Stories continue…an update on Jason

Early last year I made this video about a little guy we met in a squatter village near Manila. There’s now more to the story…

Update time…

If you saw the video, you know he was living in very difficult circumstances. The people I know in his country are good people who love and care for their children, even if they lack necessities. However, Jason was in a particularly abusive situation and the government decided to get him to a safe place…

In this safer place, he gained physical strength and is now full of hope and faith. Our team returned a year later to visit him. He was strong, full of joy, loved to pray and smiled a lot. Mary Beth, the team leader, shared much more on our interns blog at cohinterns.org.

We met Jason through the Convoy of Hope’s Children Feeding Initiative. His belly if full, mind is learning, heart is full of faith, and he loves life and people.

Some reasons I believe this story is turning out well…

1. People are praying.

2. Our local partner in the area is incredible. He’s a very humble pastor, who sacrifices much for his community. He could work in another place making really good money, but he follows God’s call and is there. He’s very invested in this story and has spent tremendous time praying for and working towards the right solution.

3. The Children’s Feeding Initiative is about much more than feeding stomachs. It’s been an answer to the prayers of the pastor and his family, and a key tool for them to use in reaching their community.

4. People are following God’s plan for their lives…donors, our interns and intern staff, local missionaries who are helping the pastor, the pastor and volunteers from his church, our Convoy of Hope staff that gets food and more to this village, representatives of the Filipino government, those who run (and donate to) a nearby children’s home, and people who pray!

Thank you for caring for little guys like him. I look forward to sharing another update about his life someday.

Meet Maria

On Monday, the team and I went to a village church about 30 minutes from Sarata Galbena. Many of the homes in the village were abandoned as people had no money and left for other places. We worked with local Christians to share food with some gypsy families, the elderly, and some very poor people. Few times have I seen poverty on this scale.

Here, Claire gives us a bit of a tour and her thoughts…


Then, we went back to the small church building (it’s actually more of a home) where they fed us and we had a service for about 25 kids. What a wonderful time. There’s a family from the main church in Sarata that’s sees this village as their mission…we loved partnering with them for this day. (We also provided a lot of groceries for the church and food for the ministry.)

While there, I met Maria (not her real name…). We were sitting down, and there were balloons on the floor and we, not knowing each other’s language, got in a mild balloon fight. Fun. We palled around for the rest of the afternoon.

I then learned her story. She’s 10-years-old and has a little sister. Her father has been gone for years and her mother left last year as well. She’s taken care of her little sister for months now. This church found her, and has been helping her. In fact, the couple pastoring the church are letting Maria and her sister move in with them. She’s now well fed, warm and has some adults who love her and are telling her about Jesus.

The larger church is working towards perhaps starting an orphanage to help children such as Maria and her sister.

Great girl, fun afternoon, honor for Convoy of Hope and our interns to partner with churches like this.

More from Dani and Lena’s

I texted a blog entry with a small photo as we left Dani and Lena’s yesterday, but wanted to write more.
The village of Mihaileni is a village of about 6000. There are hundreds of them around this country. We partnered with a growing church to help them by painting and reaching out to the poor in the community. In a meeting with the mayor, he told of a family of siblings. The father abandoned the family years ago and the mother is in another country working. She left some money with the market to take care of her children, but the money ran out a long time ago. Thankfully, there are some older siblings in this tiny home, but they’re gone all day, leaving the little ones home alone.
They clearly bathe quite seldomly, are malnourished and in need of some serious attention. Multiple team members have stopped by in the last few days, and I was able to go with some yesterday. They devoured the chicken and soup we brought them, and loved the ball and other toys we shared with them. Here’s Mikellah with Dani…

Not sure how to process that kind of poverty, but I know that God smiles on a young lady going out of her way to help. I know he really smiles on a young couple in the church that have commited to keeping in touch with the kids and doing whatever they can possibly do to help. Igor said, “I didn’t know that poverty like this exists in my village.”

Here are the kids devouring the food…

Is there poverty like that where you live? What can be done? I realize some soup, chicken and toys won’t change their lives…but in combination with a caring couple from a caring church who walks with those kids as they get older…I think it could.

Proud of Zach, Mikellah, Karen, Claire and the team. Here are Zach’s thoughts about the day… http://zachfornerministries.blogspot.com/.

Thanks for keeping Lena and Dani in prayer.

At Lena and Dani’s house…

I've been a lot of places, but few of them are like the home of Andre, Lena and Dani. These three siblings don't know where their father is and their mother has gone to another country for work. She left some money at the local market for her kids to have food. That was last summer and she hasn't returned.

There are older siblings who help watch them but they're in the fields all day. The kids stay home…when it's hot and when it's cold.

We got their information from the mayor. He said they were in desperate need.

Igor is a local pastor's son. He and his wife went with us to their home yesterday and today. Igor said he didn't know poverty like this existed in his village. They were moved.

More photos and video later…

Some sweet kids who love the world

April and I were in Hammond, IN, over the weekend. We shared in a youth conference at the church…it was fun. On Sunday, (in between a skype conversation with a church in K.C…more on that tomorrow) we shared for a few moments in the Kid’s Church that my sister leads.

The kids, over the last month or so, have been collecting hygiene items for hygiene kits that will be sent around the world to disaster areas through Convoy of Hope. There’s a chance the items they collected will help people in Myanmar, or earthquake victims or somewhere else. True, it won’t change the entire situation, but neither will billions of dollars from the U.N. or U.S. or whatever. Everyone needs to do their part and these kids are doing theirs.
They pray too. We loved their prayers as they surrounded us.
It was a fun day. It was a long drive home. We’re tired, but loved our time there.
Here, April and I (and my sister Debbie) are with kids from the 2nd service and the hygiene kits.

Thanks kids!!!