Philippines: Working Hands
Silang, Cavite, Philippines (Map)
The Working Hands Residence Hall Project
The Working Hands Model
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so you will not be dependent on anybody.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12
What is Working Hands?
Working Hands is an 8-10 month Discipleship and Vocational training program designed to help young men from the streets of Manila and from very poor communities in the Philippines. Working Hands helps integrate them into society and life by giving them training in a vocation so that they can compete in the real world. Along with this training, students are instructed in practical Christian living. The aim of the ministry is to glorify God and train young men to be productive members of society, to become men of integrity, and to be good husbands and fathers who will lead their children in the truth.
Working Hands is a ministry of Action International which has a focus of reaching street children and others from poor communities. ACTION seeks to free people trapped in poverty and to bring hope of new life spiritually through faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Many years ago during a prayer meeting in Manila, a pastor brought before the Lord his burden to see further ministry take place for street children who attended our evangelistic camps. He asked God to help us “go the second mile” with these kids. This led to the establishment of Second Mile Discipleship and Vocational Training Center in Manila in early 1970. The Second Mile facility relocated to a campus 35 miles south of Manila. It was built in the early 1980s for vocational training. In 1991, the Working Hands Discipleship and Vocational School began training young Christian men in discipleship and auto mechanics. Students, ranging in age from 18-25, who pass tests in mechanical aptitude, simple mathematics, and spiritual awareness are accepted. They are recruited from other ACTION ministries that work with the poor, other Christian organizations, and local evangelical churches. A woodworking/welding course and a Computer Technology course have also been added. At present we are looking for an automotive mechanics instructor to take the place of Daryl Germaine who retired last year.
A key component of the program is unity among all staff and missionaries who seek to live together in obedience to God’s Word and model the life of men in process – becoming more like Christ. All staff and missionaries are involved in leading student and staff devotions, supervising community service and informal counselling and encouragement. Apart from their personal devotions, all students participate in a daily discipleship class and on weekends they go home and are involved in ministry at their church.
For vocational training, theory is taught by a qualified, instructor and then put into practical application in the shop. Team work is encouraged as a part of building good work habits.
When the young men have completed the 8-10 month program, they are encouraged to engage in “on the job training” for 1,000 hours after which they will be ready for employment and by God’s grace be mature believers and spiritual leaders in their homes, churches and communities.
Learning Life Skills
Marketing and learning how to budget are important components of learning to handle future income. The students are also taught gardening and other livelihood skills as time and opportunity permit. Each day begins with physical exercise and conditioning. All students help with the cooking, cleaning , and grounds upkeep. The guys live in the dorm from Monday to Friday and go home on weekends in order to maintain continuity with their own church. Living in community brings out the best and the worst and gives opportunity to apply Biblical principles in dealing with life issues and relationships. Teamwork and sportsmanship are also learned on the basketball court. Students enjoy this sport during their free time.