Making a difference in the Philippines Local family helps make the lives of families better
Herald Contributor photo
Mike Gordon hands out food to the children in the feeding progam.
Pass Herald Reporter
Connie and Michael Gordon are an unusual couple. They met after Michael hitchhiked through the Pass on his way to Victoria, they married and raised a family in the Pass and Michael was a pastor at a church named Christian Fellowship and as of a year and a half ago, they have been active in missionary work in the Philippines.
Connie, originally from Taber, and Michael, from Victoria, have been local residences in the Crowsnest Pass for 35 years. They met married, and raised a family in the community for 28 years.
They also became Christians here.
In the early 1990s, Michael went to San Pablo City to do some mission work with a friend.
“I just kept coming back, “ said Michael. Now he has gone to San Pablo almost every year for 25 years.
“Finally I convinced Connie to come with me,” said Michael. Connie’s first venture to the Philippines was four years ago. “Connie was impacted from the experience and wanted to become involved,” said Michael. Connie is now a teacher in San Pablo.”
San Pablo is a first class city in the southern portion of Laguna province, Philippines, is one of the country's oldest cities. By land area, it is the largest in the province of Laguna. By population, it ranks fifth within the province.
Now San Pablo is considered home to Connie and Michael. The Gordon’s were forced to return to the Pass in May for medical reasons, and were unable to leave the municipality for three months. They will return to the Philippines next month.
The Gordon’s are currently involved with a missionary organization called Philippine Frontline Ministries.
The director of that is a man named Jeff Pessinna, the man who originally helped influence Michael to travel to the Philippines.
“What I primarily do in the businesses is teach about received Christ. I teach about character qualities,” said Michael, who is the director of discipleship.
Philippine Frontline Ministries currently has seven churches, and one school.
Connie teaches at that school.
The city of San Pablo currently has an unemployment rate of close to 60 per cent.
“To find practical way to help, we serve a number of feeding programs. Out of those feeding programs, we learn about peoples live situations, and how they got in those situations,” explained Michael.
Philippine Frontline Ministries built two boarding homes, one for boys and one for girls, which house 30 boys and girls. These 30 children are going to school, and will be offered the chance to enrol college after graduation.
“The dynamics for employment is significantly increased when the children are educated,” said Michael.
Philippine Frontline Ministries also has an interim centre. The interim centre is a “half way house” a place in between the streets and the boarding homes. House parents and a psychologist are present in the interim centre. “We want to them to unlearn negative behaviours and qualify them to move into our boarding homes, and into our school,” said Michael. It takes children six months to qualify for boarding homes.
Connie and Michael Gordon have been active in missionary work in the Philippines helping those in need.
“We want to change the lives of these children,” said Michael. “We want to give them a chance.”
Connie says she loved the experience the first time she went to the Philippines.
“I loved it, but even though it is an English speaking school, there was a huge barrier,” said Connie, who taught English and math at the school. She explained that if the children did not understand the teacher, they would not ask questions. They didn’t understand and were afraid of offending the teacher.
Connie explained that of her 19 students, eight that were passing. Connie held after school tutor sessions for the children and by the end of the semester, only five students had failed.
“We simply don’t want to go and feed people, we want to develop relationships,” explained Connie. She recalled a story of a young girl on the street who would crawl into Connie’s arms every Wednesday night during a weekly feeding. It was the only time the girl felt safe enough to fall asleep.
“We’ve been welcomed into their family, and we now know where they live. We have a connection with these people,” said Michael.
“If you’re willing to learn the language, if you’re willing to go to where people live, we find that the culture barriers begin to drop,” he said. “If you make the effort, it opens up doors into people’s lives.”
Connie and Michael Gordon will return to the Philippines on September 11.