November 2019 Photo Update
Dear <<First Name>>,
Nearby parts of Mindanao Island were recently shaken by three major earthquakes (6.1, 6.6, 6.5) and hundreds of aftershocks. While none our buildings or equipment were impacted, many of the areas where we have church and community partnerships, were hit hard by the quakes.
In the Aplaya community, about 50 miles from our home, we have a community center, a church which is supported by SOD and a partnership based feeding program with the Aplaya Elementary School. The school is now being used as a shelter for families who lost their homes. Our staff mobilized to join in with the local government and other partners to assist with shelter and to provide feeding supplies.
The Gadeco Elementary School in Balik-Balik, the Atan Owe Elementary and Pamuhatan Elementary, all sustained significant damage. These are sites where we have partnership based feeding programs with the schools and the parents of the children.
We have continued the feeding programs and are dropping supplies at each of our regular sites. The feeding programs are even more crucial now, as many of the children come from homes which were damaged or destroyed.
We are receiving reports from some pastors and churches which were impacted, particularly where we have done Bible distributions. Below is the remains of a home of one of our partner pastors who helps greatly on Bible distributions. We are setting aside funds for repair of some of the homes of the pastors and possibly for some churches. Those desiring to help with reconstruction/rebuilding can earmark donations for this purpose. As with all donations, 100% of what is given, is used for the intended purposes of the donors.
Leyte Island, which was not impacted by the earthquakes but has had a lot of other calamity events in the past, was on our travel schedule last week. Leyte was hard hit by the Super Typhoon of Nov. 8, 2013. We were there on the sixth anniversary of the typhoon. There are 160 families who have been blessed with sustainable livelihood after the typhoon. We celebrated with 59 of the put put bicycle taxi families and dedicated and released the "Peter D" and the "Sandy Lagarbo" units on Nov. 9th.
Over 300 persons were in attendance at the 3rd Annual Reunion. Things kicked off in the morning with a parade led by the families of the 59 units, as a testimony to God's goodness and faithfulness.
Below is one of the new units.
We also transferred ownership of three of the units at the event, as the first families who were issued units have successfully completed their four year maintenance agreement period. (Sierra Bible #1, #2, #3)
While in Leyte, we were able to dedicate another boat, #100 in the fleet. We are in process of turning over a number of the boats to the families who have successfully completed their maintenance agreement periods. By June of 2020, 53 boats families will own their own units. These projects were not intended to stay with SOD but instead to train boat families over four years and then transfer ownership of the units upon successful completion of the maintenance agreements. More boats are on order with all deliveries of new boats expected by January.
This is one of the boat families (Alex Morton Boat) who just sent photos of a nice catch...15 kilo fish which sells for 300 pesos per kilo. That is enough to support this family for more than 10 days.
We are blessed by our ministry coordinators in Leyte --- Pastor Jonas and Disserie Lisbe. Pastor Jonas serves as our Executive Director over the Leyte Ministries. God has given them great skills and abilities and they truly have used their gifts for his honor and glory. They lead many ministries in the Palompon area and have been very instrumental in coordinating and following up on the Leyte patients who have come to Davao for their surgeries at the Tebow Cure Hospital.
A special wedding event - one of the workers at the Rest House, was married on the 13th. Her name is May Ann. She has a great testimony, as her daughter Ethel, was one of the first cases of the Tebow Cure Hospital. Ethel is holding the bouquet of flowers in the front. May Ann started working part-time for us and now is a full-time employee of SOD serving other mothers and children. Most importantly, she is now a follower of Jesus.
Three Bible Distributions were completed recently and two more are planned before the end of 2019.
These distributions are done in partnership with the Tebow Cure Hospital. The pastors not only receive Bibles, clothing and bumper stickers...they are oriented on how to find and refer patients from their communities for surgeries. 800 Bibles are being sponsored by the Sierra Bible Church for the Paquibato District.
Each distribution is targeted for 20 pastors, each receiving 20 Bibles for their rural churches. Our most recent distributions have been in areas which have not been so safe for travel in previous years. God is opening doors!
As stated earlier, we deliver supplies each week to several sites. This photo is with the new principal of the Pamuhatan Elementary School, (left) which was damaged by the recent earthquakes.
One of our joint projects, which will continue to move forward, is a feeding center largely funded by the parents involved in the feeding program. We are committed to give roofing materials in December for the new feeding area. The last area, collapsed prior to the earthquake, due to age and condition.
On our travels to Leyte, we were able to follow-up with several medical cases. Lyra is one of the cases from Ormoc, Leyte. She had a preparatory surgery in Davao and returned to receive a prosthetic leg in partnership with the Tebow Cure Hospital and the Limb Kind Foundation. We visited her at her house and she is doing great!
Every month, we assist with travel arrangements for about 50 patients of the Tebow Cure Hospital or the Jubilee Foundation - by bus, plane, private vehicles and SOD vehicles.. Some are repeat travelers, some are first timers. Some stay with us, others travel back and forth to Davao by bus or other means, for their appointments. This is a group we took home on Friday....a 10 hour round trip. God gives many opportunities to share the gospel and disciple these families.
Jhon David is from Leyte and stayed with us for three months during his three surgeries and other procedures. He traveled back to Leyte by bus last week and returns again in mid-December. It takes 20 hours by bus to from Davao to Leyte.
Angy also is from Leyte and is almost done on her journey to become club foot free. She has made four trips to and from Leyte and will return some time in 2020 again to the Tebow Cure Hospital. She is now wearing regular shoes and running. At night, she still has to wear boots and bars.
Cyndi is also from Leyte and had a preliminary surgery, -- then returned to receive her prosthetic device at the Tebow Cure Hospital with the support of the Limb Kind Foundation. She will return in 2020 for the Night to Shine Event in February and for adjustments to her leg. Another case from Leyte, Ace, will also attend Night to Shine.
The Padada Youth Center continues to reach out to many students and families. The numbers are increasing and we need soon to budget for improved musical instruments and an integrated sound system.
I will be traveling in a few days to Missouri for Janey's college graduation. I hope to be able to share many stories while there about all God is doing.
We are blessed so much by your prayers and financial support and the direct recipients are so grateful.
For God's honor and glory,
Peter Cowles --- on behalf of the board, staff and many recipients of your blessings.
President of Seeds of Dignity Ministries
Oh, that is me in the photo with Bob Tebow, father of Tim Tebow at a recent meeting at the hospital. We work with several of the pastors in his organization.
Donations are welcome and as we are a 501(c)(3), donations are eligible as a tax deductible contribution. Our mailing address is Seeds of Dignity Ministries, 17076 Carriage Road, Sonora, CA 95370. There also are donation buttons on our website and our Facebook Page.