During this “Back to School” month, many of us at home are disappointed and discouraged to see yet another season of this year redefined by COVID-19. Even so, friends, God is mightily at work in our communities and around the world, and the ripple of blessings through your continued generosity to the MEANS Serve a Meal initiative is evidence that no virus, no fear, no injustice can stop the outpouring of God’s gifts upon and through us.
Originally planned for the four weeks of June, Serve a Meal – in its fourth month – will by September propel a total of 22,000 warm meals into the hands of health workers, farmers, garbage collectors, cab drivers, street-dwellers, and those impacted by natural disaster over the last four months. This is made possible by the perseverance of our ministry partners all over the Philippines, by your commitment to furthering Jesus’s name with us, and ultimately by the grace and power of God.
Not only has the Serve a Meal stop-gap ministry touched the physically and spiritually hungry, the poorest of the poor, but it also opens doors for our ministry partners to establish lasting relationships with whole communities, and to practice the overwhelming love of Jesus. New people every month are hearing the good news of the Holy One’s death on our behalf and resurrection conquering our sin: the ultimate demonstration of generosity. Through your giving, and through our ministry partners’ serving, blessings overflow in a ripple effect, each blessing the next, bringing a touch of Heaven to earth. (Faith Cheng – MEANS Volunteer and Global Focus Editor )
A Ministry Partner’s Serve a Meal Story
This “Serve A Meal” project proved to us that even simple acts of love and compassion makes a great impact on the people we serve. It mobilizes other believers to do the same. Sitio Basurahan, where we have concentrated most of our efforts in this project, is the community we never thought we will reach. But God is so gracious towards these people. Having no knowledge about this community, at first we only had one person to survey the community and aid us in meal distribution. A week after, God raised another person, who is very familiar with the residents and willingly offered his service. From that point on, our local volunteers increased and their valuable help enabled us to reach other communities as well. We also got to talk to a local pastor, who leads a church within the vicinity for future partnership in terms of reaching the community further with the Gospel and training existing and future disciples. God indeed opened doors which no one will ever close. Apart from this, God also mobilized other Christian believers to share with us in this project. Support poured out in the form of face masks, face shields, clothing and other essentials that the community needs. The weeks of posting about the project on social media created awareness that this pandemic cannot limit what God can do if His people will unite in His mission.
These are the ripple effects from Serve a Meal. We held our celebration in the home of 3 families we met during Serve a Meal and invited those other volunteers from our outreach in Sitio Sarimanok. The celebration became a triple celebration since 2 kids were celebrating their birthdays, and a father’s the following day. We had a joint celebration for the 3 of them and had a very wonderful time in that community. They were also thankful since it was their first time to have that sort of “feast” of food. The parents helped in the celebration. Some were cooking the rice, some broiling the veggies, and some in helping prepare the ingredients for the dishes. Glad to see the community working together. (Caleb Corre – Pastor of Passion Ave Church, Payatas, Quezon City)
Experiencing the Ripple Effect Through Serve a Meal
1. Happy to know that Serve a Meal activities in my area have reached a Filipino working in Cyprus. She got interested and asked about the budget, schedule, etc. Praying for this: that she sends some financial help in Serve a Meal.
2. Last Tuesday, a well-known teacher in our community also heard about Serve a Meal. She gave me P300 ($6) as donation for the program.
3. Today, Sunday, my church mate who happens to be one of our city councilors told me that she will be donating 1 sack of rice and 3 additional sacks from her friend and a councilor, a total of 4 sacks of rice donated. Praise God for this Ripple Effect!
(Steven Dequina – HS English Instructor, IVCF Daga, Cadiz, Negros Occidental)
Starting a Reading Center in the Community
Regarding one of our new communities that has received Serve a Meal ministry, I think we can adopt the community and develop a community garden. We will go there every Saturday to teach children how to read and write. This will be a special blessing as it has been hard for them to study during the pandemic. The community is located at Sitio Dawis, Sagay City. We have friends in the community and they are willing to open their house for the books. The person who offered is also a village health worker. What’s more, she has allowed us to use vacant areas for planting as long as it will benefit the community. Here are our plans:
1. Plant fruit trees in the community.
2. Start a “Read to Grow” Reading Center – to make children’s books available and to teach children how to read every Saturday.
3. Serve a Meal over September and October.
(RJ Batangas – High School Guidance Counselor, IVCF Sagay, Sagay, Negros Occidental)
Reflections from IVCF Philippine students:
1. “When it rains, it pours” – a common statement we often hear. We associate it with blessing. For the rain gives joy to our farmers especially now that it is planting season. Although we experienced heavy downpour of rain last Saturday when we were distributing meals in Ilawod Area of Brgy. Guindagan Tanauan Leyte, it did not hinder us all from serving and blessing people with the meals we prepared for them. A total of 15 volunteers: 7 church volunteers, 3 community volunteers, 2 IVCF grads, and 3 cook helpers, joined together by the grace of the Lord to serve a hundred and fifty-five (155) packed meals of rice, “ginataang baboy na may talong” (pork and eggplant cooked in coconut milk) and banana.
2. Serve a Meal became an opportunity for our church volunteers to visit their Bible study group members, whom they have not seen for many months due to this pandemic and the protocols set forth by the government. It was such a joy to see them again and to share with them the hope and comfort that comes through the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. What has Serve a Meal taught us? Mercy, kindness and compassion. Again, it is during these times that our example is needed. Kindness is contagious. Be an encouragement. Be a blessing. Our own little ways of glorifying God are delightful in the sight of the Lord. Let the community see the goodness of the Lord. You’ll never know—one day, a neighbor, a friend, or even a stranger, will come to you and ask to join you in your mission to serve the Lord above all. Praise be to the Lord Jesus for all of these wonderful experiences. For He alone deserves all the glory. Thank you MEANS USA for allowing God to use you, your resources, your finances, your time, and even your ideas in making God-glorifying projects to serve the community, and above all, the Lord Jesus. The Lord bless your organization all the more. Glory to Jesus!
4. Serve a Meal moved many people in the community, especially a lady tailor who is making cloth face masks. She became interested, asked what we were doing, said she will help in preparing the meals. My father and sister who are not yet Christ followers became interested and started to help. Others in the community, especially senior women, began to help. Thus, MEANS’s Serve a Meal became a community project. Also, local vendors are benefiting, including farmers who have been providing their produce to us at a lower cost to us. Thus, many more hungry and unemployed people are becoming recipients of this program.
(Belinda Basas – IVCF Tanauan campus adviser (Eastern Visayas State University), Tanauan, Leyte,Philippines)
The Power of the Ripple Effect
When you toss a small stone on a placid lake, the energy generated by it creates ripples. It does not stop. It goes on and on touching and affecting others. Not only that, the ripple goes back to you and blesses you as well! That is why “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35).
We praise God for the ripple effects observed this month including: family involvement, community involvement, helping local vendors and farmers, boosting Philippine economy, unemployed with their families being helped. Praise God! (Lina Padilla, MEANS Board Chair)
Update MEANS Lockdown Relief Projects as of September 2020
- Face Masks Distribution – 25,160 pieces
- Round 1 – Serve a Meal – 11,000 meals– 16 locations
- Round 2 – Serve a Meal – 5,020 meals – 10 locations
- Round 3 – Serve a Meal – Rice Distribution – 40 sacks of rice/ 400 families
- Round 4 – Serve a Meal – 6,000 (September Estimate) – 15 locations
- Flip-flops – 750 pairs for young adults distributed in Marikina Communities
- OMF Publication on Covid-19 – 500 copies distributed to 10 partners
- Zoom Conferencing – 5 subscriptions for IVCF and ISACC
- Washing station – 1 – FF Gonzaga Elementary School, Bacolod
The answer to the NEW NORMAL:
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works”Hebrews 10:24
Online Giving – Make giving simple. Convenient. Secure. https://www.meansusa.org/?q=LockdownRelief