Flavor of the Month: Jeremy Rocha

2012 Jeremy RochaThis coming fall, we will be sending off another MEANS volunteer to college. Jeremy Rocha, the youngest son of Ramon and Grace Rocha, will be attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Growing up & Interests
Jeremy was born and raised in the Philippines. He immigrated to the States in April of this year along with his parents. So far, the weather has been the biggest adjustment. (He has been warned about the Midwest winters!) Besides adjusting to life here in the states, these past couple of months have been a blessing for Jeremy as he has been able to engage in one of his favorite pastimes, reading. Normally during the school year he only has time for academic reading. Jeremy has been able to enjoy the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia series, as well as books by Orson Scott Card. Aside from reading, Jeremy also enjoys listening to a wide variety of music ranging from country music to pop music. Additionally, aside from listening to music, Jeremy enjoys playing acoustic guitar. His parents also introduced Jeremy and his siblings to various sports. In high school, Jeremy played varsity soccer. He enjoys playing badminton, Ultimate Frisbee, and running. Sometimes after a MEANS work day, he can be seen beating other volunteers in a game of ping pong.

Jeremy grew up in a Christian home, and was introduced to the gospel around age 6 or 7 years. His spiritual growth has been a process and he considers his spiritual birthday to be April 20, 2008. It was then, at an ISCF camp, that he truly understood what it meant to be a Christian. This was the turning point in his knowledge and understanding of Christ, as well as his serving. Jeremy sees most how God has been working in his life when other people affirm it. For example, during a conversation with another person who doesn’t have a good understanding of the Word of God, Jeremy is able to bless this person by helping them increase in their understanding because of God’s help and his experience as a youth leader.

Hopes for the future
As of right now, Jeremy hopes to work here after graduating from school to pay off debts, but does hope to some day go back to the Philippines.

Prayer Requests
Provision for the rest of his tuition, books, meals, and other living expenses.
Opportunity to work at Calvin College
Opportunity to serve Christ while at school
Adjustment to life at Calvin College
For his parents, who he will miss, and who will surely miss him!

MEANS in Bacolod

2012 Edible Earth Parfait PresentationMEANS, in consultation with MEANS board member and volunteer, Anne Violanda-Benthien, and MEANS volunteer, Bethel Trasmonte-Skinker, spearheaded 3 initiatives during Anne and Bethel’s visit to Bacolod, Philippines this August.

1) MEANS Dental and Vision Care Clinic was held on August 6th. The purpose of this project was to provide dental and vision consultation and treatment services to low income church workers, missionaries and members of their families located in Bacolod.  By providing dental and vision care for the families of our church workers and missionaries through our ministry partners the hope was to alleviate physical challenges, boost self-esteem and bring back dignity to a person, resulting to a more focused and efficient Christian service. As our Christian doctors and volunteers provided care for physical needs, they also ministered to the spiritual needs of the patients through health education, prayer and compassion.  This project was accomplished through a partnership with Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, MEANS, and volunteers.  Bethel Trasmonte -Skinker, Anne Violanda-Benthein, and Elsie Trasmonte-Quirao led the team.

Our target was to serve at least about 40 –  50 individuals.  We thank God for providing volunteer dentists, optometrists and nurses. They provided dental and eye care services for FREE! Some ministry partners in Bacolod also provided the administrative help where needed. Our 2 missionary partners from Elpis Ministry in Mae-sot, Thailand,  Roselyn Sanchez and Joy Gahaton,  who are on furlough, were also there to help.

The volunteers provided dental materials and medicines such as disposable needles, anesthesia, antibiotic, pain and anti-hemorrhagic medicines, cottons, disposable cups, dental filling material, dentures, etc. to enable them to perform the tooth extractions, tooth fillings, dental cleanings and denture provisions. Prescribed lenses and frames were provided.  MEANS helped raised funds for the project.

2) Project Josiah – Greenhouse at F.F. Gonzaga Elementary School was held on August 7th.  Anne Benthein’s sister, Rose,  had met with the school principal, Ms. Federez about this project.  Ms. Federez’s overall reaction was overwhelming excitement for MEANS to initiate this Earth Day project.  She informed the Department of Education head about the Earth Day event. The school was chosen to be the only recipient of a Nursery Plant Project from a Batangas-based government program. The Batangas government program provided all the seedlings & nursery trees.

As a result, Ms. Federez requested that MEANS channel the budget for seedlings to build a MEANS Nursery House instead.  The purpose:  to store the donated seedlings & be a “classroom lab” for students’ PPE classes.  Their budget cost for this Nursery House was P6,000 pesos, $150, the exact amount budgeted by Carmena!  Also, the school designated 1,000 square meters for a Garden Project. A passionate teacher supervised this project. Rose had met with this passionate teacher & he showed her the areas where the proposed MEANS Nursery House plants would be.  With the school principal there, the students planted a vegetable garden with the provided seedlings.  The Nursery House will tie in with their school curriculum classes. F.F. Gonzaga Elementary School is also the school that MEANS gave rubber slippers to and where a regular feeding program to malnourished school children is being done weekly by a Project Josiah Team (all volunteers).

Project Josiah also took the opportunity to feed malnourished children of  the school in between seed planting and the “Edible Earth Parfait” presentation of Bethel Transmonte. The principal was very grateful for this regular activity of feeding malnourished school children which they do at the school throughout the year.

3) Presentation at F.F. Gonzaga Elementary School on “Edible Earth Parfaits.”  This was also held on August 7th, with the purpose of promoting environmental awareness and protection of natural resources among students.  Bethel, who is an environmental engineer, gave this presentation.  Using a power point presentation, she discussed information about the water cycle, groundwater, aquifer, drinking water sources, how pollution can get into groundwater, and how pumping of groundwater can cause a decline in the water table.  She also presented an “Edible Earth Parfaits” activity.  This activity was a fun and easy way to understand the above discussions.  Participants built their own groundwater, learned about confining layers, drinking water, contamination, recharge and water table. The picture below is a great summary of what was discussed.

In addition to these 3 initiatives, Anne Benthein taught music from August 13th-15th at the Villamonte Christian Reformed School.  Anne decided to add this to her already busy schedule.

 Thank you, Anne and Bethel, for all your hard work in ministering through these projects!!