Newsletter: Memo from Manila
Our team finished installation of the Hearing Clinic on Tuesday, March 13 and, therefore, we had free time on the 14th for travel to a Fruit Bearers project. We drove two hours north up the coast and then turned left on a road into the mountains to the community of Mabinay.
In Mabinay several deaf and blind children attend school, thanks to sponsors in the States who make it financially possible. We first visited our students at the elementary school. It’s a big school and we arrived at recess. Our presence nearly caused a riot. The kids had never seen so many big white men in all their lives.
From there we went to the high school. They knew we were coming and had prepared a great welcome for us. The high school deaf kids were full of questions: what’s your name, how old are you, etc, etc. Our guys had fun attempting a little sign language with them.
Next we went to Rey’s house outside of town. Rey is one of the young men for whom one of our donors provided a wheel chair. Rey is trying to support himself as a barber. We took him a used secretarial chair so that he could pivot his clients as he cut their hair. We also delivered his first set of electric clippers¸ thanks to another American couple who gave money specifically to help people who want to help themselves.
Next stop was Elmer and Jimmy’s house. They are the polio victims Judy and I met on our first visit to Mabinay 18 months ago. Generous donors provided wheel chairs for them as well. Our objective was for the team to meet them, see their humble house and see how they were doing. Our chaplains visit them every Wednesday for prayer. That was our agenda – but the Lord had another agenda.
When we arrived at the house, we discovered that their elderly mother, who provides an important part of the family’s income, had fallen and broken her collar bone. She was unable to raise her arm and was in terrible pain. We convinced her that she must immediately ride back to Dumaguete with us and go to the hospital. There was no medical help locally and the family could never have afforded it anyway.
We were very concerned about the broken bone since it had been fractured two weeks prior. Would she need surgery? Would the bone need to be re-broken and re-set? Could Fruit Bearers afford to help her if it was really serious?
X-rays at the hospital showed that the shoulder joint and arm were ok. The doctor determined that surgery could make matters worse, as far as the break was concerned, and therefore advised against it. They put her arm in a proper sling which relieved the stress on the bone and greatly reduced the pain. She was told to keep the arm immobile for a month and that it would mend ok.
She was not only relieved from the pain but from the anxiety of an uncertain future as well. It was amazing to see her countenance change as she gave thanks to the Lord and realized she had hope for the future. She wanted to return home immediately so we fed her dinner and put her on a bus for the trip into the mountains.
It was wonderful for our team to witness what I’ve seen several times. We begin a day with our own agenda but then the Lord opens our eyes to His agenda. It is always so amazing and exciting to be included in His plans. (By the way, the total cost of the hospital visit for the lady was about $65. Fruit Bearers happily paid it.)
My thanks to Brian Hillabush, Roger Snyder, Marco Gonzales, Eric Blankenship and Geoff Tricket for their week of work and companionship here in the Philippines. We had a great time working together and hope to do it again in the future.
Submitted from Manila on the trip home….