I hope this finds you well and enjoying some fall weather. 🙂 All is well here in the Philippines, although we have not been experiencing much fall weather! 🙂 This time of year is somewhat like a “second summer” here, so it’s been quite hot. But we are doing fine and persevering!!
We are also not bored!! It’s been a very busy season for us here. I actually feel like I have had more meetings in the last month than I have had in the previous year combined! But many of the meetings have been very good and fruitful. One of the recent meetings I had was a case conference for a girl who we received in the Hope House! So, we now have a new little girl, (and when I say “little”, I mean it!). She is only 4 or 5 years old (we don’t know her exact age), and she is pretty tiny! She may be slightly malnourished, so we are feeding her well, and often! (She frequently tells us she is hungry!) She is adjusting well, and she is really loving having NINE older sisters to play with her!! 🙂 The other girls are loving having a little one too. The day after she arrived, one of our oldest girls told me, “She’s adorable!” 🙂 She IS adorable, and although on one hand, it is heartbreaking that there is a need for us to take in one so small, at the same time, we are so thankful that we can be here for her (and all of the girls) and have the privilege of caring for them and showing them the way to a relationship with their perfect Father. 🙂 Please pray for this precious girl and for her transition to the Hope House!
I also attended a case conference for another possible referral a few weeks ago, AND there was another potential referral of several more girls that we were informed about as well, that we really thought we might receive! It turned out that it was decided that those girls should stay closer to their hometown (they were quite a distance from us), and the other possible referral is still pending. All that to say, there has been a LOT of activity at the Hope House lately, and more potential referrals in the last six weeks than any other six week period since we started. It also happens to be the case that my teammate Crystal (who is the director of the Hope House), has not been here for the last six weeks! Of course, she REALLY wishes she were here (as do we!), but she needed to be in the States during this time. We will all be glad when she returns! So, please keep the Hope House in your prayers during this wild season that we are walking through! There have also been some attacks that our staff has faced recently. Please keep them and their families in your prayers as well! While one of our staff members and I were in a case conference, her husband took a very bad fall on his job and broke his hand so badly that he needed a surgery and a metal rod in his wrist! 🙁 In the midst of the challenges and attacks, we trust the Lord and are continuing to pray that He brings every girl that He wants us to have at the Hope House!
Well, speaking of new children in our midst, we also recently received a new baby in our orphanage, (Hope Care)! She was only 5 days old when she arrived, and she is VERY cute! As you can see, the staff at Hope Care was pretty excited to have a new little one to care for! 🙂
This time of year is a big birthday season for us at the Hope House. We had two more girls who had birthdays last month, and they decided to have a joint birthday celebration (our first ever at the Hope House)! One of the girls was turning 15, and the other is our oldest girl, who was turning 17. Their birthdays are only three days apart, and they decided that they wanted to celebrate together, so we had one meal to celebrate both of them, BUT they each had their own cake. 🙂 AND, they actually helped make their birthday cakes (by their own request!). One of our house moms is doing a baking class for the girls, and she had offered that they could make their birthday cakes rather than us getting one from the store or bakery. I was surprised, but both of the girls wanted to make their own! So, with the help of the other girls, they made their cakes, and one of the girls also made cupcakes. They did a great job on their baking, and we had a lot of fun celebrating our two girls. They are both REALLY sweet girls, and it is wonderful to see how the Lord is working in their lives.
Now that I’m able to go to the Hope House more frequently, I’ve been trying to spend a lot of time with the girls, and I’ve actually been meeting with the girls one-on-one, just to catch up with them and really find out how they’re doing. That’s not always easy in a setting of nine (and now ten!) girls, so I’ve been taking some time to meet with each one of them. It’s really been great to get to hear their hearts and find out about what they’ve been thinking about, praying about, etc. They are all so unique, and it’s amazing to see how God is leading them and the ways that He is moving in their hearts as well as just seeing their different personalities.
The girls are continuing to do well with their schoolwork. We always have a celebration for the girls when they finish a grade level of school. (The girls do homeschool at the Hope House, and depending on when they first come to the Hope House and how long it takes them to finish their grade level, their celebration could really be at any time of the year.) Well, it turned out that towards the beginning of the year when I wasn’t at the Hope House much because of COVID, four (!) of the girls finished a grade level! And in the last few weeks, three more girls have finished one!! So, now we are catching up on the celebrations!! Between all of the birthdays and school celebrations, we are making up for all the lost time we had during the COVID drama earlier in the year!
Speaking of COVID drama, for this month’s cultural note, I thought I would share about something that you may not have experienced too much of if you are in the States, and that is the restrictions of public transportation. I am VERY thankful to say that I have not had to take public transportation in the last several months (since Crystal and I have a car). I have seen and heard quite a bit about the public transportation situation here, though. On the jeepneys, there is social distancing, but there is also usually a piece of plastic or something else separating one passenger from another. I have also heard that taxis have a big piece of plastic between the front and back seats, separating the driver from the passengers. The one that I find most interesting, though, is the barrier between the driver of a motorcycle and the passenger(s). The rules on this seem to me to be ever-changing, but I have heard that there are even restrictions about a husband and wife riding together on a motorcycle, and that in some places, there is a barrier required between them on the motorcycle! This barrier could be something that the passenger holds that looks kind of like a window pane, which is usually a piece of clear plastic with a wood frame around it. Or, sometimes, the driver wears a backpack that has some sort of barrier attached to it that goes between him and the passenger. In a culture where it is very common to ride a motorcycle as a form of public transportation, it’s amazing to see all of these barriers on the bikes…especially between family members who are traveling to the same house!!
Many blessings on you!!
About Beth Wier
Beth has served in the Philippines since 2011. She is a member of the Hope For All Children team which operates an orphanage specifically focused on abandoned children, manages feeding programs for malnourished children, and ministers to children who have been rescued from human trafficking. Beth serves as a house parent to girls in the Hope For All Children restoration home, and she also works with administration for HFAC, including compliance with government agencies and offices.