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Paul’s Hope for Change Update – 3/14/14

It’s been a full week of visiting students. Most of our students live in what’s known as the Permanent Housing area here in Tondo, Manila. If you’re not familiar with the community we’re working in, these are former residents of the Smokey Mountain garbage dump. Years ago there was a 2 phase relocation which started in “Temporary Housing” and eventually into the permanent housing.

After the people were relocated into the Permanent housing it wasn’t long before the “temporary housing” filled up with squatters and families looking for shelter. We have some students who live in that community and I went to visit them. This place has really turned into a notorious place. Usually I’m pretty comfortable going around but I have to say I was looking over my shoulder there.

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I’m so thankful for our sponsors who are making a way for these children to receive their much needed education. Such a small investment on our end is a life changing one for them.

Today was Saskia day for me. Saskia is one of our college students. She is finishing her 3rd year. I hadn’t seen her since I arrived and it seemed she has been missing in action for a while. So today it was my mission to go visit with her and find out how she was. When I arrived at her house she gave me the usual big hug and it was so great to see her. But, as it turned out there was a lot going on. Back in January her father abandoned the family. He took off in the night and has not returned. As you can imagine anytime the main bread winner is gone it has a devastating effect on the family….even more here.

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Saskia, being the oldest child has taken it upon herself to try to make any money she can to help provide for the family, plus continue her schooling. I had to scold her a bit for not letting us know she had those needs (Filipinos are often “shy” to share what’s going on). She often times would only have enough money to get so far and would have to walk long distance to get to school. She joked, “I need the exercise”. I was able to reassure her that we would help her. This is why it’s so important to be here and have the contact with these families so we can do all we can to help them. Saskia has one more year and she’ll graduate and I want to celebrate that with her.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my update. I’ll post again soon!

Paul

Paul’s Hope for Change Update – 3/5/14

March 4, 2014 – travel day! I head back to Manila…..and after this never ending New York winter….I can’t wait!
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This marks my 24th year traveling to the Philippines. It was that first trip that changed the course of my life. All it took was one visit to a garbage dump community. It was there that I discovered a passion to help these people in anyway I could. I started participating in a student sponsorship program…..
My first sponsor student, Paul, along with his wife Chona, work together with us in the Sponsorship Program as overseers of the college age students. It is a full circle result!










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I’m so excited to celebrate with them this month as their oldest daughter Mary Rose graduates from college with a degree in Psychology. It’s been a long road from scavenging through the garbage to this celebration. But this is the result of what a simple act can do. It was no big sacrifice for me to help them, yet it brought major change in their lives. I’m so proud of them and all the students who are continuing to persevere through incredible odds to succeed.










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As I travel to the Philippines, my wife Vanessa will be taking a medical team to Sakila, Tanzania for a 2 week medical outreach. We are so honored to be able to do this.
Thank you all for your support of the work Hope For Change is doing in the Philippines, Africa and Nagaland.
Stay tuned for more updates!

Love That Sticks

Love That SticksGod’s love is unconditional and nothing can separate us from His love — now that is the kind of LOVE THAT STICKS!

February is known as the month for love… but we don’t want to focus only on romantic love, but we want to show real love – God’s love! He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us – so let’s share this good news with our family, friends and community!

1 John 4:9-11 “This is how god showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

HERE’S WHAT TO DO:

Grab a pen and a sticky note, write a positive message on it, and put it in places for people to find! And, if you want to, put soundoflife.org on it to point people to our station to learn more about God’s real love!

Some ideas of things to write… “You are beautiful”  “God loves you” or a Bible verse like John 3:16.

PLACES YOU COULD LEAVE THEM:

On the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, a co-workers desk, at the gym, on the bathroom mirror in the grocery store…

SHARE YOUR “LOVE THAT STICKS” EXPERIENCE WITH US… Call 1-800-946-1765 during the Cup ‘a Joe Morning Show or leave a message at other times of the day.  Take a picture of your note or notes you see and share them with us on our Facebook page.

LOVE THAT STICKS!

 

Chaplain Jamie Update 1.30.14

Chaplain Jamie, represented the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, in the Philippines from late December through most of January. She was there to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers. Here is her final update from the trip.

Jamie Grubb

Restoration

I’ve been home for 4 days now and I am still trying to get myself back into the swing of life in this reality, as well as this time zone. Things like hot showers, which are such a part of my “normal” life (and I have already taken eight hot showers or baths since I’ve gotten home) are a thing that many of my new friends no longer have, or never had. Poverty and government corruption takes on many faces, and those faces look like just like me, minus the privilege, or the pre-destination, or the happenstance of where and who I was born to. Born into the USA means born into opportunity, even at its worst.
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Then enters in one of the worst storms in recorded history to rob what most people had in any form of luxury or necessity. Things like insurance and FEMA don’t exist in the Philippines, so the more privileged of my friends now struggle in tents or partially destroyed homes, since Yolanda (Hayain) was the great equalizer in her destructive forces.

I am always changed when I step into a disaster zone, being reminded of the power of God in forces of nature, and forces of redemption; it is the redemption that is most evident in God’s creation to pull together to heal, build, and restore. There aren’t any “atheists in a foxhole,” and God always makes Himself visible in the miraculous stories of survival, or the sustaining stories of loss and redemption. It is the loss I feel His presence the most strongly – in the survival- in the resilience of those who love with agape love. He was in the sharing of bags of rice that were made into rice “soup” as they were stretched to feed more and more people of the Barangay (community), or the heroes who died saving the lives of loved ones, or the homes that were opened up for people to flee, and sleep wall to wall as their own homes were overcome by the tidal surges. God was in the eyes of the moms and aunties whose children were swept out of their arms as they clung to them, but survive and strive to live on with dreams and visions too painful to recount. He is in each nail that pounds into the rebuilding of a new home – a new life. He is in the voices of the school teachers who speak life and bring joy back into the lives of children. They live and rebuild with hope – hope that only God can give to imagine a brighter future in the darkness of the present. They live to experience joy and to find meaning. They live to laugh, and to love, to give birth, to build, to bind, to heal, to find purpose, and to find God.
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We live in a fallen world that is filled with pain and suffering, and I am firmly convinced that every torrential downpour is filled with the tears that Jesus weeps for what was, and is, and is to come. Mostly, we live in a world filled with redemption – the redemption of the cross to heal and restore all that was lost – to make all things new.

In the words of songwriter David Brymer
“You bring restoration
You bring restoration, to my soul
You’ve taken my pain, and called me by a new name
You’ve taken my shame, and in it’s place, You give me joy
You take my mourning, and turn it into dancing
You take my weeping, and turn it into laughing
You take my mourning, and turn it into dancing
You take my sadness, and turn it into joy.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, You make all things new, all things new”

Bring restoration to the souls of the Filippino people Lord God. Make it new for your Kingdoms sake, and to the glory of your son Jesus.
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Chaplain Jamie Update 1.17.14

Chaplain Jamie, representing the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, will be ministering in the Philippines until late January. Her goal is to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers. We’ll be bringing you her updates as we receive them.

Jamie Grubb

One week from today I will be boarding a plan to Manila, and 36 hours after that, leaving for the airport and my return trip home. Today is the first day I have felt truly ready to go home, and perhaps that is why I didn’t have peace until I extended my stay. If I had left last week I think I would have felt I should have remained, but now I know my time here is winding down, my good-byes getting ready to be said, my work completing, and my de-briefings with individuals slowing down. I am stepping back from the work outside the clinic, to be a support system in subtle ways to those around me. An ear when needed, a de-briefing when necessary, a cook, sweeper, sorter, or any other function that can be found helpful. I always tell students that a Chaplains job is to give a “cup of cold water in [His] name” and that takes on many, varied, forms.

I have received so many thank-you’s from the people here for the work I have done. My co-worker Bryan told me that I am known in the community, and people have commented how pleased they were that I went to find the work – the ones that needed help, that I didn’t wait for them to come to me. I have prayed with over 200 people in the last 3 weeks, done about 50 personal debriefings, and eight group debriefings. I also taught about 80 elementary school teachers how to help each other by validating their stressors, as well as work with the children. It has been a full few weeks and it’s not over yet. I only find myself ready to leave because my life is not here – my life is in the U.S. with my husband and family and it’s them I miss now.

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The pain that is here, combined with the great joy and strength the Filipino people show in the midst of crisis, has changed my life forever and I hope I can return soon and continue the work which has only begun. Surely the Lord is in this place and shows himself strong in those who call upon His great name, and the NGO’s who serve in His name to the least of these. Where is God in suffering? He is in the face of each thankful survivor, each glass of water (or water filter) given in His name, each child’s laughter, each community member lending a hand to their neighbors, in the Mercy in Action midwives and primary caretakers who serve selflessly to help alleviate suffering; and I like to think, in myself in some small way, trying to love, and educate, and show I care in the name of Jesus, one life at a time. There are many starfish on the beaches here, but if one life is changed by His love, it has all been worth it. God holds it all in His marvelous hands.

Chaplain Jamie Update 1.13.14

Chaplain Jamie, representing the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, will be ministering in the Philippines until late January. Her goal is to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers. We’ll be bringing you her updates as we receive them.

Jamie Grubb

As I approach the day I was originally supposed to leave, I have mixed feelings. I am really missing my family and long for a hug from Dave and my kids; at the same time feeling useful in ways I never imagined.

Today I met with a pastor who is basically trying to start a “VOAD” (voluntary organization active in disasters) without realizing it, and this happens to be one of my fortes. He oversees churches in Tacloban, one of the major areas that was hit with the highest casualties. I will be going to his home on Saturday, providing more documentation to help them navigate working with larger NGO’s, and networking churches. I was also invited to stay overnight, and attend church with them on Sunday. I have to admit it will be a nice break as they have real beds to sleep in, even if the electric is not yet on so no hot showers on this Island.

We also visited a prison briefly today, so Rose, one of the midwives and daughter-in-law of founder, could visit an inmate whose baby they delivered, but who shortly died from Tetanus. The realities of why prenatal care and immunizations are so necessary over here. In hearing her story and her charges, I couldn’t help but think that she would not be in a US prison for her alleged crimes. When the storm was about the hit, the prisoners had been released and told to go and help their families, but to return in six weeks times. She was picked up at her family’s home, six weeks later and just after the death of her daughter. Poor woman – enduring so much. It is wonderful to work alongside people who get that this is where the rubber hits the road in loving on the least of these. Actually, more like where the rubber hits the mud, because the journey there was far out a muddy, rutted, mostly single lane road where no one would dare to travel other than to visit the prisoners.

Jamie and mid-wives Jamie with the mid-wives from the Mercy in Action clinic

Early tomorrow, I begin my trauma training again with school teachers who have not yet had their own “psychological debriefing”, and I will see how my schedule for next week unfolds. DebriefingI was asked to provide debriefing and training at the local university, as well as to some area pastors and the children. I will remain busy I am sure, and I am praying for additional funds to purchase my supplies, as well as help some truly hurting people get on their feet by roofing their tarp shack, and other basic needs. These people need so much help and they need us to help them.

Jenny stitching a hand - works for Mercy in ActionMercy in Action’s Jenny Fluke stitching up a patients wounded hand. Jenny works non-stop helping the victims recover from injuries, document for the NGO’s, and love on the people.

Chaplain Jamie Update 1.8.14

Chaplain Jamie, representing the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, will be ministering in the Philippines until mid-January. Her goal is to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers. We’ll be bringing you her updates as we receive them.

Jamie Grubb

1.8.14

The days are beginning to blend, one into another as the faces of the people at first strangers, daily become a part of my life. I live between two worlds now, as if the one I left behind is another dimension where time moves at a fast pace, but while time here stays in the here and now. Lives hang in the balance daily as midwives, medical missions, mental health workers like myself, local people and foreigners struggle make a mark in an overwhelming situation.

Foreign countries have no idea how huge this disaster is – a 500 mile wide Typhoon that caused a tidal surge as high as “two coconut trees” and as far reaching inland as maybe 2.5 to 3 kilometers. This is worse than the Indonesian Tsunami but because it does not scientifically hold that title, people do not realize the total devastation. They are expecting to continue pulling human remains from the wreckage, between 20 to 30 bodies per day, for the next 90 days or more. That will bring the recognized death total to roughly 8,000, not including the multitude of poor who were never registered to begin with, and are without any records.

Most of the people did not understand what a “tidal surge” was, regretting the government did not use the term Tsunami which would have indicated the need to flee much, much farther inland.

This is now personal to me, just as Haiti became personal to me. I have friends here now, people who I want to see again, people who I want to see have their lives rebuilt, people who I can imagine myself in the same position – home, family, and livelihood taken away in the blink of an eye without any insurance, FEMA, or governmental help to stand in the gap.

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There is Narissa who lost her home and the birthing clinic she ran with her mother in law, serving the poor in her community and now living in a tent, thankful that the CR (bathroom) survived the disaster, and at least they have privacy to use the toilet not far from the tent. There is Faye who ran an internet café and lost everything including the house. There are the multitudes who surround this school daily who have elevated blood pressure, and intrusive thoughts every time it rains or the wind blows – living in fear it may happen again. There is the school Superintendent who invited me to train the 250 plus teachers in trauma care for the children, and for each other. She talked about water dripping into buckets and upon hearing the wind blowing again, kicked the buckets in an anger that rose within her without awareness of it being there; the mom with 3 children whose oldest is severely disabled and has no wheelchair, food and a home that is destroyed living under tarps… and on, and on and on…

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There is the mom whose baby died in similar circumstances to how my son Micaiah died, and I saw him laid out first in a cardboard box until the simple pine box could be built – the baby laid out and surrounded by adults and children alike, as death is a familiar companion in a place like this even before the Typhoon. Their wood shack had been completely destroyed in the typhoon and they had just rebuilt the one room home, where their little son Angelito will never play.

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And there are the workers like me, both foreign and Filippino – especially the medical, and midwives, who fight daily to save the lives that are always hanging in the balance – trusting to save, heal, and deliver in the name of Jesus. Love for the sake of love.

This is where God is in suffering. This is the heart of Jesus from the Garden of Gesthemene to now, until all is restored.

Chaplain Jamie Update 1.6.14

Chaplain Jamie, representing the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, will be ministering in the Philippines until mid-January. Her goal is to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers. We’ll be bringing you her updates as we receive them.

Jamie Grubb

A short report from Jamie today –

“The trip has turned from cognitive and factual to emotional and relational; when love is involved the destruction of a persons life echoes in the night. There are so many echoes now – help the Philippines.”

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Chaplain Jamie Update 1.3.14

Chaplain Jamie, representing the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, will be ministering in the Philippines until mid-January. Her goal is to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers. We’ll be bringing you her updates as we receive them.

Jamie Grubb

1.3.14

I awoke again today to Christmas songs blaring from the church next door. I was one of the first up, along with Jenny who seems to be always working, the first to get up and the last to go to sleep. I thought about going to Mass in the wee hours of this morning, but discovered I had a moment of “good” reception (internet) and grabbed it before it was lost.

I turned on the hot water to drink my “3 in one” coffee – a mixture of instant coffee, sugar, and cream. Somehow the local tastes of coffee and rice taste wonderful in their developing country environment.

I keep reflecting back to yesterday and the new mom about to give birth to a baby, while consecutively grieving the loss of nephew, father-in-law, and now beloved Mom. I have not been privileged to do a foot washing in a very long time and am caught by how much humble service we miss out on in our sterile, financially prosperous, nations. Every day I witness tremendous joy amidst intense suffering and the indomitable spirit of the poor. I come to a deeper understanding of the word of Jesus when He tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, the pure in heart, and those who mourn – for they shall see, touch, and inherit the Kingdom.”

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Every day I hear my name, “Lola” called repeatedly from the children as they hang around the clinic, seeking love and attention. Maybe my piece of “being Christ” is to be here for them now. For Christian, whose parents are in Manila working… his tale – fleeing the typhoon with his elderly Lola (grandmother). Perhaps it is to hug and love on Nicole who repeatedly tells me her name after I informed her one of my children shares it as a middle name.
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Maybe it’s simply to sit quietly with a mom while I take a pulse whispering, “I’m sorry about the typhoon” and watch her eyes well up with tears. Or maybe its to be here and learn more about Jesus and who He is molding me to be, reflected in eyes of his created, fallen, and suffering, world.

In chaplaincy, and in our trainings, we encourage being “present in the moment” – no thoughts from the outside to intrude upon the “ministry of presence” that we are representing as Ambassadors of Christ. Though presence is something that needs to be practiced, it can’t be gained without the spiritual discipline of being silent before God, of listening to His voice instead of the constant ramblings we often send up for our own requests to be granted. In this Sacred place I am reminded that it is in being still, that I know that He is God. The reasons for being here don’t matter as the days blend into one sacred moment of opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ, one life at a time.

Chaplain Jamie Update 1.1.14

Chaplain Jamie, representing the Sound of Life and her ministry, Compassionate Reach International, has reached her destination in the Philippines. She’ll be ministering there for the next three weeks. Her main goal is to bring psychological and spiritual care and trauma education to victims and caregivers.  We’ll be bringing you her updates as we receive them.

Jamie Grubb

1.1.14

Today was a very slow day; as if God knew that victims and relief workers alike needed a day off. The Filippinos must have chosen to sleep late after the festivities of last night and visit the clinic another day. There weren’t any births past nine or ten this morning, no accidents, no emergencies.

Nick and Tarra Greely are both medical and midwife volunteers and tomorrow is their last day with us. The children love Nick who gets them laughing with his antics, always ready to play, and today was a day of play.

Being housed in a school means the children hang out here, and the crowd grows daily. I’m greeted by shouts of “Lola”. I chose to be called by the Filippino name for grandmother which my own grandchildren refer to me by.

Jamie CounselingFilippinos eating

There is a partnership here with a German NGO (Non-government Organization) called NAVIS, who together with Mercy in Action, staff the medical provided by Unicef. I took a lot of pictures of NAVIS today with promise of emailing them to the doctors and paramedics.

More supplies

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“Dr. H” spoke about his childhood and how Germans are not as “spontaneous” as they used to be, stating that he still felt spontaneous at times. After an afternoon of watching others play, the good doctor joined in the jumping rope, magically caught on my cell phone. To shouts of “Lola”, I also took a turn at jumping amidst the laughter of the adults, children, nations, rich and poor alike.

Disasters are the great equalizer, where the faces of humanity reflect the image of God and my heart’s cry is that my small part will reflect the image of the redeemed hope of Christ. I love my job. I love serving the “least of these”.