March 2020 Photo Update
Dear <<First Name>>,
For the month of February and for the first week of March, our ministries continued on with many routine activities and even some new opportunities. At the Tebow Cure Hospital, a new cleft and palate program was started and we were able to quickly bring in 14 cases. Most were completed and sent home after their rechecks. We have a number of cases lined up for assessment for future surgeries.
As the virus began to spread more in the northern part of the Philippines, shutdowns, restrictions and quarantines were implemented in Manila and in many other islands. We know God is in control in midst of all of this. We are following our leader's directions to do our part to not overwhelm the health care system with a sudden spike in cases. It is much more difficult at this time to bring cases into Davao from outside of the area as travel is restricted in almost all of the Philippines.
At this time, we are still functioning but not able to continue with many of the regular activities which are in this photo update or are doing activities at a reduced level. Schools were scheduled to close for the year on April 1, so that timing is just a couple of weeks early. VBS programs have been canceled for this summer break (April-May) and in Davao, churches have suspended services.
Please include the Philippines in your prayers and know we are also praying for you.
The REST House was at capacity the past 30 days. We are not taking in new cases at this time. By Easter, we project most of those currently staying at the RH will be back home, awaiting their next appointments at the Tebow Cure Hospital. It is possible that for most of April and May, the REST House will be resting.
When we have mothers and children at the RH, we are able to take them to one of the larger churches in Davao to worship together and for Sunday School for their kids. As of now, all houses of worship are temporarily closed due to the virus concerns.
We had a great time of shoe shopping with Jacob as he received his very first pair of regular shoes. He is now back home in Leyte. Two other cases from the Tebow Cure Hospital also received their first shoes!
Feeding programs continued and were very successfully implemented at all sites this school year. At both Atan Owe and in Pamuhatan, the parents -- in partnership with the school/SOD constructed feeding and cooking centers. Atan Owe Elementary School is done now with the first phase of their feeding/cooking center.
Below is the Pamuhatan Elementary School feeding//cooking center. SOD provided roofing materials for both sites. It should be completed by June.
The Balay Pasilungan had the usual supply drops each week and some visitors from a Kiwanis Club in Davao.
As the schools are now closed for this year, the kids are no longer staying over at the Balay Pasilungan. The Kiwanis Club of Hamog Dabaw and the Davao Chinese Baptist Church just blessed them with many items which will be used when the home reopens...most likely in June.
The 20 scholars at/from the Marilog High School of Agriculture (five are now in college) did so well this school year. We were blessed by a much deeper relationship with the students, staff and parents. Graduation was postponed and we plan to resume our work there with the scholars and the feeding program at the high school, probably in June.
In Leyte Island, Bible studies continue on each Friday with the put-put drivers and are always well attended.
The William O boat is often in use for larger gatherings and fishing continues in the smaller boats.
More of the pump boat families completed their four year agreement period and are now owners of their own boats! They also received the balance of their self-contributed maintenance funds and most have upgraded the motors on the boats. Another boat should arrive in the next month or so. By the end of 2020, about half of the boats will be turned over to their new owners.
Two put-put units were added this month both of which were from donors from the Modesto area. These are the 63rd and 64th units. One of the units is shown below.
We completed our last Bible distribution for 2019-20 and have applied for another grant. About 6,000 Bibles were given out to pastors in rural and mostly tribal areas. The costs were supported by churches, individuals and our annual Bible grant from a USA foundation. Most of the sites are now referring patients to the Tebow Cure Hospital as one of the counterparts to receiving the Bibles. This is also a great blessing to the communities.
Davao School for the Blind hosted their Foundation Day on February 28th. The school is also closed for this year and is having some serious discussions about reopening in June, due to financial constraints. SOD partners with the school in many ways but the primary financial funding is from a foundation based in Germany.
The Padada Center hosted many activities, especially around Valentine's Day and began holding more formal Sunday services. The operations there have also been temporarily suspended.
We trust God in all that is going on. While we are changing speeds, we can catch up in the coming weeks on maintenance of vehicles and buildings, have time to develop plans and activities for the next school year, to locate and schedule cases for the Tebow Cure Hospital for rest of 2020...to firm up Bible distribution sites and dates, etc. We will continue to make the best use of our time for God's honor and glory.
Thanks for your continued prayers and support.
For the SOD boards and staff, volunteers and grateful recipients of your generosity and your prayers