A Way in the Wilderness: Mission Ministries Philippines’ Journey During PANDEMIC Season
In March of 2020, the government issued a lockdown on most parts of the Philippines. What we thought of as a short-term lockdown has now gone to almost two years of unprecedented events.
This tiny bit of virus has claimed millions of lives and altered the course of life throughout the world. Everyone was affected, and education is one of them.
In the first months of lockdown, Mission Ministries Philippines still hopes that everything will return to normal. But as the days went by, reality set in. For many who are not tech-savvy, we were all caught off guard.
Fear may have paralyzed some of us, but by the grace of God, He gave us courage, wisdom, and perseverance. The pandemic brought changes in the way we do things but we strongly believe that this should not stop our work. With limitations in meeting physically, we find ways to continue on what we are called to do, “TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION”, still meeting the needs in Early Childhood Education and strengthening families and communities whatever it takes. So in May 2020, MMP offered its first webinar to its partners about Blended Learning and Homeschooling via zoom. Our speaker Professor Bing Amihan introduced the terms synchronous and asynchronous learning, which most of our partners were unfamiliar with. This method of teaching is being used in western countries. Though there are limitations in the Philippines, it is still applicable. This encouraged most of the partners to continue their preschool operation despite the drop of enrollees. And to further explain and help apply the knowledge learned in blended learning and homeschooling webinars, Mission Ministries supervisors piloted the practical training. The supervisors presented the strategies, materials, lesson plans, online play, and online applications the partners can use to cope with the technology adopting synchronous and asynchronous learning. Shifting into the new platform should not deviate our developmentally appropriate practices philosophy in teaching to our students. As we learned from Prof. Bing “there are still non-negotiable principles like integration of God’s word, Christian values, and good character.
As the world started embracing the digital age, Mission Ministries Philippines explored other possible ways to continue its mission in serving our partners and our advocacy to provide better education to indigent children.
MMP’s thrust that no child is left behind is a must!!! MMP is committed to caring for the children and shaping them into what God created them to be. Providing access to basic needs on their development and enjoying their childhood. Furthermore, the pandemic season made MMP revive its feeding program, but this time with a significant tweak in its feature, thus we call it “Feeding the Mind & the Body” (FMB), where the feeding program is integrated into the existing curriculum of MMP. MMP Partners, are given the option to integrate its feeding program with Sunday school lessons, Remedial Reading or Kidpreneur, or teaching business skills for children via the online and face-to-face platform.
Moving on…. All MMP seminars were geared toward maximizing technology in delivering quality education without compromising our philosophy. Speakers emphasized the importance of building relationships between teachers and parents as they hone their children’s potentials. Resource persons enlightened the use of technology and the danger it brings to the children. Research shows that too much exposure to screen time can hamper the brain development of children. The webinars also laid principles and ways to sustain the school operation.
With all these worries and stresses brought by the pandemic, it is a fact that many have suffered from anxieties and mental health issues. So in response, another webinar was conducted addressing this issue.
Aside from these seminars, supervising the partners was also done online. Partners were encouraged to attend the classes of the supervisors for them to observe the online classes and process them afterward. In the same way, supervisors were able to observe and coach the online classes of partners.
The pandemic may have closed many doors but new opportunities were opened to MMP by God’s grace. Mission Ministries herald to preach the gospel to the children have now intentionally reached even the parents by administering parenting seminars. These webinars not only give guidance for good parenting but most especially in preaching the gospel of salvation.
The pandemic may have momentarily thwarted the course of MMP and yet God used this to flourish and spread its roots to reach others further. Now MMP can now post a new challenging question to possible new partners. Would you like to set up or enrich your existing Early Childhood Program like Preschool, Daycare, SNP ( Supervised Neighborhood Play, Stimulation Center, After class program or tutorial program for children …. What do you prefer ??? Face to face or On-Line?????.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:19
Mission Ministries Launched Parenting Seminars
Mission Ministries Phil. was founded because of its calling to give quality education to the least privileged children in poor communities and most importantly to spread the Good News of salvation.
In continuing this mission, MMP launched the online Parenting Seminars which aims to help parents in handling their children and understanding each other as parents. And the most important part of the seminar is evangelizing, through the Word of God.
Ms. Chonabelle Domingo, President, and CEO of MMP was the first speaker for this seminar last January 23, 2021, entitled Parenting in Pandemic. It was attended by over 90 parents from the 14 partner schools who joined.
Ms. Domingo taught of doing this parenting seminars due to the urgency in saving the souls of our students and their parents. Bringing them the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. In these trying times, when hopelessness envelopes the world, Christians must live to the commission of being the light and salt of the world.
And indeed as we sow, God gives us harvests. One of the partners, Children’s Den testified that 5 of their parents who attended the seminar accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. They have been ministering to these parents and God used the seminar for them to fully accept Christ as their God and Savior.
With that good report, MMP aims to continue conducting parenting seminars. So last March 20, 2021, the second parenting seminar entitled “The 5 Love Languages” was facilitated by Ms. Aida Aquino.
MMP included these seminars in the year-round activities.
Mission Ministries Philippines Joins Medical Ambassador Philippines, Inc. in Health Awareness
“A Must for Mask” a project of Mission Ministries Philippines, Inc. in its contribution to help fight the coronavirus. It was initiated sometime last year and the masks were given to its partner schools. This project is one of the ministries of MMP being revisited in its philosophy of a holistic approach. As the organization not only aims to nurture the cognitive and spiritual of the students but also their physical and health aspects.
This project made viable in partnership with Medical Ambassador Phil. Inc., a Christian non-profit medical mission organization with the mission to see churches and organizations that follow Christ’s mandate, establishing effective health ministries and evangelism to the poor, vulnerable, and among the least reached people in target communities.
In the recent event, Medical Ambassador Phil. Inc.(MAP, Inc. ) conducted a seminar entitled “ Kaalaman at Siyensya ng Bakuna” last March 19, 2021. This seminar is to propagate awareness about the vaccines for the coronavirus. The resource person is Dr. Romelei Camiling – Alfonso.
MMP participated in this event as its initial seminar with MAP, Inc. There are plans of training and other seminars for partner schools to equip them in terms of health issues.
Bringing KIDPRENUER On-line
Here’s a report on Praiere Rose Academy for Youngsters, a partner school of Mission Ministries Phil. that continued teaching KIDPRENUER and bringing it online. Teacher Precy Vallente, school Administrator, and Teacher Kezia Vallente recall how they were able to administer the Kidprenuer curriculum online this school year. Here is what they have to say:
“Kidpreneur Curriculum is one of the immense life molding tools MMP had provided for us. Our school had been using it since the time this curriculum was launched. For years now, it has always been an interesting part of our school’s endeavor to encourage children on entrepreneurship that even parents enjoy its challenges.
Every year, we see to it that we do a culminating activity that will lead every child to a pathway of kidpreneurship. We do a “Palengke Like This Program” which before was called “Munting Palengke sa Loob ng Paaralan” until such time that we moved out to a covered court near the school.
This year we did not allow this pandemic to hinder culminating and enhancing children’s interest as they learned stories about young entrepreneurs and their disciplines. We had the so-called “KidPRAYneur” online business where children were asked to advertise their products online. They were also asked to be part of the preparations and even selling of such.
This then had become a motivating gem to the young minds. Some of the children’s reactions are:
– “It’s enjoying, I was able to share my clothes with others” because they did an ukay-ukay thing. Actually, there were two of them who did such.
– “Happy… because I have money to buy a speaker” and he encouraged his Mom to continue selling.
– “Happy…” because of the experience of selling and earning money out of it.
There’s the spirit of sharing, a plan where to use the money, and the joy of knowing that there’s a good fruit out of it.
Such kinds of experiences won’t be forgotten. As they grow these will be part of their honing moments and good memoirs.”
Truly there will be no barriers in pursuing education and changing the mindset of today for tomorrow’s success.