It was the second day of July and we were gearing up to bask on a two-week journey in the mountains and coastal areas of Mindoro. Our first stop was in Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro where we spent a few nights at Ptr. Boni and Sis Debie’s house. We thank God for their lives as they served as our host for the past few years of our ministry in Abra de Ilog. We were also saddened by the news that Ptr. Boni is sick and has a high probability of acquiring Prostate Cancer. When we were there we saw him in pain, he can barely walk and get up on his bed, but in spite of his condition he was there to encourage us that work is a big blessing to them and we gave them inspiration to continue the work God entrusted to us. We admire his faith, and hope in Christ Jesus, that He alone can heal him.
We also took the opportunity to meet our Mangyan Pastors and we encouraged one another, especially these days as some of them are facing persecution and threats of plundering their property. But we rejoiced together! We prayed, fasted, and comforted one another!
While we were in Abra de Ilog we took all the opportunities to share God’s Word and encouraged the believers among MCTV Churches. Ring-Ring , our volunteer, shared to them the assurance of salvation belongs only to Jesus Christ, that He alone is enough to satisfy our needs in life.
Our next stop was in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, and our main goal is to meet Mrs. Elizabeth Delo Santos, a Christian Educator among the Mangyan Tribe. Her heart’s desire is to mobilize the local Mangyan pastors and let them know that God is moving ahead of us and preparing the nations for the harvest. We spent time together talking about the advancement of God’s Kingdom among the Mangyan people group. We also affirmed one another and prayed together as we seek to wake the churches up in Sablayan. We believe that now is the right time to mobilize the body of Christ in Mindoro and let them partake to the most glorious reason of our existence in proclaiming the glory of God to the ends of the earth.
After that long week our team went to Puerto Galera Oriental Mindoro to visit two of our adopted villages. When we got there, Ane Marie, our volunteer got sick and wasn’t able to join us in the villages. They went home after two days of stay in our home base in White Beach Clinic.
The first village we visited is Sitio Ambang. To get there, we need to trek the mountains for 45 minutes. Upon arrival, Ptr. Cesar and his wife Ate Paula welcomed us. They shared their experiences and challenges they were facing. Upon hearing their stories, our hearts were filled with joy and sadness. They told us that almost all of their crops withered because of the scorching heat last summer and because of the heavy rains their seedlings didn’t grow. They lack food and medicine at same time.
During Sunday service, I was assigned to give the message and I gladly accepted and prepared my sermon. The topic was about the fruit of the Spirit particularly ‘peace and forbearance’. The message was very timely because during our stay, one of our volunteer health workers was suffering with a complicated health condition. Ate Ana is the wife of Ptr. Gideon, they are both our volunteers.
Ate Ana had been in and out of the hospital for two months. She gave birth two months ago but after several weeks of giving birth to her daughter her body became weak and very ill. The doctors in the Provincial Hospital diagnosed her of having urinary tract infection (UTI) and gastritis. Long before, we knew that she was suffering with gastric ulcer so we were giving her medications but it became worse, so we brought her again to the hospital. We carried her by a hammock. We rushed her to Puerto Galera Hospital and the Municipal Health Officer took care of her. We provided monetary assistance for the family and made sure that she got all the medications and treatment that she needed. After two day she was discharged and was continuously drinking the antibiotics that the doctor prescribed her.
After our visit in Sitio Ambang, we went on to Sitio Sipit Saburan. We gathered all our volunteer health workers and we facilitated their regular meeting. We reinforced them being united in love. Without love, they will never succeed in the things they are doing. We were able to fix their misunderstanding and miscommunications. They were also struggling in managing the health care botika because the medicines were running out and many of their people still haven’t paid their debts. The health committee asked the support of their village officials in reminding those people who haven’t paid yet in full so they can resupply their medicine stocks.
We really thank God for Cristina, she is one of the most active volunteer health workers. She makes sure that the medicines were safe. She is continuously recording the names of those people who seek for healthcare assistance and she knows now how to give healthcare advise to the community people. She is only 26 years old but her heart was being transformed to Christ likeness as she continues to serve the community with commitment and compassion. She may be a very shy type person but she is a big help to the community. It’s our desire to continue discipling her and make her draw closer to Jesus Christ.
Another encounter that we will never forget is Rading, an 8-year old boy who is suffering from a degenerative eye problem. The last time I saw him was 3 years ago and I’ve made a promise to myself that I will find help to this boy and I will give him the opportunity to see the world and give glory to our God who made him. We are still praying on how we can help him and his family but we know that God has a wonderful plan in His life and we will make sure that we will be part of that plan as the Lord God wills it.
We thank God for the sustaining grace that He has given to us throughout the trip. We may have encountered situations that we never expected but we know God already placed them ahead of us. His wisdom and His plan are always perfect. We only need to be still and know that He is God.
We also thank our welcomers, the staff of Living Grace Ministries. They are a big help to us and we thank God for their partnership in the ministry. We pray that God will continue to bless these people and that their clinic will have a life changing impact in the communities.
To God be the Glory!
By Paul Bañas, RN
July 2 -16, 2015
Team Leader: Joab Afuang and Paul Bañas
Staff: Chela Mequila
Volunteers: Ring-Ring Casto, Ane Marie Giske