Christmas 2019 Newsletter
Dear <<First Name>>,
In November and December, we co-host parties at locations with partnership feeding programs and at some sponsored churches or centers. These are community celebrations with special food, games, prizes, songs.... and always an opportunity to share the gospel message. This is also a time to thank the parents, teachers and other involved partners. How we wish you could be there to join and to experience what God is doing.
Just like during the daily feeding programs, the parents prepare all the food for the parties and provide some of the ingredients. The teachers are in charge of the overall events.
The parents and teachers work very hard each day to feed the children. It is a joy to be able to thank them at the parties with clothing from the boxes sent from the USA. You can see how much joy it is to receive a new clothing item. This is the daughter of one of the parents.
During a regular feeding time, these children at the Pamuhatan Elementary School were sitting on top of wood which later in the day, was used to construct a new feeding center for the school.
The parents, the school and SOD have worked together to construct the new center so that the food can be prepared and served out of the rain and in one location. Most of the labor, wood and block materials is being provided by the parents. SOD donated the roofing for the project.
Parties were also held at the Padada Youth Center and the Aplaya Community Center.
The total number of attendees at all of the school, church and center parties or other Christmas events, is projected at more than 1,200 persons. A whole lot of spaghetti is being prepared and a lot of celebrating of God's goodness and faithfulness.
Many of the mothers and some times fathers attend the events with their children. This is one of the sponsored students at the Marilog High School of Agriculture in Datu Salumay and her mother.
Changing topics...on Leyte Island, we dedicated another put-put unit -- #60. We also turned over ownership of several units in Nov. and Dec., as the first put-put recipients have successfully completed their four year agreement period. God has really grown both the put-put and boat projects.
The 101st boat was dedicated and released. 40+ other boats are now at or near the end of their four year agreement period and we are pleased the families are earning ownership of the boats. More boats and put-puts are being added each month.
Not all days are like this...but when they get a big catch, it is a cause for celebration. These are some of our first boat recipients from 2014, who now own their boats.
In Davao, we continue to host many families at the REST House and have a talented group of workers who focus on spiritual matters with the mothers and children, as well as attending to their physical needs.
On the right is Rhea Delle, a long-term sponsored college student. We celebrate with her as she just passed her board exam and is now a Licensed Professional Teacher. Seven other sponsored college students have passed their board exams in recent years.
The children shown here are from Palawan, Zamboanga, Leyte and Mindanao Islands. In their areas, there are no hospitals which can provide the services they require. Two are burn cases and three are congenital club foot cases.
Many of the cases, like Khyrie, go back and forth to their homes three or more times during the year as they go through the surgeries, castings and physical therapy at the Tebow Cure Hospital. Khyrie and his mother were just staying with us so they could to have a checkup He has some eye issues and was also born with club feet. Soon he will not have to wear the braces all day (just at night) and should be walking by age two. SOD provided his corrective eye glasses. He is from Leyte Island.
Francis and Jhon David are back this week for their checkups at the Tebow Cure Hospital. A local Rotary Club, RC Pag-Asa Davao, provides bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hand towels and other items for all who stay at the REST House. Francis and Jhon David are also from Leyte Island and enjoy hearing Bible stories and memorizing verses.
We celebrate with Alex, a burn case. He has had an 11 month journey, with multiple surgeries and over 60 appointments at the Tebow Cure Hospital...many for dressing changes. He has stayed with us for several months in 2019, sometimes going home for a few weeks, in between his treatments. He is from Mindanao Island but needed to be close to the hospital for wound care.
We are gearing up for the February, Night to Shine Event, which is one of the feature events of the Tim Tebow Foundation. Many of you have donated dresses and shirts for the festivities and we are now helping to size them for the attendees. These are some of the girls who will be attending from Davao School for the Blind.
Other students, such as Martin (below) who receives physical therapy at the hospital, will also be attending along with many former and current surgery cases. Attending will be students from DEAF Ministries, from the Down's Syndrome Association, prosthetic cases from Tebow Cure and the Jubilee Foundation and children from Resources for the Blind.
SOD is blessed to be a partner for this event. We hope to be able to bring back Ace and Cyndi from Leyte Island to attend...and possibly Francis too. Often the barrier to attending the event is travel expenses. We try to help with these costs by scheduling their regular appointments around the NTS event.
Two more Bible distributions are scheduled for December in rural, tribal areas. 800 more Bibles will be given in December to pastors, who in turn will give them to members who have not previously owned a Bible. Most are new believers.
We rejoice at the many opportunities God has given us in 2019 ... opportunities for many good works but most importantly, opportunities to make disciples. The families regularly express their thanks to the many donors who support SOD Ministries.
Blessed by your continued prayers and financial support.
Peter Cowles for the SOD Board in the USA and the SOD Board in the Philippines