EMPOWERING ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME…Tess Abadilla’s Inspiring initiative
Frontline Foundation is a non-profit international aid organisation dedicated to empowering less-privileged people in regions of the world that need support …one community at a time… to achieve sustainable livelihood.
‘We do this by partnering with both generous involved parties (individuals and organisations) and needy communities and facilitating community development projects that would enable the communities to experience holistic transformation,’ says Founder and CEO Maria Teresa Abadilla (Tess).
Tess Abadilla has a strong background as a strategic business leader and executive. She held several senior positions in large government business enterprise organisations and consulting companies prior to establishing Frontline Foundation.
She has combined industry, government and academic service in her more than thirty years of experience in strategic planning, executive management, information technology strategy, change management, and program/project management. Her experience exposure ranges from international organisations to regional and national entities involved in service and technology, telecommunications, government institutions, financial institutions and universities.
‘Our visionary mission is three-fold,’ Tess points out, ’to encourage, empower and inspire one needy overseas community at a time. Encouraging involves the building of relationships – we aim to cultivate and establish a network of partners (sponsors, volunteers, strategic partners (various non-profit groups, charitable institutions and international aid organisations) with the objective of building relationships with less privileged communities in countries that need support.’
‘Empowering will involve equipping and challenging community leadership to meet local needs. We aim to cultivate and establish a network of program/project leaders who are eager to contribute and have the motivation to create a positive change within their neighbourhood or village,’ Tess explained.’The aim is to provide opportunities for such leaders and help communities to achieve sustainable livelihood and become self-sustaining, self-directing and free from the cycle of poverty and hunger.’
With regard to inspiring and building hope Tess Abadilla, born in the Philippines, added enthusiastically, ‘We aim to facilitate strategic planning, design and implementation of holistic asset-based community development projects to inspire and build hope for all involved parties. We do this by leveraging on the “relationships that were built by ensuring support for the strategic direction and plans of the community.”’
Tess, co-pastor of Melbourne’s Connect City Church, Thomastown, recalls this courageous vision first stirring in her heart: ‘After three years of preparation, I am so excited to finally officially launch Frontline Foundation June 15 at the Melrose Melbourne Conference Centre this month. God has put this initiative in my heart for a very long time, ever since I was doing missions work in the Philippines since 2002 and it only started to come to life in 2011 after I left the corporate sector.’
Reflectively she adds, ‘I remember around that time Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan, Life Focus Ministries were ministering in our church and gave me a prophetic word that I would enter a new season at age 55. Years previously they had prophesied that I would write for the secular world, puzzling me at the time, although I left it with the Lord. I did leave the corporate world at that age and not really knowing “the next step” just kept on doing God’s kingdom assignment one step at a time. It has been a lot of hard work to get to this point and I know it will continue to be hard work. But God’s Proverbs 14:23 promise is “all hard work brings a profit.” Doing kingdom assignments will be a blessing not only to us but to whoever God wants to touch.’
Frontline has already successfully completed a number of projects and has several future ones in development. Current projects include the pilot community development one, Let’s Sell Goods – Livelihood Project for the Badjao Community with Project Manager: Albert Santiago. Capital of a certain amount, in cash, is being lent to a Badjao family under a certain length of time terms and conditions. The start-up capital for the buy-and-sell business is aimed at providing an income to these families to sustain their needs daily and help them rise above poverty and lack.
The Badjaos, categorised as ‘the poorest among the poor’ and the most primitive among the ethnic groups in the Philippines, are a Filipino Muslim Ethnic group called sea gypsies or group of ‘boat people.’ They depend only on fishing with arrow and diving coins tossed by ship passengers at the port, exchanging corals, sea shells or pearl for any food or money for their daily food and survival. Badjaos are 100% illiterate that kept them from acquiring basic services such as proper health care, education, community development, civil registration and all basic human needs and services. They have only one or two meals a day; that is why all children are severely malnourished.
‘Products usually being traded are cultured pearls, malong (traditional Badjao cloth), fancy accessories, second hand cellphones and prime commodities,’ explains Tess Abadilla. ‘Their market includes their fellow Badjao in the community, tourists, and local folks. They go from province to province selling their goods. The capital lent to the family will be returned again to the project with 5% interest of the total amount borrowed, of which to be added up to the livelihood fund, to help more Badjao families.’
The project will also educate families on family capital management and financial responsibility towards the project, and will also provide additional market for their cultured pearls and malong products.
CHINA: To become ‘world’s most Christian nation within 15 years!
The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America!
Liushi Church, Zhejiang Province is said to be China’s biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshipers flocked to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the cross.
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening with Chairman Mao’s death in 1976.
According to a story by Tom Phillips of Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, the 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206 ft (62.79m) crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a ‘miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church.’
The £8 million (Approx. AUD 14,520,800) building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China’s breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.
‘It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence,’ said Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi’s altar in the lead up to Holy Week.
‘If everyone in China believed in Jesus,’ he added, ‘then we would have no more need for police stations. There would be no more bad people and therefore no more crime.’(Photo: ALAMY)
Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied. Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
‘By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,’ said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.
China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline. By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted. ‘Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this. It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.’
Like many Chinese churches, the church in the town of Liushi, 200 miles south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, has had a turbulent history. Today it has 2,600 regular churchgoers and holds up to 70 baptisms each year, according to Shi Xiaoli, its 27-year-old preacher. The church’s revival reached a crescendo last year with the opening of its new 1,500ft mega-church, reportedly the biggest in mainland China. ‘Our old church was small and hard to find,’ said Shi. ‘There wasn’t room in the old building for all the followers, especially at Christmas and at Easter. The new one is big and eye-catching.’
The Liushi church is not alone. From Yunnan province in China’s southwest to Liaoning in its industrial northeast, congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe.
Jeremy Reynalds – firstname.lastname@example.org – is also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org. His newest book is A Sheltered Life… http://www.ashelteredlife.net. (See also Resources).
BROKEN HILL – Small 2-day event has a big impact in the outback
ASSIST News Service founder Dan Wooding reports:
In the Australian outback city of Broken Hill, Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham, shared the hope and love of Jesus with nearly 600 people over two days last month during Reality 2014.
According to a news release, despite the city’s reputation as a tough, outback community, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association accepted the invitation to hold the event in Broken Hill, seeing the strong unity in the churches there as well as their commitment to prayer.
‘We started off having a monthly prayer meeting, and then it went bi-weekly, and then it went weekly and now daily, and we’re getting 40-50 people at every prayer meeting,’ said Pastor John Curtis of Broken Hill Church of Christ shortly before the event. ‘To have people from all the churches praying together, it’s creating a unity like there hasn’t been before.’
In the end, nearly 600 attended the two-day event. In a city where the average attendance on a Sunday is around 300 people, 58 came forward to make a spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ. ‘God loves you so much that he sent Jesus to pay your debt. Jesus paid the price, so your relationship with him can be restored,’ said Will Graham in his message to the assembled crowd. ‘Tonight your life can change when you give it all over to God. Christ can change everything. He’ll give you a new beginning.’
In addition, a combined church service on Sunday morning exemplified the unity within the local churches, all of whom participated in Reality 2014, and finished with 200 people coming forward to indicate their commitment to sharing Christ with their friends and neighbours.
(Photo: BGEA Australia)
Following the conclusion of Reality 2014, dozens of church, community and business leaders gathered together on May 12 for one last meal, and Will Graham offered a straight-forward gospel presentation.
People scattered throughout the auditorium indicated a desire to pray and begin a relationship with Jesus. Among them were two tween-aged boys who had walked in from the skate park to see if they could have a meal, and were welcomed with open arms.
More information link: Jorge Rodrigues at email@example.com. ANS thanks Ramon Williams of Worldwide Photos Ltd for his invaluable help with this story.
LONDON: Position and Power – Be the church of God’s heart!
One moment we had a padlock to secure our boat. Actually we have had it for at least ten years, and during that time we must have handled it hundreds of times.
The next moment with a splash it was gone for good. It lies in the silt below the water.
Now you need not grieve for us. It was easily replaced. It was a very minor loss – yet it was sudden and irretrievable.
However, recently we felt the Lord challenge us with the words ‘Die with eagerness.’ Death is either irretrievable loss or immeasurable gain. Paul said ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ He was a man who knew how to live!
We were actually meditating on Deuteronomy 11:22-25, ‘If you… love the Lord your God… walk in obedience to him… hold fast to him …Then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. Every place where you set your foot will be yours: …Your territory will extend … No one will be able to stand against you.’
And we felt the Lord was saying:
Go in my name and because you love me, you will indeed possess the land for me and enable others also to do so.
Have faith in me that it will be so. Don’t let fear incapacitate you but look to me at all times and in all places. Listen to me and speak out what I give to you, and see what I will do. For what I do will stand and no one will be able to deny it.
I must have my church back from the vain traditions of humankind to be the church of my heart, my bride who has eyes only for me but in looking and gazing at me will see the need of the people through my eyes and will extend her hand to help and guide them into my ways.
View every obstacle with the eye of faith. Take steps in faith. The more fully your walk is ordered by me and in accordance with my will, the more certain your victories will be.
For I, the Lord, am with you, but I want your life to be a Holy Spirit led life, not a life of aimless wandering about. So yield willingly to my direction and leading, even though the way appears hard or unrewarding. You will see my blessing on you and you will find that I make you to be the head not the tail. You do not compete against flesh and blood, so do not seek position and power, but let your ambition be to please me in all things.
Expect to defeat fears and worries, to crush the enemy and his temptations under your feet, and to live a life of joy and peace in me. Walk confidently each day, for I am with you to help you and to deliver you from all evil in this life and in the life to come.
Norman and Margaret Moss pastored Queen’s Road Baptist Church, Wimbledon for 31 years, experiencing charismatic renewal since the 1960s and bringing the congregation into renewal in the 1970s when the church grew significantly. Now travelling widely around the UK and overseas, their desire is to encourage ministers, churches and groups – regardless of size – who are hungry for more of the Holy Spirit. Link: CNMoss AT btinternet.com
SON OF GOD
This new movie, starring Diogo Morgado and Roma Downey, begins with John narrating God’s promise and covenant with his people through Israel’s history as the Romans take control of the countryside. After showing the birth of Jesus, 30 years later Jesus approaches Peter to call him to join his mission to change the world.
Jesus is confronted by Pharisees regarding his teaching and the miracles. Then, as conflict mounts between the Romans and the Jews during Passover, he enters Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds and tension around Jesus increase as Jesus begins his journey to the cross.
Son of God is a captivating showcase of God’s grace. The acting is excellent, including the powerful ending. The movie is life-changing, but the pacing could be tighter. Thus, the movie opens strongly, but the first half is a too episodic. Also, some biblical episodes, including dialogue, seem too truncated.
That said, the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish and Roman leadership is strong. Also, the movie has a powerful resurrection sequence. Son of God clearly shows that the death and resurrection of Christ is a glorious reminder of God’s love.
In his MOVIEGUIDE® website, Dr Ted Baehr, American media critic and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, urges everyone to see this movie and to bring their friends and family, saved and unsaved. Link: http://www.movieguide.org