Walk THY Talk Ministries

Mindanao, Philippines children feeding ministry


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From Business World July 20, 2010

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on July 21, 2010 at 9:38 AM Comments comments (0)

Posted on 11:44 PM, July 20, 2010

Hunger remains high in RPOver 20% in the last three quarters -- SWSHUNGERCONTINUES to haunt many Filipino families, with the Social WeatherStations’ (SWS) overall measure barely improving and more claiming tohave frequently lacked anything to eat.

The number of households which experienced involuntaryhunger at least once in the last three months was at 21.1%, equivalentto some four million families and down very slightly from March’s21.2%, results of a June SWS survey showed.


Hunger has now been over 20% for the last three quarters, theSWS said, taking into account the record 24% notched last December 2009.


The average since 1998 has risen to 13.6%.


Although overall hunger hardly changed, its composition worsenedgiven increased severe hunger (experiencing it "often" or "always")coupled with a drop in moderate ("only once" or a "few times")responses.


Severe hunger rose to 4.2%, equivalent to some 780,000 families,from 2.8% (530,000) previously. Moderate hunger, meanwhile, fell to16.9% (3.2 million) from 18.4% (2.4 million).


"Thus the severely hungry became 20% of the overall hungry, up from 13% in the previous quarter," the SWS said.


A Cabinet official asked to comment on the results said thegovernment was in the process of reviewing all programs related toaddressing hunger, while an economist said the data highlighted theneed to address poverty.


By geographical area, hunger rose in Metro Manila to 22%(550,000 families) from 17.3% and in Mindanao to 26% (1.1 million) from24%.


It declined in the rest of Luzon to 18.3% (1.5 million) from20.9%, and was hardly changed in the Visayas at 21% (790,000) from21.1%.


Broken down, moderate hunger rose in Metro Manila (19% from13.3%), fell in the Balance of Luzon (14% from 18.1%) and in theVisayas (17.3% from 18.8%), and barely moved in Mindanao (21% from21.4%).


The new rates , the SWS said, "are higher than their 12-year averages for all areas."


Severe hunger, meanwhile, rose in all areas except Metro Manilawhere it was down a point to 3%. It rose to 5% from 2.6% in Mindanao,to 4.3% from 2.8% in the rest of Luzon, and to 3.7% from 2.3% in theVisayas.




The SWS said the severe hunger rates were also higher thantheir 12-year averages in all areas except Metro Manila, where thelatest score was slightly lower than the 3.5% average.


Told of the results, Social Welfare and Development chiefCorazon J. Soliman said the government was seeking to improve thecoverage of its services.


In particular, "The conditional cash transfer is ongoing andeffective but we are looking for areas of improvement particularly inthe delivery of the cash," Ms. Soliman said.


For his part, University of Asia and the Pacific economistVictor A. Abola said: "It goes to show that despite the gains of thelast quarter ... the new administration should give [importance] tolower the poverty rate [by providing] regular long standing jobs."


"It also supports my view that drastic reduction in poverty isthe number one priority of the new administration. And this can be doneonly by growing faster at 7-8% and having a weaker peso, as these areemployment drivers," he added.


The SWS survey, conducted last June 25 to 28, utilizedface-to-face interview of 1,200 adults nationwide. The error marginsused were ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages. -- Ana Mae G. Roa

When I think about the difficulties here I must reflect on other ministries in the world

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on May 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes I get downheartened when I see the immense poverty in Mindanao and even in Manila.     When there is a brownout....which there is every single day here in Mindanao which lasts from 4 to 8 hours a day, I get hot and frustrated.

But then I see the smiling faces of these children who are so receptive to Christianity.  It is part of the culture here.  I take for granted the freedom that they have to post "God is good all the time" on their motorcabs or even on their government buildings.

Despite being in Mindanao where Muslim rebels cause some problems, I don't feel the persecution toward Christians that others in ministry work experience.   I just read an article that talked about the persecutions of Christians in the world and it made me realize how easy we Christians have it how are living in countries where this does not exist.  To read the article click on the link


Feeding in Dipolog village in celebration of my wife's birthday

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on May 18, 2010 at 7:51 PM Comments comments (0)

To celebrate my wife's birthday we decided to share the celebration with the village children in Dipolog.  This is something that Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino world champion fighter, did on his birthday and I admired the deed.  So this is something that Jeanny and I wish to do when we celebrate our birthday.  Since Jeanny's birthday falls in May, hers was the first.  My birthday will fall in June and I will do the same thing, probably in Oroquieta.  Then our son celebrates his first birthday in July and we will do the same for his birthday.  We use our own funds to do the birthday celebration feedings so that any donations we receive during the year can be used for the large feeding we do each year at Christmas which, in the past has fed and clothed (and gifted) over 500 children.

Prayer request

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on April 26, 2010 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (1)

I struggled whether to post my pray request here or not.  I also struggled with how I should word the request and how much I should devulge as it involves a sensitive issue.

A volunteer of mine has had an episode involving a nervous disorder of which she is suffering.  I was not aware of her condition and have worked with her for 15 months.  She is the most reliable person I have met here in the Philippines and is always punctual, if not early.  She is honest and she is faithful.  She has been my right hand and left hand which is why it is so difficult to see her in the condition she is in now.  I can not elaborate on her condition because I do not know very much except that she is in her sister's care as I write this.  A good friend of mine and hers has agreed to share the cost of her medication and to help seek further evaluation for her.  As I know more I will post more but please pray for this volunteer of Walk Thy Talk Ministries.  I will not post a name but I know God will know for whom you are praying.

Brownouts in Mindanao

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on March 27, 2010 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

There has been a drought here in the Philippines due to El Nino since the end of 2009.  This has caused the Hydro-Electric power plants to shut down periodically (daily) for 4 to 8 hours per day.  The frustrating part is that one never knows what those hours will be.  It could begin at 8 a.m. and last until 10 a.m. or 12 p.m. or it could start at 4 p.m. and last until midnight.  It does make it a challenge to plan one's day.

What I find interesting is that this has been a way of life for over two months now and yet when I am in a place where there are many people and the power goes out, there is a gasp of disappointment but that's it.  I haven't heard alot of complaining (not that I could understand Visayan that well anyway, but I could pick up enough to know if the people around me are complaining about it.).

I don't know how long these brownouts will  last, but it has taught me the true meaning of patience.

Infant mortality rate in Philippines

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on March 26, 2010 at 7:41 PM Comments comments (0)

My wife Jeanny went to the store to buy some food yesterday and the cashier had been pregnant at the same time that Jeanny had been pregnant.  Jeanny asked her how the baby was doing, since her child would be about the same age as our son, Thomas Albert born July 15th, 2009.  The young woman stated matter of factly that the baby (boy) had died one day after birth.  She did not give the reason for the death but I am aware that here in Mindanao there are many infant deaths.  Jeanny's mother has five living children but two died within the first six months of birth.  I hear stories all the time of infant deaths here in Mindanao.  Although the infant mortality rate here in the Philippines is only 20 (per thousand) I believe in Mindanao it must be higher.  Although the United States has only 6 deaths per thousand they are still linked #177 in the world and the Philippines is #103.  Although it is not as high as Angola with 180 infant deaths per 1000 (highest in the world) why is it that the lowest infant mortality rates are SIngapore, Sweden, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Iceland, France, Finland, Norway and Germany with 2 or 3 deaths per thousand?

Although the Philippines has brought the IMR down from 25 to 20 in the past few years, possibly through education of curing diarrhea through Oral Rehydration Solution, a combination of water, salts, and sugars, it is still far too high compared to it's neighbors 600 nautical miles away (Hong Kong and Macau).

The tap water here is filled with amoebas that get into the baby's intestinal tract.  Our child had one and he never uses tap water, only bottled water but the doctor said that the purification system for the bottled water is not so good here (gulp) so he possibly got the intestinal amoeba through the purified water.

Although the health care here in the Philippines is much cheaper than in the U.S., it is still expensive for the people here whose median income is around a thousand dollars a year.  I asked the doctor how these poor people afforded all of the medical and the doctor replied "Many babies die here."

Driving in the Philippines

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on March 25, 2010 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Something that gets some getting used to is the driving rules here in Mindanao.  I have driven a Yamaha 1200 cc motorbike since I arrived here.  In Oroquieta city there are no stop lights and I have seen two stop signs although I have been told there are three but they are ignored.  Right of way, as I understand it, is decided by the size of the vehicle, which leaves motorbikes at the bottom of the list in priority of right of way.  I have had only three mishaps since I have been here, one caused by a dog running out in the middle of the street (there are hundreds of stray dogs here) in front of my bike (I did  not hit the dog but laid down the bike while doing 45 kph).  The second incident was similar to the first but the third incident happened about ten minutes ago (hence the post as I vent somewhat here).  I was coming up to the driveway that leads to my rental unit when a bicycle came out cutting off the left side of the road where I was turning.  I laid the bike down (luckily I was only doing about 20kph) without hitting him but my wife and I were scraped up a bit and the bike's kick start is bent as is the exhaust pipe.  Had the man on the bike been on the right side of the street as he is "supposed to be" then no incident would have occurred.

I thank God that it wasn't a larger vehicle and that my young son wasn't with us. 

Feeding in Lopez Jaena and Taboc Sur

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on March 13, 2010 at 8:31 PM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday we fed some pastry to children in one of the villages in Lopez Jaena.  We had handed out Bibles (Visayan language version) with the help of Gideons a week ago and this week our quest was to give a Bible study.  Pastor Jonathan from a local Pentecostal church and my volunteer GeneLiza made the journey on Jonathan's motorbike as his van, which we used the previous week, was broken.  I am praying to God that this year Walk THY Talk Ministries will have it's own van.  Someone offered to donate a van last week from America but unfortunately it required us shipping it here to Mindanao which also emcompasses paying a 50% import tax so I found it necessary to decline this generous offer.

Today I gave pastry to the children in Taboc Sur outside Oroquieta City.  Some of the children were gathered outside the shack of a local fisherman who drowned two days ago in the rough seas as he was attempting to make a second trip out at night to get more squid as they were plentiful that night.  A second fisherman is still missing from that night and I saw a Coast Guard Cutter offshore yesterday, I presume looking for his body.

I queried the children on memorized Bibles verses.  Of the 50 children only three had memorized any Bible verses from the Bibles we distributed last week.  I gave a reward of 2 pesos (5 cents) for their diligence.

Foreigners in the Philippines

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on February 14, 2010 at 5:42 PM Comments comments (0)

Several weeks ago a volunteer of this ministry invited the ministry to participate in a children's feeding in Plaridel, a town about 20 km west of Oroquieta City.  I gladly accepted and asked her to find out what I needed to bring (food, clothes or both).

Several days later she informed me that the pastor involved in the feeding did not want any foreigners involved in the feeding.  She was upset and wanted to withdraw but I urged her to not punish the children for one pastor's bad experience with foreigners.  I asked her to try and find out why he felt the way he did about foreigners.  As of this date I have gotten no answer.

I have been to many developing countries and have never been treated as well as I have been in Mindanao.  The Filipinos are very friendly.  So why might this pastor feel this way?

In Oroquieta City there are approximately 70,000 residents.  I know of 10 Westerners here, although I am sure there are more.  Of the ten that I know, 9 of them are very decent people with a source of income, either pension or savings.  They are married and most have a child or two with their Filipina wife.

There is one exception to this, however.  There is a man who has lived with a woman, gotten her pregnant.  Although he says he will be receiving a pension (in some cases has said he is already receiving it) he has no funds and used the funds of his girlfriend, who earns $2.00 a day, to get drunk during the day while she worked.  She has recently kicked him out of her house for hitting her young son.

There is also the concept that some Westerers come here to exploit young children.  I don't happen to know any who do that but I have read about them.  Unfortunately in any poor country you will find such predators lurking.  What makes it worse here is that the age for statutory rape is 12 unless money is involved. 

So one of my quests here is to try and alleviate the image that some, such as that pastor, may have of Westerners.  I hope that any Westerner reading this who lives in the Philippines will join me in this quest.

A little history about me and the ministry

Posted by feedmindanaochildren on February 12, 2010 at 2:18 AM Comments comments (1)

I came to Oroquieta City in Mindanao, Philippines on September 3rd, 2008.  It had always been my intention to start a feeding ministry for the children in Mindanao. I met a minister online when I was still working in Cleveland, Ohio (I was helping Cuyahoga Valley Church in their "Care on the Square" program feeding the homeless there).  Four months later I was in Oroquieta City.  The first feeding was September 28th, (2008) which coincidentally was my deceased father's birthday.  The feeding was at a Baranguy (village) named San Antonio (as in Texas).  I fell in love with the children and for 1000 pesos per week ($24) I was able to give 130 children a piece of pastry and a glass of Tang.  We were also able to give a 10 peso prize (.24) to the children who were able to recite Bible verses.  A few memory games also provided entertainment.  It was a very enjoyable way to spend Sunday afternoons.

The pastor's 19 year old cousin, Jeanny, and I were married October 11th 2008.   She is featured in many of the pictures and videos as she has helped me in the ministry.  We also met a young woman, GeneLiza, who had a very small ministry (50 pesos a week or $1.10 to feed and minister to the street kids in the park of Oroquieta City).  She was going through a difficult time personally as she was living on the streets but she kept her faith in God and focused on her ministry so I incorporated her in my "Walk the Talk" ministry.  I later renamed it to "Walk THY Talk" ministry as I investigated starting a 501c3 (non-profit organization) I found that Walk the Talk had already been taken.

The Cuyahoga Valley church was generous enough to ask their parishoners to donate for our first Christmas feeding.  They donated $700 which helped us feed over 200 children a hot meal of pork and rice and noodles as well as give them clothes and toys.  The videos are posted at this website.

This past Christmas (2009) was funded by myself and four friends, Rob Godwin (Washington, DC), Kathy Ulbricht (Daytona Florida),  Gene McCauley (Miami, Florida) and Paul Houston (Belfast, Ireland) but even with the limited funds we were able to give pastry and give (used) clothing to almost 600 children.  Also with the help of Gideons in Oroquieta City we were able to distribute 400 Bibles.

In July, 2009 our son (my first child) Thomas Albert, was born and my energies have been divided between the ministry and my son.  I am hoping God will help both grow healthy in the coming year(s).


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