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Darrell and Sandy Blatchley - Family Circus Children’s Ministries

Philippine Address: PO Box 80542, 8000 Davao City, Philippines

Phone: + -  familycircus@agmd.org

 Website updated: 3/07/09

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Hello again friends,


A Washington Post Newspaper reporter came to Davao City and did an article on me and what we are doing in the Philippines. His article, along with my comments (in red) are displayed in the left column below.  On the right are some of the many responses we’ve received so far via e-mail.


Would you do me a favor? When or if you have the time, go to their website. Read the article and opinions and feel free in ‘Christ’s’ love to Post your opinion. “What do you think?” I think Paul would enjoy this as an opportunity on Mars Hill… I’d enjoy a note from you as well…





In it for the King & His kids,

Darrell & Sandy Blatchley


P.S.  Several reported difficulty accessing the Washington Post site. The article on "McMinister" it is still active and open to your opinion. Some of you have found the article and have already posted your opinions. I've been humbled to hear of friends comments including our own sons. Thanks so much for your love and encouragement.


For the Washington Post website go to (Washingtonpost.com/America Amar) Amar is the reporter, then you may need to search for the Philippine section and the title is "McMinister". It includes the article, video, a various opinions of readers. (It was written in Dec.)


It is thought provoking to read the opinions of others on what is deep in our heart and life, even when others views do not line up with our own. "As iron sharpens iron, so men sharpen men..." Proverbs


Darrell & Sandy Blatchley




America: PostGlobal on washingtonpost.com#more#more#moreNews Opinion



Playing the 'White' Card

*Darrell’s  comments in *red.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - When Pentecostal missionary Darrell Blatchley brings dying kids to the public hospital here, local Filipino doctors immediately move him to the front of the line -- not because the children he brings are near death, but because Darrell is a white American.


*Other factors could be the medical equipment we’ve donated, and the fact that we are there so often bringing in the sick and dying or visiting them. They see us on par with medical personnel and as clergy and that we are their friends…



This missionary tells me this over a 'Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese' at the local McDonald's. He loves this American chain and eats at least six meals a week here. "Ah, McDonald's," he sighs. For him it represents "consistent excellence, cleanliness, quality service, and kid-centered-fun."


*This is a little exaggeration. That food item 'Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese' isn’t on the menu in our town. A normal order for me might be a $1.50 Cheese burger meal or $2 Quarter Pounder value meal with small fries and a Coke or for breakfast, two hotcakes and a cup of coffee for about $1.



These qualities are American, he says, and they inspire his missionary work. Twelve years ago Darrell founded "Family Circus" with his wife Sandy out of the back of a bright yellow truck in Davao City. The husband-and-wife team decided the best way to lure kids to the gospel was to reenact its dramatic scenes with clown costumes, live snakes, and music.


*Truth is stranger than fiction… (it was a python).



Darrell says his American looks made it easier for him to attract his initial audience. "When I enter a room, kids think Hollywood star -- the tall, white American -- and they pay attention right away." This extra attention has given him a leg up spreading the gospel here.


*Smile. Initial is likely the best description… It doesn’t take long for the children to determine if you are ‘real’ or not. If you really care, that’s what brings them back.



Despite this preferential treatment, the local parishioners I spoke to insist his skin color and nationality are irrelevant to them. Ruby and Grace, two members of Darrell's church, tell me: "We do not think of [Darrell] as American. He lives here and is one of us….We are thankful for him, for the good he does, for doing God's work."


But Darrell does stick out. Every Sunday, towering Darrell runs across stage smiling and waving his hands in front of 4000 kids crammed in underneath a blue and white circus tent that sits just twenty feet from a mosque in the predominately Islamic "Muslim Friendship Village," as the community has dubbed itself. Since Family Circus's humble beginnings on a street corner of the impoverished Acacia Neighborhood, named after an old tree, Darrell has worked with locals and with U.S. funders from a network of Pentecostal churches to create a permanent structure for his work.


His first space was an old warehouse. Then the tent. Next, he's hoping to build a "Disney-Land-style castle" to house more performance space, a place to hang out, and a media center through which he can broadcast "Family Circus" performances around town. He's seeking an additional $225,000 from U.S. donors for a three-story building, replete with a donut shop for the regulars and a bookshelf that rotates to reveal a hidden passageway for the more adventurous.


*With a 1000 seat adult sanctuary on the second floor. The coffee shop ministry on the bottom floor.



American faithful have already helped him raise two-thirds of the money he needs. He recently returned from the U.S., where one collection service in Idaho brought in $150,000 for the project.





It's not all fun, games, and God, however. Darrell also has set up a medical clinic to treat youth who die of basic diseases and provides nourishment to those in dire need. He's also a lender of last resort for families on the brink.


*Food, medical help, fun and games are important, yet they are secondary compared to our/their relationship with God and where we will spend eternity. However if a child is deprived of adequate food, and medical care they may suffer physically or mentally all their lives, or die young never having an opportunity to even hear the Good News.  



The people Darrell helps know that this American supports them. They like Americans, Darrell says, "because missionaries here are known as giving people, and strangers are called 'Hey Joe' because the Filipinos thank us for our role in protecting them (WWII). But there are some radicals." Several missionaries living on the other side of Mindanao island were abducted by Islamic rebels a few years back. And Darrell's eldest son -- who tames alligators for a living -- was nearly taken hostage at gunpoint before a Muslim friend shooed the attackers away.


*Again truth stranger than fiction.



So when advantages come Darrell's way that help him do good for others -- from perks in restaurants to express placement in lines -- he feels no guilt using his American-ness for the kids' benefit. I ask him if he thinks his willingness to leverage an American identity for special treatment perpetuates the problem of race here, and I wonder: What about the 'other dying kid' you might be pushing back in line?


*Dying kids won’t normally be found inside MacDonald’s, They are laying on the sidewalk across the street. In the hospital, the dying children we help have either been there ignored for hours due to no money, or we have carried them into the hospital, in our arms. It goes without saying that we’d never knowingly bump a dying child out of line in order to pay attention to one that we brought in.



Darrell gestures to the Filipina mom sitting beside us. "When her son was dying..." he begins before turning to the abstract, "When someone is dying, he's just grateful for help. It doesn't matter how it arrives," Darrell says. "The kids don't think about me being American until being American helps me help them. Then they just say, 'Oh, Thank God!' And then they thank America."


I ask the Filipino lady beside Darrell to comment. She nods and speaks softly, munching on fries. "Yes, I'm thankful."



Responses we’ve received so far will be displayed in this column.









From:     B. M.
Sent:     Saturday, February 09, 2008

              3:06 PM
To:         Darrell Blatchley
Subject: Re: McMinister

You rotten, rotten man.  How dare you feed the hungary and help the sick, the government is supposed to do that stuff.

Keep up the great work.

B. M.,  S. ID


Dear B.


Isn't it a funny world. Not a whole lot in the heart of unregenerate man has changed in the past 2000 years. They accused him of many similar things...

Love and prayers,

Darrell & Sandy

PS Recently I wrote an update about a widow Mary Lou and a single parent (‘hero of the faith’).  In response to the update, Jerry a friend of mine in Alaska offered $500 to help build them a home but asked if I’d look for someone to match all or part of his gift. We’ve had a few dollars so started building them a home and we have enough space to build five small apartments. (Small is accurate, about the size of an average kitchen and maybe throw in the restroom, but better than anything they’ve ever had and it will be safe and as nice as we can make it.

I thought I’d run it by you, if you were interested. His check will reach the AG Credit Union this week. I hear the ‘global warming’ has not reached Missouri yet. In fact some in the states may need to start exporting ice cubes. Just so that you don’t worry to much, it’s still nice and warm out here.

PS If you or any friends can help with a direct gift on this project just send a check in our name to the

Assemblies of God Credit Union
1535 North Campbell
Springfield, MO 65803

Also please drop us a note so we can be sure to get it receipted and know to look for it. We can use the ATM to get the funds out ASAP.


From:     M. A. T.
Sent:     Saturday, February 09, 2008

              2:20 AM
To:         Darrell Blatchley
Subject: Re: McMinister

Darrel, Thank you for sharing the article. I enjoyed it, and I am happy it brought attention to the great work you are doing. I know you are doing a wonderful job with ALL the children you come in contact with, because I have witnessed you in action. As a Registered Nurse I understand you passion to help all the children and the frustration of not being able to.  The reality of life is we can help some and some we cannot. 

As for the ethical situation of moving to the head of the line, I believe that is in God's hands, and we should be thankful for those blessings. If your child is prevented from dying and another is not, that is God's decision not ours. If the other child should have priority, God would make that situation happen. I tell my nursing students to always do your best, and trust God will take care of those things we miss. If you do your best every day, never feel guilty for what you have not done, but blessed that you did a good job with what you were able to accomplish.

Keep up the Great Work. I hope to spend more time working with you for God's Kids. 

M. A. T.


Hi M. A.,

Often in the midst of an emergency we do not always consider all the repercussions of our actions.

Thanks so much for your comments and especially as they come from one in the medical profession. I'd never willfully cause someone in a life and death situation to lose their life to another. Much of what I find happening is simply that the poor in this part of the world are being ignored.


In the instance that brought up the subject the young man had been lying on a bare spring mattress for about nine hours unattended with a bullet in his abdomen that had torn up his insides. Our arrival triggered action. If they quit working on others to come work on him I don't really know. I do know that doctors and nurses do their rounds, and just because they go to a critical patient does not always mean they are letting another die or neglecting others.




From:     J. A.
Sent:      Monday, February 04, 2008

              10:37 PM
To:          Darrell Blatchley
Subject:  Re: Missionary: McMinister on

               Washington Post


Pastor Darrell, did you see the hostile comments below the article? The guy may have quoted you accurately, but he took your words out of context to paint you in a negative light. I learned years ago not to trust the Washington Com Post. Perhaps you could point out that your words were taken out of context.

Then again, those critical comments were written by non-Christians, & your readers are Christians who will give you the benefit of the doubt.

P.S. Pastor--too much grease & not enough veggies/fruit!


Darrell --I”m laughing”. So true

P.P.S. I wrote the comment (online) by "J."



Hi John,


Yes I read and reread the entire article. I agree the reporter did stretch some of the things to play the devil’ advocate, But it gave me a wonderful platform to speak on. Here is my spin on the entire report.


I’m thinking of releasing it in segments or perhaps one long report. Maybe best to just give a bit and then a link to our website. It really generates some feelings. Yes in non-Christians and Christians alike.





From:      T. B.
Sent:      Wednesday, February 06, 2008

              11:47 PM
To:         Darrell Blatchley
Subject: Re: "What do you think?" Will

              you tell them/me?


Dear Rev. Blatchley:


I did not like the article because it focused on an area that is minimal in your life, but causes concern in other people.  I am sorry to see that. 


It is like someone going to a movie that won best picture of the year and then saying, "I really didn't like the outfit she wore so I couldn't recommend this movie."


Here is the comment I tried to post, but it kept coming back as an error for some reason:


Talk about a tangent! Mr. Bakshi, you run into a man in McDonald's and find that he has a story to tell about bringing aid to literally thousands of children... was there mention of the food program, other than future donuts?... as well as medical assistance, they have a dental ministry as well... but the focus of the story is about being treated differently because he is a white American. 

I have been to the beautiful Philippines and found that preferential treatment would occasionally come, but when it did it was in hopes that a tip would be given for services rendered. I am very grateful for the Blatchley family and their extremely hard work in serving their community and seeing that kids get a program worth coming to.  I understand the comments above based on the tangent of tall, white American, but that is such a small story.  You missed the mother lode by stopping to pick up shiny crystals.
-Rev. T. B.


Thank you for your ministry.  We had the joy of meeting your wife and having her stay in our home while itinerating a few years back.  She is a humble woman.

Thanks T.,



You hit the nail on the head. Some are able to post and some not. I”m thankful for your sharing your thoughts with us.





From:     M.K. US Army

Sent:      Thursday, February 07, 2008

              12:32 AM
To:         Darrell Blatchley
Subject: Re: "What do you think?" Will

              you tell them/me?




I tried to post the following comment . . . but the server here in Afghanistan blocked the port.  I'm Cc'ing (name withheld) and asking her to post my comment under my username "(username withheld)" 


My comment follows:

Wow . . . interesting dialogue above (from the Washington Post). 


"It's pretty easy to sharp shoot, snipe and levy attacks on another individual doing altruistic work when you’re in the comfort of your lazyboy.  Oh, and by the way, you've never lived in an austere/ impoverished environment or been in harm's way.


Hmmmm . . . I think the critics need to unseat their gluteus, travel to the third or fourth world and make a difference.


Just my humble thoughts from Afghanistan."


God's Richest Blessings,

M. T. K.

Chaplain, U.S. Army




My sentiments, we've been in this for almost 25 years and loving every bit of it, hard, easy, tears, and smiles and of course lots of laughing. Yes, when you consider the tremendous wonderful time eternity will be for those who are prepared and the terrible time of eternity without the Lord what a sobering thought. I’ve had nightmares of the one and never would want to end up there. This comparison holds. Can we imagine our telling God not to send His son, just send money we could help ourselves. The analogy is not too different.


Imagine a starving person, giving them the greatest food of all, and Living Water, and they curse it as poison because their minds and hearts are blind.. Oh so sad.  Yet we see it every day.


I liked your comments and they made me laugh, especially the descriptive word “gluteus” I had to look it up and though my dictionary didn”t have an exact match I get the drift. ;-)


Interesting the comments I’ve been receiving even one from a friend that has backslid and this article sickened her and woke her up to her fallen state enough to open up about admitting living in sin. Interesting what the Lord uses to reach even one.


A short story from this week, so much has been happening. A week ago Wed I was praying over one of my staff, when the Holy Spirit revealed something about her that shocked me. She is a strong member of our staff and a very close friend of our family a single parent of two children.


Her living husband was part of a drug ring, and she fled for her life. About ten days ago, I was praying for her and the Holy Spirit directed me to tell her that He was the Father of her children and then the Holy Spirit showed me something else so startling I jerked my head as if to look at the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear and said silently to Him, “What!”  He as silently confirmed what I now knew.


I said nothing to her, just completed the prayer. And this week the time came and I sat down with her asking her if there was something she needed to tell me. Her face froze and it was apparent she needed to say something but could not. I then ask her, “Are you pregnant.?”

She replied, “Yes.”


Then the tears, and another word, “Sorry, so sorry.”


Together we prayed and she found freedom to face her mistake and happiness flooded her heart giving her the ability and courage to do what was right and escape from the plans the Devil had trapped her in. Already she had two/thirds of the tablets purchased to kill her unborn child. You see, I believe God sees her as a Hero, she saw herself as a failure because of her mistake. God sees her as a daughter in need of His loving arms and forgiveness. This is vital, we don’t kill our wounded!


How blessed we are,




From:     T. M.
Sent:     Thursday, February 07, 2008 1:06 AM
To:         'Darrell Blatchley'
Subject: RE: "What do you think?" Will you tell them/me?


I think that the reporter did not get his facts correct, and his attitude was interesting.


Probably your “king” comment was unfortunate.


I believe that you are doing a better job than most missionaries of all groups to help spiritually AND physically. Keep up the good work. Ask the Lord to guide you to any changes, but please do NOT spend your time lobbying for fair trade agreements.




Smile. I think you are right lobbying is not the key. The reporter was pulling to get feedback on the theme of his story which was “What Filipinos think of us Americans” and of the various illustrations I gave him the one he pulled was the illustration of wealthy Americans, (regardless of our actual bank accounts) and the king peasant was the closest comparison to the poor peoples concept of the financial separation. Of course once they get to know us we become friend and family and the financial disparity disappear in the light of friendship. But that’s not so controversial for his story telling.


I can imagine us all telling God “don’t send Jesus, just send money. We can take care of ourselves.” As the Kings representative, He set the example for us to come and become a “servant” not a Lord.






From:      L. D.
Sent:      Thursday, February 07, 2008 2:33 AM
To:          darrell.blatchley@hqmail.agmd.org
Subject:  Washington Post article


Darrell and Sandy,


Just wanted to write you to encourage you in what you’re doing. Your family has always been an inspiration to me ever since I can remember and lately that inspiration has grown even more as I read your newsletters of what you both are doing for the Kingdom.


I was sick to my stomach as I read some of the comments people made after reading the article or listening to the video. I guess because I know you both so well and I know that you have a true heart of compassion for people and an anointing to touch the hearts of children (something you don’t see much interest in these days) as well as their parents.


I posted twice after watching the video and reading the article and other comments. I normally don’t respond to these, but the criticisms struck something in me and I had to give my 2 cents.


I want you to know how much I appreciate the example you have set for the Body of Christ. You’re not only reaching people in the Philippines, but your lives are challenging and encouraging everyone who knows you and/or your work. You are doing exactly what the Lord has put in your heart to do. So many of us are really good at dreaming, wishing, and planning, but you guys are living the call. I’m amazed at the years you have dedicated to this calling. Your vision and determination is such an encouragement to me to see that the only limits when it comes to answering the call are the limits we put on ourselves. Thank you for your faithfulness through the years and your passion and faith to go for it! I’m excited to see the work you are doing and all the plans you have ahead of you. Keep on going full throttle!  


We love you and are praying for you,

R. and L. (D.) S. family


P.S. When will you be coming to the states again? If you make any trips down south, please let me know. I would love to see you guys again and share some of my “bread and budda” with you! Our home is open to you anytime. We’re living in Alabama.  Also, I’m sorry to hear about Mike. I didn’t realize he was even sick. Know that your families are in our thoughts and prayers. Love you guys!



Hi L.,


So good to hear from you and thanks for the wonderful words from a sister in the Lord.


I don’t know when we will be back in the states. For the first twenty years as missionaries it was every fifth year, until the young congregation reached about 2,500 then our missions leadership ask if we felt comfortable going away for a year to come back and see what was left over and we answered. No please, their has to be a better way, and so we come out occasionally and I try to be faithful in communication through the updates, and friends and churches have been faithful.


It’s almost 25 years now since we were approved as missionaries. Never turn back.


If we ever get close to your area we’d love to come and share “bread and budda” with you.




PS I’ll pass your message on to Sandy, her health is improving.


From:      K. O.
Sent:      Thursday, February 07, 2008 4:04 AM
To:          Darrell Blatchley
Subject:  RE: "What do you think?" Will you tell them/me?

I read and viewed the piece and had to sit and think about what all was said and how to respond and unfortunately when I clicked on the link to review the piece and post a response they had already changed it to another article.  I want to say that I commend you and Sandy for all the work you are doing. 


I hate that some of what you said was most definitely misrepresented but I know that no matter what was said that it will not effect the work that you are doing there.  I often think about all that you two are doing and how God has truly blessed the ministry that He has given you. 


Unfortunately I feel that the world we live in is quick to appreciate humanitarian efforts that people like Oprah do then a loving work that is wrapped with the love of Jesus. If only the people who wrote negative reviews could grasp an ounce of who God is and what He wants then they would get what you are truly about!  I am not in a place where I can give financially but I am in a place where I can pray that God will give you the means necessary to continue the awesome flourishing work that you are doing.  I cannot get over how much the ministry has grown the past ten years (that’s how long its been since I spent a summer with you) Send my love to Sandy. 
In Him,
K. (W.) O.



Hi K.,


Thanks for writing, You are so right, people who do not know the Lord are groping in the dark and even if they were force fed the wonderful living Word would not find it appealing in fact would curse it as dung when in fact it is food for the soul and in gives life to live forever. Sandy is doing better after more than a year of not feeling well and having fevers.


Send a family picture if you can.







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This is the Family Circus . . .

Adonis sitting
Baking room
Forklift container
Former gas tank area

Family Circus Children’s Ministry was created by Assembly of God Church missionaries Darrell and Sandy Blatchley in 1993 to produce high impact and joyful methods of presenting the Gospel (#1) to children and (#2) to their families. 


The purpose of the Family Circus is to bring the life and joy of Jesus, combining both discipleship and evangelism, to reach lost children, while ministering to the needs of the child, both spiritual and physical.


Each week five to six thousand people of all ages attend the Family Circus church services held under the ‘Big Top’, a big circus tent pitched in the center of the densely populated “Muslim Friendship Village in Davao City, Mindanao City, PHILIPPINES. Approximately 4,000 of the 6,000 member congregation are children- half of which are malnourished.  More than 1,000 are adults.

Please pray for Darrell & Sandy, and the team. God grant them sufficient:

  • Strength,
  • Energy,
  • Wisdom,
  • Knowledge,
  • Discernment,
  • Peace, and
  • Joy - unspeakable and full of Glory!!

Pray for food - spiritual and physical - sufficient to help with the needs of those attending Family Circus.


Pray for supplies, building materials, permits, etc. for current and future needs of Family Circus.


Pray for health and safety for all those involved in the Family Circus mission outreach.