Celebrating with God: Family Dalagan of the Philippines

Mar 2022

In one of the Good Works projects in 2021, we were divinely connected through a trusty friend, Nicole, to Nieves Dalagan, her ex-colleague at a Christian organisation in Singapore. Covid was spreading wildly through the rural areas of the Philippines where Nieves and her family lives and she enquired if there is anything they can do about this existential threat. 

After reviewing the situation with Nicole and Nieves, I realised that needs were dire for many have fallen ill or have lost their jobs; families are lacking in food and essential items, aside from being worried about surviving this pandemic. 

The Lord said they need more than just vitamins and masks. So I asked Nieves to survey the needs and Nicole to help check it. I presented a care package plan and budget to COBS members and we managed to raise enough funds to provide for the 75 needy families she has identified in 11 provinces, comprising nearly 300 people.

Nieves’ entire family, including her husband and children and her mother and their friends whipped into action, working hard, partnering with local pastors and churches, sourcing items, packing food, vitamins, masks and hygiene products for each household according to their needs, traversing hundreds of kilometres on rented or borrowed vehicles on their off-work day every weekend, to deliver the packages.

Like the miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes, when all was done, through discounts and favour of many suppliers moved by the outpouring of love and hard work, there was some funds left over. 

Nieves thought perhaps they could use it to help more people but I told her that it is time to rest and take care of their personal health and their families’ needs. And that the Lord said: 

“Use the remaining funds to celebrate with their families and helpers.” 

And true enough, we received news from Nieves of her father’s stroke (and his miraculous recovery) later and the death of her best friend that grieved her tremendously. I am glad she took heed and was able to spend precious time praying for them and also to take care of her own health as Covid cases swelled throughout their country. 

 

Here is Nieves’ report on Mar 3, 2022.

Dear sister Sara,

How are you? I am glad to share with you these pictures captured during our thanksgiving celebration in our community in the province. I remember you stated in your email "celebration in the Lord is also a form of worship" and so I waited for the time when a clan in one compound could gather like this. This happened on January 1. I am sorry that I am sending the photos just now.

You can see in the picture that ladies were gathered to prepare the food, and some of the men were cooking. My husband and I are blessed to have someone helping us to make this event possible. Our Pastor in our community was also there with us for prayer and a short message from God's Word. Aside from the food fellowship, we also had games and used the excess budget from the food for prizes where small children and the seniors had special considerations.  

Everyone enjoyed our gathering. In the past decades, it has been our practice to gather like this in our compound with this clan every December 31 evening. We greet the New year together and as a child, that is one great celebration for me. Every family was taking their part by bringing food they made and sometimes we all bring the same dish because it was the most affordable one to make, but it is okay and everybody is happy. For a couple of years now, my husband and I started to add some more fun by leading fun games where we only pack goodies as game prizes. The last time we did it was in 2019.  

Though neighbours in the province do not hesitate to visit each other during the peak of Covid-19, they were still not allowed to gather together and so there was no celebration like this in 2020 and 2021. If there were celebrations, guests were only limited.  Also, the jobs of many of them were affected because of the Covid and so most families could not afford to bring a portion of food as a contribution for New Year's eve.  

Because of your generosity, our neighbourhood was able to celebrate thanksgiving on January 1, 2022! We are all so thankful and happy! After the celebration, I was also able to distribute food to each house so families' meals for the whole day were provided.

This is our thanksgiving to the Lord that was made possible this year because of you dear sister. And so I pray that "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace", joy, good health, and His favor every day of your life.

sister in Christ,

Nieves

I count it all joy! Thank you Lord for your provision. And for celebrating in their joy and relief.

 

 

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