For the past year, our family has continued to walk beside our friends in the Mangyan tribal community by bringing medical care, medicines, prenatal care, teaching and discipleship and has added to that -weekly feeding through rice distribution, eggs, and vegetables.
As I finished my taxes this week, I saw the numbers all tallied up in front of me. It brought me to tears of overwhelming gratitude. In this past year of pandemic, we’ve been able to give over $42,000 extra towards rice and food for the hungry. This does not include any of our other expenses, medicines, or outreach. Just food. Holy Spirit led us to give, and we jumped to it with excitement. As hungry people came to our door, we gave. We loaded up our vehicle weekly with tons of rice and gave it to local churches to eat and distribute as they were led. As we gave out, you gave out. We are able to keep pouring out because you are.
Holy Spirit spoke to many of you to give towards this feeding, and you gave so generously. With every grain of rice, we have prayed that the Holy Spirit would pour out on dry ground.
Many of you have reached out and told us stories of how your children have given towards food and medicines and with each message, tears have flowed. I can’t begin to scribble the joy into words. We’re so grateful for every one of you. Thank you!
With every sack of eggs and vegetables brought to an empty table, we have prayed life, blessing, and the goodness of the Father to fill bellies, hearts, and homes.
I love the quote that says, "When you are blessed with more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence."
I believe we are building a table that stretches into eternity.
We will continue to purchase rice and other necessities as long as there is such an urgent need for food.
Throughout the past year, we see new flickers of revival spark in a place where long-divided churches have competed and quarreled with each other. We have blessed and poured out love to every one of them and are seeing reconciliation, softening hearts, humility, and love begin to burn bright.
The situation in the Philippines changes in varying degrees daily, but remains strict and regimented. Masks and shields are worn everywhere, armed military guards stand at checkpoints on the roads, and now a personal identification QR code is needed to travel even within our island.
As health care workers, along with our beautiful team of midwives and medical assistants, we go into the mountains and surrounding villages to do house-calls, treat and sometimes transport patients, educate, and assess the situations in communities.
Because of the overwhelming fear that has come with Covid-19, people who are struggling with illness will not go to the hospitals at all. Families are told to stay at home and not venture out. The Philippines is a developing country steeped in poverty where entire families often live in one small room and tuberculosis is rampant, so this year has brought a perfect storm- an explosion of tuberculosis cases. Covid is not at all the biggest threat.
In the past month we have been called to three more homes, where young boys were near death with end-stage tuberculosis. We had never met them. They had not been to a doctor during the quarantine, and the families were afraid to go. They all took their children to witch doctors instead. The children were reduced to skin and bones, barely breathing, unresponsive.
Francis took each of them to the Provincial hospital over an hour away, and boldly advocated for them. He educated families, broke-off witch doctor curses, fought for lives.
The hospital has tents on the lawn where patients wait, sometimes for weeks, to be treated. Appendicitis patients rupture while waiting. People are dying while waiting.
Every day, Francis drove to the hospital, praying in the Mangyan tribal ward (that looks and smells like a barn). He gently encourages the nurses and doctors to treat the Mangyan patients, to prescribe the correct meds, to give care. He does this over and over and over again.
He buys the medicines and starts the treatment himself. He feeds the families who wait, and He prays healing over unresponsive little bodies.
Last week I went in his stead and sat at the bedside of two little Mangyan boys, Willie and Jeffrey. They were both unresponsive from probable TB meningitis. I prayed for life and healing and held their parents hands as I sang “Jesus Loves me” while stroking their little faces. I told them that Jesus delights in them and sees them. I cried Mama tears over theses babies that could have been mine… Just last year, two of our children were treated for TB and are now flourishing and thriving.
The next day Willie died. And the day after, Jeffrey died. Husband and I wept in each other’s arms. Then we went to weep with their families.
The other boy, Ashi, who had been paralyzed and unresponsive, is now recovering from TB because he got the medicine in time. He is home, and his family is learning about Jesus love for them.
Francis and I are being led to help motivate the local health centers and advocate to send health workers into every village and test for TB and we can distribute meds, so that no one else needs to die of this treatable disease.
Nearly every morning and every night, there is a small group of men from the Iraya Mangyan tribe who sit at our table. They come as friends, brothers. They see Francis as one of them, and it is beautiful to watch as he champions, encourages, teaches, leads, pours out, and fights for them. He models for them the truth that they are all equal Sons and there is no inferiority in God’s kingdom.
He helps them learn farming, sustainable ways to support their families, how to lead in the church and at home. They pray, worship, and learn Jesus’ heart together.
Day in and day out, we are met with massive waves of Joy, and crushing blows of loss. There is an amalgamation of beauty and pain; glimpses of heaven, reminders of dust. We see them all through the lens of God’s goodness, His heart of love for His children, His desire to pour out His Spirit and bring life. We’re caught in the tension of Kingdom living that is right now, and not yet; we get to pull the kingdom of God down into right here and see heaven break through so often. Tumors disappear as we pray, bodies, minds, hearts set free and healed, the impossible becoming reality. That is the normal we reach for. And sometimes, the dead do not come back to life, and we do not see the healing we prayed for, and our eyes are blurred, our arms heavy with grief. On those days we push through,still holding onto Jesus as our anchor of Hope, knowing that His goodness hasn’t changed, it hasn't stopped, and it will not.
Here’s the thing: As Sons and Daughters, we are here for times like this-- to rise up in increasing unrest and chaos as beacons of hope, to not melt under the pressure, but become an intoxicating essence of life when we are pressed down. We’re part of an upside-down Kingdom, one that is altogether different than the one you see, and we need upside-down eyes to look past the fear in this realm and see how God is moving. And He is moving. So look for where He is moving, and join Him there.
Thank you for partnering with us as we take these calloused feet to the mountains with the good news, and fill bellies, bodies, and hearts with hope, love, and lots of rice. We could not do this without you!
Grace and Peace,
Francis, Leah. Julia, Avea and Justice Daytec