Davao City was already on a tighter lockdown than anywhere in the USA, and a couple of weeks ago it become even more strict. Only two designated persons are allowed to leave the house for the coming weeks–or months–and only one person at a time. So, among the six who live in our home, four of us can’t leave home until the crisis is over (except for a medical emergency). And even the two persons listed on our ‘pass’ can only go out during certain hours, and only for absolute necessities such as for food or medicine.
Among the few professions allowed to continue is food delivery service, because they would rather people not go to grocery stores. Of course, going to grocery stores is not banned, because most can’t afford delivery services. If only there was a free food delivery service…with free food…
Thanks to Davao City Outreach’s donors, we have been distributing free groceries to about 90 households for once a week for four weeks. This is desperately needed because almost all our friends are unemployed, and there are very few social programs in the Philippines. I have read that the unemployment rate is now 20% in the USA. I believe it’s about 80% in Davao City.
(EDIT: One month later, we are still doing this every week, thanks to our donors.)
We’ll try to continue these distributions every week throughout the crisis, but that will require spending that is not in our normal budget.
We know that some of our generous donors are struggling, too, and some may not be able to continue donating.
We also drop off printed Bible studies to each family every week.
While Gina and I were in the USA (in January), I bought a bunch of books at a second-hand store. I want to see the kids here get better and better at English (plus other subjects). Knowing English can lead to a better job, and it could open doors for our future missionaries.
In the boxes that the books were shipped in, we also were blessed with donated t-shirts, costume jewelry, shampoo, toys, and toothpaste. We thank God for those who helped us by buying these goods, as well as those who paid to ship the boxes here!
Now that kids are stuck at home all day every day, I’m sure they will have all of their books memorized by the end of the crisis.
If you’re interested in sending a box, I think they are about 36 X 36 X 28 inches, and there’s no weight limit. It’s about $110 to send. It’s from your house to ours; you wouldn’t have to lift the box after you fill it. Please ask us for the details.
Every Thursday or so, I preach a sermon to my cell phone camera, then load it onto YouTube. Then my assistant pastor Oning studies the video. Then he preaches it in Visayan live on FB on Sunday.
The church really participates with our online services. They even join us in communion. Every household is ready with flat bread and cups at their homes each week.
It’s a struggle for some to get internet, so we provide for each of their cell phones a “load” to go online. (About $1 per person.) The loads are also enough for them to send photos.
If you’re interested in seeing me preach–sorry, no fancy recording equipment or lighting–here’s the latest:
I went on a part of a road that doesn’t get driven on much. There was some tall grass in the road. And there was a surprise in the grass: a big rock.
We’re using the spare tire and rim now, because every tire repair place is closed.
Before the enhanced lockdown:
Our Gem Village friends were forced to move about one hour’s drive away, to a place with no electricity and no running water. * And they have to build their own homes (the government gave them money for that). So, we’re doing what we can to help them.
* They will eventually get electricity and running water. It may be six months or a year or more, though.
Before the virus crisis:
Bee joined a team that flew to Myanmar for a 15-day mission to train city folks for rural ministry. She learned just as much as she taught, which was my prayer. Now she is even more equipped for future ministry.
Minda needed type A+ blood. I’m type A+, so I went to the hospital complex to donate for her. But they said since I donated to someone else in January, I couldn’t donate again so soon. Anyway, while we were there, we got to visit her (with hubby and son). Minda needed surgery on her arm because of diabetes complications–to recover from mistakes the hospital had made.
Thanks to two Davao City Outreach donors who read about the need on Facebook, we were able to give them $200 for their hospital bills. They were so grateful. Minda was crying for joy.
BTW, they found another blood donor for Minda.
Dozens of men were squeezed in this jail cell, plus seven women in a smaller cell next to the men’s. They were very hungry for the hope in Christ that we preached during our visit. Plus, we led them in worship, and we gave everyone a meal and a drink.
(We don’t want to show their faces, per the jailer’s instructions.)
Oning, my talented assistant pastor, knows how to illustrate the Gospel in ways that kids can understand. For example, he’s great at sleight-of-hand AKA magic (though it’s not really magic).
My Gina leads worship, she’s the chief cook, she excels in hospitality, and she oversees kids’ ministry. And she also occasionally teaches–here’s a women’s Bible study group.
Our friend Amy Kay visited again from Alabama. She worked side-by-side with us in our ministries (such as prison, orphanage visit, home visitation), and she generously gave, too. Amy had this to say about Gina:
This woman!!!!! She is kind and strong. She is compassionate and passionate. She is beauty and grace. She loves God and people with all that she has. Every year our bond grows stronger. Thank you, Gina Edrozo Allcott, for being the example of a godly woman to so many here in the Philippines but to me also. I’m so thankful to call you my friend and my sister. I love you.
Friends, I’m so grateful for your prayers. I was in a tough season for a while, but through your prayers the Lord sustained me.
My mother was near death for weeks. I tried to call her every day, but only I could talk; she was not strong enough to talk to me. She passed away on 2/28, her 81st birthday.
I had a painful condition in my jaw for some weeks. Dental therapy cost about $350. It’m much better now, but I’m still wearing a corrective mouthpiece.
Another doctor says I must protect my face, ears, forearms, and calves from the sun from now on because of possible skin cancer issues. My brother died from skin cancer, and I have had pre-cancerous lesions removed.
Plus other painful and ongoing issues that are too personal to describe here.
I was so touched and blessed by the kind messages so many sent after I asked for prayer on Facebook. Prayers, helpful suggestions, encouragement … This is the Body of Christ.
I just need to say something here about the very well-intended suggestions about returning to the USA. It’s true, some of the things I asked for prayer about (especially the unspoken ones) would become better or possibly even fixed if Gina and I moved back there. But I wasn’t necessarily asking for prayer to fix everything. I was asking for prayer for God’s grace to sustain us. We need God to help us to really, really believe–and live by–this verse:
“But my life means nothing to me. My only goal is to finish the race. I want to complete the work the Lord Jesus has given me. He wants me to tell others about the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)
Again, thank you all very much. I’m very encouraged.
Gina and I would love to talk with your fellowship group, Bible study, or church via Skype or Facebook chat. We could talk about whatever you’d like: the Philippines, our mission, our personal testimonies, or to urge folks to prayerfully consider serving the Lord in another culture. I think it would be encouraging for your group–it would certainly encourage us!–and it might inspire more prayer supporters and financial supporters for Davao City Outreach. And it would be a chance for us to “see” the US again for a while. The time factor should be easy enough to work out–in the US, your evening is our morning.
To those who give, thank you so much!
Here are the ways you can donate:
We could never repay you for your generosity to Davao City Outreach, but certainly “you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:14)
Please forward this website to others who might be interested.
Please pray that God will send more laborers into his harvest field.
Please do not write to me here. Your message would get buried in the 1000s of spam messages. Please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!