by Bob Gerow
One of the main outreaches of AMG in the Philippines is the care for needy children. In addition to its childcare centers, AMG Philippines, in partnership with Word and Deed of the Netherlands, offers vocational training at its Skilled Hands Vocational Training Center. This solid training, combined with biblical lessons, gives the students an opportunity to have a bright future financially as well as to become a living testimony for Christ. Jun Pascual is project director of Skilled Hands Training Center of AMG in the Philippines. AMG News interviewed him in September during a visit to the U.S.
AMG News: Jun, please tell us what the "Skilled Hands Training Center" is.
Jun Pascual: Skilled Hands Training Center is a non-profit educational institution that serves as a ministry arm of AMG in the Philippines. It is primarily serving school "dropouts" aged 17 to 25, and older children from AMG childcare centers.
AMG News: What kinds of programs will a student find at Skilled Hands Center?
Jun Pascual: Basically it is a technical school, a vocational school. We provide technical courses like auto mechanics, welding, computer training, electronics, and driving. In parallel with those programs is the discipleship program, where we teach them the Bible, introduce them to the gospel, and how to have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
AMG News: How do students hear about Skilled Hands training programs?
Jun Pascual: We recruit older children from the childcare program. We also go to the community and announce the enrollment of the school.
AMG News: Is this a residential program, or is it distance learning?
Jun Pascual: It is a boarding school, where the students stay for two years and study.
AMG News: Tell us about the discipleship training.
Jun Pascual: Most of the students come from difficult backgrounds. Most have never heard the gospel or of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the discipleship program we teach the Bible and about how to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. During their stay with us, they become Christians and witnesses to their families and on their jobs.
AMG News: How does Skilled Hands Center manage the transition for a student into employment?
Jun Pascual: We teach students how to answer job interview questions, write employment application letters, how to dress properly, and how to relate with their co-workers in a Christian way. As part of the curriculum we also teach work ethics. In so doing, they are ready to become responsible, godly workers, technicians, and mechanics.
AMG News: Is there any one student that stands out in your mind?
Jun Pascual: At the moment I can think of two. One came from a very difficult background of involvement with gangs and drugs. Most of his friends were sent to jail. Some are already dead. He was referred to Skilled Hands by his sister. At first he was reluctant, but he met the Lord in Skilled Hands, and we noticed the change in him. After the program he was offered a job as a welder in Saudi Arabia. The last time we heard from him, he was sending 70 percent of his salary to his family, and was a clear witness to his co-workers.
AMG News: How can we pray for Skilled Hands Training Center?
Jun Pascual: Pray for the graduates who are now working in many different companies, that they will be responsible, strong witnesses for the Lord, and good workers, technicians, and mechanics. Pray also for the new and current students, that they would adjust well to the program. Finally, pray also for the teachers, that they would have concern and compassion, and they would be competent in teaching the courses.