I have been expanding my worldview for many years. I grew up in a Christian family in Canada, but was transported to Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Mexico, Thailand and Africa at a young age though stories of and from missionaries.
I finally had a chance to travel the world when I came to Cebu as a student leader of PSALM in 1990, to be a part of a campus ministry for one year... but until now I am still a part of it.
After years of ministry in Canada, I moved to Cebu permenantly in December of 2004. We started GinaPADALA International Inc in 2009. It means S.E.N.D in Cebuano. Study, Empower, Nework and Discover disciples of Jesus. I love living in Cebu, and marketing livelihood project of our friends, promoting their joy and survival skills while living in and through very difficult lives.
I was born and raised in Western Canada, but Cebu is my home!
My passion is to teach and train cross-cultural missions.
I believe that as we learn about others, we discover ourselves, and how unique God made each of us for His good pleasure. We all have personal preferences, have been shaped by our cultural practices, and painful expereinces, but it is by the study of Biblical principles that we can truly live. While we know ourselves and get along with others, who may be VERY different, or the same as ourselves and then know the God of ALL Creation, and truly enjoy Him.
EXPAND YOUR WORLDVIEW!!
College students Jason and Argie with Rhonda and Gaga at Q and R's Wedding
GII has been supporting College students for the past 5 years... we have been delighted to see 3 graduate, and 2 more will graduate this year!! The potential of our help, is dependant on the amount we recieve. We had to let two of our college students go this year for lack to funds, and lack of integrity of partnership from them and their family.
There are many students for whom college is out of the question... but they still go... by faith, doing their best, applying for scholorships, and working student postions, or finding work outside their school in their vacant (or sleeping) hours.
More than just finishing their course, we hope to be building these students into citizens with a work ethic, a discipline, and a love for their community.
Therefore we are partnering with PSALM (Philippine Student Alliance Lay movement) a 40+ year old student ministry with staff and volunteers befriending and reaching out to students on over 10 campuses in Cebu and hundereds nationwide (www.psalminc.org)
One of our newest graduates, Jonalyn Diano, deceided to join the PSALM staff for a 3 year contract. She already lives in the PSALM house, and has agreed to parnter with GCAP (Ginapadala College Assistance Program) to provide discipleship, fellowship and fun for our remaining 4 students as they journey through out their years in Cebu's colleges.
She is already discipling our newest addision, Rachel Ferenel, the daughter of one of our long time BAHANDI GIFT sewers! (www.bahandigifts.com) who is going to Jonalyn's old school, University of San Jose Recollectis, in accounting.
We will have a BACK 2 BACK fellowship on Sunday July 15, 2012 at the PSALM house to commence this partnership officially with the other Cebu PSALM staff. School just went back in June, and PSALM and GCAP are standing back to back to care for these college students. Please pray for this event!!
This year we anticipate Jason Manatad graduating with a Batchelor of Civil Engineering in October, and they going on to review for his board exam later next year. We are also excited to see Riezl Manatad graduate with her Batchelor in Tourism by March 2013.
Our other student in his second year of Computer studies is Argie Abellaneda.
Rhonda with Jona and her proud father!
Last night was the Graduation Banquet and RINGHOP of Jonalyn Diano, one of the College Students GII has assisted for three years.
Through HOPE FOR THE NATIONS you have helped Jona reach her dream of being the first in her family to graduate from college!!
Her life took a turn 4 years ago, when she was bartending at a resort near her home in Malapascua. Someone offered to help her go to college... She took the brave steps and came to Cebu, enrolled at the University of San Jose - Recolletes.
She struggled through her first semester, then met some students who were studying the bible! She lived with me for a year, and has been discipled and nurtured by our friends in PSALM. Not only were her dreams of a college education realized, she has also grown into a woman of God who has also impacted her family and community for good!
While Jona studied, and fulfilled her requirements for her Batchelor of Science in Business Management, she also gave GII 5 volunteer hours a week, including attending our staff devotions every Tuesday morning.
She has challenged me many times in her deep insite of scripture, and passion for prayer.
Last night, after the great food, each graduate was called upon to make a symbolic “hop” through a giant ring indicating their transition from being a student to a newly graduated qualified citizen, ready to be a valuable member the workforce.
I reflected, as we watched more than 300 graduates “hop” through the giant ring holding their lit candle, to receive a ring from their parents or sponsor.
GII has “hopped” through a giant ring this month. We have transitioned from a learning student of the society, hoping to bring hope and light through livelihood to some families in need to being practitioners in the field, now passing through a “ring” of learning and experiments to the realities of producing a few citizens who are now valuable members of the workforce, supplying daily needs for their families with hope for their future!!
Jona is a part of our history, and now our futures are wide open...
I know God will guide and lead us as He has in the past!
Q and A (Quennie and Alica - "Gaga") at our Christmas Dinner
This evening is a special time in many ways for me...
Tonight I fly with Alicia, our GII business manager to Singapore enroute to Cambodia, and Thailand!!
I met "Gaga" (Some call her "LADY GAGA") more than 3 years ago because I heard she was making soap. That was one industry I thought was a great livelihood because it was consumable, local, and inexpensive to make.
So every other week, Gaga and her business partner Jackie would come to our office with a batch of laundry detergent, and fabric softener, which we in turn would sell to our sewers for them to use to wash the juice packs used in our recycled juice pack bags.
With very short notice one morning in June of 2009, I invited Gaga, Jackie, and anyone else she could find to our jewelry-making training since the invited gals did not show up!
To make a long heart-warming, and God story short... Gaga helped us in Oct 2010 to file the necessary papers for our triple wedding, and was in charge of 11 other jewelry makers in Cebu. We then hired her as our full-time staff at GII - our business manager for the production of our Bahandi Gifts, and this year she lead a team of others who trained 13 gals in jewelry making from a safe house, graduated from the Kairos course AND was beside me when we graduated with a certificate of Transformational Development from ASDECS in October 2011!
I will bring her to Cambodia this week to interview and research some of the many social enterprises in Phnom Penh. I will also bring her with me to the Hope for the Nations Conference held in Pattaya, Thailand Feb 6-9.
It is there that we will give a short ministry presentation of what Ginapadala International Inc is.
When a group of visitors come to our office, or when we present our ministry to others we usually explain that Ginapadala is the Cebuano word for SENDING, and explain the acronym S.E.N.D.
S is for Study Scripture and Society
E is for Equipping and Empowering
N is for Networking for the Needy and our Neighbours
D is for Discovering and Developing Disciples of Jesus.
Gaga usually explains the E, since she has been equipped and empowered with our skills trainings and in our business area.
However, since she has become our full time staff in October of 2010, she has not only learned about all of them, but now, she LEADS in them all!!
I have been so blessed by her life. Just over two years ago her husband died, leaving her a widow with two young girls. She now lives with her mom, her 12 year old, her 7 year old, and her 12 year old niece finds refuge in her home most nights of the week as well. She has also been a wonderful nieghbour, hosting a Sunday morning Bible study for several ladies in her community.
She recently volunteered on board the Logos Hope for three weeks, 8 hours a day being one of the "Accommodation Angels", cleaning the ship's staircases, hall ways, and washrooms, doing the laundry for 400 crew members, and cleaning the visitor cabins. Before and during those hours of work, she also sat in on the daily devotions and prayer-times with the ships' company.
What a great training ground for our short vision trip this week!! I am so privileged to be able to travel with her!!
Today, please pray for our travels, and her household, as we will be gone for 2 weeks.
In a few days we will be hearing "HAPPY NEW YEAR" from friends and strangers...
What will that mean for you??
What will that mean for GII? There will be some very happy times, some changes, some celebrations, and for sure we will experience some sadness too.
The first order in the new year is to gather our students, and producers to let them know of the changes that will be coming this year.
The second is that I will be leaving for Mindanao to visit the evacuation centers of the thousands of displaced flood victims in Cagayan de Oro. I will assess if our staff and visitors could be of help to their efforts. (see www.christianshaven.org)
Then I will be going to a training for Head Facilitators of the Kairos Course. It's a 4-day training for the 9-week crash course on the Cross-cultural World Missions Movement that I have been a part of facilitating 5 times this past year.
The Logos Hope, the OM ship, will come to Cebu from January 11 til February 15, and our staff will volunteer on board.
Then Alicia Lopez. our business manager and I will head to Pattaya, Thailand for the Hope for the Nations Conference on February 6-8 2012. We will fly from Cebu, passing through Singapore to Cambodia for a few days before heading to Poipet, where other H4TN members will join us to the conference.
We will be looking at other social enterprizes along the way, giving Alicia some great ideas for the new year.
For several years we have been working with the producers of bags and assessories made from recycled materials like juice and coffee packs, old Tarpoline, and burlap sacs. While the international market has valued the effort, the local market has not been so receptive. We are looking into the changes that will need to be made to become sustainable.
Meanwhile, we will keep supporting our college students, partnering with other agencies in livelihood, and being apart of efforts to mobilize Filipinos for Cross-cultrual missions work.
We will celebrate the graduation of one of our College Students, Jona, this March!
As graduation commemorates the end of the school days, it is also the opening of a new era in the life of a student. As for GII, we celebrate the past year, but forsee some changes, and transitions in our small NGO in the new year.
We are so grateful for those who have supported GII through H4TN this year and ask for your continued support as we adjust some of our rescources this year to maximize your generous gifts.
Joyful or sad, in moments of celebration or loss... may this be a truly HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR US ALL.
Founder of GII
With a prepared and practiced Cebuano speech, assisted by Anita, my long time Cebuano teacher, I still struggeled to express my great joy to the 70+ in attendance for our Commencement Party April 10, 2010. We celebrated with the 9 graduates and their families in R PLACE on a warm summer Sunday afternoon.
BJ our Nursing Graduate also addressed the crowd with wise words to the young ones to keep their eyes on their dreams! BJ is one of our first College graduates that we have followed through her life, assisting her single mom to realize their dreams to have their second College graduate in a family who has come from little means and hard work! Anita, BJ's mom became my Cebuano teacher 12 years ago when I came back to Cebu for my two year appreniceship! Since then Anita has taught 7 Canadian young girls hoping to learn more than just GTV sentence structure and M Verbs, but the culture and the real life of Filipinos. We have learned that and more from this family. Over the past 12 years, Anita and her family have taken 3 of us to her home province on Holy Week and even allowed a Canadian, Anna to live in her home for several weeks last year.
Their future looks brighter as they anticipate BJ will work here in Cebu as a nurse, and even go abroad someday to support her youngest sister in her persuit of a College degree.
With the graduation of BJ, we will take on another College hopeful this June. Arnold just graduated from high school. He is the son of the woman who has washed my clothes, and blessed my heart for over 6 years. We are hoping to also set up a home based business for their family this year sustaining them through out the busy years of Arnold's College, along with his older brother, one of our other College students who has been working for us this year, and their 3 younger siblings.
The stats in the Philippines go like this. Of 10 children who enter elementary school, only 6 graduate from High School. Only 1 of them go on to College. So if we can help 7 College students this year again, they are the 7 of 700 of their peers who started school 10 years ago, and are blessed to reach their dreams, as BJ encouraged!!
Bahandi Kids Take the Stage
Bahandi in Cebuano means TREASURE
Our Bahandi Kids, the benefactors of our profits, are the children of those who make our Bahandi Gifts. We carry all kinds of recyced juice container products as well as bags, jewelery, weaving, embroidery, and woodwork.
We have been giving school assistance to over 40 children and youth in pre-school, elementary, and highschool studies for more than 3 years.
Our College students assist us with programs for the Bahandi Kids, some of whom we have known for more than 12 years.
WHERE DO WE FIND OUR TREASURE?
Well, some is hidden treasure for sure...
2 of our college students, siblings, Riezl and Jason, were what some would call "street kids". Their family business is vending. Their parents sell newspapers, cigarettes, rags, and water in busy intersections on the city streets of Cebu, and that's where they and their siblings grew up. They had a small wooden home for their family of 11, constructed on the tombstones of a local cemetary. The community of Lorega is a sprawling urban dwelling of over 7000 families.
Transformation has happend in some of the hearts and homes in this cemetary community, and we have great hope in their potential to be a light in the darkness, life in the place of death.
Riezl and Jason have just recently transfered with some of their siblings and their father to a small rented appartment 5 blocks from Lorega. They are continuing in their college classes, and also involved in our organization
Rolly, another of our college student, living in Lorega, actually lives in a church! His family home is built up and converted into a bible study center, hosting bible studies during the week, and a church service on Sunday afternoons. The family of 7 live on the top floor, leaving room for the members of their community to worship and study. Rolly runs errands for us and keeps our office clean!
Glezar, our other college age boy is keeping busy with making bags of juice, embroidering on our new high speed machine, and weaving. Orders have been coming in from Canada and Austriaila recently and he has made many custom made items.
BJ, the daughter of my language teacher for over 12 years, is now about to graduate this March from nursing. She has just recovered from a bout of Hepititis A, as she completes her studies.
Jona, a former roommate of mine, and part-tme staff of ours, will graduate in October from Business Management.
MORE THAN TREASURE
Riezl, Jona, and BJ are among hose ones who attended to me, visited or even slept overnight, bought water and snacks for me when I was in the hospital last month!
These college kids are more than just some students we support. I treasure them dearly. Supporting them in their college education is more than just charity, it's an investment into their future, and the future of their family, and mine!
Each of our college kids have helped us in our office and serve to create fun programs and events for the younger Bahandi Kids. Jona has given leadership to these programs, and one of her finest hours is recorded here from YOUTUBE, when our Bahandi Kids took the stage at a local TV variety show. Watch and enjoy!!
These students are more than found treasures on a seashore, or at a great sale, these students have become like family members, priceless, precious and rare.
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