Dear Balikatan Member, Ministry Partner & Friend,
2019 marks the 36th year of Balikatan. God has been gracious to us and has blessed Balikatan abundantly! We pray for His continuing guidance upon us this year and into the future. As we begin to pursue what God has prepared for us to do in 2019, I pray that we will be bound together by the love of Christ and a common purpose — to serve Him well through Balikatan and Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Philippines (IVCFP). Balikatan’s programs and activities are aimed at achieving its vision, which is encompassed in its 5-point vision statement, quoted below:
- Help fulfill Christ’s Great Commission by being a Spirit-led and missionally effective support movement to Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Philippines (IVCFP)
- Provide prayer, financial and other forms of support to IVCF Philippines staff and alumni in ministry
- Help ensure that a sustainable and long-term resource support base is provided to IVCF Philippines
- Foster mutual encouragement and fellowship among alumni, friends, and supporters in IVCF Philippine’s ministry, and
- Assist its North American and international constituency in proactively pursuing its Christian witness in North American and global societies and cultures.
This year’s activities consist of new and on-going initiatives.
NEW INITIATIVES. Balikatan’s new initiatives are aimed at; a) connecting and engaging with Balikatan members and supporters on a more personal level; b) reconnecting with established fellowship groups; c) supporting IVCFP’s long-term strategy for staff development and sustainable operations; and d) strengthening Balikatan’s financial integrity.
- Relationship Building. Balikatan members and supporters are located across the USA and Canada, with face-to-face interactions happening only during Balikatan conferences and limited to those attending the annual gathering. Meeting just once a year, many believe, does not support deeper fellowship between the Balikatan Board and its members. To partially address this gap, one of the initiatives this year is for a member of the Balikatan Board to attend for a few minutes the general membership meetings of specific local fellowship groups via the internet. The Board believes that this is a small but meaningful step towards relationship building. In addition, Balikatan will be setting up a process by which local fellowship groups could access existing Balikatan social media platforms to connect with their own respective groups or to the broader Balikatan community.
- Regular Membership Communications. Balikatan does not only facilitate the remittance of your donations to IVCFP. It also aims to provide you with updates on IVCFP’s programs and staff and Balikatan’s programs and initiatives. We would like to pass on this information to you on a regular basis through quarterly communications on Balikatan’s website and/or Facebook account. In tandem with this initiative would be the data cleansing and timely update of Balikatan’s membership directory.
- IVCFP Building Project. Most of you are probably aware that IVCFP has embarked on a capital project, specifically, the construction of the Magalit Leadership Development Center, a four-story building that would serve as a venue for evangelistic, discipleship, leadership and missions development for students and graduates, as well as for the use by churches and other partners. It is estimated that the building would cost approximately US$500,000 to complete. IVCFP has jump-started its fund-raising campaign with a dinner/concert in late November 2018. Balikatan supports this strategic project and fund-raising initiatives will be undertaken this year to help IVCFP.
- Financial Statements Audit. Balikatan is not required to submit audited financial statements to the Internal Revenue Services primarily because it is a nonprofit organization that has revenue below a certain threshold. However, the Board believes that an independent third-party assessment of Balikatan’s annual financial statements would enhance trust in Balikatan’s financial integrity amongst its continuing and potential donors. Thus, an audit of Balikatan’s FY2017-2018 financial statements would be initiated this year.
ON-GOING PROGRAMS. Balikatan will continue its foundational programs that are aimed at helping IVCFP have a sustainable and long-term resource support base, encouraging awareness and support for alumni-in-ministry, fostering mutual encouragement and fellowship among IVCFP alumni, friends and supporters, and enhancing governance procedures.
- Fund Development. We thank you for your generosity over the past years, and pray that God will enable you to sustain your financial support for IVCFP in 2019. General fund-raising initiatives, such as, Dollar-a-Day and Philippian Connection have helped IVCFP staff significantly reached their target support in 2018; and specific fund-raising campaigns, such as those directed for the Kawayan Camp, have provided subsidies to students which enabled them to attend a month-long, life-transforming experience. These fund-raising initiatives will continue in 2019.
- Trust Fund. Donations to the Balikatan Trust Fund have exceeded $250,000 as of Dec 2018, with $200,000 already invested in securities with a guaranteed annual return of at least 4%. Almost all the proceeds from Trust Fund investments are remitted to IVCFP, which is the fund’s primary beneficiary. Balikatan envisions a Trust Fund principal balance of $2M within the next 8 years that will generate a steady financial support to IVCFP to help sustain its financial viability over the long-term. We thank our generous donors to the Trust Fund, and encourage others to consider donating to a fund that will keep on giving.
- Alumni-in-Ministry (AIM).Balikatan recognizes IVCFP alumni who have chosen to serve in full-time Christian ministry through the annual AIM grants. For the past 5 years, Balikatan has been giving away an average total of $2,000 in grants to 3 or more deserving AIMs annually. Although the award is not substantial, Balikatan hopes that the search for AIM awardees would provide encouragement to our brothers and sisters who have dedicated their lives to full-time ministry. May we all be encouraged to give towards the AIM fund. The more funds generated the more AIM awardees.
- Regional Conferences. There will be two regional conferences in 2019. The first one will be on July 26-28 at the Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA and hosted by ACTS-IVCF of Los Angeles. (ACTS stand for Alumni Committed to Serve.) The second regional conference will be held on September 6-8 at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, Johns Island, SC and hosted by Leiton and Lisa Chinn. Please visit org for more details on these conferences. The regional conferences, which alternate every other year with the general (or national) conferences, started in 2017 with three regional conferences: in Vallejo (CA) and Williamsburg (VA) in the USA; and Camrose (AB) in Canada. Although still in its pilot stage, the regional conferences have been well attended by mostly first-time Balikatan attendees. A decision will be made after the regional conferences in 2021 on whether this format of alternating regional and general conferences will be permanent.
- 2020 Balikatan Conference in the Philippines. Planning and preparations for the largest gathering of IVCFP alumni and staff outside of North America will continue in 2019. The Steering Committee, which reports to the Balikatan Board, has been meeting every other week since early 2018 to lay the foundation for the 2020 conference. The conference was initially promoted at the 2018 Balikatan Conference in Portland (OR) and at the IVCFP’s 65th Anniversary Celebration in Quezon City (Philippines) in November 2018. Conference details, including frequently asked questions (FAQs), have been posted on the Balikatan website (org) and Facebook account. For those who have not been reached by this exciting news, the 2020 Balikatan Conference will be held at the CCT Retreat and Training Center in Tagaytay, Philippines, on December 27-29, 2020. The registration fee is US$150 or PHP7,500. Funds are being raised to fully subsidize the registration fees of IVCFP staff and to partially subsidize a few special groups. Your donation towards this subsidy fund will go a long way in cementing old friendships and rekindling alumni passion for IVCFP.
- Constitution and By-Laws Review. Balikatan procedures and practices continue to evolve as the Balikatan Board embarks on programs and initiatives to achieve its 5-point vision statement. These procedures and practices are reviewed regularly to ensure they are aligned with Balikatan’s Constitution and By-Laws. If necessary, amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws may be considered by the Board and presented to the membership for ratification.
The Balikatan Board cannot carry out the above-mentioned initiatives without your help and support. God has been gracious to us in the past and we know He will continue to be. Thank you for your prayers. We covet them again, over and over in 2019. May God give us all discernment for and the power to accomplish the tasks that He has prepared for us to do.
Landy Ancheta, President on behalf of the Balikatan Board of Directors