THE NEW NORMAL
The Covid-19 virus has introduced a new norm for everyone across the world. For us here in the Philippines this is already our second week on lock down, (ahead of the UK and probably at the same time as Italy). On the day of my writing this we have 636 known Covid-19 cases & 38 deaths.
The President of the Philippines is well aware that a developing country such as this, is very ill equipped for a Pandemic and had the wisdom to call for a lockdown in order to save lives and protect an already struggling healthcare system.
One of the earlier signs of the lock-down happened in our jails. On our usual weekly visit to Angeles District Jail to share the word of God, we were warned that on subsequent visits… “No mask, no entry”! Which we were very willing to comply with. We had a wonderful time of fellowship that day with inmates in the female dorm and went on to Pampanga Provincial Jail. Whilst they allowed us into PPJ to share the word of God and encourage the inmates, they informed us that they were going to be a lockdown and no visitors or religious volunteers would be admitted until further notice.
On our journey home we received two other messages from jails (Including Angeles District Jail) telling us that they were all on lock-down.
We would greatly value your prayers for inmates in third world and developing countries at this time. Covid-19 has the potential to not only cause deaths, but rioting and killings due to the fear and tension of those detained in overcrowded conditions with no family contact and no access to medical assistance.
I, though very sad to not be able to visit our beloved congregations inside, am grateful that our government leaders took early intervention
in order to protect the inmates and their corrections oﬃcers and workers.
Very soon check points appeared on all major roads where police were checking the temperature of all drivers and passengers and this became the new norm.
This of course meant that lines of traﬃc were several kilometres long. Last week
I brieﬂy stepped out of the car to take a quick photo, (there was not a pedestrian in sight),
but another driver lowered his window and scolded me for not wearing a mask. That’s how
seriously people have been taking Covid-19 here in the Philippines. I now wear a mask in
public at all times!! Sunday morning of March 15, was our last church service.
By the evening we were already on lock down and streamed our ﬁrst live service.
All our services are now live stream.
click here for a downloadable version and for the previous issues
We are now in a world ﬁnancial crisis. Even in International news broadcasts, Charitable Institutions are expected to be the worst hit of all. BUT GOD!! Praise God that we are not as those who are without hope. For missions such as POCM receiving most of its income from the U.K. we have been severely aﬀected also by the sudden drop in the value of the British pound. Now at the lowest low we have experienced for more than two decades, while at the same time prices have risen to the highest high.
Friends, we really need your prayers. Just before the lock-down I visited our bible study members in Wea. They have all been put on lockdown too, they have no work and no income. I had no money to oﬀer, but I reminded them how Jesus fed the 5,000 from a few loaves and ﬁsh and of the widows oil that didn’t run out. This is a time that for all who are in Christ Jesus, our faith is being tested beyond what we have ever experienced before.
We owe special thanks to all our charity shop workers and volunteers, many who worked tirelessly until the ﬁnal moments that they were forced to close their shops. Some even in tears desperately wanting to continue to help children in POCM and other world missions like ours. One lady, aﬀectionately known to us at POCM as mama Wendy, chose to give her savings in order to help support our vulnerable children during these desperate times.
There has been many amazing acts of generosity, from friends, partners and co. missionaries to whom we would like to extend our grateful thanks. And in deed to all our faithful sponsors who continue to give even though they themselves are living through uncertain times. May God bless you all richly.
Proverbs 11: 24 There is one who scatters, yet will increase more……… 25 The generous soul will be made rich and he who waters, will also be watered himself..
Financial provision for all our church members (especially in Wea) who have no work and no means of income to provide for their families.
For those of our children, (especially E.J), who are really struggling emotionally with the lock-down..
For POCM and all missions leaders to have increased faith in this time of great trial.
Urgent request for co-missionary Claire and Marissa of Helping Hands, they are both undergoing medical treatment that leaves their immune systems compromised. They need our prayers for their ministry too.
Before this pandemic, FCM (our German partners) have been working together with POCCH to install Solar Panels for our Girl’s and
Babies Home. Due to damage caused in a Typhoon in 2017 it was necessary to repair the roof ﬁrst. Serious termite damage to the outside ceiling was also exposed after the earthquake last year. Glory to God and with special thanks to FCM, we have been able to ﬁx the roof and replace the outer ceiling of the building. It has now been replaced with spandrel which is made of aluminium so we won’t be having that problem in the future. The initial plan was to go straight ahead with the installation of the Panels once the roof was repaired, but due to Covid-19 this project is now on hold.
Just before the town lockdowns in our area, one of our boys EJ, complained of feeling very weak and his complexion was very pale. You can imagine the panic it caused our staff who thought he may have Corona. But after multiple Lab Tests, he was diagnosed with Anaemia. His blood was so low that he needed blood transfusion, so he was conﬁned. We had to provide donors to replace the 2 bags of blood used for his transfusion. My hats off to the staff of POCCH and their families who (during an outbreak) were willing to go to hospital and donate blood. After 4 days he was released from hospital. As he had been in hospital and possibly exposed there, it was necessary for the safety of the 24 other boys to quarantine him for 14 days at the children’s home. The staff member who cared for him while in hospital had
to also be quarantined at her home.
Thanks to our Social Workers who processed his PhilHealth (health insurance) our hospital
fees were waived. We still don’t know what caused EJ’s Anaemia results of the test will be
in 2 weeks time, but even then we won’t be able to pickup the results because the towns and
cities are locked-down. So please pray for EJ that whatever has caused this is nothing serious.
I would like to appeal for your prayers for one of my houseparents, Mailyn, at the girls home. She is suffering with a damaged kidney. Her potassium and creatinine levels are very high which is damaging her kidney, she is also suffering from constipation. Because of the Covid-19, her doctor advised her to stay at home and continue to take her medication. She has to maintain a healthy diet but fruits and vegetables are too expensive and with 4 children to take care of on a volunteer’s salary is difﬁcult. Her husband is a jeepney driver (public transport) and since the lock-down has had to stop working. So he is without an income.
Another houseparent Angelina has kidney stones. Before the Covid-19 she was scheduled for an operation, but because she cannot afford it she has had to postpone it. Please pray for them and their families, they work so hard to keep our children safe and happy, and even during a time when all workers throughout the country have stopped working they still show up for work everyday.
During such times here in the Philippines, people are not only thinking about protecting themselves from the virus but also making sure their family doesn’t starve. We live in very hard times, but our faith is stirred up to believe that God and supply all of our needs, and He will bring us out of this Pandemic Victorious!
It seems that we have been saying forever, that our family home will be ﬁnished in “Two months”. Well, needless to say, due to the lockdowns all work has ceased, on both Simeon & Monique’s home and ours. So it is going to be a long time yet. Hopefully we will be able to move before Christmas (haha!). But we would value your prayers for Monique and Simeon. They are living in the POC guest house, and the ceiling has all but fallen on top of them due to termite damage. They are just propping the ceiling up with a tripod. Their son Gabe has autism, and is really struggling with the lock down. He is just longing for a “Gabe play date” at the mall playground. He never usually cries, but now he is very tearful and emotional. It breaks my heart. But the Lord will see us through.
We would like to thank you all for your faithful support both in ﬁnances and in prayer.
God bless, Love in Christ,
- Chrissy, Dondie and your POCM Family