Friday, May 16, 2014

Update for Supporters

Well friends this is a blog I am excited and sad to compose all at the same time. I'm very excited for the new ministry opportunities God has placed before us. We currently support 3 feedings in the Philippines. Our prayer is for many more to develop out of this as well as church planting and possibly the orphanage we long to build. With that said I want you all to know we will be returning stateside as of May 1st. This is not to end our ministry here but to extend it. We will live with family while restructuring some things about Frei Ministries to make it more effective in the future. We plan to visit area churches to share about our time here as well as continue to raise funds for our feedings!! We do not know how long we will be in Texas but we know God has our steps ordained. He has closed and opened many doors here lately and for that, we are thankful. The ministry here with the Ati People will continue very strong and under great leadership. We will miss this place so much and the people will be in our hearts forever. 

Please contact me if you would like us to visit your church, school, or small group to talk about our experiences. Also if you have openings at VBS or summer camps we would love to be "real life missionaries" there for you! I can not and never will be able to thank you all for your support thus far. Please contact me with any questions you may have. Some of you I will see very soon and others I will continue to keep you updated, please pass this along. I want to get the word out to all. Thank you my friends!! Jesus loves you.

I wrote this a few weeks back. Since then we made if safely to Texas and are soaking up some time with family and this beautiful weather. I thank God we get a little cool weather before the Texas heat sets in.

If you are a current supporter of Frei Ministries, I ask that you seek God in His leading for your decision to continue giving. While stateside we will still support the feedings we have over there as well as start new ones through our Feeding Coordinator, Anaflor Buico. She has 3 feedings currently with the options to expand as funds are available. Each feeding is $10  per week. Also we are in the process of raising money to help build a church for our pastor friend there.($5000) Once we raise that, James and I will go back in order to help build the church.  Our vision for this ministry is to become an International Feeding organization. I know there are many out there but we know of people who are still starving and starving for the Gospel also. Feedings is a sure fire way to get people to come, then they get the word too. Our Feedings are mostly Children focused, but parents come too. We are praying daily for God to continue to light His path for us and this ministry. Personally I want to go right back to PI now but I have to wait and trust God’s timing. Please contact us ASAP if we can come visit your church or you to talk more about our mission in the Philippines and all we have experienced so far. Thank you all for your support and encouragement all along. We love you all.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Frei Ministries Feature Story by Marie Bakken

On Decemeber 5, 2012 our friend Marie Bakken, Rockdale Reporter staff writer, published the below article. We are so thankful for her willingness to write and share our story/His story to the many who read the paper. She graciously has allowed us to republish it on our blog - which includes our calling and details about what we are doing in the Philippines. Thanks, Marie.

Imagine being thousands of miles from where you grew up, on the other side of the world perhaps, awaiting the strongest typhoon ever to hit your new home country, your spouse and three small children, along with the orphans who are staying in your home instead of sleeping outside on a table where they usually sleep. And you are OK with this because that is exactly where God needs you to be.
“Without His hand of protection over my house, my family, we should be dead,” 29-year-old missionary Ashley Frei recently told a large crowd at Milano First Baptist Church during one of her many talks while she was home on a two week leave recently, after Typhoon Haiyan hit her family’s new home in Malay, Philippines.
Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in early November. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 5,680 people in that country alone.
Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the fourth strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed.
CALLING—James and Ashley Frei both grew up in the Central Texas area. James, 31, graduated from Rosebud-Lott High School and Ashley is a Milano High School graduate. The two have been married almost eight years and have three small children Daniel (6), Lydia (4) and Samuel (2). Earlier this year The Frei’s followed God’s calling on their lives to be missionaries, sold everything they owned and moved to the other side of the world.
James left to get things together on Aug. 19, with Ashley and the children joining him on Sept. 17.
ATI PEOPLE—In Malay, they fight to live each and every day, especially the Ati people, according to Ashley.
“The Japanese hated the Ati people and invasions of the Philippines during World War II caused the Ati to either be killed or flee to the mountains, like in Malay,” she said. “Over there the Ati people are considered scum. They can’t go to public school or shop at the market.”
Ashley teaches at the elementary school where her two oldest kids are also students with the Ati people. The Kindergarten class ranges in children ages 4-14. It is because the Ati people are the lower class in Malay.
By the time the young boys reach the age of four, they are considered old enough to take care of themselves. The girls are “kept” so that they can more than likely be sold to earn the family money.
FEEDINGS—The Frei's do feedings each day to various parts of the island. One in particular they do is a 40-minute hike (with food for the feeding in tow, along with their three children) up a mountain. There they have 75 small, malnourished mouths to feed.
“Have me disappear so that you can appear,” is what she tells God while helping with the feedings or simply just loving on those small souls that she is there to help, some as young as two-years-old who come to the feedings alone, 100 yards up and down a mountain.
“They don’t get the food without hearing The Word first,” she said. They feed them food for their bodies and their souls.
“They trust God the first time they hear the Gospel, they accept Him. It is the first sign of hope they’ve had in a while,” Ashley said of the Ati hearing about God.
The Frei's have to walk across the river sometimes as high as their waist, but do they turn back? No.
“We don’t turn around because there are starving children on the other side,” Ashley said.
They knows that what they are doing is what God wants them to do.
There are many children who truly touch the Frei’s hearts, but there are a few who the Frei’s hope will become their own when the orphanage which theyfeel God sent them to Malay to build is opened.
HAIYAN—They have nothing materialistic, especially after the typhoon, but the Ati people are resilient.
The typhoon was huge. It stretched for hundreds of miles. Imagine a storm so big it stretched from Florida up to the U.S.-Canadian border.
In the middle of the storm, the Ati people were outside trying to save their things, what little they had, holding on to the bamboo that made up their homes.
During the Nov. 8 storm the Frei’s lost power in their modern-style house. They have not had power since either.
Lydia suffered a bad fall during the storm, believed to have broken her hip and because of road conditions they could not get her to the hospital.
Through prayer, Ashley said Lydia was healed and had just a busted chin and bruised hip.

For three hours while Haiyan passed over them it was scary, Ashley said.
“We did what we could to stay calm,” Ashley said. “During the storm we heard emergency crews go by our house and I hadn’t wanted James to go out to help like he normally does. But God told me he was suppose to go.”
And it was a good thing he did. There was a woman pinned under a tree and they were having to move other trees to get the emergency crews to her.
“James is a big guy and he helped moved those trees. She probably would not have made it if he had not gone,” she said.
The fact they and most of their belongings were pretty much unharmed was a miracle.
“We were in a protected pocket,” Ashley said. “All within 100 yards around us there was nothing left. We are so thankful where God had placed us.”
During all the strong winds and blowing rain (the water was being blown in through their windows and under doors at the Frei home) the only structural damage they endured was a blown down fence and a broken flower on one of the rose bushes. Members of the neighborhood helped put the fence back up within hours of the storm’s passing.
“Within an hour after the storm had passed they were out there starting to rebuild their homes,” she said.
There were 164 people in the church and all were alive and unhurt.
All the kids at the school near the Frei’s home were alive, most didn’t have a home to live in anymore, but most barely had homes to begin with.
The Frei's made the decision that Ashley and the three children would come back to Texas for a couple of weeks—to get refreshed and to tell the story of the Ati people back home. James stayed in Malay to help.
It took Ashley and the kids 36 hours to get from Malay to Houston and they did it with just $9. All their other funds had been used to help their new neighbors—those that God had sent them to serve. And their communities back in Texas have rallied behind Frei Ministries to help even more.
“The outpouring has been amazing. I am so proud to be from Milano. I want to stay home because it is comfortable, but I have to go back,” Ashley said. “But I am going back with hope.”
All the money sent to Frei Ministries goes directly to the people of the Philippines. Anything left after they pay their normal monthly bills for rent, electricity, etc., is used to feed the people—their stomachs and their souls.
“We are to meet them where they are. Don’t discriminate...We are the hands and feet of Jesus,” Ashley said.
She said as little as $100 would rebuild a home there. And $15 per week would help feed 60 children and their families.
To keep up with this ministryand the things they are doing, visit or join the Frei Ministries page on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Journey to Retrieve the Missing Bag: Part Two

Read Part One, click here.

Previously: "Upon our arrival to LTO we were told to go to one location. Well, that was the wrong one, so we walked 5 blocks to the correct location. Once there, we realized there was a dress code and we were not dressed to meet the requirements."

Thankfully we were carrying our luggage because we were returning that night to Caticlan on the boat. In our bags I had capris and closed toe shoes and a decent dress shirt. So after putting those clothes on over my other ones, they let us in. I’m sure I was a laughing matter for all them, but I didn’t care, I was on a mission. 

Ana and I started in one office then were directed to 3 more at that location before finally getting the right person we needed to see. Well, when we got to his office, it was lunch hour so we had to wait. We went and got lunch ourselves and I was so hot I just DE-layered my clothing as we were walking to lunch. Once again, I’m sure I turned some heads, but oh well!

After lunch we went to the office we were directed to previously and learned it was not the right place. We walked 6 blocks to the correct building and in there we were able to get the info we needed! Turns out it was all the same info we had that morning so we decided to return to the location 6 blocks back to file a claim. Once we waited for our turn there we learned we had to do this process in a certain order, meaning we had to go to the cab operator and start there before making a claim. The man there said if security does not let you through then get a police officer, we have rights!

With official papers in hand we set out back to where we started that morning. At this point it is 4pm and our bus was leaving at 5pm. There was no way we were going to make it, but we had come too far to give up so we just decided we would go change our ticket and leave the next day. But first, we had a cab operator to see. We chose to travel via subway and then jeepney this time!

Upon returning to the exact location we started at that morning, we were able to finally talk to the operator. Once she learned we were downstairs, she was very kind to meet us and begin trying to track the driver down. Also my phrases like “we are going to file a claim”and “I am going to the police” lit a little fire under her tail and she got things rolling.

The driver and his info could not be found, but she was going to the main office at 4am the next day and invited us to go along. After giving her my contact info we set out to the main office to change our boat ticket. After taking another jeepney to our location were learned that we actually had to go the the North Pier (20min away) to change our ticket. So once again, here we go. (jeepney, then cab) We were able to get the ticket changed for p880 which translates to about 20 American dollars, but there were no tickets available for the next day (Friday) so we had to schedule for Saturday instead. 

At this point its 8 pm and we are exhausted and hungry. On our way out of the pier I saw an elderly woman and her small granddaughter carrying a bag. It was heavy so they carried it about 5 feet stopped, and carried again. Each time stopping after five feet. Well I gave Ana my bag and asked the lady if I could carry it for her. She said yes and I followed her to her location and set it down. When I did she said thank you and her granddaughter did to. My reply was, your are very welcome and God bless you. When I turned to leave 3 men and a lady sitting there said “thank you for helping her. She is from an outcast tribe and nobody helps their kind, ever” and I said “well I don’t look at the outside, I look within like my Lord” and they said “ so you are a Christian” and I said “yes, born again (this is what they call us here)” and the lady said “you have made a difference in her life today” and to that I just said thank you and walked off. I never, for one second, thought not to carry that bag. 

I’m thankful for moments like these in the midst of utter chaos when God reminds me that it’s all about HIM. After all, we were really getting somewhere with the pink bag situation and all I could do is give Him praise.

That night Ana and I stayed with her sister and the next morning we all set out at 4am to go meet this driver. We road with the operator, Josie, out to the location which was about one hour away. When we arrived we were instructed to just sit and wait for Peter to show up (the driver). Well 6am rolled around and no Peter. At that point Ana sister chimed in to get things moving. Finally, Josie came up with Peter’s info and we got him on the phone and he came down to the office. It took him two hours to get there so we went and had some pancakes for breakfast first. When Peter arrived the Josie asked if he recognized me. He said he did and I then I said we left a bag in your cab a few days back and to that he said, yes, a pink bag. So immediately I knew he had seen it.

Then he began to trail off on how he had not seen it and had no idea. Well at that point my friend Ana chimed in. Now I have never seen her so adamant about anything, but this had already been a long few days and we were tired of the run around. The man continued to stick to his story until Ana mentioned we were going to the police. Peter still wanted to help us “track” down the bag. As this discussion was taking place between he and Ana (of which I only could understand a little because they were speaking Tagalog) I began to pray. 

I prayed for truth and clarity. I prayed for complete brokenness for Peter. After about ten minutes of Ana pressing the issue with him he finally broke. He admitted that he had the bag and had the Kindles! Yall, I began to cry. Literally crying in front of everyone and saying, "Thank You Jesus," out loud. I mean a HUGE prayer had been answered. The impossible was possible. The Lord answered our prayers and we got the Kindles back. 

Now I know to most of you this may seem silly, but to us this was huge. My children were on their knees about this issue and God came through. Did He have to, no. But, He did and for that I am so thankful. My kids at six, four, and two years of age got to experience their God are such a big way!!!

Thankfully through all our adventures and trials Ana and I made it back home in the early hours of Sunday morning with Kindles in hand. The pink bag stayed with her sister because her niece needed a back pack for school! God is so good!! Even if we had not gotten the Kindles back, God is still good, but this time our faith was so very strengthen and we praise His name and His alone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Journey to Retrieve the Missing Bag: Part One

I am totally going against what I had planned, but I have been so behind on blogging that I have no choice but to catch up this way. I am going to write about recent events and if I ever get the chance I will fill you in on the days of typhoon Yolanda and our Christmas here. I will make sure and set aside time to write about them, but for now I have another exciting adventure to tell you about.

Dec. 30th I met mom, Kari, and my kids in Manila because they were coming here to stay. Upon leaving Manila we left a pink backpack in the back of the taxi that drove us to the airport. Normally I would just take it as a loss, but inside the bag was my kids 3 Kindles, which they received from their Nana before moving here. Now, again, don’t get me wrong: know it’s only material possessions,but I feel my kids have made so many sacrifices that them having to give up, yet another, favorite thing did not set well with me.

Immediately upon realizing we left the bags I contacted the hotel where we had stayed to see if they could help me. Turns out they had a video of the cab and were able to give me the company and license plate number. I asked them if they could contact the cab company for me since we were about to board a plane and I would call them that evening. They very graciously agreed and were so helpful. Well, that evening when I called back they had not been able to locate the cab company and the next three days were holidays; chances of reaching anyone were slim.

During the days to follow, Mom and Kari were here, so I was distracted with that, but the loss of the bag still did not sit well with me. After they left which was on Jan 3rd, I began to make regular phone calls and search the internet as much as possible. I kept getting a complete run around soter talking to James we decided I would go to manila and try to track this bag down. Now, keep in mind, manila is the size of NYC but it’s much bigger as far as land mass. Therefore my search would not be easy, but something inside me knew it would all work out. After all, the kids and I had been praying to find that bag from the day we lost it.

On Tuesday, Jan 7th, we bought 2 boat tickets my friend, Ana and myself. On Jan 8th, at 6am she and I set out for our "getting the bag back” journey. The boat ride (like a very small cruise ship) is 8 hours, which allowed us time to visit and rest.

Upon our arrival in Manila we went straight to the Best Western Hotel and got some more info on how to find this company. Also, on the way, our cab driver was a great help. Ana talked to him about our situation and he took our name and number. Sometime later that night he saw a cab from the company we were looking for; he followed it and got the name and address of the company and text us. By Wednesday night we had all the info we needed. The next morning I called the number and the lady said that was the wrong number. So we decided to go to the address, but the security guards would not let us into the residents.

At 8 am on Thursday morning we were already stumped. That’s when we went to see Ana’s family and in the meantime James found the info for LTO (some transportation office) where we needed to go and file a claim. After seeing Ana’s family (which she had not seen in 2 years, some people even 10 years) Ana, myself, and her sister set out to go to LTO. Instead of using taxi’s they introduced me to the very best and cheapest Filipino types of transportation.

First, we rode in a Jeepney. This is a stretch Jeep. It’s covered top, but open along the sides and it really only seats 12, but in the Philippines they literally fit 30. Then we had to take a trike. This is a motorcycle with an attached space for passengers. You can fit about 8 people. Then we took a bus (finally something familiar).

Upon our arrival to LTO we were told to go to one location. Well, that was the wrong one, so we walked 5 blocks to the correct location. Once there, we realized there was a dress code and we were not dressed to meet the requirements.

Check back tomorrow to find out if Ashley and Ana can figure out how to meet the required dress code.