Dear family and friends,
Hello again from the Philippines! We have had a very busy month once again — I have lots of news!
At the very end of September, we received yet another girl at the Hope House!! So now, we have 11 girls! Our newest girl is 12 years old. She is very quiet and was somewhat withdrawn when she first arrived. But she is adjusting well to the Hope House and is starting to talk more with the girls and with the staff. She is a very sweet girl, and she has been through a lot. Please pray for her to encounter the Lord! We are believing for wonderful restoration for her.
Last month, I asked for prayer for our staff and mentioned that we had faced some attacks recently. Please keep those prayers coming! It’s actually been amazing how intense this season has been for us and for the whole Hope For All Children team. As many of you know, my teammate Crystal had to have a surgery while she is in the States. Unfortunately, she had to deal with some complications after the surgery, so it has meant a much longer stay in the hospital than she planned. She is recovering and looking forward to being done with all of the medical drama! Please keep her in prayer for a complete and speedy recovery! In addition, several family members of our Hope For All Children teammates have been attacked with some kind of physical illness, and one of the house moms at the Hope House was actually bitten by a snake!! (Thankfully, she was fine and recovered quickly). We are believing that the Lord has GREAT things in store and that big breakthroughs are ahead for the Hope House and Hope For All Children. And the enemy’s attacks are backfiring – we are praying and seeking the Lord more than ever! Please join with us in praying for breakthroughs, for health for all of us in the Hope For All Children community, and for the Lord’s purposes to be accomplished in us and through us! We want the Kingdom to advance and the Lord to receive glory!
We had a very fun activity at the Hope House a few weeks ago – Olympics! Earlier in the year, I had hoped to do that activity during the 2020 Olympics in July or August, but because of COVID, we also (along with the real 2020 Olympics) had to postpone our Hope House Olympics! But it was worth the wait! We had a LOT of fun. We shared some history of the Olympics with the girls, and we divided the girls into three teams. There are two other teachers besides myself who teach homeschool at the Hope House, so the three of us were team captains. We had each picked a country that our team would represent. We chose Cameroon, Croatia, and Colombia — three countries that the girls were not very familiar with. So then we had each of the girls share with the group some facts about their country. We made flags for the countries and even made a snack that would be something common to eat in each of our countries! We had an opening ceremony and let our 4-year-old carry the torch and “light” the cauldron, which was made of tissue paper and construction paper, (and no fire was involved)! And then, of course, we had LOTS of events! We had events like the long jump and horseshoes, hitting a volleyball and a tennis ball the most consecutive times, and throwing a ball through a hula hoop! We had team relays with rice sacks and carrying items on spoons and with straws. We even had a math, English, and spelling event. For one of our final events, we had a big team race where the teams had to follow clues and go from station to station. It was really challenging! But it was also SO much fun for the girls and a great learning experience for them. In the end, we had a ceremony and gave out the medals while we played the national anthem of the winning country. (My team – Colombia – won the gold by one point!!) Then each team got a “bouquet” of candy and snacks!!
In the last few weeks, we were able to find out some information about our youngest girl (we think we know her birthdate now), so we are pretty sure she is 4 years old. She is really a sweet girl. She is very affectionate and loves to be held. (She’s still pretty tiny, even though she’s 4). Also, she says the CUTEST things! From the way she talks, it seems that she has not been around other children too much. She tends to talk like an adult, and it is VERY cute to hear things that an older Filipino woman would say coming out of her 4 year-old mouth! The other day, she wanted to help sweep the floor, and the other girls were outside playing in the yard. After she was finished, she said, “Girls, I just swept the floor in here, so don’t make it dirty when you come inside!” SO cute! She keeps us laughing!
We had another joint birthday party at the Hope House! Two more of our girls have birthdays that are three days apart, so these two (who were turning 11 and 12), wanted to do the same thing the older girls had done the month before and have one joint birthday meal. We had a great time, and we learned that our 4 year old REALLY likes ice cream! These two girls ALSO wanted sneakers for their birthdays, and they both LOVED their new shoes! One of the girls had asked for high tops, and the other got low tops with silver glitter on them.
We also received a new baby boy at Hope Care last month! We got him when he was just one day old. So now we have two newborns at our Hope Care orphanage! The staff there is keeping busy!!
For this month’s cultural note, I thought I’d share about something that I’ve noticed in the last several months in terms of the COVID rules. From my perspective, the Philippines has had some pretty extreme rules and restrictions, and some of them have lasted a very long time. You may remember that I had shared a few months ago that the ferry between Samal and Davao had stopped running for a while. It was supposed to stop operating for 5 days, but it turned out to be about 8 weeks!! And, as I mentioned last month, mail service is still not operating between the Philippines and the U.S. For a while on Samal, only one person was allowed to leave each residence. In Davao, the residents had a pass with a number on it that indicated which three days of the week each person could go out. A few days ago, a 7pm to 5am curfew went into effect in Davao, and it has already been stated that it will last until the end of the year. Face masks have been a requirement here for several months, and now, there is a new rule in many places in the city that we have to wear not only a face mask, but also a face shield OVER the mask. (The face shield is a piece of clear plastic that covers your face from your forehead to your chin.) But perhaps more surprising to me than these restrictions is that there seems to be very little resistance among the general population. That’s been somewhat of a culture shock to me, considering that many Americans would probably take issue with at least some of the fairly extreme restrictions!!
Hope this finds you well! Many blessings!!
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.