“When they saw us coming, they had hope.”
As a missionary serving in remote areas of the Philippines, we often travel much to minister to our flock. On this day, we went to pray for a family that had a miscarriage in the seventh month. The baby was a boy. Two of our Grace Chapel youth were from this family. Just a few days before, these two youth were recipients of clothes and school supplies sent from River Rock Church in the USA.
It was rainy season, so we walked into the mountainous part of Dacutan, where Grace Chapel is. My wife Juliana, six of our Grace Chapel ladies and Pastor JoJo and I went to pray for them and give a love offering. Most of our travel was a muddy footpath, wading across a river, and walking a hanging bridge. The mud path had sugarcane stalks and sticks covering it so our feet would not sink too deep. I'd seen school children come from this area carrying their shoes to keep the mud from them.
We finally arrived at the bamboo home. You could see easily through the walls, and it was leaning and in need of repair. A few of us stepped inside. The mother was sitting on the floor, very weak. Also beside her was a cardboard box with a dead child wrapped in a blanket inside. His small face was showing. Near the box, on the floor, was a single small candle lit as a symbol of mourning. The father was off digging the grave at the local public cemetery. The ladies were quick to make sure the mother was okay, offer words of sympathy and check to see that she and the children were safe. The family had no money for a doctor or medicine. We prayed for her health.
I observed several of the children were malnourished. Four of their children come to Grace Chapel feeding program on Saturdays. Sometimes they show up at our home, and we feed them.
The mother was 38, and this was her 10th child. The father helped deliver the already dead child. He had to push the baby out. If he had not been brave, maybe the mother would have died in the delivery. We prayed she would have no infection.
As we walked the path to their home, many people joined us. Some of the community members and the family said that when they saw us coming they had hope. Indeed the mother’s eyes were full of tears at our sight. Pastor JoJo offered a comforting prayer. The ladies continued to speak with the mother and tried to help with the words from their hearts.
As I walked home, my thoughts were about how blessed my family and I were. I thanked God for our health, our home, and the means He has given us to care for ourselves and others.
Also in my heart I was trying to understand the helplessness they must feel. It was their daily life. The Filipinos are an enduring people. When I see the children they are smiling, clean and well mannered.
Oh Lord, help us to bring hope and love to the Filipino people wherever You establish us.
The mother went to the medical clinic. They used our love offering for medication. She is now in good health. Thank you Lord!