STARTING THIRTY YEARS AGO the journey of Mission Ministries Philippines, Inc. is an amazing story entailing the passion of a small USA based mission effort to serve among the poorest in the world. The suffering of the Filipino poor, especially the children, created a catalyst in service, inviting some of the most educated and informed people to join in the cause to help the Filipino poor through the efforts of Mission Ministries Philippines. The past three decades have seen many educated and well-equipped servants of God pour their hearts out in collaboration to make a difference throughout the slums of the Philippines.
Mission Ministries Philippines initially started in 1984 as a vision, desiring change, when Chaplain John A. Lindvall (Retired Colonel, USA Armed Forces) visited the Philippines in 1984 and witnessed firsthand the conditions of poverty as people’s lives lay in decay. Chaplain John’s heart opened wide as he became an eyewitness to the scope of the depravity. There were many opportunities by stepping forward in commitment to help.
In sharing his passion to help the Filipino poor, Chaplain John Lindvall contacted a friend, Dr. Stewart W. De Boer – then President of the Asian Theological Seminary, Philippines). Having the same heart to serve, both men collectively utilized their own resources and contacts. Soon after, Mission Ministries Philippines was established.
Soon after in 1985, Congregant members and friends from the “First Congregational Church of Anaheim” (FCCA) were invited to the Philippines to visit among the poor firsthand. (Included were; Maxine Hayes, Lowell and Doris Williams, Dottie Miller, Kathy Mitchell and Pastor Jim Schibsted, Senior Pastor of FCCA. Later on John Mark Lindvall, (Current President of Mission Ministries USA, and Mrs. Janice Bowers, National Delegate of FCCA) also visited the Philippines. FCCA provided financial support and Mission Ministries USA gave administrative support for Mission Ministries Philippines with ongoing encouragement and friendship.
In 1986, Dr. Corrie Acorda De Boer was initiated as the Director of Mission Ministries Philippines. A trained Social Development Practitioner, with a heart for the urban poor, Corrie pursued a vision for Mission Ministries Philippines to become a significant social movement – advocating, and ultimately initiating, early childhood programs through local churches in slum communities.
Dr. Blesilda Rios, a trained educator and visionary leader in early childhood education joined MMP in 1986 and developed training programs to equip teachers and administrators in preschool education. In 1997, MMP established the Center for Early Childhood Care and Development (CECCD) providing Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. This later became a college with its own legal identity.
Prof. Chona Domingo, a qualified and well-educated teacher joined Mission Ministries Philippines teaching in the slum communities firsthand for several years. Taking a leadership role, Chona & Mission Ministries Philippines developed a highly regarded curriculum for preschool learning centers – written and published in partnership with University of the Philippines Christian professors. Chona continued to develop into the leader of the early childhood development ministry, where she currently serves as the Director. Chona has formed a team of like hearted servants whose passion is to serve the needs of the Philippine’s poorest children.
In 2000, Dr. Raineer Chu and six other Filipino missionaries initiated the church planting ministries under MMP as part of the vision moving forward towards planting a church in every Barangay. The MMP leadership recently discerned and decided to support and endorse the vision to create a religious community out of the church planting movement and call it Companion With the Poor. This has its legal identity and is in good fraternal mutually nurturing relationship with MMP, which focuses now in advocating for a social movement to support the nation wide and Asia wide expansion of the preschool grassroots movement and the vision of 4/14 Window / Transform World Movement.
MMP envisions to influence seminaries and bible school leaders locally and internationally to seriously offer Early Childhood Development Education subjects in their curriculum and encourages scholarly and practical research in what works best in this field. For example, between 2004 to 2010, Dr. Viv Grigg and Dr. Corrie De Boer partnered with Encarnacao Alliance leaders to bring over 500 city leaders ministering among the poor for a series of consultations in Bangkok, India, Philippines, USA and Kenya.The practitioners/academicians among the poor agreed to develop the MA in Transformational Urban Leadership (MATUL) to disciple grassroots leaders how to follow Jesus among marginalized and minister in the slums of the world’s megacities. Today MMP leaders are teaching how to establish Early Childhood Development programs in some MA TUL related seminaries. The Educational Center Development is a credited subject where Early Childhood Education is taught.
FROM A SINGLE SCHOOL planted in the poverty-stricken community of Bagong Baryo (1984), Mission Ministries Philippines has established over 1,000 Early Childhood Education learning centers (to date) in the most impoverished areas of the Philippine slums – providing the poorest families with the means of educating their children in their early years of life.
TODAY – Mission Ministries Philippines has matured into a highly qualified Team with respected attributes of leadership and management. New strategies are continuously being implemented to strengthen a greater holistic early childhood and developmental approach within the urban slum culture. Where deemed necessary, we approach development within a target community with the same premise.
THE NEXT SEASON – Recently incorporating the name “MISSION: CHILD CARE – A ministry of Mission Ministries Philippines”, this experienced team, decades in the making, is moving forward to implement sustainable solutions for the most impoverished children and communities in the Philippines. The next season will also see initiatives started outside the borders of the Philippines into other urban slum cultures around the world. We will also focus on creating more sustainable solutions within our borders here in the Philippines, especially in slum communities we are currently established.