Today was another beautiful day…even though I hardly slept last night after getting caught on the other side of Manila in the Typhoon storm…train closed and traffic blocked for miles and miles, I fell asleep in a McDonalds where we took cover, waiting for Michelle’s brother to rescue us with a ride…Welcome to Manila! As someone told me today with a wink, “Storms come with the tourist package!”

This morning, I awoke early to sunshine! The rain finally stopped 🙂 Headed over in a taxi to the Lifestream Student Center- Compassion’s largest project in the world with almost 700 students registered! Absolutely incredible place. The kids weren’t there-most come on Saturday, but that turned out to be a blessing because we could sit for a couple of hours with the director, Susan Rabala, and just talk! Accomplished artist, author, and formerly successful in the international banking world, this woman is full of wisdom and grace. I couldn’t get enough of her stories, insight, passion for child development, and devotion to Jesus. 
(Here’s a link to a short interview!)
She shared with Michelle and me the details of their student run leadership counsel- how the students really take ownership of their program, set up initiatives, and are equipped with leadership skills for the future. She also told us about her upcoming book that will be available worldwide, incorporating the concepts which they’ve already implemented in the project about children being free to dream, to live out their God-given design, and to exercise habits and time management that can make those dreams, however great they are, a true reality! In my heart I kept saying “Amen!!”

She shared with us another nugget, which she encourages the students and staff to take hold of- an acronym God gave her that I would like to pass onto all of you: SEED.
SHOW UP! (If we just show up, no matter how we feel, no matter what strengths or weaknesses we bring to the table, God can and will use us! He is more than able!)
ENGAGE IN BATTLE! (We are living in a war, with assaults on our mind and spirit from the enemy; yet, we are equipped with every weapon we need from the Word of God, his Holy Spirit, the armor of light, and angels which encamp around us!)
EXCELLENCE! (Everything we do should be with excellence! Our work is our giving worship and glory to God! We should give our very best with passion and enthusiasm and dedication to the tasks which He has given to us in our calling.)
DECLARE THE WORD! (Where does power and truth come from? The Word of Almighty God, eternal and unchanging. There is power in what we speak, so let’s speak life and love and truth! Declare it with zeal and belief!)
She had so many more beautiful images, stories, and encouraging insight…which I’d love to share more later on. Visiting the medical clinic at lifestream and meeting the beautiful, experienced pediatrician was an amazing opportunity as well. It’s so exciting to hear about their health training, preventative programs, and medical intervention.
Then in the afternoon…such a gift! Michelle took me to the Compassion country office! Oh how I wish I could bottle up the atmosphere and transport it back home!! The energy, joy, and unity for one purpose filled the air.  It was like music to my ears to hear the staff laugh and fellowship, and to see so, so many dedicated people behind their computers  in their little cubicles, filled with discipline and devotion as they work in their respective areas, with one end goal: to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. 
The project facilitators, the visiting project directors, the training team, the financial department, the communications department…all the pieces making up the whole picture. Truly a miniature scale visual of the body of Christ, each with his or her own gifts, bringing talents to the table and working together to praise God and make an impact for light in this world. 

These people are brilliant, creative, hard-working, and fun! How wonderful to meet former Compassion LDP graduates who are now on staff, as well, with their young energy, vision, and personal experiences that are priceless.
If you have a sponsor child in the Philippines, rest assured- they are in the best of hands!!! I could not be more honored to meet those dedicated hearts working for this ministry today. A special bonus privilege was having dinner with two of the staff…we laughed and laughed! One thing about Filipinos- they know how to have a great time!
Until I write again…
Caitlin 🙂