Holy Love in the Philippines, Feeding the Poor

Partaking the Passion and Death of Christ through Service to the Poor     Day 2     By Bryan Mattilano

Holy Friday marked the 2nd day of the feeding operations. In God’s Grace, the typhoon that was threatening Eastern Visayas went to the northern part of the Philippines and weakened.

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Early in the morning, my family prepared the menu composed of chocolate porridge, hard-boiled egg, milk and chocolate bars. My father suggested the menu since Holy Friday in the Philippines, we would usually prepare something sweet to incite fasting and abstinence.

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Children were taught by my Nanay, Lucila, to say graces before meals as some of the BHWs look over the children, ready for the distribution of the meals.

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Some of the cute kids were eager to partake the meals as they were prepared with their utensils. Some of them came from the outskirts of San Jose along the foot of the mountains and far flung rice fields.

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We owe the success of these operations to our Barangay Health Workers (BHW). These awesome ladies were untiring in gathering all the kids and the upkeep of the proceedings.

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Holy Week 9

 

 

Holy Love in the Philippines

As we enter into the weekend, please consider how selfless servants in developing countries spend their Holy Week, and may we learn from them as we read the words of Filipino volunteer, Bryan Mattilano,

Holy 5” Compassionate Reach International , together with my family and the Barangay [Village] Health Workers (BHW), initiated feeding operations in our barangay beginning] Holy Thursday.

As Christ dined with His apostles to initiate the Eucharist, we may also share His Body and Blood as we serve the least of our brethren with compassion, especially those who are victims of calamities.”

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Thursday: Supper of Salvation

Day 1 “There were 192 identified malnourished children in the barangay, and 163 of them participated in the feeding program. All the children were weighed and the height was measured. The MUAC strip (Mid Upper Arm Circumference) was also used to determine how malnourished each child is.

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The menu was composed of rice, chicken adobo, egg, vegetables, and hot milk.

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The Barangay Health Workers (BHW) identified each of the malnourished children in every purok (sections of the barangay), getting the weight, height and the MUAC measurements, for the locations of the feeding, and follow-up home visitations.

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From 163 respondents, 103 of them (63%) are already at risk for becoming malnourished, while 38 children (23%), were identified as malnourished. Only 22 children, (less than 13%) were in normal ranges for nutritional adequacy.

Holy 1This malnutrition is due to scarcity of resources: sufficient food, water, sanitation, and hygiene, brought about by the devastation of Super-typhoon Yolanda, in November of 2014.

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines 1/2014

The super-typhoon also destroyed the local crops, rerouted water sources, killed coconut trees, and negatively affected the landscape and other resources in this fishing and farming community.

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The feeding operation was just on time with the Holy Thursday as Christ dines with His apostles to initiate the Eucharist.

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May we also share His Body and Blood as we serve the least of our brethren with compassion, especially those who are victims of calamities.

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More than anybody who are most vulnerable are the children…. ” 

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PLEASE NOTE:   Filipino volunteer Bryan Mattilano, is a professor at the University in Tacloban.

Bryan grew up in San Jose, and his parents and family still reside in the village (barangay). San Jose is a 40 minute commute by jeepney or other public transportation from Tacloban. This work of great love and compassion, is done by Bryan, his family, and other volunteers, without pay, and during their “vacation” times.

Bryan, Chp Jamie 1

Bryan and Chp. Jamie – January of 2014, providing trauma support for the local population, and trauma training for the teachers of the elementary school.

Please consider becoming a sponsor of the feeding initiative in San Jose so we can continue to help rebuild lives, while caring for the least of these.

Compassionate Reach is a volunteer organization.  100% of donations go towards helping the poor, needy, and traumatized victims of disasters.

For more information email:  jamie@compassionatereach.org  and go to our website.

Thank you on behalf of San Jose and the volunteers of Compassionate Reach International. 

Contact us to find out how you can train as trauma chaplains, and/ or volunteer for mission outreach and disaster response, with Compassionate Reach International.

God is Here – 2

IMG_9416The view out of my front door is one of devastation, and poverty –  love and hope. I look through the children’s playground, from the San Jose Elementary School turned Mercy In Action, maternal health care/ birthing/ medical clinic, to broken walls, debris, roofless, tarp covered, plywood, homes, and coconut trees that have been snapped in half by the wind, and now line the beach.

As I am writing this, a mother just came in with her young son as he seizes for the second time that day. He had already been seen this morning, by the group of German doctors  from the NGO, NAVIS, who also serve here twice a week.  The nurses and EMT’s are doing the best they can to help this child, knowing there is often little they can do that hasn’t already been done. They will bring some measure of comfort as well as practical help, all done in the name of the One who loves the child most.

I am writing now with my T-Shirt covering my nose as the burning trash out back has

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines

San Jose, Dulag, Philippines

aggravated some serious upper respiratory issues I sometimes have, and I feel very ill.  I am praying that God will keep me healthy to serve – as serve I must. That is what I am here for.

I have to find my feet (or God’s feet) – I am going to cook and organize, sweep, and listen – help where needed, and wait for God to open the doors.  I want to support Mercy in Action staff first – as I know some of them are here for weeks already and it doesn’t take long to get weary in a disaster zone.  As I teach the ones I train in compassion ministry  – a Chaplains first calling is to serve  – a ministry of presence takes on many forms.  Though I have yet to speak with more than a few of the local people, Vic has shown me around and shared the many needs, to validate what I knew before coming into this disaster zone – there is no short of traumatic needs here.  “Whom shall I send. Lord send me.”  May the cry of my heart be to the glory of Jesus. I love serving as a chaplain.