Life Touching Lives

Shiomar, love and molded by Christ
Hello I am Shiomar Elpedez! I was six years old when PJM became a part of my life. Through the Precious Jewels Kids Club on Smokey Mountain I came to know the love of Jesus. I started to attend Summer Camps while I was in elementary school and that’s when I made the decision to follow Christ.

In 2006, I was invited to be a Youth leader for the summer camps of PJM. I learned so much about leadership and the importance of treating each camper as an individual. Following that summer, I became a PJM Youth Intern and was mentored by two artists, Tita Maggie from Canada and Kuya Limboy, my former Kids Club teacher.

Two years later, I became a fulltime PJM staff. I was a child cared for loved and molded by PJM, now I am a servant ready to care for and love other children.
Family Camp
We enjoyed four days of discovering about ourselves, our families and our communities.

We had all ages from our seven months old up to our seventy one year old grandmother!

It was a time of physical refreshment and spiritual renewal. As one grand parent commented “ I am so tired. I cannot raise my 4 grandchildren without God’s help!”
HOPE rising out of the ashes (PJM Ang Tulay Leader)
“We returned from Uganda in November after five months of walking and working with people from East Africa; people who have been coping with crisis after crisis for far too long. We saw lives traumatized by decades of war and violence and crushed by poverty and AIDS.

But we also saw something else – HOPE. Strong, resilient, gutsy HOPE rising out of the ashes! God is healing lives and restoring communities.

During our last session, one of the leaders, a woman who cares for hundreds of children living with AIDS, asked us, ‘When will you return? We have not yet finished walking with our children. They still have far to go on their safari!’ “

Ang Tulay Brings New Hope at one of the Ang Tulay sessions and Family Days one of the men who was attending had recently lost his wife and two children from a serious illness within a few months of each other. After such a devastating loss, he expressed at the outset of the sessions that he felt he had nothing left to live for.

However, the experience of working through the steps of Ang Tulay restored his hope and vision – so much so that in the intervening period since completing the sessions he gained the incentive to build his own home and now is renting out rooms to help pay for the cost of building.

Other Ang Tulay participants have gained the inspiration from Ang Tulay sessions to go on to occupational college. One lady, for example, went on  to develop skills in bead making/jewelry design in order to make a living for herself.

Participants in the Ang Tulay course are followed-up by the Precious Jewels team in a community post-program. This support can be crucial especially when dealing with broken relationships. In one case a husband whose wife left him and their children, for him to care for and support on his own told the PJM team members, "You are the only people who are coming to us", despite other organizations who had promised to do so.

These are prime examples of how the practical and spiritual steps of the Ang Tulay course can and do have far-reaching effects on a person's life. As one PJM team member says of people like this, they have “learned to dream again."