by design Charles grew up not having enough food on the table. He wore tattered clothes and was not sure about his future.

Both his father and mother labored hard in the rice paddies all day long but brought home little money. When his mother got sick, they did not have money to take her to the hospital.

Charles never found out why she was sick. She just grew weaker by the day, until finally she died. He still wonders if the disease his mother succumbed to was curable.

Charles has all the reasons in the world to be sad. But he is not sad. Today, Charles is a pastor with faith in God and a positive outlook.

“My main goal in life is to help poor children, educate them, and lead them to the Lord.”

When Charles turned 16, he attended a youth camp for Compassion-assisted youth and it changed his life completely.

“The guest speaker talked about the Potter’s Hand, and I pictured myself in the hands of God.”

He now considers that everything that happened in his life was “by design of the Master.” The hardships he and his family endured were for a purpose.

“That Compassion camp in 2004 had such a big impact on me. We talked about confession and transformation, and these two things established my life.”

It was in that camp where Charles gave his life to the Lord. He went back home a changed young man and began leading, teaching and counseling his fellow young people at church and in the center.

He later entered Bible school and spent five years pastoring tribal people in the mountains of Negros Occidental, a province of the Philippines.

Charles’ heart bleeds for youths because he has seen many of his friends who began well in the center grow up to become rebellious teenagers. He has counseled young women who got pregnant out of wedlock, young men who fell into drug addiction, and many others who have lost their fire for the Lord.

Charles is now one of the young pastors of the Ma-ao Central Evangelical Church in Ma-ao, Negros Occidental. He serves as a caseworker for Buasdamlag Child Development Center, teaching and caring for sponsored children, and at the same time evangelizing and discipling their families.

Every day he visits the families he serves. He makes his rounds on a borrowed bicycle early in the morning to remind the children to come to their classes at 9 a.m. Then he goes back to the center to fix the room, clean the area and prepare his materials.

Every day he teaches seven to 10 of the 4- to 5-year-old students about “everything they need to know: the alphabet, arithmetic, songs and Bibles stories,” and he sees himself serving little children for Jesus for a long, long time.

“I am excited to soon see the fruits of my labor in the lives of the children as they will grow to become successful in life. What makes me happy is to see these children learning how to read and write and knowing the Lord.”

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  1. May 21, 2010
    at 1:57 am

    You can tell this man has talent and energy. I’m always so impressed by the people I see working for Compassion — both in Colorado Springs and out in the field. It’s like God gathered together his best and brightest.

    This man’s life is a victory! Praise God and I just want to send him my encouragement and my respect. As a mother myself, I can safely say his mother would be so very proud of him.

    p.s. I recognize the little girls from the Caption contest. So cute!

  2. Nina
    May 21, 2010
    at 5:51 am

    It’s wonderful to read about former Compassion kids who go back to work with Compassion kids. They are the best role model for them. As a sponsor it helps us to really know that we are making a difference. I give thanks to God for using Charles, and thank Charles for allowing God to use him.

  3. May 21, 2010
    at 9:15 am

    Lisa – great observation!

  4. Stephanie Green
    May 21, 2010
    at 3:31 pm

    As someone who cares deeply about reaching children, this was a great read! Charles’ face looks so JOYFUL in the picture with the kids.The idea that any of my Compassion children might grow up to do such a thing as minister to other children is great inspiration for me to encourage them. Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Amy Wallace
    May 22, 2010
    at 6:33 am

    Wow! You’re right Lisa – those are the girls from the caption contest!

    I have such respect for the pastors and everyone who work for Compassion.

  6. Marvin
    May 22, 2010
    at 5:21 pm

    This is an amazing story. Pastors in the Philippines are so young. I visited La Carlota last year…it’s in the same area but a different project. It’s a very difficult place to live…it’s nice to see that the former students are staying and working with the local church and not going to Cebu or Manila to make more money.

  7. amy
    May 23, 2010
    at 9:38 pm

    I wish my sponsored children were in your class Charles- it looks like you do an excellent job. :) Good on you. I will pray now that God will give you the energy, strength, wisdom and love to continue this great work for a ‘long, long time.’

  8. Edwin Estioko
    May 24, 2010
    at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for your messages. I’ll give Charles a ring and let him know. He has to travel 2 hours by bus to the nearest major city to get connected. And, yes, those are the girls from the caption contest. So cute. I enjoyed taking their photos.

  9. May 27, 2010
    at 1:39 pm

    Beautiful Philippines! Just returned from there two days ago — sorry I didn’t get to meet Charles!

  10. Stephanie
    Apr 5, 2013
    at 11:02 am

    Hi, I just sponsored a child in the Buasdamlag Child Development Center. I will be traveling to the Philipinnes and to SEA for several months this fall. How might I link up with Charles to see if there is anything additional I can bring to the center? I will be visiting several missionaries in the area, also! Stephanie

    • Apr 6, 2013
      at 11:55 am

      Hi Stephanie!

      CI does offer custom visits, which you can find out more information and submit and application to CI to set up a visit here:
      http://www.compassion.com/get-involved/custom-visits.htm

      You can email any of your questions about a visit to: visits at us.ci.org (just remove the spaces and replace at with ‘@’). I have not been able to visit my child, but I highly recommend it as many other sponsors found it a life changing experience!

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