Meet our special Little Lady, Flower!
Good things are happening in Bangkok! One special praise report at our Asia conference was about a gorgeous 14 year old girl named Flower. Flower is from a neighboring country but is living in Thailand and has quite the story!
This bright and shining star is attending our sponsored program for her education in Bangkok, and is doing so well under the care of ARK International – a partner ministry of HFTN. A few months ago though, her life turned upside down. Her mother, who was her sole caregiver, had been very sick and was getting worse. Like so many others who left her country due to unrest and the hope of a better future, they lacked the proper documentation for being in Thailand. This sad reality meant that if Flower’s mother did seek medical advice in Thailand, they would risk getting reported and running into serious trouble with the government.As Flower’s mother’s health deteriorated, she made the decision to return to her homeland for treatment and get support from her existing family members there. Wanting Flower to remain in school, she left her with 500 Baht ($15 Cad) and the instructions that aside from going to school, she must lock herself in her house and wait for her mother to return, hopefully in 1 month. How terrifying! Thankfully, Flower had the relationship with our staff and was able to go to them. Our ever so compassionate staff immediately assisted with emergency housing and put her in with a loving family in her own community who was able to support her in this time.
Soon, Flower’s family sent for her to return to them, as her mother was too sick to return back to Thailand. Our staff on the ground was able to support and bring Flower to her mother and her family in her homeland through this time. Through this love relationship, it was decided that Flower would remain in Thailand under the joint guardianship of a well-respected community leader and ARK International. This would enable her to continue her education, as doing so in her home nation was not possible.
In the end, Flower’s mother did pass away but Flower was with her precious mother during that time. Our workers were also able to advocate and ensure that there was proper pain control in her last few days. Thankfully, through all the love poured out, her mother died surrounded by love, but not before she signed custody over to our organization. This allows Flower to remain in school and gives her the opportunity to have a future and a hope for more! If you want more information about helping us help beautiful kids like Flower, please check out our sponsorship page.
One of the many students benefiting from the feeding program.
Operation Blessing is one of our local partners on the ground in Cagayan de Oro and is having huge impact on community. They run many relief programs, including delivering clean water, relief kits, medical attention, and participating and facilitating community clean ups (http://obphil.com/operationnorthernmindanao/). Another one of their amazing and effective outreaches is the in-school feeding programs they run within local high schools.
After typhoon ‘Sendong’ hit and turned worlds upside down, many kids simply did not return to school. They and their families were struggling for day to day survival having lost their homes and livelihoods. They were reliant on the government and generosity of people for basic necessities like food.
In talking with a principal from Balulang Annex, a local high school in one of the hardest hit areas, she reported that only 30% of their students returned after typhoon ‘Sendong’. The reality of depression was setting into families.
It was in this time that local high school’s like this one, partnered with Operation Blessing. They began having feeding programs, which supplied kids who attended school, with a healthy nutritious lunch. In a situation where having enough food was a very real struggle, this provided lots of incentive for kids to return. This same principal reported that within a few weeks of starting the feeding program, they had 70% of their students return and within a month, 100% returned!
At 6 months after ‘Sendong’, the feeding program is still running and proving to be a huge success feeding up to 900 students at Balulang Annex high school alone! They run also run this program into other schools and feed another 1400+ kids.
The wonderful part about this program is, not only is it providing the incentive for school and preparing their bodies and brains for learning, but it is a program that involves the whole family. Running feeding programs in schools that run attendances of 500+ (and up to 900 at one school) is no small task. They began asking parents affected by ‘Sendong’ to come and volunteer and in return, they would also get food.
One of the employee’s in charge of Operation Blessing on the ground, explained how at first, it was hard to get the parents to volunteer as they were “so depressed”. She explained how many had lost their livelihoods and simply sat in the refugee camps hopeless, and overwhelmed. Once the parents, in particular the mothers, came out to volunteer, she reported that they became alive. They were focusing on the benefit of their children, plus they themselves were getting nutritious food. She also reported that the meal preparation time became a sort of group therapy as the women related about the trauma and loss they experienced with ‘Sendong’. I had the opportunity to see these ladies in action and I can tell you, they were all smiles as they busily prepared lunch.
Operation Blessing, is such an effective and practical extension of God’s love into community. It’s very easy to see the change that these programs are making for the flood victims of ‘Sendong’. Please help us continue to support not only their feeding programs, but also other outreach’s which are now aimed at sustainability for these victims. Check out their website for more information! (http://www.obphil.com/v2/page/p/operation-blessing-appeals-for-long-term-aid-for-sendong-victims?news=Y)
Alicia with her 2 daughters and niece- Gorgeous!
Meet Alicia, one of the girls who has been a part of Bahandi Gifts (the business line of products from Ginapadala International) right from the start and who has really been the instigator in gathering women from her community to be involved.
Alicia comes from a past that is common in the Philippines- it’s that lifestyle of partying, drinking and gambling. She was heavily involved in all these activities and it soon lead her down the path of being unmarried and pregnant. The arrival of this precious little girl (now 13 years) did not change the lifestyle of Alicia or her partner. They even had another precious little girl, but were still both heavily involved in drinking and gambling.
Alicia explained this lifestyle carried on for years and it wasn’t long before Alicia and her partner were heavily indebted. Alicia even tried to work in Taiwan for a time, but this only resulted in a worsening depression, and drunken state. She left with an even greater debt over her head.
It was one morning when Alicia was back home and vomiting due to too much alcohol that her youngest daughter, only 5 years at the time, came to take care of her. The revelation that her young daughter was being a parent to her and not the other way around, hit Alicia and she began crying out to God for help.
It was in this time, she met one of our HFTN staff and the jewellery making program was birthed! Alicia is a changed woman today. She is smiling, laughing and loving on her two outstandingly gorgeous girls. She is described as being a sponge to any Christian discipleship around her and is pouring out everything she learns at her own bible study within her community.
She reports, it’s still not easy. Her partner died only a month after she began crying out to God for help, leaving her jobless and alone in paying off her heavy debt. However she is beaming, God came and gave her a job both with the Bahandi Gifts and the jewellery making programs. She is working, and supporting her two girls, plus is getting to know Jesus more day by day. She beams with transformation and really is a testimony that anyone can change when touched by God!
Meet Ace, his mother and 'a few' of his many siblings
Meet Ace, one of the fabulous young gentleman that Jun and Ed’s youth have met through their outreaches into the ‘tent cities’. Tent cities were the refugee camps set up in response to last December's severe typhoon which left thousands of people homeless (please check out our ‘EMERGENCY RELIEF for the PHILIPPINES - Act Now to Help’ page for more information)
It’s been a rough year for Ace and his family (8 of them!). About 6 months ago, Ace was working labour and fell. This fall, left him as a paraplegic with quite a nasty gash on his leg. He and his family were just adjusting to this change when “Sendong” hit and took their home. The floods came so quickly, that they were forced to all climb nearby mango trees to escape the flood waters. Ace’s family worked as a team to haul him high enough up the tree so he was safe. They then tied him to the tree and hung on for 6 hours while they waited to be rescued.
They lost everything and are now living in one of the ‘tent cities’. Despite the hardships that have befallen Ace and his family, there is a lovely peace that surrounds them. Ace talks about the youth coming to his house to pray and hang out with him and how they are like "presents from God".
His mother was sharing how it is difficult to feed all 8 mouths and take care of Ace’s health concerns (which includes a unhealed wound from his fall), but God is providing and always filling them with hope.
It’s really is amazing to see the youth rally around this lovely family and other ones like them, who have lost everything and face quite trying circumstances every day. Their testimony of peace and hope is truly inspiring.
Meet Jun, Ed and a few of thier youth cooking up a storm thier bi-weekly feeding program!
People who have a heart for their city, that is the perfect description for Pastor Jun and Ed. This gorgeous couple have started their church only 6 months ago and God has filled it with eager and hungry youth. Their passion flows from their church and onto the streets of Cagayan- A recipe for revival!
Along with Pastor Jun and Ed, these youth are touching their city! It’s a common perception and word spoken over youth in the Philippines that they are “nuisances” or “troublemakers”, but God is using these youth to prove them wrong!
Every second Saturday, they all get together to make a healthy nutritious meal for all the children in one of the local slums. They feed anywhere from 80-120 kids, along with any breastfeeding mothers and/or pregnant women. Along with Pastor Jun and Ed, it’s the youth who get their hands dirty and cook and serve and pray with this community.
It really is something special to witness as many of the youth are from this local community and from homes where their parents are plagued by addictions of gambling and drinking. To see them come from such broken homes, but stepping up and serving them and the next generation, is so special, and like we said- is a recipe for revival! They want to increase the feedings to every Saturday but at this moment cannot due to lack of funds, so if you want to be a part of this fun program, please donate!
The youth that come from these broken homes where gambling and drinking rule, often find refuge in the homes of their second parents- Pastor Jun and Ed. They have opened up their homes to these youth and found it’s become a safe place for them and a place where consistent mentorship is happening.
Pastor Jun and Ed live on the top of a mountain and when the typhoon “Sendong” hit back in December, one of the many refugee camps, or more commonly known, “tent cities” was set up right in their back yard. Having their home already being ‘the place to hang out”, this was an opportunity that could not be missed! Pastor Jun sent the youth out to minister and love on this tent community of a couple hundred families. There is a presence of God and peace in this camp that is not in the other ones. It was amazing to walk with the youth and visit family to family and watch them pray, listen and love on these many victims.
Along with everyday mentorship, evangelism and frequent happening worship times, God is really moving in Cagayan! Pastor Jun and Ed live with open hands and what they receive, they consistently pour back into their community! In driving around one day, Pastor Jun and Ed pointed out a hidden tent community that did not receive lots of handouts because of its obscure location. They had just received a donation from a mission team and were excitedly reporting they were going to go the following day to minister and distribute food. If you want to partner with an exciting project in the Philippines that focuses on all aspects of community, these are you guys!
One of the many tent cities where thousands of displace people remain 6 monthes after the floods
December 16th changed everything for a lot of men, women and children living in Cagayan De Oro, Philippines. This was the day “Sendong” hit- the tropical typhoon that brought heavy winds, rain, flash flooding and an absolute destruction of thousands of homes and lives.
There is no lack of disturbing statistics, as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 19,234 families and over 106,000 persons were affected by the storm. Death rates were reported daily by the hundreds with UNICEF reporting over 1,250 dead. When talking with the locals affected by ‘Sendong’ (also known as Washi), they reported to me that death rates were as high as 1800 people with 2500 still missing.
It’s now almost 6 months later with the effects of this devastation still very visible. With 40+ evacuation centers set up in Cagayan de Oro alone, people are living out of tents, hoping and waiting for the promised new housing from the government. Many of these people are displaced and have either had their livelihood washed away or are unable to reach their old jobs as they have been placed too far away and cannot afford to get into the city to work.
Despite all the devastation and loss, it is amazing how there is still hope! In the coming days and weeks, we will be posting the amazing stories of some of the survivors and also stories of our local partners and what they are doing to help. Six months after a natural disaster is when most people forget it ever happened, but it is often the most critical time in terms of helping and making a lasting difference. We hope you will be touched and become excited about helping us, help those on the ground!
Shazadel (left) and Janice (Right) hanging out with Inekke Elasachuk
“Today’s orphans, tomorrow’s leaders!” While these two ladies are not orphans, they have been mentored up through our ministries in Davao and are golden examples of our youth rising up into “tomorrow’s leaders”. Meet Janice and Shazadel two young adults who have been around since the ‘olden days’. Janice even accepted Jesus through our youth program in 2003!
Both these ladies were described as initially being extremely shy but have overcome that and are now pouring into the next generation by working as teachers within the Tabitha feeding program. They have a passion and love for children that radiates! When asked what their favorite parts to their job was, Janice shared her favorite time was their ‘fellowship time’ as this is when kids get to share about what’s really going on with them. She smiled as she recalled their stories and described how sometimes she laughs with them and other times she cries with them. Such a beautiful display of relationship!
Shazadel described her favorite part as ‘devotion time’. Her eyes softened as she explained what it was like to watch these children be transformed through the love of Christ. She also laughed, as she explained how much these little guys love to sing and pray! What an amazing thing to see one generation being touched and then consequently pouring into the next.
But this is just the start for these two young ladies. Both are pursing university educations to be better equipped to work with and continue pouring into children. Janice is getting her teaching degree and has one year to go, and Shazadel is getting her social work degree and has 3 more years. At the moment, Shazadel is sponsored for her schooling but Janice still needs a sponsor for her last year.
At Hope for the Nations, we have 2 options for sponsorship, a basic sponsorship which is $40 per month, or an advanced sponsorship which is $75 per month. In the case of these two young ladies, sponsorship covers their tuitions costs, school supplies, exam fees, school uniforms, tutorials and essentially everything related to education. Sponsorship also covers ensuring healthy meals, family support and minor medical bills. If God is speaking to you, please check out our sponsorship program and help us invest into youth’s lives within the Philippines!
LINK FOR SPONSERSHIP:
To directly sponsor Janice, please contact us at: email@example.com
This is Elsa, with one of her precious little daughters!
A few weeks ago we met Alice (posting below) one of the talented young ladies working at Bahandi Gifts (the business line of products from Ginapadala International) and a part of the jewellery making program in HFTN Cebu. We are going to continue meeting some of the ladies from the community who are involved in these ministries and hear how it not only affects their lives, but also what God is doing! This week, meet the talented and beautiful Elsa!
Elsa has been married for 9 years and her husband is fortunate enough to have work as a hospital janitor. Unfortunately, he only makes minimum wage, which makes it impossible to adequately support themselves and their 4 gorgeous girls.
Elsa, like all great mothers, values education and wants her daughters to be educated. In order to ensure this, she used to frequently take on small jobs like doing laundry for others in the community, even though she suffered from an allergic reaction to the laundry soap. This is why the being a part of the jewellery making business makes such a difference for her! She can comfortably work, allergy free to help have income for her gorgeous growing girls.
Elsa blushed as she shared how her relationship with Jesus really began through the bible studies and prayer times offered at the jewellery making program. She reports, that she “is so happy” as these times not only serves as discipleship for her, but also for her daughters. “I tell them what I learn” is what she says beaming. The love of God being passed on from generation to generation, a beautiful thing!
Here's Gladie, showcasing one of her hand-made breastfeeding cover's
Meet Gladie, a beautiful little lady with not one or two kids, but six! Like many in Davao, finding regular employment is a huge struggle and stressful fact when you have six little ones to feed and get to school! Many families simply end up not being able to provide education or in other cases food for their families.
Gladie’s story is a little different! She accepted the Lord in the year 2000 and began coming to HFTN center in 2004 for discipleship at our women’s bible study. It was here that she learnt about HFTN Jubilee Food for Life feeding center and began also involving her 6 children. Her smile radiates a thousand miles when she talks about what a blessing this place has been for her and her family. Her eldest daughter grew up being cared for in the Jubilee Food For Life feeding center and is now one of the volunteer teachers at only 17!
Gladie values education and like all great mothers wanted this opportunity for her children. Unfortunately as her husband was never able to obtain steady employment and finances were always a huge struggle, education was not looking like an option. Gladie who had been going deeper in her relationship with God began to pray! Then through relationship at the center, she began working with our gifted business minded pastor. They worked together and were able to set up a program where Gladie is able to use her talent as a seamstress within the Jubilee center to generate more income for her family. This has allowed her kids to not only recieve tutoring from the Food For Life program, but as well attend local schools.
Today her little ones run around the Jubilee center, not only playing and laughing with the other children but also are getting tutored and feed nutritious meals. Gladie works in the back with a smile on her face, so thankful for the opportunity to have a steady job as she knows all too well that many of her Filipino brothers and sisters do not have the same opportunity. So much fun to have such a practical outreach change the lives of the families involved! And be sure to watch as we will hopefully be able to bring some of Gladie’s practical work to Canada to be sold there!
Alice and her Beautiful Baby Boy, Ervin
We have many talented young ladies working at Bahandi Gifts (the business line of products from Ginapadala International) and a part of the jewellery making program in HFTN Cebu.
These gorgeous women come from one of the local communities and over the next few weeks, we are going to introduce you to them! They have heart felt stories about their struggles in supporting themselves, their families and each other. But they also have testimonies about what God is doing and how these programs have helped make a difference for them!
Today, meet Alice, a gorgeous young woman with one of the cutest wide eyed baby boys. Her tale is seemingly common one for the Philippines, as she was pregnant at only 18 years old.
Alice found herself pregnant and alone with no way of supporting herself or her little one on the way. It was one of the ladies in her community that knew of her situation who decided to love on Alice and invite her to be a part of the jewellery making program. Alice shared how these ladies stepped in and loved on her in such practical ways. They not only helped with the cost of being pregnant and having a new born baby, but also opened the doors for her to be a part of a new livelihood- jewellery making!
This young single mom is now smiling, laughing and playing with her gorgeous little boy, Ervin. She explained that initially when she was pregnant and alone, she was so disillusioned and disappointed in life, but God sent these ladies in the community to her. Alice is now able to support 7 month old Ervin and herself. She is also going to bible study and prayer every day. When asked what this opportunity has meant for her, she smiled and said it really has changed her life.
Published a post on Hope For The Nations
Published a post on EMERGENCY RELIEF for the PHILIPPINES - Act Now to Help
Published a post on PHILIPPINES - Cebu : GinaPADALA International Inc.
Published a post on Philippines: 99 Days of Hope
Donated to Philippines: 99 Days of Hope
Subscribed to Philippines: 99 Days of Hope
Started promoting Philippines: 99 Days of Hope
Joined the community of Philippines: 99 Days of Hope
Joined the community of EMERGENCY RELIEF for the PHILIPPINES - Act Now to Help