Fixing my eyes on Heaven – Alina Voda – Philippines

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In the midst of such troubled times, I pray the Lord will grant us help to hold our peace and the faith in Him, Whose return is so near, because “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18

After two memorable months spent in Romania, I returned to the Philippines at the end of July, and things have been back to a routine ever since. We are experiencing the tropical monsoon here, which thank God, has proved so far to be quite merciful on this corner of the world, so very often beaten by devastating typhoons and floods. May the Lord keep the weather as calm from now on, too, because the rains will keep coming till the end of November!

I mentioned in my last letter about sister Nilva, one of my employees at Rapha, who was suspect for a brain tumor at the moment. Praise the Lord, the MRI results confirmed a different diagnosis, one less serious of a stroke. All during this time we saw God’s miraculous hand at work in an amazing way, in the way He has helped her make considerable progress both in her physical and mental recovery, and also in the way God provided financially.

Generally, the medical system in the Philippines is quite “unfriendly” towards simple people without medical insurance or social benefits. The government hospitals are full to the brim with patients, lacking in basic equipment and majorly understaffed. After a long process of preparing the required documents for her file, sister Nilva’s case was taken into consideration and subsequently approved as a “charitable case” by the social department of one of the best private hospitals in Manila- St’ Luke’s. Therefore, all the expenses related to her check-up, laboratory and testing were reduced to 10% of the initial cost! Nilva is currently under observation and treatment, yet, unfortunately she is work incapacitated and cannot continue to serve with us at Rapha, any longer. May the Lord continue to watch over her and provide for her and her family!

In Nilva’s place, we now have Gracelyn with us, a young mother of three beautiful girls, who is going through some rough times, due to her husband’s addiction to drugs. During her check-up at Rapha, I asked her the reason for which she is so weak and exhausted (to the point of fainting), and she shared with tears in her eyes about her difficult situation, and how she worked night shifts washing dishes at a local canteen for a ridiculously small wage, eating only one meal a day, just so she could put enough food on the table for her children and keep them from starvation. By God’s grace, two of her daughters attend the day care activities organized by Mirja, where they receive a warm meal every day, and Gracelyn has started to work for us at Rapha, twice a week.

May the Lord work in her heart, and help us share with her about the love and the freedom found in Jesus, and may God bring salvation to this broken home (I also found out her husband and his family are part of a religious cult quite damaging here in the Philippines, named Iglesia ni Cristo -a bit similar in doctrines with Jehovah’s Witnesses).

Cindy is also a frequent patient of ours, a young mother whose family is going through financial difficulties, and for whom I felt like I should do a little bit more. She started working for us, too a few months ago, and when Mirja opened her day care programs, she took Cindy on her team (for cleaning, meal preparation, etc). We know the Holy Spirit is moving in a special way in her heart as well at the moment, and we are praying the Lord will bring her to a saving knowledge of our Lord very soon!

AJ on day 3 after his latest surgery.
The tent where AJ and his large family live at the moment.

We are thankful to the Lord for answering our prayers in such a wonderful way providing the needed funds for a little house for AJ (spelled Eijie) – the little boy with facial cleft surgery- and his family. May the Lord show His goodness in a special way to all those who decided to help this needy family!

At the moment the work has started, we bought some of the needed materials, and we are hiring someone to do the construction, but things are moving a bit slowly due to the rainy season.

AJ just had his third facial surgery (more focused on his nose this time), which was graciously done during a medical mission by the “Operation Smile” team here in Manila. We pray for his quick recovery and healing!

 

Our free medical check-ups and prenatal programs for the community of Solid Cement are ongoing, as usual. A special praise report is that Dr. Joanne was able to join us again, volunteering at Rapha, after a long period of absence due to pregnancy complications and the need for bed rest. Praise the Lord her situation has improved, and both she and baby are well!
Our free medical check-ups and prenatal programs for the community of Solid Cement are ongoing, as usual. A special praise report is that Dr. Joanne was able to join us again, volunteering at Rapha, after a long period of absence due to pregnancy complications and the need for bed rest. Praise the Lord her situation has improved, and both she and baby are well!

 

We just got in a new group of 18 children with ages between 10-12 who are attending “Saya’t Sigla” (Joyful and Lively) our Child-to-child Kids’ Health Club.

Among the children attending, we have Marianne (see pics. below), a beautiful little girl who was born without hands and with a deformed foot. She is a bright student, very diligent and to my amazement she can write beautifully! During our group activities, the kids were encouraged to use team work, and to pick someone to write down their ideas. I was surprised to see, from a group of 6 children, that Marianne was the one delegated for this task! Let us pray that God will work in a special way in the life of this little girl, showing her how precious she is to Him!

 

Update on the Building Project of Rapha Ministry Center 

We thank the Lord for the wonderful way He has helped us last month to finish the roof installation! Thank you so much, to all the special people who donated towards this project! I am also very grateful to the Lord for His protection over the workers, during this difficult time. The roof trusses were very long and heavy, and the rainy season had already started making things even more difficult, so anything could have happened. I did get news of a minor accident that happened to 2 of the workers, while they were lifting the metal roof support, but praise God there was no serious injury, and the workers were able to return to work after a couple weeks of rest.

The wall plastering is finished both on the inside and outside, the security grills and metal railings (manually manufactured) are almost done, and now they are working on installing the down spouts, and hooking up the electric system and water lines.

By God’s grace, we are practically almost done with the first phase of our construction- the structural part. “Practically” speaking, but we still need to make another big payment on it before the contract on this first phase is officially completed!! Please, pray with us for God’s provision to finish the payments on this contract!

 

On this side of the building we need to raise a fire wall to protect us due to the very close proximity to our neighbors.
We thank the Lord for His miracles in providing the funds to get this far with the building! The work is far from being done, and I eagerly wait to see how God will come through once more in our need!
The semi-open waiting area, which will be used for church meetings, as well.

The next phase is an absolutely necessary step: building a 10 foot concrete retaining wall (formed as a result of the excavation for the foundation) and a concrete fire wall on the side of the building closest to our neighbors’ shacks made of cardboard (required by the civil engineer and absolutely necessary for our occupancy permit).

Due to constant heavy rains, there is always the risk of land slide, and the old perimeter wall is very frail and about to fall over, so it really needs to be demolished as soon as possible, to prevent damaging the neighbors’ homes. Please, pray with us for the funds needed to complete this absolutely necessary step, as well.

After the site development is completed, we will also proceed with the final phase of the construction, and the most expensive, too!! – the finishing part both inside and outside (putting in windows, painting, ceiling panels, tile work, fixtures and all the rest!)

To avoid possible future damage to the building from land slide, we need to raise a 3 m tall retaining wall here.
Please, pray with us for the needed funds to concrete this wall, formed after the excavation for our foundation.

We are more and more aware of our need for space in the small building we are leasing currently, and are looking forward to moving into this new building, starting next year!
This project was conceived, initiated and sustained all by God’s amazing direction and by the great generosity of His children…I know NOTHING is impossible with our God, the Master and sustainer of the whole universe! Therefore, as I look up to the Heavens with eyes of faith, I am eagerly anticipating the special way God will continue to provide for us, until the completion of this great project!He’s got a blessed reward awaiting you, my dearest friends and fellow-workers, who have joined me on this great adventure of faith, giving so generously for the cause of the weak and the needy, and to the glory and honor of the King of Kings! A heartfelt thank you, to you all!With much gratitude and appreciation,
Alina Voda

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