citizens, but in faith we sent them an email anyway and let God handle the rest. 

Recently, we got an email reply from the organization and notified us that a Social Worker will be contacting us to set up an orientation/interview/next step meeting. Receiving the email was exciting but super scary at the same time. We are not sure if this is the direction God wants us to take or even if it's the right time or season. But trusting in God to show us the way in all of this, as we are open to whichever direction He wants us to go. 

Happy to share that our orientation/interview has been set for today Sept. 21 at 10am. The day before my hubby's birthday. The organization didn't say whether we are approved or not so we are praying that God will close the door if it's not the direction at this initial meeting.

Please keep us in prayer for God's hand to be all over this and to close the door if this is not the route. Praying for more confirmations and that this decision is not out of emotions as it is a HUGE life changing commitment to make. DJ & I will be committing to do intentional devotional & prayer time for this specific direction for the duration of 1 month.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Teaching Kids the Books of the New Testament

I (DJ) often forget how unusually gifted Lynnette is with teaching kids. This afternoon before church while preparing her lesson for Kids Venture (our church's children's ministry), she began making up some hand gestures that matched a rhythm to naming the 27 books of the New Testament. She was literally making it up on the spot and rehearsing it with me. She was confident that she could get the 5-10 year old children of Kids Venture to memorize all the books, in order, in the time span of a church service. If you're like me, then you're thinking "that's crazy!" probably because also like me, you can't do it fact I'm sure most adult Christians can't. So who could blame me for being a little skeptical.

Fast forward to the end of our church service, when suddenly 15 kids march into the church lounge area, falling into formation and to the shock of everyone recited all 27 books of the New Testament in order. They weren't imitating or following along with the teacher, they just did it on their own. Of course when they were done everyone exploded in disbelief and cheers, and then probably like me, reflected for a moment on our own ignorance. 

Here's a glimpse of the kids in Kids Venture showing off their ability after Lynnette had somehow found the formula to get kids to remember books of the bible many people can't even pronounce. Oh, and did I mention that some of these kids don't even speak English! 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kids Venture Movie outing to see "Brave"!

Lynnette hosted a Kids Venture movie event. She took kids from our church to see the movie "Brave". Its been on her heart to bless these kids, especially since some of them have never been in a movie theater before! 

A special thank you to Michelle Chinen, Derwin, & Quennie for sponsoring all the children & chaperones!! They all had fun!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Experience at the Flood Relief Centers


Yesterday, the monsoon rains relented and we were able to experience some sunshine, much needed by this devastated city. Most of the water had receded and many of the roads are now drivable. As we watched the news, it was heart wrenching to hear that in Metro Manila alone there are over 44,000 people forced out of their homes by the waters, now living in 359 crowded evacuation centers. The amount of food and supplies needed to care for these people is overwhelming to think about.

Anxious to do something, Lynnette went online to look for ways that we could help. She found a government center that needed volunteers in packing relief bags for the evacuation centers. A few friends from church joined us and we headed out finding ourselves in a room too small to handle the amount of volunteers that were squeezed in with all the food and clothing.

It was encouraging to see all these people committed to volunteer, but the amount of people packed in that room seemed to actually slow down the relief packaging process. So, with difficulty, we packed some relief packages and then decided to jump in a jeepney and move to another relief center at the University of Philippines (UP), hoping we would be more of a help and less of a hindrance. 

Arriving at UP we entered a huge gymnasium, buzzing with action and young people. Each of us quickly jumped into helping in different areas, which included creating rice bags, sorting clothes, filling relief bags or simply falling into a chain line to move bags and boxes from one place to another. It was awesome to see the amount of donations that had come in and the amount of relief bags that were created by the hundreds of volunteers eager to help the flood victims. 

It was a tiring day, but we were blessed to help in the small way that we did. There's still so much that needs to be done for those impacted, and to rebuild/clean up the city. We continue to keep all those effected in our prayers. 

Check out the video that Lynnette made of our experience:



Monday, August 6, 2012

Back in the Philippines From Pasadena

Just a little over two weeks ago I (DJ) boarded a non-stop 13.5 hour flight to Los Angeles from the Philippines to attend the two week on-campus seminar required for my Masters program at Fuller Seminary, in Pasadena. For those who are curious, it is the MAGL or Master of Arts in Global Leadership program. Yes...I know, its a mouthful but as cool as it may sound, it has nothing to do with preparing myself for some sort of world domination.

Actually, the MAGL is an excellent program that brings together a cohort of students from all over the world to learn aspects of Christian ministry and leadership from each other and professors, while still working in ministry from our various locations. It was a costly trip, fortunately we had started saving for this two years ago and were able to cover all the expenses, praise God! Thankfully, I am excited to say that I am only a couple of classes away from graduating! 

It was an inspiring two weeks to say the least. My faith was immensly encouraged by the stories and ministries of the people in my cohort. It was great to just hang out with these lifelong friends who've stuck together in our program over the past two years. 

Lynnette remained in the Philippines, and I have to say that I am really proud of her for sticking it out, and holding down our fort in a foreign land by herself. Of course, we have a great community of friends here that are always here for her as well.

Some Highlights:

  1. Being around my cohort that is full of sharp minds from a variety of ministries in US, Rwanda, China, Sri Lanka, France, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Cambodia.
  2. In-N-Out Burger
  3. Visiting Homeboy Industries (in Chinatown), an organization committed to training, finding jobs and giving hope to former gang members in Los Angeles.
  4. Visiting and analyzing Mosaic church in Hollywood, known for the creative arts that effectively speaks to that creative culture.
  5. LA Mexican food 

Now that I am back in the motherland, it's time to put some of the lessons learned into practice!


DJ's Return From Pasadena

Just a little over two weeks ago I boarded a non-stop 13.5 hour flight to Los Angeles from the Philippines to attend the two week on campus seminar required for my Masters program at Fuller Seminary, in Pasadena. For those who are curious, it is the the MAGL or Master of Arts in Global Leadership program. Yes...I know, its a mouthful and probably sounds like I am preparing myself for some sort of world domination...which would be nice..

Actually, the MAGL is an excellent program that brings together a cohort of students from all over the world to learn aspects of Christian ministry and leadership from each other and professors, while still working in ministry from our various locations. It was a costly trip, fortunately we had started saving for this two years ago and were able to cover all the expenses. Thankfully, I am only about one quarter away from graduating!

Lynnette remained in the Philippines, and I have to say that I am really proud of her for sticking it out, and holding down our fort in a foreign land by herself. Of course, we have a great community of friends here that were there for her as well.

Some highlights include:

  • Visiting and analyzing Mosaic church in Hollywood, known for the creative arts that effectively speaks to that creative culture.
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Visiting Homeboy Industries, an organization committed to training, finding jobs and giving hope to former gang members in Los Angeles.
  • Being around my cohort full that is full of sharp minds from a variety of ministries in US, Rwanda, China, Sri Lanka, France, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Cambodia.
  • LA Mexican food Now that I am back in the motherland, it's time to put lessons learned into practice!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hope Chapel Metro - 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

This past weekend we celebrated the one year anniversary of our church, Hope Chapel Metro! It's been inspiring to look back and see all that God has done in only the first year through this church plant. We had been anticipating and planning for this service for a couple of months. We knew that this would be a great opportunity for people to invite friends and family to join us in the celebration.

Before the service I (DJ) admit that I was nervous, and I wasn't even the one speaking that night! But I was nervous about the videos that I edited being any good, if we could set up everthing in time, if people would show up, and I was just nervously excited for what God would do.

The night was incredible, the place was full, 200 people attended and about 25% were first time guests joining us. We were blessed to see a friend, that Lynnette met and connected with through her youTube video blog, bring his entire family to celebrate with us for the first time. 

You could feel God's presence, the room was filled with joy and many were moved to tears by His love for them as they listened to the message given by Pastor Nolan and the stories of some church members whose lives had been transformed by God. Over 80 people responded to God that night by giving their lives to Jesus or rededicating their faith. It was powerful!

Then like a cherry on top of an already awesome sundae (and Sunday), we were able to raffle a brand new iPad, it was encouraging to see a yaya (nanny), accept her prize in tears. We were able to further serve the people with a giant 65", 600 slice pizza - the biggest in Quezon City!

For Lynnette and I, the past few weeks leading to the celebration have been busy, and crazy! Our days were filled with shopping for equipment and supplies, organizing teams, late night video editing, and countless other details. But it was all worth it to see lives changed, and Jesus glorified. In the end, without His strength and help, we couldn't have accomplished anything.

With the anniversary over, now the hard work begins! Now we must now focus our efforts in connecting with all the new people who joined us, to thank them, and to hopefully help them become a part of this awesome Hope Chapel Metro family!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Newsletter - May 2012 - Our New Home!

We were really blessed to find our new home in Quezon City! After many prayers and a connection through our good friend at church, God orchestrated everything to help us get this apartment/condo.

Check out the tour!


Newsletter - May 2012 - Our New Home!

We were really blessed to find our new home in Quezon City! After many prayers and a connection through our good friend at church, God orchestrated everything to help us get this apartment/condo.

Check out the tour of our new place!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Are Moving!!!


Crazy Week of Many Dilemma's & Answered Prayers 

It has been a crazy busy week for DJ & I as we are preparing to move to a condo in Timog (closer to the church). As some of you already know, our aunty in the Philippines blessed us to live at their condo for a year for free. This June will be the end of our year and in turn we will need to look for another place to live. 

Dilemma #1

As missionaries we were concerned about rent money, since our current financial support isn't sufficient enough to cover the upcoming monthly rent. On top of that we weren’t sure if our current supporters would continue their support for another year.

We are literally stepping out of faith. Our faith budget was $500/per month for a small studio. We were trusting that God will some how provide an extra $500 a month for the rent along with another year of support.

Answered Prayer

It is now end of April and God has answered our prayers. Another missionary who is leaving to another country had just bought a brand new condo unit. She too was praying for a married couple that is a missionary to occupy her unit. The unit owner and I crossed path through a mutual friend and she was willing to lease her unit to us. She even lowered her price of $400 to $300, which is well below our faith budget. Praise God. 

Dilemma #2

When we visited the unit, it was completely bare. There were no appliances, fixtures, furniture’s etc... it was literally completely bare. My heart dropped. There is no way we could afford this place if we have to purchase our own appliances, and furniture (which is a common thing in the Philippines)! 

Answered Prayer

Me being a bargaining person, I asked the unit owner if we can deduct the amount we spend on appliances and furniture off the rent. Without a hesitation she said yes! God is so good! We will not be paying rent for 8-10 months instead it will go towards the furniture & appliances.

Dilemma #3

Now, the 3rd dilemma was where are we going to get the money up front to purchase the furniture’s & appliances! Well, when God provides he really provides! 

Answered Prayer

My father-in-law who so kindly did our taxes just informed us that we would be getting a lot of money in "tax returns"! With the tax returns and our fundraiser money from HCWO, it will be more than enough to help us with the purchasing! I love it when everything just falls into place and God literally takes care of everything. When you are faithful with the little, God definitely blesses you with more.

So, now the fun of decorating, and purchasing brand new furniture, and appliances of my choice begins. However, the unit is 250 square feet, which is a super duper small 1 bedroom studio, I have a challenge of carefully purchasing furniture’s and appliances that will not make the already small studio smaller. 

I know God will continue to provide for us this upcoming year. 

 We are planning on moving in on May 1. I will post before and after pictures along with a video tour. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Taste of Hope Chapel Metro's New Venue

This past Sunday Hope Chapel Metro was excited to moved to Berting's Grill, a new location within the Timog area. It was a huge blessing to find this bar that is centrally located, just feet away from the main strip of clubs, bars and restaurants that make the nightlife of Timog so popular. 

This new venue is not only cheaper, but they also provide storage space for all our equipment. But what is even more encouraging is that the owner had been praying that some sort of religious group would come in and rent his space...and that was us! Although, as Pastor Nolan said, "we are far from being religious, we just love Jesus", and we're hoping he and the rest of this area will catch that vibe too and join us.  

We're are just thankful to God for His continued provision for our church. Here is a short 2 minute video highlighting our first night at our new venue!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Training the Faculty at Asian Theological Seminary

As many of you know, Lynnette and I continue to look for ways to help support ourselves on the mission field in addition to the generous support of the friends and family who have partnered with us. 

Recently, It was a shock at first to be offered the opportunity to be hired to train the Faculty at ATS, in using an internet application that allows them to offer their courses online for the first time. It was such a blessing and a privilege to work with this great group of people, who are crazy smart and fun to be around with. 

How did I end up with this opportunity?

Amazingly, three of my past expriences that are totally unrelated, converged together for this project. With my background in web development, as a trainer at Apple, and the fact that I am using the exact same web application (Moodle) for my online courses that I am taking at Fuller Seminary, God conveniently orchestrated my meeting with the President of ATS...and everything came together.

I am hoping that I will be able to continue a working relationship with the wonderful people at ATS.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hope Chapel Metro's First Easter!

It was the first Easter at Hope Chapel Metro, and it was great to celebrate it with everyone out here. Just like Christmas, many people in our church, (and in Manila in general) travel outside of the city back to their provinces to spend the Easter holiday with their families. Although we missed them, it was great to see some new faces at the church, as well as people give their life to the Lord!

Here are a few photos Lynnette took of the night:


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hope Chapel Metro - Leaders Retreat

This past weekend from Friday to Saturday we gathered old and new leaders in Hope Chapel Metro for our weekend "Advance" (since God's people don't "retreat" we "advance" forward!, as Pastor Nolan reminded us). We stuffed 22 people in 2 vans and drove about 2-3 hours away to San Pablo in Laguna...that's how you do it in the Philippines!

It was a great time of building relationships, especially with new leaders. On Good Friday, we had a chance to take communion together and re-set our hearts on Christ. On Saturday, Pastor Nolan recasted vision as we looked at better ways of shepherding the people. After a good time of swimming, games and resting, we also had a chance to hear from Pastor Luckie. 

Pastor Luckie not only ministered to us for inner healing but also equipped us to be able to guide people through inner healing as well, with the help of the Holy Spirit. It was a powerful time, and very much needed as we anticipate a new season of growth in our church.
Below are some photos from our retreat:



Saturday, March 31, 2012

MiniChurch Outreach - Eastwood Photos & Motion Portraits

This past month we were in a great message series at Hope Chapel Metro, called "Change the World", a great series encouraging people that they can make an impact in the world...if they simply listened to God, and their hearts, and take action. In conjunction with the series I had our Minichurches (small groups) accomplish missions each week. One of them was to bless and serve the community in some way, small or big. 

We had groups bring food to Barangay halls, visit orphanages, bring food and pray for guards, and one group even did a medical clinic in the streets! Our group was meeting in a nicer neighborhood and we hurt our brains trying to figure out how to bless people in this popular night spot.

We came up with this idea to bless the Eastwood people by offering to take free photos of them as well as a motion portrait (something I've been exprimenting with). Then we would hand them a card that informed them they could see their photos/videos by visiting the church site, and hopefully be blessed. Great idea!...Except, only two of us could make it, and both of us are introverts, who don't exactly enjoy approaching strangers.

So we saw it as a good challege to pull us out of our comfort zones. Since I was the photographer, Jonathan was the spokesperson and he did an awesome job approaching people, and making them feel comfortable...even though it is always awkard for everyone in those first few moments. We shared about our church, gave them a card and took the photo and video, and everyone had a good time. Below is the video of the motion portraits we did. You can see the photo gallery at Hope Chapel Metro website:


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Showing love to the infants at CRIBS Foundation in Marikina City

Lynnette and her MiniChurch, from Hope Chapel Metro, went to serve the orphaned infants and toddlers at this foundation. CRIBS Foundation is where abandoned, neglected, surrendered children along with sexually abused young girls are sheltered.

To protect the children, they weren't allowed to film or take pictures of the kids, but here are there reflections after spending 2 hours with babies and toddlers. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Newsletter - March 2012 - Job, Blog and Tagalog Updates

Find out what's been going on in these past couple months. We got a job update, a new blog from Lynnette and we're learning Tagalog. Good stuff!

Check out Lynnette's Blog site here: 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Birthing Something New in the Philippines!

We've been here in the Philippines now for about 9 months, and Lynnette is giving birth...but not to a baby! She is birthing a new and potentially powerful ministry opportunity.

Lynnette has discovered a creative way to build relationships with a young sub-culture of people that she can share the love of Jesus with, while doing something she enjoys. What is this creative ministry? It is a fashion and make-up video blog (or vlog) that focuses on the people, places and trends in the Philippines. 

The blog includes fashion interviews, trend discussions, and make-up tutorials...but what is awesome to see, is what is happening behind the scenes. Behind the camera, and the videos, she is building new friendships, networking with other bloggers, making new friends in stores and kiosks. In fact she has made more 'non-church' friends in the past few days than she has in the past 9 months! It has really inspired me to look for creative ways to connect with the Filipinos as well!

Please pray with us!

I really feel that God has has been giving her favor with people, in this sub-cutlure, in such a short time. Its a great way to help people see the heart of God, and a great way to connect them to Hope Chapel Metro. I am so excited to see how God will work through her and this unique ministry!

You can check out her new blog and youTube channel here:
(subscribe to her channel to support her!)
blog site: