Do you sometimes wonder if what you do everyday makes a difference in the life of someone else? You may not always see the difference you make or even hear about it, but believe me you make a difference. After many years of prayer our Bible School students started a Sunday School (Children’s Church) program. These young people along with other volunteers spend about 8 hours a week preparing and studying to teach little ones about Jesus! Children that once cried when they had to come to church on Sunday now wake up excited! Just the other day I was walking through the Happy House and I heard two 8 year olds practicing this weeks memory verse. And as I approached the third floor one of the 3 year olds was teaching the other the hand motions to God Said I love you! My heart was filled with joy, because even our little ones are making a difference! One last story for you to ponder. A few Sunday’s ago a mother told this story. Every Sunday her 6 year old would fuss about coming to church, she thought it was because he had to get up early so she changed services and came to the 9am service. He still whined. The Sunday we announced Sunday school for children he said he didn’t want to attend but she brought him anyway. The following Sunday before daylight she heard water running in the bathroom, when she checked she found her son taking a shower. She ask why he was up so early? He said ” I don’t want to miss Sunday school today, we will learn why God created us”. When you see a need; make a difference. You don’t know the life you might help change!
Eljun has lived in Happy House for 8 years. He came here because his mother was sick and unable to care for him. She passed away 3 years ago. He had a brother and sister that both passed away prior to him coming to Happy House. This young man was always willing to help with household chores, reading with the younger children and doing whatever he could to help the Happy House family. As is typical when he became a teen he started hanging with the wrong crowd. The good thing about a large family is there are lots of people to keep track of your business! That’s a nice way of saying people are always in your business!! In this case it was good that others were keeping track of Eljun. The wrong crowd didn’t stick around long! When school started this year Eljun did not have a sponsor for his schooling. He wanted to attend Ozamiz School of Arts and Trades. One of the ladies here made us aware of the need, so Rick and I prayed about what we could do. As He always does God was faithful to meet the need. Most evenings and Sunday afternoons we see Eljun in the kitchen working on his assignments. He ask Rick to be his sponsor for PTA. He wanted to participate; but he was told because he had no guardian he could not. When Rick heard that he was requesting a meeting with the teacher to say that he would be the responsible person for this boy! Sometimes all it takes is for us to invest a little time in the life of another and their world changes. We don’t regret investing in the lives of these children. Seeing them succeed in life is worth any sacrifice we make. I have posted the picture of Rick and Eljun attending the awards ceremony in which Eljun won an award. So many of you are making a difference in the lives of these children. Thank you for loving them!
We are quickly approaching our sixth month of living in Ozamiz City! The day’s seem to pass so quickly. As we began this journey we told the Lord that we were willing to do whatever he had for us. Little did we know the plans He had for us! Rick has become the PTA father for some of the children that attend City High. The first meeting he attended they wanted to elect him President! He declined that offer, because he has other ministry responsibilities. The PTA father has to help and get volunteers for Saturday clean up days, helping students with homework and any other activates. The kids are all excited, the elementary students said he needs to be the PTA father in their school next year!! Rick is a good sport and it has changed the attitudes of some of our young people. They see that this man cares for them and is willing to spend his time helping on their behalf. It is amazing to watch the children with Rick. They love having his attention and in turn they respect him greatly. He is also the repairman for anything and everything that breaks down in Happy House and Happy Church. The list goes on and on so keep this man in your prayers.
As for me I surely had no idea what the plan would be in my life. I am teaching two days a week in the Bible School. That is a huge undertaking for me. I spend the other days studying and planning lessons. It is a great journey that I am taking with these young people. I have attached a picture of the students after we spent an afternoon evangelizing in the city! My first year students will be starting a new Sunday School program for the Happy Church! We are so excited about what God is doing here in Ozamiz. Please keep us in your prayers.
In the Happy House we have a well that supplies water for washing clothes & dishes and also for taking bathes. A few weeks ago the pump for the well broke. Imagine a house with 70 plus people and no water. Let me correct myself; there was water but they had to go down the street and bring it back in buckets. Thank God for answered prayers and faithful people. We were able to get a brand new pump and jet matic system for the pump! The pump was more than 20 years old. You never realize how much you use something until you don’t have it!
Most day’s the temperature is at least 90 degrees! One Saturday we were busy working around the happy house and the little ones wanted to go for a swim! We couldn’t afford to take everyone, so Rick suggested they play in the hose. This was a first. They had never done that before. I realized as I watched these precious children screaming and enjoying the water hose we take so much for granted in life! The two little ones used the wash tubs that they bathe in for a swimming pool!! We all had a great time on the fourth floor of Happy House playing with the water hose!!
Eighteen years ago when I left Ozamiz City; after my first visit! I felt the Lord showed me a great need here. The people really need good shoes, especially the children. We started buying a few pairs of shoes at a time until a box could be filled. Over the years our family, friends and church family have become partners in “New Shoes for the Philippines”. I will share just one of many stories I have about the shoes. My first visit I had a new pair of hiking boots with me. The day before we left Ozamiz the Lord impressed upon my heart to give these boots to a young man that served us in the kitchen each day. Honestly; I was nervous about doing that because I didn’t want to make him feel ashamed! But I knew I was supposed to give him the boots. I took the boots out and ask him to try them on to see if they fit, of course they fit perfectly. When I told him he could have the boots he cried, I didn’t know what to do? He then explained that he had prayed for 2 years for a good pair of shoes. He lifted his foot and showed me his shoes, the bottom of each shoe had a large hole. My heart broke, but at the same time I was so thankful that I had those boots to give. I was sad that I didn’t have a pair for everyone. This young man completed his degree and now works as one of the top accountants for Shell Oil Company. A new pair of shoes is one of the greatest gifts they receive here. Most have never been taken to a store so that they can choose a new pair. This is why we have a shoe drive each year. As the shoes are packed each year we pray for each pair and the person that will receive them! When the boxes arrive at Happy House around Christmas each year, we put them out as if they were on display in a store and the people are allowed to choose a pair. It is a great blessing for us as well as the children. Our church and my Mom will continue the shoe drive. I have so many stories about the shoes and those that have received them I could go on all day! Just this week I took a new pair of shoes and gave them to my friend Johnny that I wrote about! I wish you could have seen his face. I will never forget the look in his eyes as he took the shoes. He said these are brand new, I never had brand new!!
In Happy House we have lots of mothers. Each room that has small children has a mother. Then we have Nanay Elvie and Mommy Lite. These two mothers started Happy House a home for children that were abandoned or given away. Over the past 30 years they have raised many children. They provide a home full of love for these children. I have been coming here for 18 years and I personally have seen many of these children grow up. Lives that were changed for the best! Every child comes with a story, some more heart wrenching than others. But these ladies have been called by God to take care of the fatherless, widows and orphans. As I have come to know these children through the years one thing I see is the love and gratitude that they have for Nay and Mommy. Most of the children that are grown still come “home” to Happy House to visit and they keep in touch with Nay and Mommy. One thing I hear from these children is “if it weren’t for them I would not be who I am today”. I remember one young man that was part of this family. His name was Fredo, he was mentally disabled. He had the mind of a 5 year old when he came here to live. But he was 12 years old. He was a wonderful young man. He grew up in the streets with people laughing at him and making fun of him because he was slow. His own family threw him away because they were ashamed of him. After years of love from the Happy House family he wasn’t so insecure. He would work for people that owned small shops and when he received his pay he would always bring something home for Nay and Mommy, bread, fruit and sometimes flowers. He loved them with all of his heart and he was very protective of them. Fredo passed away when he was in his early 20’s unexpectedly. It was a tragic loss for this family. These women have created a family and raise these children as their own. Most of the children know how blessed they are to be a part of this family. It should be no surprise that on the day before Mother’s day the house was a buzz. The children were all given sheets of colored paper to make mother’s day cards for Nay and Mommy. After they went to bed I was to tape the cards on each door so that when they woke up on Mother’s Day and opened their door the cards would be there. It was great for me because I got to read the cards! I think I cried when I read each one. Because I know these children and I know they poured their hearts into the cards. This is all they could give, kind words!! The pictures I attached are cards that I have permission to share. We all went to church and then on Sunday afternoon we surprised them with a cake!! Yes everyone kept the secret; it is a miracle! We got the cake in the kitchen while Nay was napping and gathered the children big and small. As they entered the kitchen we sang and then we each told what they mean to us! We ended our Mother’s Day with a dinner out! For me it was the first Mother’s Day I have not been with my mother and my son! Not an easy day. As I reflected on the day I know that the children here knew it wasn’t easy for me today. I got lots of special hugs, cards, a big poster from all of the older children saying what I meant to each one, and last but not least some beautiful flowers. I don’t know what it is like to grow up without a mother of my own because I have been blessed to have one of the Godliest mother’s around, but I got to see what it means to those that have been less fortunate than me.