Brain Tumor

One of our CSM workers was visiting people in the hospital last week.  CSM stands for Community Service Ministry and this ministry regularly goes to hospitals to pray for people, give food and other needed supplies, hand out Bibles and other materials, and help with paperwork families have to do.   Emily, our worker,  went into a room and was surprised to see a young girl that she recognized.  Emily had taught this  girl in a Values Education class at the Lanton Elementary school two years before.

This girl, named Angeline,  has a brain tumor.   Her eyes are bulging out from her head and she has lost her vision.

Emily asked if the girl remembered her.  Angeline said yes.  Emily talked to the girl and her parents.  Emily asked if Angeline remembered the lessons she had shared about Jesus.  Angeline smiled and said yes.  Emily shared with the family that we never know when our time on earth will end. For any of us, it could be at any moment.  Emily reminded Angeline that when we believe in Jesus, we live forever with him in Heaven.  Emily told Angeline that it didn’t matter if Emily got to Heaven first, or if the girl got to Heaven first. What was important is that they would both see each other again there.  That is the promise and hope we all have in Jesus.

Emily told Angeline that she has a mission – her mission is to make sure her parents also will be able to see her again in Heaven.  She needs to remember what Emily has taught her and share that with her parents.  Emily encouraged her that God is using her to do that.  Angeline agreed.

It is hard to minister to children who are facing death no matter what country you are in.  This girl’s family only has one wish at this point:  They would like the school to allow Angeline to graduate in March from Grade 6, even though she has missed so much school.  For them, that is as far into the future as they are able to look.

Our prayers are with this family as they face this challenge.  Our team will continue to minister – it is what they do.   We will pray that God will heal in whatever way He chooses.  We trust in His perfect plan.  We will pray that Angeline’s life will be a testimony to a faithful and compassionate God.  And we rest in the assurance that those of us who know Jesus as Lord will get to see this young lady again as we stand together in the presence of our mighty God.

To God alone be the glory.

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This is Angeline asleep in her hospital bed. Her caretakers are also taking the opportunity to rest.

 

 

 

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A New Cataract Case – with a twist

On Friday, July 15, we traveled 3 hours into the mountains around an area called Lake Cebu to a place called Apopong Laconan.  One of our Pastors, Pastor Romie, has been ministering to this area, conducting Bible studies, working in the schools, and trying to share Jesus with anyone who will listen.  The NHM decided to hold a crusade there.  We headed out Friday morning with 4 vehicles loaded with supplies, equipment and people.  We made it there and back through difficult road conditions with only some minor damage to vehicles – thankfully on the way home.  The crusade was held.   It was a wonderful time.  It absolutely poured, with thunder, lightning, the whole bit – which made the roads even worse on the way back.  But we took the opportunity to take flip flops, food and the word of God to a remote area, which is heavily Muslim.  It is what we are here to do.  If we didn’t go, who else would?

The children there walk long distances to attend school and many have to cross the river.  There was worry about them getting home after the crusade since it was getting dark and had rained.  But that is their reality.  Every day they face those challenges.

While we were there, we met a 16 year old girl named Nelbie.  She is in the 6th grade.  Her vision is obstructed by cataracts.  They were  immediately noticeable. Our mission administrator, Salvador, brought her to my attention.  She was very shy and became even more self-conscious as we tried to get information from her.

I talked to Salvador, who talked to Pastor Romie, who speaks little English.  They spoke in Cebuano (I think).  Then the Pastor spoke to the girl in Tiboli, the local language of that area.  Then all the information was translated back to me.  It was quite a conversation with information and questions going back and forth – like playing “telephone.”   Here is what I was able to learn:

Nelbie lives in an area a couple more hours away from where we were holding the crusade.  She comes to this barangay every Sunday afternoon and spends the week in a dorm in order to be able to attend school.  She returns to her home for the weekend, then returns to the dorm the following Sunday.  She told us that someone – and I have no idea who she has been checked by – says she will be blind in the next year.  I have no way of knowing if that is true.  What I do know is that she needs help.

On Tuesday, Pastor Romie will travel up to the village where this girl lives and attempt to locate her family.  If he is successful, he will ask if they are even interested in Nelbie receiving eye care.  Medical care here is not always accepted.  For this family, this will mean a big commitment of time away from their home and travel back and forth to our mission.  If they are interested, we will contact the eye surgeon here who has done cataract surgery for people from the mission before.  We will arrange a time for an examination so Nelbie can be evaluated to determine what is needed as far as  treatment.

We will bring Nelbie and a parent down from the mountains.  Pastor Romie will escort them here to the mission.  They will spend two nights and see Dr. Santos the day between.  Then we will get them back home.  We will confer with Dr. Santos.  Hopefully she will be able to give us the plan for treatment and an estimate of the funds that will be needed.  If the money is available, we will schedule further treatment.  We will plan on housing Nelbie and a parent here before her surgery and after, until it is safe to return her to her home.

This is going to be quite an undertaking, but what choice is there?  God has put this young lady in our path.  We are experienced with getting help for those with cataracts and have Dr. Chris Colvin from Springfield, Ohio standing by our side to help as needed with suggestions, arrangements,  and communication with the local surgeon.

We went up into the mountains to share the word of God and to love on people in a remote area.  God apparently had an additional idea – one of His little ones needs help.  We can help.  I believe He will open the doors needed to give Nelbie back her vision.  And after that, who knows what plans He has for her.  How blessed we are to be able to be used as His instruments to give a child a chance she never expected to have.

To God alone be the Glory!

 

 

Baby Diane Rose

A 16 year old unwed mother passed away during a C-section delivery of her baby.  Her mother was there and became the immediate guardian of the baby, Diane Rose.  The baby went home from the hospital with the grandmother.  After a week, the baby was back at the hospital, which is where our CSM workers met them.  The baby had at that point been in the hospital for three weeks.   The baby looked awful – dehydrated and starving.  It had been two days since she had any formula.  Yes – in the hospital.  No formula.  The hospital will care for the medical needs of the baby but the family must provide the formula.

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Before returning to the hospital, the grandmother had tried to use a less expensive formula but it was not helping the baby.  The baby was rejecting it and not growing.  The baby was slowly dying.

Our CSM team came back and reported the story to our NHM administrator.  He immediately issued an order for a can of formula to be taken to the hospital for the baby.  Within a day, the baby was already showing signs of improvement.  Our CSM team continued to visit each day and talk and pray with the grandmother.  One day during their visit, the baby’s father was there.  He had been contacted and had come – and brought another can of the needed formula.  He wanted to help – to get to know his daughter.  The baby’s health improved and she was released from the hospital.baby - after foodAfter 2 weeks, our CSM team found the grandmother and Diane Rose at the hospital again.  Same story – the family cannot continue to buy the needed formula.  The cost is P500 ($11.00) per can.  The father makes P190 ($4.10) per day as a laborer.  A can lasts maybe a week to 10 days.  Our team will check on the baby again in the coming days.  Not sure what they will find.  The hospital will do what they can to keep the baby alive but I am not sure how that will happen without the right formula.  God will need to intervene on behalf of this little one.  As much as our hearts are breaking over this, there is only so much we can do right now.  There are so many children, so many similar stories.  This is a story we will continue to monitor, help where we can, and write the ending as it happens.  Please pray for Diane Rose and her family.

Prayers for an Aging Aunt

A parent of a sponsored child at NHM asked a favor of our CSM team.  He asked that they go to the home of his aunt and minister to her there.  The aunt is weak physically and was in need of comfort and some spiritual uplifting.  There were also conflicts within the family and the parent was hoping our team of pastors and ministry workers could help resolve some of those issues.

Our CSM team took the challenge and traveled to Mabuhay Maros Subdivision, outside General Santos City.

When our team arrived at the home, they met Aunt Lisa.  Lisa is in frail condition and is house-ridden.  She is cared for by her sister, and there have been difficulties in their relationship.  Both sisters are at times angry and impatient with each other.  Lisa is a Christian.  She was at one time active as a Sunday School teacher and a Bible class teacher.  Now her health keeps her from being able to work for the Lord.  She felt frustrated and discontent.

The CSM team began to talk with Lisa and pray over her.  They prayed for her physical healing.  They prayed over her relationship with her sister / care provider.  They shared scripture with her.   They sang songs of praise and worship together.   They encouraged her to look beyond her situation and see that she is not a hopeless person – that God still has a purpose for her life.

Lisa felt the peace of the Lord as she talked with the CSM workers.  Emily recounts that a glow came back into Lisa’s eyes as she was reminded that the only miserable people are those without God in their hearts.  Lisa realized that she is still able to work for the Lord – to minister to and pray for her family members.  Lisa told the workers that she now knows why God still has her here on earth.  She has a purpose.  Her hopelessness was gone as she focused on God’s love for her and the thought that even though she seems to have little, she really has much.  She once again felt God’s presence in her life.

Our CSM team left Lisa and her sister with a renewed sense of hope and joy.  Once again, they had shared the love of the Lord to a fellow believer and walked away feeling humbled and blessed to be doing this work.  May God continue to use all of us at NHM to accomplish His purposes wherever He calls us to go and whatever that work looks like.  To Him alone be all the glory.

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Lisa (in light blue) and her sister (in pink) surrounded by our CSM workers (in dark blue shirts).

2015 New Year’s Eve Outreach

On New Year’s Eve, a group of our CSM workers volunteered to reach out to some of the poorest families we have met in General Santos City.  These are families that have been identified through our daily outreach and feeding program by Pastora Calinawagon.  She has met these families, prayed with them, given them food when in their area, and today we stopped by their homes to sing some carols and deliver a specially prepared gift bag.  Each bag included rice, noodles, canned goods, clothes, and toys.  We also gave a pair of flip flops at each stop.

Bags packed

We set out to find these homes, not quite sure exactly where any of them were, but with the help of local government officials, we were led and directed down unpaved alleys to the right places.  These are truly families in need.  At one home we met a mentally unstable woman with a medically ill adult daughter.  One stop was a single mom with 6 children to raise.  One home housed an 86 year old grandmother.  At two stops, we found only the children, older children caring for younger while the parents were out trying to get supplies.  One home was leaning so badly that if a table had not been pushed up against it, the structure would have fallen over.  A couple of the homes had no doors, just a cloth to cover the opening.

We went with the intent of letting these families know that they are loved.  Words of encouragement were spoken.  A few recipients responded with tears.  We were blessed at being able to end the year with one more chance to share God’s love in a practical and real way.

105 and Going Strong!

Our CSM team went up into the mountains to do a Christmas outreach.  More information about this outreach can be found on the “Photos of recent events” page on the Naomi’s Heart Mission website (http://www.naomisheartmission.org).  One of the people that the team met on this journey was a grandmother who is 105 years old.  She lives with her daughter, who must be in her late seventies or early eighties herself.  She told the workers that her vision is blurry now (possibly cataracts) but otherwise, the workers reported her strong and in good health for her age.  They were amazed.  She has lived her life in this village and worked hard to provide for her family as best she could with the limited resources available.

This village is in a remote area outside General Santos City. The nearest water source is 2 kilometers away.  There is no electric in the village except from a couple truck batteries.  Access to the village is difficult and done mostly by motorcycle, which limits the supplies that can be brought in.

As a couple team members talked with this woman, they were inspired by her attitude of contentment with her life.  She is a happy woman, grateful for her years and the family she has.  The one thing she was in need of was a pair of shoes.  She had none.  So the team found a pair of flip flops among the clothing brought along for distribution and was able to take care of that problem for her.  She was very appreciative.  The team also took bags of hygiene items, foods and gifts for handouts to the people of the village.   They made sure that this woman and her daughter got some extra bags.  After all, 105 is quite an achievement in a world with access to medicines and doctors.  How much more so in the remote villages in the mountains of the Philippines.

 

 

Ministry in the Public Market

Pastora Calinawagan is one of our CSM workers.  Each weekday she takes the word of God literally to the streets.  Some of her target areas are the public markets throughout General Santos City.  She pulls up in a vehicle with a second pastor, Pastor Teddy, and a couple parents of NHM sponsored children who will help with the feeding.  She has a sound system that runs off a car battery and a pot of Lugaw.  Pastor Teddy has a guitar.

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Once the sound system is set up, Pastora begins speaking into the microphone to a  parking area full of tricycles and motorcycles.  The drivers are standing around in groups, waiting for people who need rides, chatting about the day, visiting with friends.  People wander through the parked vehicles.  People walk past the vehicle  and Pastora.  People are shopping, moving from booth to booth.  Children are sitting or walking throughout the area or are being dragged by the hand from shop to shop.  Some people turn to see who is speaking.  Others just keep moving.  Pastora does not care.  She has come with the purpose of sharing her love for the Lord and sharing His love for the lost.

Pastora sings a song accompanied by guitar.  Her voice fills the air.  Some will stop and listen.  Some know the song and sing along.  Most continue whatever they are doing.  When she finishes singing, she introduces herself and tells that she is from Naomi’s Heart Mission.  She tells a little about the mission and its ministries.  Then she begins to share.

Pastora tells about the love of God.  She shares John 3:16 and preaches about how much God loves each of us.  She teaches that God loved us so much that he sent his son, Jesus, as a sacrifice so that we could have forgiveness.  The crowd continues their activities, but some are listening.  You can tell. You can see heads turn.  You can see the children stop their talk to each other and focus on Pastora.  And there are some drivers that have paused and are thinking on what is being said.  Even those who do not stop to really listen are hearing enough to know that Pastora has a passion for the Lord.  Later they will reflect back on that.  Later they will remember this woman and the words she shared.  Seeds are planted.  Children will ask questions.  The word of God never returns empty.  It always accomplishes what God desires and achieves the purpose for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11).

At the end of her message, Pastora gives a general invitation for anyone interested to come forward and be prayed for.  She encourages the people to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior – to begin a new life walking with Jesus.  She says, “Come and I will pray for you.”  And people respond.  On this particular day, four drivers have been listening.  One is the husband of a woman who attends a church nearby but he himself has never felt drawn there.  Pastora’s words have now moved him and he comes forward and prays with Pastora.  At the end, she gives him a bible.

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Three other drivers have been watching.  They also decide to come forward and pray with Pastora.  They have read Bibles before but do not have any in their homes.  They ask if she has bibles for them.  Sadly, she does not.  Our mission does what it can to give out Bibles in the hospitals and at other outreaches, but our supply is limited due to funds.  However, Pastora tells them she will return the next Monday and try to bring Bibles for each of them.

11146478_1500256206933693_7229694405328376467_n copyAs Pastora finishes, the pot of lugaw is opened and cups are distributed by the parents who have come along to help.  Anyone who comes to the vehicle is fed – the drivers, the shoppers, the shopkeepers, and especially the children.  We see elderly and pregnant women.  We see mothers busy with small children.  We see tough construction workers.  We see “cool” teens who don’t want to look like they are taking a cup, but do anyway.  People are thankful.  People are hungry.  People know the mission is handing out love in a real and practical way.  Jesus is reaching down and touching each person who receives a cup.  More seeds are being planted.

When the pot is empty and the sound system is stowed away, Pastora and the others head back to the mission.  Today, four men came forward and accepted Jesus as their Savior.  Only God know the others who made quiet, personal commitments.  Only God knows those who heard the Word and tucked it away for later contemplation. Only God knows what harvest will truly come of Pastora’s time and energy.  Pastora is OK with that.  She has done what she was called  to do…and God is smiling.
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CSM begins Hospital Visits

Joffrey copyOur CSM team has begun a new ministry. They are visiting people who are in government hospitals, offering to pray over them and sharing the word with anyone who will listen. This is a new challenge for some of our young workers who recently completed their schooling thanks to our mission sponsorship program and graduated from college last March. They are sharing their faith with sick and injured children, with the dying, and with the neglected. This can be difficult for many mature Christians. Our young people are stepping up and allowing God to lead them and I, for one, am very proud of them.

Joffrey is one of those recent graduates.  He was at District Hospital last week. Visiting hospitals is new for him, but he has found this ministry to be rewarding. He says he was shy at first, surprised by the condition of some of the people – their thin bodies, their haggard faces, the hopelessness of their lives. But after, he felt blessed by his time praying over people. He saw in their eyes, in their faces, and heard in their responses how much they appreciated having God’s word shared with them. One woman told him, “Your prayer is the biggest help to me.”

At first, Joffrey thought he would minister in the children’s ward. That seemed like an easy place to start. But as he continued through the hospital, he felt led to go towards the isolation ward. A guard stopped and questioned him. “Do you have a patient here to visit?” Joffrey replied “No, but I have a person to meet today.”   The guard let him through. He stepped into a room with 9 beds, 8 of which were occupied. He looked around and a woman sitting next to one of the beds looked back at him. Joffrey felt she was reaching out to him, seeking whatever help he could offer. He felt a nudge from God and went over to the bed.

The man lying there was suffering from Tuberculosis. He had been moved to this hospital from a smaller hospital in the town of Marbel, about 60 kilometers away. The woman sitting beside him, called a “watcher,” was his sister or wife. Joffrey felt no fear – just a leading that gave him the courage to touch this man and pray over him. He asked the man if he knew Jesus and the man nodded, affirming his beliefs. Joffrey began sharing Jeremiah 29:11, reassuring the man that even in these times of sickness, God has a plan for his life. He told the man to not be discouraged or lose hope. Joffrey shared that in all circumstances, God holds the future. The man smiled in response. Then Joffrey laid his hands on the man and began to pray, basing his prayers on the scripture he had shared. He asked God to touch the man and heal him completely.

After finishing his prayer, Joffrey gave some clothing items to the family. Tears of happiness were flowing from the man’s eyes. He managed to thank Joffrey for the prayers, and Joffrey left the room, humbled, blessed, and used as an instrument of our Lord. Joffrey left the room and the hospital, forever changed by the experience and ready to return on another day – to do more of this type of ministry – to continue to walk obediently wherever God leads him. And I am left to wonder – was this about the man who needed prayer or was it about the young man who stepped out and served without hesitation or fear in a place few others would venture? I know the answer. As always, God has brought people and circumstances together in the best possible plan to accomplish his ultimate purposes for them both. A man was in need. Joffrey said, “Yes.” God alone knows the future plans that He has for each of their lives.

by Becky Mingus

Miraculous Healing after a Traffic Incident

You never know what will happen on any given day at Naomi’s Heart Mission. Sometimes we will be called to minister in unexpected ways. As Christians, we must always be ready to do what God leads us to do.  This was put into practice last week as our Ministry team was heading out to one of the local High Schools in General Santos City.

Our new ministry is taking a team to each High School in General Santos City (and there are 26 High Schools) for 5 consecutive days to teach Values Education classes. The week ends with a recognition program and, if possible, a mini-crusade on Saturday. Each of our staff members spends the 5 days getting to know the same group of kids – building relationships, sharing their faith and teaching concepts like self-control, anger management, and dealing with pride.

Last week our team was on its way to one of the High Schools to make arrangements for this new program. It was a windy day, and as they were approaching the school, they witnessed a tree limb suddenly fall from a tree and strike a moving motorcycle carrying a young man from that High School as a passenger.   The van stopped to see if our workers could be of any help. The student was badly injured, having been struck in the head by the branch. They loaded the young man into the van and took off for the closest hospital. They sent word on to the school for someone to contact the parents of the boy and send them to the hospital.

When they reached the hospital, the nurse in charge looked at the boy’s injuries and decided that this small hospital did not have the proper facilities to deal with the severity of this trauma. Our team loaded the boy in the van again, leaving a contact number with the nurse for the parents, who were on their way.

During the trip from one hospital to the other, the boy was crying and in a lot of pain. Emily was holding the boy’s hand.   Our workers, concerned about the severity of the injuries, began praying over the boy. They were afraid because the nurse had assessed such serious injuries, including blood in the boy’s ear. As they called out to God to heal the injuries, their fears were calmed as they claimed His promises. They kept praying that the boy would be fine – that God would heal him completely – even though the first nurse had been so concerned and the boy was in such distress.

All of them kept praying until they arrived at one of the main hospitals in General Santos City. When they got there, they were able to ensure that the boy got needed treatment. They left the boy at the hospital before his mother arrived.

Emily told the boy his mother was on the way and to not worry, but just to keep praying. She told him, “You will be OK.”

Emily received a text message later in the day from the mother of the boy that had been injured. The text said, “This is the mother of the child you helped to the doctor. By God’s grace, my son is OK. The damage is only on his face.” She told Emily that they had already done an X-ray of the child’s skull and found no damage there. The blood that had been seen in his ear at the first hospital had disappeared and there was no indication there of anything wrong. She ended her message with “Thank you and God bless.” Where were those severe injuries that the first nurse had assessed? Gone – by the hand of God – by the time the boy was seen by the second set of medical personnel.

Our team took a risk in aiding an injured child – but what choice was there really? By God’s grace, they were there when needed. They took action and God blessed their obedience to His call to minister in the face of crisis. A miraculous healing took place. A family was touched by the hand of God.

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The tree limb that fell and hit the motorcycle

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The boy rests in the van.

Emily prays

Emily prays over the boy as they travel between hospitals.

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Awaiting treatment at Doctor’s Hospital, General Santos City

 

Vinancio from Purok 6 Extension

Isn’t that quite an address? Purok 6 Extension.  That’s the Philippines.  And it works.  People know where they are and where their friends and family are.  Kids can tell you where one Purok ends and the next begins.  Our ministry teams can also.  They spend their days moving from one Purok to the next, conducting Bible studies for groups of people who are hungry for the word of God, hungry for hope in their lives.

That is where Samuel and Emily met Vinancio.  Vinancio is 80 years old.  He was once a construction foreman.  Now he sits inside this fenced area.  He does not move very much from this spot because his entire body is filled with pain.  He cannot walk.  There is no diagnosis, no treatment.  Just a constant misery that wears down his spirit and body.

IMG_6854Emily asked if he wanted to listen to their Bible study.  He honestly answered, “No.”  He said the pain was too severe.  He wouldn’t be able to focus.  Emily asked if she could pray with him.  He was open to that.  She took his hand and started.  She shared God’s word in her prayers in an effort to encourage Vinancio and brighten his spirits.  It worked.  As she finished praying and talking with him, there was a glow in his eyes and a big smile on his face.  He told her that it was good to hear encouragement from God because it put happiness in his heart.  Then he thanked her for sharing the word and helping him feel such joy.  Vinancio told Emily and Samuel that he cannot go to church due to his condition and he isn’t interested in “religion,” but his heart was moved by the word of God.

Isaiah 55: 11 says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Every week over 20 Bible studies are being held by members of our mission ministry staff in areas all around our mission compound.  Relationships are being built, people are being encouraged and lives are being changed.  God is on the move and His Word will accomplish what He desires.

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