MEANS is embarking on a new Disaster Project Initiative – Plant with Purpose. Is there a need to plant trees? How is this relevant to Disaster Fund projects? How are we going to get involved? What does Scripture say about replenishing the earth? What are our objectives?
1. Teach the basic philosophies of what MEANS believe about care for creation
2. Teach through bible studies, video presentations, discussion groups, reading books about caring for creation, and other bible materials and resources about caring for creation
3. Who will do it? In partnership with organizations in the Philippines doing a holistic ministry by challenging the school leadership to encourage students and the community to be involved in the project where the schools are located.
Right after typhoon Haiyan, MEANS initiated tree planting as one of our disaster project initiatives. About 3,000 trees seedlings / fruit trees indigenous to the area were planted in areas devastated by the super typhoon. The project has been going on ever since. One of the highlights of this project is the one we had at Balabag, San Carlos, Negros Occidental. This is a defining moment of the project because government military officials, people from 5 community districts, school teachers, and college students got involved in tree planting in the school compound.
One of the college students who participated got so encouraged about the response of the people to the project.
Here is Jeffy P. Alcansare’s story. Be inspired.
What will the world be like if each one of us cared about God’s creation; if we demonstrated some random acts of kindnesses and give a little love to our neighbors? I believe that is the kind of world God wants us to live in.
This summer, I’ve done something meaningful. When I was checking my Facebook account, I’ve seen a posted invitation for a “Plant a Tree – Care for Creation Program” at Balabag Elementary School, Brgy. Quezon, San Carlos City. I immediately asked ate Nerry Quijano, another IVCF’er at Philippine Normal University in San Carlos, if I could join them. She said yes. I excitedly waited for the date of the program – May 19, 2014. Though our house is quite far from the tree planting site, I was very eager to go to volunteer. I believe even with a little help on my part, I would be able contribute to the program. Before the event, I posted posters on Facebook to somehow ignite the feeling of whoever saw them to be interested in caring for creation. Even before, I really wanted to campaign for environmental care as a student leader in our school.
A day before the event, we visited the site. We wanted to start early morning on the day of tree planting. I really enjoyed the trip to the site – zigzag roads viewed from the mountain top and rough roads that were slippery and muddy. As I looked around, I saw stunning views of the mountains, mists and green vegetation. I was amazed and I appreciated God’s creation. I then thought that if more trees will be planted, the more beautiful and healthy the world will be.
On the day of the program, I woke up with a very thankful heart as I saw the thick fog outside the room where we were staying. I walked outside to see the rising sun peeking out from the horizon, reflecting its radiant light on the surface of the sea. The site of the school gave an excellent view of the mountain and the sea. It was indeed a great day to do something for the environment. A little while later, the parents and community volunteers came one by one. Pretty soon, their numbers increased.
An opening program was held in the session hall of the school. It included a welcoming of the participants, the turning over of the books for the “Read to Grow Program” and the garden tools. Everyone was recognized. After the session, everyone walked to join the parade bringing their banners showing which area they came from. Likewise, the barangay officials and teachers participated. Everyone carried a seedling in their hands ready for planting.
Finally, the people in the parade came to the place where trees will be planted. Everyone took their post parallel to the holes on the ground and started planting the seedlings. As every seedling was put into the ground, we hope and pray for it to grow. I really like the system of who is in charge of taking care of the newly planted seedlings. Every seedling has a number and the name of the one who planted it. It will be adopted by a pupil who will take good care of it until it has grown strong. The pupil will be the one to water it to ensure its healthy growth.
After planting, each one proceeded in making the school beautiful. I saw the smile in every volunteer and parent who were there enjoying working together in making fences, removing weeds so that the school will look attractive. I really admire the teachers in Balabag Elementary School who worked hand-in-hand with the parents of the community. They worked manually. It was encouraging to see everyone cooperating considering that they also have other responsibilities at home or was working. I was really amazed how the Lord touched everyone’s heart. It was overwhelming.
I’ve seen the situation of the teachers assigned in distant areas like Balabag. It’s very far from the city. It really takes courage and faith in God to work there. Though the salary isn’t enough for a living as a teacher, they are noble and have great dignity. They touch the lives of the pupils and even the community. They sacrifice and work hard for the school and the pupils. Teachers: I really appreciate them.
As I would be an English teacher someday, I have visualized the challenge ahead of me – a challenge not only to educate students but likewise to let them grow as strong children of God and do my best to let them grow in knowledge and to recognize that there is a Creator of the universe. I really affirm MEANS’ Read to Grow Program in helping students take the right track in life.
At the end of the day I thanked God for letting me experience a meaningful and productive event. I found myself much more willing to do things for the glory of God. I really thank MEANS and IVCF for this kind of program which will touch others significantly and make this world a better place to live in.
Contributor: Jeffy P. Alcansare
Philippine Normal University, Cadiz, Negros Occidental, Philippines, Bachelors of Science in Education, English Major, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Philippines Student Leader