The Evangelist

Six months ago, we sent four of our older boys to YWAM, a Discipleship Training School of Youth With a

Mission. I remember the day they left, with only one bag of stuff and much anticipation in their hearts.Ma jom 1 This weekend I attended their graduation. They had grown so much, even physically. The 2 months of walking through jungle, travelling in boats from island to island, doing house to house ministry in the rain or sun, seemed to have changed them. They learned how to pray for the sick and to bring broken hearts to the healing hands of Jesus. Joed 1

As they were given their certificates, the staff talked about their gifting. How one was an Evangelist, one was a Responsible Servant; one was Perseverant and one was a Gentle Man. I could not believe how God had moved in their lives. They stood tall and proud. As they talked about Louie, they told how he was anointed to preach. He had preached in the biggest churches, in the prisons, in the streets with no shame and people had listened. He spoke with maturity and wisdom that could only come from God. He was the one who had memorized the most scriptures and quoted them with ease in all circumstances.

As Joed, Mark Anthony, and Jomar come back to serve at Gentle Hands, Louie will be returning to YWAM in one week. With tears in his eyes he explained to me how he felt God was calling him to the people of the southern islands, to the Muslims. They were so hungry to hear about Jesus. He said he had to obey. So at 17 years old, he will be our first missionary. He will work as support staff at another base of YWAM and be able to minister to Muslims and others as opportunity comes. He will need to have outside support of $200 every month for a commitment of one year.

Would you pray about supporting this young man? Gentle Hands does not have the budget to do these extra things but they are so very important. Louie 1

Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young but set an example for the believer. 1 Timothy 4:12

Life is Fragile

His breathing is shallow, his skin burning with fever. Tears fall down his checks but he doesn’t have the strength to wipe them away. Don’t let me go, ma’am. Please help me. I hold his hand and pray again.

 

I turn my head to hide my own tears. My own lungs are burning as I watch him struggle for each breath. Oh God, I pray. If ever I have called on You for healing it is now. Kuya bernardo

 

Three days ago, they phoned. As we have been working in Malabon, I have been going from house to house praying for the sick and giving medicine where I have medicine to give. When they called to say he couldn’t breathe and he was asking for us, somehow I felt we must go.

 

We carried him out of his little house on a chair. Through the ankle deep muck and garbage with a crowd of children and adults alike following. We put him in the van and I shut the door, the sounds of his wife sobbing echoing in my ears.

 

What could I possibly do for this man? What help could I give? What comfort? He was dying. Without a miracle, it would only be a short time. Just 44 years old, with 4 children ages 7 months to 10 years old.

 

Lord, each day is in your hands. Father, somehow can you please wrap your arms around this soul, this child of yours.

 

Life seems so fragile tonight.          

Malabon Outreach, June 27

The sun was hot already at 830am. The boys, some in clown, some in mime, some with instruments, others with crayons and paper, clambered out of the van to the throng of waiting children. I hurried to do the few errands I needed to do while the short termers entertained the children and the boys set everything up.June 30 09 109

I went to the house where the 19-year-old girl, whom I have come to know as Aiza, is dying of tuberculosis. Smiles and hugs welcomed me this time. I sat down and took the precious vials of medicine out of my bag, along with the other medicine she needed. She literally squealed with delight. As I explained what each medicine was I noticed they had all started to cry. The mother, the aunt, the sister were all wiping tears. You don’t know how much this will help us, the mother said. I smiled. I had an idea. I prayed for Aiza, hugged the mom and left. I had several more stops yet.

I went to Angelika’s house with her mother where we talked for a long time. My plan was to have her surrender Angelika for adoption. My social workers and I just couldn’t see another way to deal with the little girl’s situation. There were many things that were left unspoken but we knew. The mother signed the adoption papers with no hesitation. I heaved a sigh of relief as I left the home.

I was hurrying back to the court to start our program, Dugoy stepped in front of me. I was surprised. I had been hassling this young man, addict as he was, to give me his youngest child who was dying of malnutrition. I had written letters to social services, taken officials to their little shack. I had gone to the local government and no one could convince him. Every week I talked with them. Every time I went to Malabon I explained how he could trust us and how we might be able to save the baby’s life.

This day, he simply handed me his child. We decided you can take her and make her better. I could hardly hide my shock. I knew this was a miracle. The night before we had prayed specifically for this little one that her parents would release her and give her a chance at life. I took her tiny little body and hurried to the van where I handed her off to a short-termer to go buy diapers and milk and feed her.

I went back to the court where the boys had finished setting up and we began our Malabon first misson 027 outreach. The boys sang and danced. The children laughed and smiled. Our own two clowns did skits and despite their nerves, they did great. The Good Samaritan was our story and the mimes acted it out. Then we did a drama. There was more than 200 people gathered to watch. After breaking the children into groups, they colored pictures and we fed 100 children rice porridge. Malabon first misson 004

Throughout the morning people brought cases to us. It was heartbreaking. We prayed for many. A young girl, just 13 years old, whose hands were absolutely crippled, the skin was rotting away. Her feet too. I had no idea what it could be. I took pictures so I could show a doctor. One of my boys looked on, eyes full of tears, moved with compassion.

We had a prior agreement with a mother to take her hydrocephalic baby for a short time to allow her to work. She brought her as we were about to leave. I handed her to a short termer.

It was time to go. The children waved and called out. I was the last to climb in the van and I chuckled at the short-termers in the back seat. They each held a baby and looked somewhat shocked but I can’t say I blame them. It had been an eventful morning with our hearts pulled and torn in all directions.

We would need much wisdom and discernment as the community was beginning to trust us.

Jonalyn

A verbal referral from the social services department brought us to a tiny little hut at the edge of Malabon. The whole community was build on reclaimed land fills. The ground sinks with each step and the children play in the garbage that is their front yard. This little shack was right in the middle of sewage hole. The smell was almost unbearable. The parents were no where to be found. Only the little girl was left naked laying a dirty box spring. June 30 09 148

 

The grandma said the mother was gone. The father was a drunkard and the children were here. I then saw the two naked little boys on the floor. Their bellies were huge, obviously full or worms. Their faces were dirty and their hair thin and discoloured.

 

My eyes went back to the baby. She was so tiny, more like a baby doll than a human being. I assumed she was about 6 months old. No one knew her exact age or birthdate. They kept saying about a year. I could hardly believe it. The grandmother stared at me with narrow eyes. You will never take my granddaughter. I am taking care of her just fine. I knelt down on the patchwork floor that was covered in mud and dirt. The little boys were eating candy for breakfast, picking up the ones that dropped and with stained fingers shoving them into their mouth.

 

What a hopeless situation. As the weeks went on, somehow I was able to meet Dugoy, the father. He was an obvious drug addict and drinker. He avoided all eye contact and certainly wouldn’t discuss the possibility of getting help for his daughter. His mother wouldn’t allow it was all he would say.

 

I made a point to go to their little house every time I was in Malabon. I tried hard to befriend the mother and the father. To give them some reason to trust me. The grandmother would not stay in the house when I came. She cursed me and said horrible things as she stamped away. It seemed like an impossibility.

 

The night before our outreach we gathered our whole team together and prayed. We specifically prayed for little Jonalayn that God would move their hearts and she would be given a chance at life.

 

The next morning, with smiles and not even a blink they handed their little girl to me. My heart skipped a beat. I asked how old she really was and the mom said 15 months. I tried not to act surprised but said she was slightly delayed and we would see what we could do to help her. I didn’t want to make them have second thoughts.

 

I walked quickly to the van and sent one of my short termers with her to the store to buy milk and diapers. June 30 09 137

 

What an absolute miracle to have her in our arms!

Angelika, 8 years old

They had approached me the first time I had gone to Malabon. From what the mother described, I was disturbed. She had a problem with her chest, her heart. I couldn’t quite understand. She was not in school, she was too weak. June 30 09 116 It sounded serious.

 

I asked to see this little girl but after waiting an hour, the mother couldn’t find her. She was out begging she said. The mother had a hard face. Lines showed much suffering and pain. Though her eyes teared, they were not honest eyes. And though my heart was heavy for her, I needed to fight for her child. I had a hard time forgetting her face during the next few days.

 

Finally meeting Angelika, I bent down close to her. Her heart was not coming out of her chest. She seemed to have some sort of deformity in the bone structure of her ribcage but beyond that and having obvious tuberculosis she seemed okay. Do you want to come with me to the doctor, I asked gently? She put both hands on my shoulders. Yes. Now. I was taken aback. She had never seen me before and certainly had no reason to trust me. What did this mean. She was so small and frail for 8. Her eyes told a hundred stories. I turned to one of our short termers and she picked her up and we took her home.

 

Sitting at the breakfast table one morning, Angelika started to cry. She told how she wasn’t fed but had to go and beg in order to buy her own food. Her mother was mean. Yelled at her. Hit her with a stick. And sometimes tied her hands and feet up so she wouldn’t leave their little shack. Angelika had suffered much. Her father was stabbed to death with a samurai sword when she was only 2 years old. Her mother became a pimp- a manager of prostitutes- to support her 5 children. She was short-tempered, frustrated, and angry. Angelika, because of her physical difference, her obvious weaknesses, took the brunt of most of that anger. You don’t have to go back, I said quietly. She stared deep into my eyes.

 

Chest x-rays confirmed TB so we began meds immediately, vitamin therapy and lots of love and snuggles. Over the next few days, her cheeks put on weight and she started to laugh. June 30 09 045

 

I watched her coloring and singing. She was so very happy. She couldn’t go back to the horrors that waited in her dark home. She just couldn’t. There had to be a way.