Stories

Let's visit 2 Navotas families.  

I just love this picture! HAHA!  

I just love this picture! HAHA!  

This first family lives in an actual house near the river. They have 3 kids and 2 parents. The family has one scholar, a daughter. Our team went in to bless them and give them a bag of food.

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We chatted with them (Pastor William is interpreting) and asked how we could pray for them. Mom tells us how her son doesn't eat or drink and when she took him to the doctor, he gave her antibiotics for tonsillitis.

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 We looked in his mouth and his tonsils are huge. He needs them removed stat before he can't breathe anymore. The nurses on our team prayed healing over him. Mom is tearful and she was still tearful when I saw her later that night. She doesn't have money to take him to a doctor or have his tonsils removed.

"Is there anything else we can do?" He pointed to Ryan and said he wanted a picture with him! So cute.  

"Is there anything else we can do?" He pointed to Ryan and said he wanted a picture with him! So cute.  

This is exactly the type of situation where kids die because they can't get the medical attention they need. The doctor visit would cost $6 US.  Not sure what the cost of surgery would be. Working on that...

Passing out candy to cuties on the bridge  

Passing out candy to cuties on the bridge  

Second family LITERALLY lives under the bridge.  This is a new family to me, I never realized anyone lived under the actual bridge. 

One of the Filipinos told the joke "You've heard of the Red Sea? Now you've seen the Black River." Ugh! 

One of the Filipinos told the joke "You've heard of the Red Sea? Now you've seen the Black River." Ugh! 

This family is a Gramma and Grandpa (pictured on the "bed"), a daughter who is 9 months pregnant with her 5th child, and her 3 living children. She is 22 years old. Her 4th child died.  

Us looking at the "house" 

Us looking at the "house" 

The family frequently evacuates when the water level rises. Which is basically every time it rains. It's POURED twice since we've been here.  

Water bed? 

Water bed? 

I asked where the mom is going to give birth. Apparently she's had all 4 of her children right here.  

The kitchen. Filipino standing room only. 

The kitchen. Filipino standing room only. 

They have lived here for NINETEEN YEARS.  

Sleeping room.  

Sleeping room.  

Pretty humbling to peer into this home. This is probably the worst one I've seen. Oh the smell. Can you imagine birthing your babies and raising them in this wet hole?  

Annabelle's kitchen.  

Annabelle's kitchen.  

Many families have kitchens in the street. Both of these ladies were immediately cooking the rice that we gave them in the food bags. They thanked us, saying otherwise they'd have nothing to feed their kids for lunch. 

This lady's kitchen.  

This lady's kitchen.  

Each family's situation has the ability to break your heart. But if you gave them a nice house with a stocked pantry and fixed all thier problems, would they still have this contagious joy and unhindered love? I don't know...I think they have something that we, isolated up in our mansions, can't have. 

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Have to think about that some more.  

Navotas on foot

Today I cried.  

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Today we purchased, portioned, and distributed bags of food to families of scholars in Navotas (scholars are the kids that Rev22 church send to school). In all honesty, I slightly dread this part because the process of visiting homes is: fitting into tight, dirty, stinky spaces (plus it rained today so add WET to that list).  

Approximately 75 bags of food. This bag can feed an entire family for a week.  

Approximately 75 bags of food. This bag can feed an entire family for a week.  

We loaded about 30 bags into backpacks and ventured out with Pastor and his wife for the afternoon.  

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Street kids surround me. "HEY! What's your name?" Over and over.   Maybe they won't try to hold my hand this ti....nope. Oh well.  I kinda like it. 

 
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The first house we visit is the size of a twin bed and 9 people live in it. It's a shack that extends out into the street.  

A typical Navotas house near the river. This house has a bedroom upstairs. Many do not.  

A typical Navotas house near the river. This house has a bedroom upstairs. Many do not.  

Moving forward, we get to the homes of families I know, Andreana (my interpreter during clinic) and Carmen.

Navotas dogs...ugh.  

Navotas dogs...ugh.  

Sitting in Andreana's house, we prayed for her and her mom and sister. I put my arm on her and leaned against her and the weight of how much I care about her fell on me. I haven't known her very long and have only seen her twice in my life now but I love her like a sister and I love that I DO love her! I'm so blessed to just waltz into this community and be received by such deep respect, admiration and love. Sniff. 

Each time a food bag was passed out, the mom and kids would join our entourage  

Each time a food bag was passed out, the mom and kids would join our entourage  

I'm already emotional when we get to Carmen's house down the street. Carmen has a 4 year old daughter Tricia Mae, whom I deeply love (she might have some developmental delays). We get into Carmen's house and she has a poster on the wall with all our names on it. I sit on the bench and pull Tricia into my lap. Pastor tells us how Carmen works so hard to make about $2 US a day selling bleach and garlic. Her husband is an abusive drunk and her father is sick and needs money for medicine. She is struggling. She is crying. Christina prays for her and we all start crying. Carmen is such a wonderful, dedicated, hard-working mother. She doesn't deserve all this. 

Tricia is sitting on Carmen's lap.  

Tricia is sitting on Carmen's lap.  

The community of this church and Navotas is so incredibly RICH that I can't describe it without weeping. I think about having to go back my community at home. It's so isolating in comparison. In this moment, I would trade every last toilet seat to keep this raw community close to my heart.  

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It's actually really selfish. I want to keep what I feel when I'm with them. It's true what they say about these darn mission trips. They give you more than you can ever give to them.  

We're just here for those fans.  

We're just here for those fans.  

One more adorable chubby baby for the road.  

One more adorable chubby baby for the road.  

The Church

The church is the body of Christ. We are all unified brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of nationality. Right? !!??

Fisher's of Christ service  

Fisher's of Christ service  

Listening to the worship this morning, I was thinking that it's so easy to love God in Navotas. Almost every possible distraction is stripped away. All that's left are raw hearts and real needs. There is a time in the service where anyone can come to the microphone and share how God has blessed them. People eagerly come forward. The stories were in Tagalog so I don't know what they are but the point is there is no timidity in sharing! Everyone claps at the end of each story. I have a hard time even praying in a group, much less trying to think of how God blessed me that week and then share it. 

PV church service

PV church service

Actually, there is almost no timidity in the church whatsoever. Joyful singing, loud praying, breastfeeding babies, wild toddlers, the general chatter across the room. They jump at any chance to show and share God's grace to others.  

After the service, a group of moms stayed to thank Jake one-by-one in the microphone for the contributions of Rev for thier kids to go to school. Many tears and much thanks, these moms are SO GRATEFUL. (Having a child in school means hope for future money for the whole family) I myself received so much thanks for medical care, scholarships, just for COMING at all. It's so humbling to be on the receiving end of so much gratitude. It's not really me!  

Scholar families thanking Jake/Rev

Scholar families thanking Jake/Rev

I LOVE this body of Christ fiercely. How I wish I could transport this simplistic faith to my home. I feel like there is so much to say about hear people but I'm so tired. More to come.  

Medical: Paradise Village

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Second medical clinic day in Paradise Village! PV is a 10-minute trike ride from the church in Navotas. It's another 15 minute walk into our location because PV is inaccessible to motor vehicles. PV is essentially the poorest of the poor and has been a target of outreach for Fisher's of Christ church (Navotas). Next time, I feel sorry for myself, I'm going to remember that a very poor church congregation ministers to an even poorer community...

Our clinic was held in the brand new church building in PV! It's beautiful and open and clean with lots of windows and airflow! An amazing number of 211 patients were seen and treated by our phenomenonal medical team. Everyone had (almost) endless energy and lots of patience. 

Again, our patient population was largely mamas and babies with coughs and runny noses. However, one of the patients was 102 years old! 

It was my goal this time to spend time praying with patients. This isn't really in my confort zone, but in the Philippines it doesn't feel unconventional at all. I didn't really ask for permission or anything, and nobody objected. They all asked for healing for thier bodies, safety for thier families, and "guidance"--not sure for what. I don't know if my prayers for them had any impact. During our team debrief, it was pointed out that numerous stations of the clinic were praying for the patients. So in the end, someone could've received prayer maybe 3 times or more. You know God's gotta be listening to that! We may never know the seeds planted by our team that the local church can see grow over time! 

Human moment: when I said the church had good airflow, it's not always nice smelling air. During lunch, I had to eat in between strong whiffs of sewage.  

Triage shnanigans 

Triage shnanigans 

PV has lots of delicious babies to hold. I won't continue to parade those pictures for my audience...I'll give you a break.

NOPE. 

My faithful interpreter. I turned her into my nurse so she called me "doc"

My faithful interpreter. I turned her into my nurse so she called me "doc"

Day 1 Intro

Commonwealth Blvd. Very busy street that our hotel is on.  

Commonwealth Blvd. Very busy street that our hotel is on.  

It's only 4 pm here in Manila (1am in Boise), and we've already had a full day (thank God!). Going off whatever sleep we got last night (I got 5 hours), we took a Jeepney to the "Love house," one of the safe houses that Wipe Every Tear facilitates. Our 2 nurse practitioners were conducting physical exams on whichever girls were at the house and not in school. These girls have been rescued from sex trafficking, many have come from bars where multiple girls are employed and sold by the hour. 


I met this little guy last year also! His mom was brand new to the safe house last year.  

I met this little guy last year also! His mom was brand new to the safe house last year.  

I know this is a heavy topic. I wish I had more time to go into all the experiences I have with the girls and going into the bars on my previous trip. 

A crowded kitchen at lunchtime at the Love house.  

A crowded kitchen at lunchtime at the Love house.  

I wonder what this dialysis center is like.  

I wonder what this dialysis center is like.  

We spent some time walking around Quezon City today. Two trips to the pharmacy. To purchase medications, you walk up to the pharmacy tech, and tell him what you want and how many. No prescriptions! Not sure how this works with narcotics... Not all drugs are available, they have some "substitutes" that our team pharmacist approved, sort of. She wasn't familiar with all of the options. 

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I have to remind myself "do NOT flush the toilet paper" every time and I still forget! You have to throw all TP in a trash bin next to the toilet. The Philippines septic system is very delicate. 

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Street food. Not for the faint of stomach.  

Street food. Not for the faint of stomach.  

A bridge over Commonwealth Blvd.  

A bridge over Commonwealth Blvd.  

It's very hot. It's more muggy than Haiti. I had to buy deodorant today since my toiletries are in my missing bag---still missing.  

First thing I did this morning was kill a cockroach that was speeding toward my luggage. He was huge.  

First thing I did this morning was kill a cockroach that was speeding toward my luggage. He was huge.  

Side street off Commonwealth Blvd  

Side street off Commonwealth Blvd  

One of my favs that I met last year. She's been through a lot and remains a fearless fighter.  

One of my favs that I met last year. She's been through a lot and remains a fearless fighter.