Report from the Field: Damayan, Philippines
If you’re in ministry, if you deal with and see poverty every day – can you get used to it? Become a little desensitized? Sure. Been there, done that before. But, not since being called to the mission field… and not since starting the journey in the Philippines… and not since visiting a community called Damayan as part of my schedule.
I repeatedly comment how unimaginable the condition of this place is unless you see it for yourself. And, I have to repeat a familiar cliche – ‘there are no words to describe’ – because the terrible conditions of Damayan are beyond belief. Repeating the fact that it is the most dirty, unhealthy, dangerous, stench filled, poverty stricken, destroyed place I have ever seen, at least, seems to add emphasis to verify the fact. But to exist in this place day to day? I’m not sure how they do it.
During every single visit to Damayan I discover another set of bleak circumstances which the Lord quickly uses to yank my heart to the point of breaking. He shows me His heart for the people, and for the children suffering greatly in Damayan.
And the hardest part of the experience during any visit? It’s not always the broken down, filthy and infected condition of Damayan itself that breaks me, but the emotional distress caked on the faces of those living in the most straining situations – the poorest children of Damayan.
Damayan is a world that lies hidden and lost – hidden from the view of those who would care enough to help, and lost, far behind the barrage of many other worthy causes many give of their time and effort to help.
(Damayan is one of 18 locations in the Philippines where Please Pass the Bread has set up sustainable feeding programs)
In their silence lies the anguish of goodbye and a future uncertain.
They are five. Tired & hungry, they are filled only with sorrow. Absent is the youngest, bed ridden, suffering from boils. Two others are sick. They have no mother; she left them without a word. Their father is around, somewhere, but has detached from their life; there is no support, no communication, no words are spoken. They have been abandoned.
Taken in by an elderly woman, she came to Please Pass the Bread asking for help to feed them. She is not a relative. She is just a kind person. They all live in the heart rending distressed community of Damayan.
Take the time to view the photos, breathe in the emotion – the condition – and then offer your prayer to the Lord. Aljun, Joyce Ann, Jeanne Mae, Andrew & Gache need your appeal on their behalf.
Smile that slowly faded
Nine year old Gian wore a bright smile, as a greeting, when the team of missionaries first arrived.
But something happened.
Living in the deteriorating conditions of Damayan, maybe she saw a glimpse of hope with the new visitors – a belief in something positive.
For whatever reason…
…the faith that created Gian’s inviting smile quickly faded. Even a time of worship & the meal provided by PPtB couldn’t recover it.
Please pray for Gian. She is hurting deep inside. Please pray we can reach her with the love of Jesus.
Rochelle is 8 years old & lives in Damayan, Philippines
(Translated) “I don’t mind going to school without snack or money to buy food. I just can’t wait to finish school someday because I dream of when I can get a degree to help my family out of being poor. My mom and dad have to look through garbage all day to find stuff to sell so we can eat. We never have enough food.
I mostly take my sister with me to Ulingan (a place where they burn wood into coal) so we can find scraps of metal to sell to buy school supplies, and food sometimes too because my parents don’t have enough. It hurts sometimes when I breathe there because of the smoke and I have asthma. I get scared but we can’t afford going to a doctor.”
Rochelle has been enrolled into the PPtB feeding program