Dianne Bayley

Dianne’s reflections on 40 years

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Last July I suddenly realized that Children’s Bible Ministries Philippines had reached 40 years! That’s just incredible when we think of all we’ve been through. I found it very encouraging to look back. Here are some highlights of the journey so far.

God started the world from nothing. He also started CBM from nothing! And here we are, still going and growing. God used the faith of a couple, ’Uncle’ Charlie & ‘Aunty’ Beryl McRae. They had found that children could be led to Christ and discipled, so they opened their home in New Lyn Auckland so that children in their street could come after school once week for a Bible Club. They ran it for three years and saw many changed lives. That led them to eventually form an organization and run camps for children, provide after school missions, develop stories, and eventually facilitate seminars training adults from various churches. In all this they trusted God for the finance and he provided. A younger couple Bill & Jean Morley worked with them fulltime. It was a very small mission!

 

Finding Space

After some events, Uncle Charlie & Aunty Beryl decided to establish this same ministry in the Philippines. By now they were in their 60s and didn’t have much finance available – some people thought they were ‘nuts!’ But God had proven himself faithful back in New Zealand. Now he would prove himself in Philippines! It’s a reminder for us to never give up on your dreams! As Daniel 11:32 tells us, “The people who know their God shall be strong and do great exploits.”

First they rented a house in Manila and began running training seminars for children’s ministry in the basement. One new Christian, a chemistry professor from University of the Philippines, remarked that she had been there before … when earlier tenants were making Molotov cocktails for the overthrow of Manila and printing communist propaganda! Those previous occupants were now in jail, but she was here, this time learning how to lead children to Christ and become a good citizen.

NOW, 40 years on, we have a 1.5 hectare property with seven buildings and 44 fulltime staff.

 

Making a Home

One day in 1976 a man visited the house. He and his wife had started a small children’s home for 13 children on the island of Mindoro. She had become very sick and he needed to take her back to the States. His question: would we take the project over?

Feed 13 children?!!

We hardly had enough to cover our own needs, let alone look after 13 children! We said we would pray. God gave us Psalm 37:25. “I was young and now am old, yet never have I seen the children of the righteous forsaken or lacking bread.”

We accepted.

NOW, 40 years on, hundreds of needy children have passed through, come to faith in Jesus, received schooling and been given a chance in life. God has never failed us. In 2014 we began a Home for children with disabilities, giving another group of children that same chance in life.

 

Training a Team

One time Aunty Beryl got the idea that we should start a Bible College in our house. One Sunday, while in the States for a conference, she was in a church service listening to the sermon when the preacher stretched out his arm, pointed directly at her and said “That which is in your heart, do!”

She was stunned.

Towards the end of his message he did it again: “That which is in your heart, do!” So, Uncle Charlie and Aunty Beryl began the Bible College in our house. We started with five students, but eventually it grew to 80! We used the backyard, the front terrace, the living room and the basement for classrooms!

NOW, 40 years on, that Bible College has trained several hundred students who have gone out, started Christian schools, pioneered churches, ventured overseas and some became staff members of CBM.

 

Preparing the Next Generation

We started a little pre-school to reach out to local children on our new property early in the 1900s. In 1997 we experienced a fire which almost totally destroyed 20 years of work and most of our building. Parents were clamouring for us to start a primary school… but we didn’t even have a roof anymore! Nonetheless, we received permission and started Grade 1.

NOW, 40 years on, we have pre-school to high school catering for 350 children each day, which includes a department for deaf and autistic students with an Occupational Therapist.

 

Reaching the Forgotten

In the early 90s our International Director Jean Morley visited. Noticing that one of our staff members in our office was disabled she said, “Briccio you are disabled.” She had realized something. “Let’s use your disability to bring others with disabilities to Christ.” He was eager as nothing much was being done for disabled people, so he went to New Zealand for training. On his return he started a small group in our place. From that, he and others formed a group for people with disabilities in each of our 24 towns. Camps for disabled were started each summer and many have put their trust in Jesus.

NOW, 40 years on, at one recent meeting over 300 came from the different towns! We are even asked to attend government planning meetings from time to time as the voice for disabled!

 

ALL THIS FROM NOTHING!!! Thanks to all who have prayed and supported. To God be all the glory!

 

Dianne and her team, along with up to 600 guests, will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of CBM Philippines today (January 22).

What an idea can lead to

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Some Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in New Zealand very kindly sent us up a gift so we could hold a summer camp for PWDs here in the Philippines. We excitingly started planning, looking for a good speaker and setting up other arrangements. In these two day camps we have different activities, speakers and group discussions, a fun night, swimming… and many come to Jesus. Our group is called PCFFD (Phil Christian Fellowship For Disabled).

We are way up north. I said to Leslie, our co-ordinator who is wheelchair user, whether we should consider sending a tithe of the money down south to Pastor Rod Bicaldo, a crutch user who is well known to us from the past – he was an early convert. Why send the money? So Rod could hold a similar event, even just a one day summer programme, to encourage PWDs down there. We didn’t hear back from him straight away, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t interested. In fact, he was so interested that he dove right into planning the event!! About a week later he finally answered, complete with a schedule. He even had a name for the group: PCFFD Davao Chapter.

They held their meeting at a swimming area with the theme of “Promoting Unity among PWDs in Davao City.” Close to 30 came. Pastor Rod (with crutches on the right in the image above) suggested to the group that they establish the chapter under us. They were all very willing for that and very keen to participate in the next activity. They even want to reach out to disabled people in other villages in the near future!

Please continue to pray for our work with PWDs in our area, and pray for Pastor Rod’s vision to do the same in his area.

Easter in the Philippines

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The heat has been turned up in the last few days. We really are into summer here now – which means there are plenty of mangoes! There’s nothing quite like a Philippine mango!

For us, summer time means it’s Easter time. Easter is generally a very religious time here in the Philippines, especially in the Catholic Church – and around 85% of Filipinos are Catholic. Most people leave the city to visit their families in the provinces to celebrate together.

Last night our town, Baliuag, had a huge procession of 112 floats depicting Christ’s life and death. Many were highly ornate, they were all lit up, and were accompanied by various songs and prayers. The floats were taken up and down the streets of the town, followed by a procession of devotees with candles behind each float. The men were at the front, pulling the floats and pushing the generators for the lights! Stores were closed and owners sat outside with their families to watch or join in. Everyone from grandparents to babies watched in respect. It’s certainly a way to get a message across!

There are other Easter traditions here as well. Tomorrow is Good Friday, which is followed here by Black Saturday. The roads go quiet that day. Why? It’s believed that, because Jesus has died, if you have an accident no-one will hear your prayers! But on Easter Sunday morning, at the Anglican cathedral in Manila, the congregation knock on the church door which has been closed. The church is opened, the lights turned on and the covers taken off. Everyone enters in. Christ is risen.

New home for physically disabled children

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Allen, who is 16 years old, is our first child in the new home for physically disabled children. He has a very pleasing personality and  is enjoying every experience. For years he has stayed all day on a little wood slat bed in a shack with a  dirt floor that isn’t even flat, and his parents have needed to work all day. He lives in a wheelchair and needs 24 hour  care. We managed to find him  a very good “buddy”, and he is going to school for the first time in his life – and really enjoying it, even if it’s Grade One with a bunch of 6 year olds! He can draw, he’s enjoyed watching a basketball game here, and he even joined us for a prayer meeting last night. He’s learning to joke and have some fun. From a life of being stuck staying at home on a crooked slat … he is on a roll!

On another note, have you heard of Chikungunya? Most people around here hadn’t. Neither had I. But it’s a nasty little virus that I’ve picked up, spread by a mosquito that bites in the daytime.  (It has nothing to do with chickens, even if it has “chik” in the name!) High fever, headache rashes and joint swellings. My voice has come back and all I have now are swollen ankles and rashes on my lower legs. Please pray for full recovery and patience!