The planning team for our first major fundraising event: (L to R, Barbara, Ken Pierson--director of the SDA dental clinic and board invitee, Larene Delos Reyes--pre-school director, Rene Salud, Ernie Lacorte--school board chairman, Missy Chamberlin--fundraising coordinator, Virle Gayatin--school accountant and office manager. )
Barbara and Rene Salud
The Saipan SDA School kids, teachers, and Rene Salud
During Rene Salud's presentation at our school, he showed the kids a little bit of what he does by designing a dress for one of our students on the spot.
Rene speaks to the students at the elementary school during Joint Worship on Friday, March 30.
Parent (and former model) Michelle Zayco, Rene, and Babs pose for a picture at the SDA Clinic.
David Gates speaking at Guam camp meeting, March 30--April 1, 2007
God has given Barbara the vision for a new campus for the Saipan SDA School--a campus that will combine the pre-school and elementary schools; a campus that will expand to include a full high school, a campus that will allow the school to grow and thrive in whatever time remains until He comes.
As often the case with God-sized dreams, the getting there can seem pretty daunting. Millions of dollars will need to be raised on island where the economy is essentially flatlining. Some might say "It's impossible. Where would you even start?"
And God replies with: "How about with one of the most famous fashion designers in the Philippines?"
It turns out that the parent of one of our students is a former fashion model who for many years worked closely with reknowned Filipino fashion designer Rene Salud. During our school trip to Managaha she asked Barbara if she'd be interested in talking to Rene about having him assist our school in fundrasing for the new campus. Barbara gave the matter some thought and prayer, discussed it with her board, and agreed.
This past Wednesday, March 28, Rene Salud flew up to Saipan and met with Barbara, her fundraising team of fundraising coordinator Missy, accountant Virle, and pre-school director Larene plus members of the school board. By all accounts he was a charming, down-to-earth gentleman who quickly put everyone at ease and who was eager to help our school. On Friday Rene came to visit our school campuses as well. He arrived at the elementary campus just as the song service of our weeky joint worship was coming to an end. The kids were all singing "The Power of Your Love" when he entered and he seemd touched by the beauty and message of the song, which he says is one of his favorites. He then shared a little bit with the students about his life story and his journey with God from his childhood as a Roman Catholic to his born-again Christian experience. He knew of the Adventist church but his involvement with our school seems to be the first time he's met Adventists up and close and personal. He is excited and honored to help kick off our school's fundraising campaign with a fashion benefit entitled "Fashion Cares" planned for October of this year. The proceeds will go towards our new campus. Perhaps even more valuable than the money we will raise, is the high profile this will give our relocation effort. While he may not be a household name in the states, Rene Salud is genuinely famous in the Philippines. He has his own segment on a nationally broadcast talk show, and his designs have been featured in fashion shows all over the world. His decision to lend his name and talents to our effort will do much to spread the word to our island community and beyond that SDA School is on the move!
Barbara is really grateful to Mr. Salud, but even more so she is grateful to God for leading her in directions she could never have imagined and providing for our needs from the unlikliest of places.
And God wasn't finished yet. . .This past Friday afternoon, March 30, Barbara flew to Guam to attend the Guam camp meeting where David Gates, the reknowned Adventist missionary, was speaking. She came back to report that the weekend was one of the high points of her entire spiritual life! David Gates is well known for pursuing the impossible. He has built TV networks, bought mission planes, constructed and staffed schools, all without asking a single person for money or even so much as sending out a mailing. There are stories of his signing million dollar contracts when he has absolutely no money at all. And yet, every single time God comes through with the money his ministries need. This is a man who walks the walk. Most of us talk about faith. This man lives it. He throws himself headlong over the side of the boat, and keeping his eyes on Jesus, walks on water.
Needless to say, Barbara was encouraged and inspired by David Gates testimony. Compared to his great leaps of faith, her $4 million goal was chump change. While she doesn't feel called to forgo all fundraising efforts, as Gates does, she is reminded that it is God that will provide for the new school. After all who else but God could lead her to a fashion icon and a missionary legend all in the same week!
"You never know who God is gonna use
Maybe even you and me"
Maybe even you and me"
--Rich Mullins "Who God Is Gonna Use"