Disclaimer: In many of the photos the children & adults are not wearing facemasks, this is because we are visiting them in their homes. Be reassured all the volunteers are wearing facemasks and adhering to the locally prescribed hygiene standards.
Reeve's Supporters Newsletter August 2020
Speedboat to Hospital!
August turned out be quite a different month than we expected. As some of you may know, Andrea had to be rushed by speedboat to the main hospital on another island for an emergency operation to remove her appendix. It all happened very quickly!
The day started as normal, we had been out to do a children’s club and feeding programmes and then during the night I, Andrea, woke up with terrible pains in my abdomen. We went to the local hospital on Coron where they explained I would need to be transferred to another hospital that could carry out more tests and surgery if needed. This meant a speedboat ride to the island of Culion, previously a leper colony!
Tests confirmed that my appendix was inflamed and would need to be removed before it ruptured. It all happened quickly, and I was prepped and taken to surgery, we were thankful for the doctor allowing us some time to pray together before I went.
As the following days unfolded, we experienced hospital life in a different culture and environment than we might have expected in the UK. We found the nurses and doctors to be professional, knowledgeable, kind and efficient. We could not fault them; Filipino nurses are brilliant!
Family were expected to provide the basic care to the patients so helping with washing, helping to the bathroom, collecting food, making beds, cleaning and included redressing wounds once shown by the nurse how to do it! Relatives slept top n tail on the beds as they needed to be there 24/7. Being a little on the larger size than Filipinos we just about managed to share the hospital bed at a squeeze!
We were really blessed that Miss Rozel’s mum came to the hospital with us, she helped with so much. She stayed at the hospital in the day so James would get some rest ready for night duty! She was invaluable when it came to the complicated discharge procedures.
Privacy is often not great in hospitals and here was no exception, there were no curtains to separate beds and if anyone was having their wound dressed it was common place for all relatives of patients to go and stand around the bed to watch!! There was no TV, so I guess it was all good entertainment!
I was thankful that once discharged I was able to have some time to recover at home and I am now doing much better, thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and James during this time, we really appreciate it.
Corona Virus Update
During August it was reported that there was local transmission of Covid on Coron. The officials initially locked down a specific area of town where cases were, however, as the weeks progressed the cases continued to rise and spread to other areas of Coron. Unfortunately, there has also been 2 deaths.
This street is usually packed with motorbikes, tricycles, cars & vans!
It was decided that Coron town and surrounding areas would go into a strict enhanced community quarantine in September. This meant no one could leave their homes in the restricted areas and the areas outside of this could not enter town or restricted areas. The area where church and our home are, were just outside of these areas however it meant the work needed adjusting again.
The Work Continues....
We were thankful to officials and local police that City Gates Coron were given permission to continue to take food to areas of need during lockdown. There is no benefit system in Coron so if people cannot leave their homes to work it means no money which means no food. We praise God for his provision to continue feeding 500 children weekly.
City Gates was thankful for the opportunity to also take food packs to previous students and church members. Many expressed how timely these packs were and how thankful for the provision of food to feed their families.
Children’s clubs could not continue during lockdown; however, bible stories and worksheets were distributed to the children along with food.
We have been so blessed that the children are so keen to show their completed worksheets with such pride, lollipops are a good incentive to learn!! Parents are also thankful for the worksheets to occupy the children! We are excited to be resuming the children’s clubs in October.
City Gates was also able to bless officials and Police who were manning the checkpoints, by taking cooked meals to them during lockdown.
Cases now appear to be reducing. Please continue to pray for people who are struggling due to no work at this time and for the cases of the virus to continue to reduce.
Mental Health Help
We recently heard of a gentleman who sadly committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and children. This is not the first suicide we have heard of recently. There are many stress factors for families now. Lack of work and recent restrictions will make providing for their families a pressure. Children and elderly are not allowed to leave their homes, and this can also impact on home relationships. Filipinos are very sociable and the restricted opportunities for this is having an impact. As is the case around the world, the uncertainty of the future and fear of this is becoming more evident.
As mental health nurses we wanted to try and help. We have produced a mental health awareness flyer to distribute to households. Thanks to Teacher Jhen for the Tagalog translati0n. Please pray that they will be well received and helpful. As a church we pray that we can be a light and share the hope of the gospel with those struggling at this time.
We praise God that before and after lockdown, church and small groups were able to gather again.
It has been exciting that 2 new small groups have begun, and we can see the beginnings of house churches forming. Praise God that during one of the meetings with Pastora Riza and parents, one of the ladies, mommy Jennifer, made a commitment to follow Jesus.
Please pray for her and for continued opportunities for sharing the gospel with adults and the children.
How Your Support Helps.....
In our last newsletter we introduced a family that we had connected with and we want to share ways in which your support is helping them and other similar families. We praise God for their openness to engage with us. We have been blessed as a church to be able to support and encourage them at different times.
Life is hard and they live in extremely basic accommodation with no electric or running water supply. Water is collected from a nearby well, cooking is done over wood and their homes are made of bamboo, wood and old rice bags.
They are always happy when we visit for the children’s club and adults’ small group and are so thankful for the cooked food and food packs.
Their main source of income is from fishing. We heard how one of the mothers went out all night with her young baby to catch fish to sell. They sell to local stores for a very low price, the store then sells on for much more. The church was able to encourage them and direct them to areas where they could sell the fish directly to people for a much better price.
On one visit, 2 of the children were ill. The mother expressed a belief that the home was the cause and we heard how they believed “bad spirits” in the home could cause sickness. Not only were we able to pray for them and encourage them, we were able to offer practical help by giving children’s medicine and also to help facilitate a visit to the doctor’s clinic. It was great to see the children well again now.
These are small ways that we can share Gods love as a church to the people we engage with and to help where we see needs.
Praise and Prayer
Thank you for your prayers.
We praise God for his protection and provision before, during and following Andreas recent surgery.
We thank God for provision to continue to meet the needs of people struggling here on Coron due to the pandemic.
Please pray for the continued reduction of the spread and of Covid on Coron.
Please pray for the children and parents we engage with, that God will protect and provide for them.
Please pray for those who are struggling with Mental Health difficulties due to the changes caused by Covid. Please pray the flyers are well received and helpful. Please pray for opportunities this may give to share the gospel and be hope and light in dark situations people are facing.
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter, we are so thankful for all your support and could not be doing any of this work without you.
Love from Andrea and James
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