Newsletter: Holiday in the Philippines

Here in the Philippines the celebration of Christmas starts on September 1st when all of the stores display their Christmas items and start playing their Christmas music.  100 days of Christmas celebration and there’s no controversy over Manger Scenes on government property.  They know how to celebrate Christmas here.

Fruit Bearers partners with a pastor in the mountain town of Mabinay who has a ministry in the local jail.  They had no Bibles and so he asked if we could help.  We said surely we could.  The pastor told the jailer that Bibles were coming.  The jailer thought that only one Bible was being given so when the pastor showed up with 20 Bibles the jailer was so overwhelmed he declared that a special acceptance ceremony, complete with ribbon cutting, must be held.  What a privilege for Fruit Bearers to be involved in spreading God’s wonderful Word.

The Kids in Mabinay

The Kids in Mabinay

A few days ago a group of 40 kids and staff came from Mabinay to Dumaguete to have their hearing tested in the hearing clinic installed a few months ago as a result of Fruit Bearers’ work.  We’re trying to find those who can benefit from hearing aids.  The people up there in Mabinay are so poor that they had no money for lunch for the kids and the kids had none themselves.  So, Fruit Bearers took them all to Jollibee (Philippine equivalent of McDonald’s) for lunch.  They had never been to such a place.  They had chicken, spaghetti and chocolate sundaes.  The Jollibee mascot came and entertained.  It was a wonderful time.  The kids and staff members were thrilled with the experience.  By-the-way, they had never ridden an elevator before either.  So, going to the 4th floor hearing clinic at the hospital was an adventure in itself.

Near the New Clearing

Near the New Clearing

This Christmas we have the privilege of providing running water to 4 homes in the hills for the first time.  They are so excited!  Fruit Bearers will pay for the initial hook-up and then they must pay the monthly charges themselves.  All have agreed to the arrangement.  Our staff will train some of the mothers in jewelry making to help them earn money to pay the water bill.  Maybe someday we can help them get electricity too.  All of these people attend a Saturday AM Bible study which is being held in one of the homes.  The study has outgrown the space so a 12 by 12 plot of land was cleared for a shelter for the Bible study.  It won’t really be a church but will provide a covered place where more people can gather.  Fruit Bearers will provide funds for the materials and the Bible Study folks will build the shelter.

The Lord continues to provide Fruit Bearers with many opportunities to “take the love of Jesus to the people in the hills and mountains of Negros Oriental.”  The only way we can continue our work and reach further into the mountains is through the faithful giving of our donor friends.  Your gifts help bring water, Living Water, and so much more to these needy people.  Thank you.  By-the-way, gifts can now be made on-line at fruitbearersministries.com.

The Mascot

The Mascot

Thanks so much for your support and have a wonderful Christmas!

Wes and Judy Robbie
Fruit Bearers
PO Box 833
Duvall, WA 98019

Newsletter: God Uses a Gunshot

God Uses A Gunshot

Fourteen year-old Rey awoke one June morning and headed to work at the Jeepney repair shop.  Forced to quit school after 4th grade because his family didn’t have enough to eat, Rey felt lucky to have a job.

On his 10 AM break, Rey walked to a nearby store to buy a snack and a cold drink.  As he reached for the entry door, he heard an explosion, felt a searing pain in his back and crumpled to the ground.  Rey had been shot in the back, his spinal cord severed.

When his assailants rolled him over to finish him off, they realized they had shot the wrong kid.  Rey was not the “enemy” they planned to eliminate.  They fled the scene leaving Rey barely clinging to life –a life forever changed.

A year later a despondent Rey wished the bad guys had finished him off. A paraplegic, fifteen year-old boy with no future… what was there to live for?  “Nothing!” Rey decided, and took a razor blade to his wrists.

WheelchairWith his life rapidly draining away, his lola (grandmother) “happened” upon him.  She tied a rag around his wrist and called for help.  Rey survived the suicide attempt.  God had other plans.

Today, Rey praises God.  He sits in his wheel chair and calls the “shooting” a blessing.  With a smile, he explains that the “accident” stopped him from going “bad”.  Living in such extreme poverty, he had started to hang out with gang members because they had pesos and said he could too.

How did Rey come from flirting with life on the streets to giving his whole heart to God?  Unable to support his family as a tricycle driver, Rey’s father sent his wife, Rey, and 6 younger kids to live on another island where the cost of living was cheaper.  Family there would help, and he would send them P600 (about $14) a week to live on.

The island was Negros Oriental, and that move was no accident!

God knew about the Great Physician Rehab Center in Dumaguete and they had the means to help Rey learn to care for himself and would supply him with his first wheel chair. However, Rey’s life was still empty!  What purpose could he possibly have confined to a wheel chair?  Then his wheel chair broke, and he had no hope at all.  But God orchestrated a “miracle”.

He met people from a new ministry called Fruit Bearers.  They loved God and demonstrated God’s love to him.

Through their care (thanks to giving people in Montana and Duvall, WA), he received a new wheel chair, barber training, and even a chair where he can rotate his customers.

Baptism

Amazed by God’s care, Rey gave his whole heart to Him.  He asked to be baptized (see picture) and receive a Bible.  Judy and I were so excited, we rode a bus for 3½ hours to support him.

His joyful countenance touched both of us, especially when we realized what this baptism cost him.  When he expressed his “radical” love of the Lord, his whole family and close friends turned against him.  In fact, none of his family or friends came to his baptism.

What are Rey’s goals now?  He plans to earn his living by barbering while he studies his Bible.  He believes God has given him a purpose.  He dreams of attending Bible college and then spending his life sharing how God used a gun shot injury to change his life.

How will Rey continue to grow in his Faith?  He has a Bible and Fruit Bearers Chaplains speaking into his life.  Every week, they travel 7 hours (3 1/2 each way) to hold church in Mabinay.

What a wonderful story of Transformation, Hope and Faith, and we all had a part in it.

Truly our working together as one body gave a lonely boy a new life.  Thanks to everyone–those who gave for the new wheel chair, those who gave for the chaplain’s salary, those who gave for Rey’s Bible, as well as the Philippine staff who actually meet with Rey weekly.

Fortunately Rey’s story is not the only one happening.  Many other stories of Jesus touching the lives of the needy on Negros Oriental are being written.  Please remember, your support is an essential part of those stories.

Wes and Judy Robbie
Fruit Bearers
PO Box 833
Duvall, WA 98019

PS  Right now, Fruit Bearers has a specific need.  Our chaplains’ only mode of transportation is a borrowed motorcycle.  They use it six days a week over rough terrain spreading God’s Word.  We really need to buy them their own cycle for their ministry.  A new Honda 125cc cycle will cost about $1,800.  Would you like to help in this important project?  If so, please send your gift to the above address or give on line at Donate Now.  Thanks.

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Newsletter: Parable of the Mustard Seed

Fruit Bearers

 

In Mark 4:30-32, Jesus tells the parable of the mustard seed.  “…the smallest seed you plant in the ground.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”

That parable reminds me of Fruit Bearers.  It started with a tug to the heart—a mustard seed—and then (with the care of the Lord), it has grown into a living tree, spreading its fruit-laden branches over many:
Girl after surgery

  • 30 needy children sponsored on a monthly basis
  • One 15 month-old boy received life-saving heart surgery
  • 8 children with cleft lips and cleft palates received their first surgeries
  • A new house was built for a destitute family
  • About 30 people have professed faith in Christ and been baptized
  • A complete, donated hearing clinic was installed in a local hospital
  • 1,500 needy people received food and clothing after a flash flood
  • 1,000 families received food and water after a killer earthquake
  • 50 to 60 people per week attend regular Bible studies
  • A congregation of 25 to 30 people (and growing) meets every Sunday as a church
  • Four full-time staff carries the vision of Fruit Bearers into the far flung places of Negros Oriental.

Partnering with you, God made the above possible.  Thank you for caring for those, who are so much in need.  Your care has made a difference.

However, as you can see the needs are great and continual funding is essential.

However, I have Good News.  Recently, a caring giver made a CHALLENGE GRANT for Fruit Bearers’ General Fund.   She will write a check for $5,000—-when other friends give a combined total of the same amount.

And the really Great News is——others have already given $3,500 toward the pledge.  This means Fruit Bearers only needs $1,500 to have her write a check for $5,000.

BaptismReplenishing Fruit Bearers is life giving.  It allows our staff of 4 in the Philippines to work full time, seeking those in need—physically and spiritually.  It also provides the funds for medical procedures and other projects, not specifically covered by a sponsor.

In other words, it changes lives.  Would you be willing to help meet the rest of the Challenge Grant? Just think, your gift in any amount will help us reach a Challenge Grant that will give Fruit Bearers $10,000.

Please give prayerful consideration about giving a gift at this time.  Join me in this exciting Adventure with the Lord.  His love is so gracious, and we can be a part of it.

Wes Robbie