I went on Monday to see a 3 year old boy who had surgery 12 days before, but had caught a fever, despite antibiotics. The next day he ended up having surgery because he had an abscess in his head. On Wednesday, there was concern because the hospital wanted KIM to pay for 3 days use of the ventilator ahead of time. Thankfully, he was not on the ventilator when Aileen saw him on Thursday, but was sleeping most of the time still. Today I found out that his stitches have become infected. KIM has been giving him medical attention since he was 5 months old. Please pray for healing and for comfort for his mom.
There was a girl (Merry (or Mary) Joy) in labor on Tuesday, but her labor stalled and they sent her home. She is 16 and when we left, the midwives hadn't heard from her. It is common for first time moms to deliver in the hospital because they haven't given birth before. It is also common for them to call a less qualified midwife to come to their small shack-like homes and give birth in filth. This usually causes the babies to become sick at birth. Please pray that she went to the hospital or came back to the clinic in labor after I left the country to give her baby the best chance.
Jonathan came back safely just before lunch on Friday. He told us all about his experiences and it seems things worked out for our group just as God intended. I love that we can look back on how the whole planning process and see how God orchestrated everything so that He would get the glory.
Jonathan experienced a lot of things, including eating the delicacy Balut. He toured the Chiquita plantation, looked at some different planting options on Mindanao, and talked about some different crops that could be planted to give better nutrition to the people of the Philippines. They eat rice at every meal, but there is very little nutrition in the rice they eat. They also have many dental problems, but they frequently don't repair cavities, they pull teeth. Some of this problem is lack of essential vitamins in the food they eat, including calcium, other causes would be eating lots of sugar because the Sari Sari stores mostly sell junk food. There were several times where we would see some kids opting out of eating the food we were providing at the feeding in lieu of eating a packet of candy from the Sari Sari nearby.
One of the concerns that was presented to us was whether the gospel is being shared in this ministry or if it's just a care ministry. Our concerns were quickly abated when Jeff discovered that the pastor that works with KIM walked away from the feeding area to do a Bible study with the people of that neighborhood. They also do devotions with the children's home each evening, the pregnancy clinic also leads devotions each morning, and the school teaches from a Christian perspective and has chapel each morning.
At KIM, one of the perks of coming to serve is that there is are opportunities to get a massage and a pedicure. We refer to it as "feeding a family". Jeff Long's, the founder of KIM, oldest daughter came back to the Philippines after attending cosmetology school and felt led to teach women how to do hair, pedicures, and to become trained in massage therapy as a way to feed their families. There are people at KIM who also train men. They have taught them to repair washers and dryers, to do construction, and repair vehicles. The minimum wage for the Philippines is 300 pesos per day, but the average worker only makes 150 pesos per day. At KIM, their construction crew works Monday-Friday for 500 pesos per day, but can work on Saturday for overtime pay.
In 11 years of KIM's existence, they have not bought a building unless they could pay it in full, they do not take out loans for anything. Their school serves about 600 children in grades Pre-K through 10th grade. They are hoping to add 11th and 12th grades, but they need more space. They are saving up money to purchase land across the street from the ministry center that sits between their Children's Home and the market. It is about 1 1/2 acres and the seller is asking $260,000 American dollars. They are hoping to add the classrooms for the older kids and a gym for sports activities instead of playing outside on concrete.
Because of the work KIM has done in the community, the mayor has come and paved some roads and put in nice ditches for water to run down, and put in a preschool building. Their neighborhood looks much nicer now than it did 4 years ago, because KIM is giving the community the chance to take ownership of their home by earning it the right way. As the members of the community gain ownership of the land, KIM has helped them build a permanent structure on that land and build the first floor for them. It takes about $3,000 and 10 business days to complete a home. As the homeowners save up, they have built on a 2nd or 3rd story and are renting out a story to provide income for their family.