Light and Freedom for Family in Philippines

Nicolette Benoit (pictured above), a TeachBeyond member in the Philippines, relates one of the life transformations she witnessed in her ministry this past year.

One of my favorite God stories here in Jolog, the Philippines, is Archee. Archee is a sweet, 11-year-old, traumatized boy who was unschooled and attached himself to us very quickly.

Through the course of the first few months in Jolog, we witnessed that Archee was abused at home. We eventually had to report the abuse to the officials. The mom was not happy with us. Eventually, after much prayer on our part, his mom came to our house. We welcomed her in and told her how great Archee was; how I desired to teach him, and then we shared the gospel with her through the bracelets that we gave out at Christmas. She received these all with a broken but welcoming smile.

A few days later, they showed up together for Archee’s class with me. Every day they came to class together and she encouraged Archee in his learning. She told us how she tried to abort Archee and she has lived under the guilt of that all her life, but we saw the Lord working and freedom slowly coming over their family. God was moving.

Day by day I saw more light and freedom in their eyes and more confidence in Archee. He was learning his ABC’s and numbers at a slow rate, but his confidence was growing so fast. He now told me he wanted to be enrolled in school because he had the confidence of knowing the alphabet and how to write his name.

One day they said they would be moving. His mom told us that they don’t fight any more and that she has been thanking the Lord for the love we gave their family. She said that she wanted to enroll Archee in school! What a HUGE answer to so many prayers.  God transforms lives from abuse to love, from fear to safety and from guilt to freedom.


Barner Photo

Carol and Mark Barner: The Philippines

Carol and Mark Barner are teachers from Phoenix, Arizona. As they were nearing retirement—after working as a college computer teacher (Carol) and high school science teacher (Mark)—they yearned to continue glorifying the Lord. In particular, they were looking for a way to do this within their education professions. They prayed and looked at schools where they could possibly serve in this capacity.

Finding the right fit was a process. First, they volunteered at an English camp. Next, they attended the summer TeachBeyond Institute, where they prepared for this new chapter in their lives. While at the summer Institute they envisioned helping at a missional school, educating the children of missionaries. After praying about the decision, Carol and Mark retired in 2011 from their teaching positions in Arizona so they could teach at the high school level at Faith Academy, near Manila, Philippines.

Though Mark and Carol were happy to be teaching overseas, the adjustment from Arizona to the Philippines was anything but easy. A move of such proportions always involves a number of lifestyle changes. One substantial change was the weather: the dry deserts of Arizona are a far-cry from the tropical rainforests of the Philippines. They experienced a number of cultural changes and experiences as well—one of the more exciting being the way people drive in Manila. Despite this, they discovered that the Philippines is full of friendly, hospitable people. This encouraged them to press on through the challenges they faced.

In addition to teaching, the Barners have gotten involved in summer English Camps. Last summer they ran a TeachBeyond English Camp for 49 sixth grade disadvantaged and orphaned children from a local Christian school. Mark reported after the first day: “Excellent worship times, very awesome English classes, active games and sports, filling USA style spaghetti, great time in pool and thought provoking Bible lesson.” Two days of the camp had to be cancelled due to a typhoon, with loss of electricity and some damage, but thankfully everyone was fine. Mark summed it up: “We are very grateful that we could glorify Jesus with the camp days we did have and that fruit in Jesus is further developed.”

Carol and Mark are thankful for the chance to serve in the Philippines and for their generous pensions, which have allowed them to continue to do God’s work in a place they never would have thought to call home…until now.

Barner-Active Mission-Picture