Joanna Javellana and Eva Ito

This week’s guest host, Pastor Jared Baldwin, is joined by Harvest House staff members Joanna Javellana and Eva Ito. They discuss ministry to Guam’s children.

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Episode transcript:

Chris Harper: Welcome to harvest time. My name is Chris Harper, and our guest host on today’s program is Pastor Jared Baldwin, the Executive Pastor at Harvest Baptist Church. Every week, we spend these 25 minutes together telling you the stories of our church by interviewing our members and other friends in the ministry. We’d like to invite you to join us at Harvest Baptist Church this week. We have 2 services every Sunday, 8:45 AM and 10:45 AM.

We offer Spanish translation during the 8:45 AM service, Japanese and Korean translation at 10:45 AM, and that’s also when we live stream on, This week, pastor Wade Peltier will be preaching on the Sunday morning services, and then we’re having Community Groups on Sunday evening. Let’s begin today’s harvest time by welcoming pastor Jared Baldwin. Hi, pastor Jared.

Jared Baldwin: Hafa adai, Chris. Thanks for hosting this and having us up here today. I’m really looking forward to this specific interview because it’s a a ministry that’s very close to my heart and something that I think is universally revered across the island of Guam. People that don’t know anything about Harvest have probably heard about the ministry that we’re gonna talk about today. And so today, we have, 2 folks that work at Harvest House, Eva Ito and Joanna Javellana.

How are you both doing today?

Joanna Javellana: Doing good. Doing well.

Jared Baldwin: Okay. Great. We’re glad you guys came up today. I do know, inside information that neither one of you really want to be interviewed on the radio by yourself. But coming together for whatever reason, you felt enough courage to get up here as long as you didn’t have to be singled out.

So thank you for having the courage to come up together. Alright. So I wanna start off by asking you each just a little bit of what did you do? You’re both currently working at Harvest House, but what did you do before Harvest House? Eva, what what did you do before you were here?

Eva Ito: I was in quite a few, different industries, from customer service to motorcycle service to, working at a credit union and a law firm. So

Jared Baldwin: Wow. Is that all? And you’re not even originally from Guam. Right?

Eva Ito: No. I’m not. Where are you from? Saipan.

Jared Baldwin: Okay. Wow. You’ve you’ve got I’m sure your biography, you’ve got a lot of things we could fill in there. But, yeah, cool to have you here now. So, Joanna, what did you do before this?

Joanna Javellana: Yeah. I was born and raised here on Guam. I went to Harvest Christian Academy from kindergarten all the way up until I was a senior, and then I went to school at Biola University. And this is actually my first job out of college. So graduated in business and then started off with, like, an internship when I first got back.

And Bethany offered me, just a 3 month internship at Harvest House, and I’ve been here since. It’s been, like, 2 years now? 2 full years.

Jared Baldwin: Wow. And, Eva, how long have you been working at Harvest House?

Eva Ito: Oh, maybe like 6 months.

Jared Baldwin: Okay. Alright. So pretty fresh for you. Okay. Great.

Well, having you both working at Harvest House, I think is a neat testament to how Harvest House has grown. You know, when we first started, it literally was the Harvest House closet, and it was a literally a closet or a cabinet that just had extra diapers and formula and wipes. And then it became an overflowing cabinet, then a shelving unit in a cabinet, then a half of a room, then an overflowing room and then a small container, a big container. And eventually, you know, it’s grown into all these other things. Maybe you could each just give us a little breakdown of some of the things that people might not know that Harvest House does because everyone associates it with foster care, but they might not realize, what Harvest House actually does.

Joanna Javellana: We like to break down 5 big initiatives for Harvest House. The first one being we’re, the emergency triage center. So when CPS, you know, takes the kids from their homes, when they get, calls from the police and, they get reports of that, they’ll one of the first places these foster kids come to is Harvest House. And, you know, we get to see them right from when they come from their house. So, you know, they’re not in the best condition.

They’ve, struggled from abuse, abandonment, and neglect. So we get to shower them at our facility. We get to we’ll go at one of us will go grab McDonald’s, get them a hot meal, and we have a bunch of resources in our center that we can give them as they go to their next placement. So clothes, shoes, backpacks, everything they need for their next home because they really don’t come with anything. So we do that, and then we also recruit families.

So we hold informational meetings, once a month, and that is a huge initiative for us because, there’s about 675 foster children on Guam, but really only 80 licensed foster families. And, you know, those, those families come in and out. Lot of them are military. And then we train them, so we offer support meetings and trainings every month as well. So we’ll bring in, this month, we’re doing a play therapist.

The next month, we’ll have CPS come in. We’ll do question and answer, things like that, and then we’ll retain them. So each month, every, foster family can come back and get more clothes for the kids, get shoes, things they need for school, and then that includes, having our big events. So we have our back to school event where we give all the kids school supplies. We do our Christmas event.

So giving Christmas gifts out to them, hosting them for a meal, you know, just creating those special memories, that every child should have, growing up, you know. And then our next one is actually our spring photo photo event, and that’s this coming April. And we have volunteer photographers come, and they offer their time and talent to give photo shoots to all the families. So a lot of these kids don’t really see their pictures up on the wall. So we wanna make photo albums for them and portrait family portraits so that they can see themselves on these families’ walls when, you know, they’re placed in these homes.

Yeah. And those are our big initiatives. It’s it’s a lot.

Eva Ito: Yeah. Yes.

Jared Baldwin: It is. And, it’s it involves a lot of manpower. Mhmm. And so maybe right now would be a good time to make a plug for, if people wanted to volunteer for an event or wanted to donate towards one of these initiatives, how would they go about doing that?

Joanna Javellana: Yeah. You can go directly to our web site. We have a button right on the home page that says, donate here. So it has a PayPal link, if you’re interested in investing in our mission. And then it

Jared Baldwin: also What’s the website address?

Joanna Javellana: Yes.

Jared Baldwin: Alright. We’ll mention that again at the end of the show as well.

Joanna Javellana: Yeah. And then there’s also a volunteer button. You can sign up as a, to be on our volunteer listing. And then every month, we will add you add people who have signed up on that form to our WhatsApp group chat. So whenever we need someone to come in, help fold this fold clothes with us, or organize our resource center, we started doing, like, babysitting days and actually were getting to work directly with kids in the shelter.

So if you wanna be involved in that, you can sign up, on the link as well in, on our website. And Eva is actually our volunteer coordinator, so she gets to handle all our volunteers and put them where they need to be and help us in any way they can.

Jared Baldwin: Well, that’s a great transition over to Eva who’s been kinda quiet so far. So, Eva, tell us a little bit about why did you get involved with Harvest House and then a little more about being the volunteer coordinator, what that looks like.

Eva Ito: Well, I heard Bethany on, talking at church once, and I think it was after our Christmas like, one Christmas event that they did. And, you know, like the impact that harvest house has on these kids, you know, and just one special morning, like, to to, allow the kids to experience, you know, like, the true meaning of Christmas. Right? And then just the team and like showering them with gifts and food and just love and you know, probably something that they haven’t experienced. That compelled my heart to want to, be a part of like the mission.

Right? And so here I am today, working with Harvest House, and loving it. It is hard work but it’s the work of the heart and and I just I I just don’t ever like thinking about where they came from, you know, neglect, abuse, or abandonment. And it’s just something that drives me to continue reaching out, you know, like wanting to be with these kids and wanting to make an impact on their life and, you know, praying that everything that we do here at Harvest House is just, it just shows, like, our love for them and, and Jesus’ love for us. Absolutely.

Jared Baldwin: Absolutely. So I don’t know if you ever have any 2 days that are exactly the same. But what are some of the types of things that happen in a day that you have to deal with or the types of things you do as the volunteer coordinator?

Eva Ito: As a volunteer coordinator, it mostly just, well, I haven’t really had too much, like, on my own because I’m still, like, feeling it out. But Joanna gives a lot of guidance which she’s great. And, so I think it’s more of like just trying to see where our volunteers can fit in. Like, we just started, play dates with the shelter and just finding the perfect like not necessarily perfect but finding people that we can pull in to also impact the, you know, like the interaction with the kids. And Well, and I’ve

Jared Baldwin: been over there and even seen you working with volunteers that are folding clothes and and organizing things. And that sounds I’m sure some of our listeners are probably like, well, I could probably do that. So if, if you had someone that went through the process of applying and were accepted to be a volunteer, they could come in. What types of things could they do on a given day?

Eva Ito: On any given day, we can, be sorting through donations because that’s how I’ve I think I would say, like, a lot of our, stuff in our resources in our resource center is provided by, like donations from our community. Mhmm. And so we sort through those. We wash and dry and then we fold and sort into, into our bins and we service from like premature babies to teenagers like 19. Yeah.

So we have a lot of stuff that comes through the door and yeah, they could help with that. They could help organize our containers at like especially after our large events. We have tons of toys and, and then we get like donation drives from our schools or from any organization. They donate like, cases of diapers, wipes. So we also need help sorting that and fitting that into our, containers.

Jared Baldwin: Sure. Sure. Yeah. I’ve And I’ve seen, like, at the Christmas event, you you probably had a 100 volunteers helping with all different aspects. Everything from face painting to serving food to clean up to, you know, you name it.

Just interacting with the kids and the parents and trying to give a little bit of a breather to the foster parents as well. So you do a good job and, I’m sure it’s it can be exhausting at times, but, it’s a blessing that you’re there, Eva. Mhmm. Joanna, tell us a little bit about what you do over there.

Joanna Javellana: Yes. So I facilitate a lot of the projects and programs, and that’s very broad. But, I do a lot of the event prep. So, whole the all year round, I’m prepping for our 3 big annual events. I handle communication, so emails, messages on social media, phone calls.

It’s probably me answering the phone or messaging you back. And what other things? I help with partnerships. We have foster friendly businesses and harvest house sponsors that have been, our new partnership programs within the last year or 2 since I’ve been here. So, helping develop that program, and just making those connections, going out to the businesses and seeing if they wanna partner with us and be a part of our mission.

And, you know, if they wanna sponsor events or if they wanna provide a bounce house for an event or, if they wanna commit to donating a certain amount to us every month, that has been a fun part of my job because I get to meet a lot of different people in the community.

Jared Baldwin: You mentioned the foster family Friendly. Friendly foster friendly business.

Joanna Javellana: Yes. And I’ve

Jared Baldwin: seen the sticker on doors. Yeah. Could you explain a little bit about what that looks like for a business? If someone’s listening right now and they have a small business Mhmm. How could they become what would they be doing if they committed to that?

Joanna Javellana: Yes. I would love to tell you about that. So May is foster care awareness month, and we we started it, specifically for May. And foster friendly businesses are businesses that, provide goods or services directly to foster fam licensed foster families, or directly to Harvest House. So we have different businesses that commit during the month of May to give discounts, you know, go into a restaurant and you get a free appetizer, or you go into a little booth baby boutique and, you know, they get a certain discount on clothes.

So if any businesses out there wanna be a foster friendly business and thinking about joining, it’s not a whole year commitment. So maybe that is more enticing to you guys. But, yeah, you can sign up and call Harvest House or email us if you wanna be, a part of it. And it really is a fun initiative, and we get pictures at the end of the month from all these foster families going to different businesses. And, you know, they have the foster friendly stickers foster friendly business stickers on their doors, and they just get to be a part of our mission and just pushing that awareness, and just encouraging licensed foster families.

It’s a huge burden to take on financially, to be a foster parent. So anything really helps with these families.

Jared Baldwin: Yeah. That’s great. What’s the phone number and the email address?

Joanna Javellana: The phone number is 671-300 life.

Eva Ito: So

Joanna Javellana: yeah. And then the email address is

Jared Baldwin: Okay. We’ll repeat that at the end as well. But yeah. I I was thinking about some of the the numbers of foster care here on Guam. So when we when Harvest House really got up and running and we some of the initiatives you mentioned now, were really just starting to get traction.

I believe the numbers probably 8 years ago were about 30 licensed families and 250

Eva Ito: Mhmm.

Jared Baldwin: Foster children in the system. And that would have been about a 1 to 8 ratio of foster families that are licensed to every child in the system, then the percentage really hasn’t changed. The ratio hasn’t changed. Even though we have 80 licensed foster families, now with 600, it’s like 1 in every 7a half. So it’s really about the same proportion.

Joanna Javellana: Mhmm.

Jared Baldwin: And so the need is just as great as ever. I know that some people were surprised. I think when harvest house originally got started that there was such a big need. It’s kind of a a quiet problem because people assume that family is just there with big families. Family just steps in, takes care of it.

There are a lot of children, obviously, at least 600, probably many, many more that they don’t have family that can step in. Or maybe the same dysfunction that’s happening in the home might also be happening in the rest of the family. And so they’re not able to take care even if they wanted to. Let’s let’s move on to what’s one of the funnest parts of what you get to do with Harvest House? Maybe the one of the most joyful or satisfying things.

And then maybe what’s one of the harder things? Things that people don’t realize when they think about they hear, oh, wow. You get to work with kids. You get to help with this ministry. Sounds like so much fun, but they might not realize there there are some really hard parts to it too.

So, Eva, let’s go with you first. That kind of a fun or satisfying part and then maybe one of the hard parts.

Eva Ito: Fun part. Definitely playing with the kids and not working well. Maybe just playing with the kids.

Jared Baldwin: We’re not gonna edit that out. There’s gotta be some benefit, you know, some fun part. Yeah.

Eva Ito: Yeah. So it’s just, you know, like being being able to like just enjoy the time with them like and then also like see their character like when you’re playing and when you’re talking with them. I really enjoy that. And then the harder part is just seeing, the kids that come through the door, you know, that that are like malnourished or, you know, and just covered with infections and have like a lot going on, you know, like they they’re old enough to talk but they’re not talking yet. And it’s just like we could do so much more.

You know what I mean? But that’s that’s hard. I’m I’m I don’t know

Chris Harper: if Yeah.

Jared Baldwin: No. That’s it sounds really difficult. I’m, I’ve been around a little bit of that, but I haven’t had to see it day in and day out like you guys do. So, Joanna, a fun or satisfying part and then a hard part for you?

Joanna Javellana: A fun part would be the event planning. I’ve really enjoyed it over the last 2 years, and it’s fun seeing it come to fruition on the actual day of the event, seeing all the families, just smiling, enjoying the event. You know, siblings are broken up into different families. So when you see them come together in that setting and they’re just they’re just so happy and thankful to be there. One of the first events I did was, I think it was a Christmas event, and these two sisters were separated, into different families.

And then I saw the moment they saw each other and they, like, ran up and hugged each other. And, they were one of them said, I thought I’d never see you again and immediate tears, but those events are so fun. Sure. And I’m slowly getting I feel like I’m slowly getting better at it. So, I love planning and seeing it all finished and all done on the actual day is exciting.

And then the hard part, I would agree with Eva, is, the emergency triage center, the crisis calls. My first month of working, like, as an official official employee at Harvest House, we had probably 30 crisis calls in 1 month. Wow. And I was like, oh my goodness. I don’t know if I can do this.

I was like, every day, I come home very, like, sad and very low because you see where they come from. You see the condition they’re in. One of the first crisis calls that came in, she was really dirty, and she had big clothes on. She didn’t have a diaper on, and it was her birthday. And I immediately was crying, like, when she came well, trying to hold it together because, you know, you gotta be strong when they come in.

But, you know, I just look back on all the birthdays I had as a kid and how my mom just blessed me and loved me. And I was like, she’s probably never experienced that. So that’s really hard and but with it being the hardest part, it’s also one of the most beautiful parts because that’s when you get to share you get to share the story of Jesus. You get to share his love and, how he’s in control of every part of their life, and he loves each and every person child that comes through Harvest House. So it it is super hard, but it is also one of the best opportunities that we have to just share the love of Christ.

Jared Baldwin: Yeah. Yeah. Well said. I know that we have a desire, of course, with Harvest House to be able to do more. Like, we wish we could do it all.

Mhmm. God has given us limited resources, you know, limited time, limited facilities. And so there are some things that we’ve found that we do well, you know, by God’s grace. And then there’s some things we wish we could do more or we wish we even had the capacity. We’re not a shelter.

And there’s only so many families out there. And so I know the, the desperate feeling sometimes that comes with, like, we have a, a group of children here that need a home, and we are not aware of any home that they can go to, or the child has a unique set of circumstances that they can’t go to any of the homes that are currently available. And there are some shelters here on Guam and the people that work in those shelters, I mean, they should receive extra blessings for all the hard work they do and and for the capacity that they have to carry. And and then you have the social workers who they’ve been entrusted and they they are working themselves to death trying to care for this huge amount, this this large caseload. And so we all have to work together.

We do wish we could do more. And, you know, we’re always praying about, Lord, open another door for us. You know, we have 5 initiatives now. Maybe we’ll have 6 initiatives when we have this conversation next year. And so we’re just constantly trying to find new ways to to meet the needs, but also stay focused on the main things that God has given us at this point and be really good at that.

I think one of the unique things that you both do is, even this today, telling the story of what the needs are, does make a big impact because it does like with Eva, you hear, wow, what’s going on with Harvest House? And now more people want to get involved. More people become foster parents, and it helps meet the need. And so I appreciate you guys coming up today as we wrap it up. Let’s go back and review.

How can people be involved right now? Someone listening, maybe they’ve never participated before or it’s been a long time. What can they do to be involved now? And I’ll let Eva, since you’re the volunteer coordinator, you can say that. And then Joanna, you can wrap it up with any final thought and then the ways they can contact you phone, email, website.

Eva Ito: So the way they can volunteer is, go to our website which is And, on our, on that homepage, there is a volunteer link where you can just click and sign, sign your name, your and your contact information and then your availability when you’re available to come into harvest house. If it’s Monday through Friday during our working hours or if there’s like respite hours like after, after work and then also on the weekends for like our play dates and our our big events throughout the year.

Jared Baldwin: So they can volunteer for not just organizing and sorting and folding, but they can also volunteer for events through that. They can volunteer for maybe finding out more also how they might want to, you know, take another step, like get involved in foster parenting or attend a informational meeting. Yes. Great. Excellent.

Joanna, maybe you could just give us a final like it, you know, people are listening. You want to inspire them to just consider getting more involved. Maybe you could say a word to that and then how they can reach out to you.

Joanna Javellana: Yeah. We like to tell people every every any person that comes into Harvest House that anyone can anyone can help in any capacity. Whether it’s fostering, we have our informational meetings on the last Thursday, of every month at 6 30 at our resource center. If you’re if you have any interest or questions about fostering, you can come to that or even just call us. Stop by our resource center, and we’ll be able to answer any of those questions and just the the application process.

We’re always looking for families, to become foster parents. You can volunteer. So just as Eva said, and then donate as well. And some of our biggest donors are high school kids who, do donation drives for us or just raise money and, like, just to show that, like, even the youngest of kids can help out. So any person could be a part of Harvest House.

Jared Baldwin: People have even done I remember we had a someone who’s a boy scout and he was doing his Eagle Scout project 10 years ago or something. And that’s how we got our first playground was a Eagle Scout

Joanna Javellana: Oh, wow.

Jared Baldwin: Who he made that his project, and he raised the money. And he and his dad actually built that first playground that lasted us a nice long time.

Joanna Javellana: Yeah. Yeah. It’s anyone can be involved. Give us a call, 671-300 LIFE, or email us at, And then or check out our website.

But anyone can be involved even the youngest of you or the oldest of you. But, yeah, we love our volunteers. We cannot do it without the community. So

Jared Baldwin: That’s great. That’s great. And they can also follow us on Facebook. That’s a great way to see just kinda the activity of what’s going on. It’s a great way to engage and kinda just observe what’s happening in the background with Harvest

Eva Ito: House.

Joanna Javellana: Yeah. Facebook and Instagram, @harvesthouseguam.

Jared Baldwin: Awesome. Awesome. Well, Joanna, Eva, thank you both for coming up today and, talking about Harvest House. This is a great need. You know, there there’s more need than we’re gonna be able to accomplish with just us.

And so we’re we’re looking for people that wanna partner in any way that you mentioned and more and see what God does and see how many initiatives we have in the future. So that’d be really neat. So thank you both.

Joanna Javellana: Thank you. Thank you.

Chris Harper: And thank you for listening to Harvest Time. Of course, at this point in the program, we always wanna invite you again to services at Harvest Baptist Church this weekend. We have an 8:45 AM service and a 10:45 AM service. Now we have something new, Spanish translation, during the 8:45 AM service, and our Korean and Japanese translation during the 10:45 AM service. That’s also the service you can hear live on 88.1 FM and

If you wanna find out any more about what we talked about today regarding Harvest House, it’s Thanks again for listening to Harvest Time.

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