See Our Progress in the Charity Village!!!

We are so, so excited about all of the progress in the Charity Village, and so completely thankful to God for His Divine Providence and to all of our faithful donors!!!!   We can hardly contain our joy!!!

Here’s what’s new…

*** GROUNDBREAKING!!!  We held a groundbreaking for the Chapel and for the Community Center in the Charity Village in February!!  Bishop Crispin, the Bishop of Borongan along with the Oikos Sisters’ spiritual director, Msgr. Lope Robredillo, and missioners from all over the world joined the Oikos Sisters in breaking ground on the two structures!   The day was so joyful and meaningful to all who attended.  We buried a time capsule at each location that included the names of all present and a rosary and then each of us helped to shovel in dirt to fill the holes.  Bishop Crispin also blessed the land as we prayed for continued success in the construction of the village.  We gave thanks to all who have donated for the construction of these buildings, and asked our Loving Father to continue to touch the hearts of generous people to continue to support our project!

*** NEW HOMES ARE BEING BUILT!!  Even as you read this, homes are being built in the Charity Village!!  We are making improvements on the homes as we build them, realizing that even if the land we are building the village on is safe from flooding, nowhere is safe from typhoons here!  So, we are building stronger homes made entirely of concrete.  Also, we are making duplexes!
The duplexes actually take up less room than 2 houses and are just as roomy and comfortable as the single homes.  Thanks to the Construction Team from the Joliet Mission in Chicago, IL who were an amazing help to our local workers in building and painting the homes!!***EACH HOUSE THAT IS FINISHED HAS A FAMILY LIVING IN IT!!  The purpose of the Charity Village is to have sturdy, safe, comfortable homes for the poorest of the poor who have no home of their own.  Already 10 homes are totally finished and they are already Home Sweet Home to 10 families!!  One home and two duplexes are almost done, meaning 5 more families will be able to call Charity Village their home soon.  The village is not yet complete, and construction will soon begin on the Community Center and the Chapel, but why have empty houses, right?  An added benefit to having residents already is that they are super helpful to us in helping with the gardening and landscaping, in cooking food for the workers and in many other ways.  We are continuously getting showered by the blessings of the Lord!!

And here’s your sneak peek…

This is what we hope the Charity Village will look like upon its completion!!  In the center is the chapel, the small blue boxes are all the homes and the white rectangle is the basketball court (every village in the Philippines seems to have a basketball court!)  To the right of the court is the dialysis center and across from that will be the medical center.  Next to the medical center will be the community center.  There are spaces for vegetable gardens, a rosary garden and a playground!  To the right of the village will be the Oikos Sister’s convent with a hermitage and 2 small guest houses.

Can you see why we are so excited???  We cannot express the magnitude of our thanks for everyone who has supported us through donations and prayers…  Please continue your support!  Together we can do amazing things!!!

To donate now, click here.  Thank you!!  God bless you always!!!

The Oikos Livlihood Programs are Alive & Kickin’!!

One of the many ministries that the Oikos Sisters facilitate in Eastern Samar is the Livelihood Program.  There are two that have been introduced to communities all throughout our region:  FAITH (Food Always In The Home), and Piglet Recycling and Fattening.  Just a few weeks ago, we had the closing ceremony for FAITH and the launching of the piggy project in a barrio called Surok.

Surok is a barrio, or small village, located near Borongan in Eastern Samar.  To get there, you have to take a long, narrow boat across a river.  At one time there was a bridge connecting the land, but Typhoon Ruby washed the bridge away in 2014.  The boats are usually guided by young boys who transport people to and fro all day long for mere pesos a trip.  It is hard work as up to 10 people can fit in a boat and all the boys have to “drive” the boat is a long stick.  There is no market in Surok, only little mini-shops in people’s homes called Sari-sari stores.  There is an elementary school but no high school.  The people there grow rice and root crops for their livelihood.  But with the changing weather here in Eastern Samar bringing more rain in the dry season, it is a great challenge to produce crops worthy of sale and consumption.

Last year the Oikos Sisters launched the FAITH program in Surok.  They taught the people how to grow fruits and vegetables on risers in biodegradable plastic bags, taught them how to grow their food organically, even how to make compost.  The people were given seeds and were monitored by the Oikos Livelihood team throughout the program.  It is a great way to provide food for their table and some to sell in their community or even in the market in Borongan.  This past April, Oikos held the closing ceremony of the FAITH program in Surok.  The beneficiaries are rewarded quarterly for their hard work and in the last ceremony, each participant is given grocery items and rice, and those who produce the most vegetables are given sacks of rice.  It was a great celebration!!

On May 16, 2018, the Oikos Sisters launched the Piglet Recycling and Fattening program in Surok.  We had a seminar given by Tomas Palada, graduate of animal husbandry and agriculture and Oikos co-worker who runs the Oikos Pig Farm.  Tomas taught the beneficiaries how to raise piglets for breeding or fattening and the participants got to choose which program they wanted to partake in.  The fattening program provides a quick return as it takes just about three months to fatten a pig for butchering, and the piglet recycling offers more of a long-term sustainability as participants can continue to grow and raise piglets as long as they keep breeding them.  Of course, the recycling is more work, but a good investment of time!  Once again, the beneficiaries will be monitored throughout this program and Tomas will visit Surok regularly to see to sick pigs, help in birthing the piglets or any other issues that may develop.  We also delivered some of the piggies to their beneficiaries that same day.  What a joy it was for the people and for us…as for the piggies…well, they were screeching pretty loudly!  I know they will be well cared for in their new homes!!

There are plans to open the FAITH program in two more communities this year, and pending the success of FAITH, the piggy project will soon follow.  These programs not only provide livelihoods for the people, they also fill them with hope…hope that they will be able to provide for their families and send their children to school, hope that they will someday be able to build a home that is safe and secure and will be able to eat three times a day, hope that they will be able to create a business they can pass on to their children and end the cycle of poverty in their community.  There is excitement and joy in the faces of our beneficiaries that comes from the knowledge that they have not been forgotten by the world and that someone cares for them.

If you would like to be a part of bringing hope and joy to the poor people of Eastern Samar through the work of the Oikos Sisters, we would love to partner with you!!  You can make a donation here and know that 100% of your donation will go right to the people you want to help!!  Thank you for your generosity!!  Please keep our mission, our Sisters and the poor we help in your prayers!!  Thank you so much!!  God bless you!!

Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! Big Changes in the Charity Village!!!

The Oikos Sisters are so happy and excited about the new happenings in the Charity Village!!  This has been a dream of the Oikos Sisters for many, many yeaIMG_4899rs now.  In the year 2015, land was donated to the Sisters from a Filipino family living in Florida, 1.5 hectors of land in a non-flood prone area.  Since that time, construction and building has been going on.  It has been a slow process because of the need for funding and the weather…in the rainy season, it is extremely difficult to be building.  But now, things are in a major upswing!!

Not only do we have all 25 of the planned homes fully funded, and 6 of them already built with plans and materials to build 4 more this summer, but now THE ROAD GOING INTO THE CHARITY VILLAGE IS BEING BUILT!!!  This is a major development as it will make things move much more quickly and easily.  Here are some of the pictures we took:

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IMG_4894These pictures show the back hoe being used to clear the path of grass and shrubs.  (and the kids along for the ride are too cute!)  The next step will be compression and topping the road with gravel.

Other projects we are hoping to get done before the year is out include the road inside the village, the community/evacuation center, the chapel and of course more homes.  People are already living there and, although the construction is a bit noisy, they are all happy with the progress as well.  For years, the Oikos Sisters have had this dream, they have planned and persevered.  We have no doubt that the Sisters can accomplish all that they set out to do with God’s guidance and protection, in His time.

Thank you to all of the benefactors and donors to the Charity Village!  You are always in our prayers and will always be a part of our mission.  God bless you!!

If you want to be a part of this amazing project of the Oikos Sisters, you can donate here!!  Salamat Po!!!  Thank you!!!

 

Adlaw Han Mga Kablas (Day for the Poor)

Much of the work done in the Oikos Mission is planned programs, but the Oikos Sisters are always open to the will of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes the work we do is not a ministry, but a special event, such as the following:

                             Adlaw Han Mga Kablas

This past May, I was blessed and honored to be able to travel to South Korea with the Oikos Sisters to have an immersion/retreat with a Catholic congregation called Kkottongnae through the generosity and support of the Diocese of Borongan. There we attended the “Love in Action” school that taught the importance of loving and caring for everyone, especially those who could never repay the generosity shown them, namely the poor, disabled and elderly. We participated in a festival in honor of the poor and homeless of Seoul called the Pumba Festival. The Holy Spirit struck straight to the hearts of the Oikos Sisters and, almost immediately upon returning home, they began pl022anning their own festival for the poorest of the poor here in Borongan, a barrio fiesta called Adlaw Han Mga Kablas.

The Oikos Sisters were founded out of a need they saw to help the poor. In 2018 they will celebrate their 20th anniversary! Since their inception, they have been caring for the poor in countless ways. What we participated in with Kkottongnae was a celebration of and for the poor people. A festival where they can laugh and dance and sing and eat their fill…a day of joy for them. That is the spark that ignited within the Oikos Sisters and fueled our Adlaw Han Mga Kablas fiesta.

A few weeks before the event took place, the Oikos Mission was in high gear preparing for our fiesta. The Oikos Sisters called upon their co-workers to assemble gift packages for each adult, child and family who would come, to build “houses” where the food would be 034served and to help on the fiesta day. They also requested help from the Borongan community for donations of food and drinks for the poor. Invitations were made and given to poor families and Oikos scholars together with Caritas and Diocesan scholars helped to decorate our venue, the Don Bosco Youth Center. They also helped to pack up the gifts and were an enormous help the day of the event.

On Saturday, September 30th, our Adlaw Han Mga Kablas, the sun was shining outside and Christ the Son, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, was beaming through the faces of each Sister and volunteer. It was an early day for all of us, and yet we were all blessed with energy and joyful spirits throughout the entire day. We were expecting around 250 fiesta guests, but the count nearly tripled as more than 600 people came!! We were astounded and worked quickly to make more gift and rice packs for our guests as 035they were singing, dancing and having such a fun time thanks to our talented MC’s and house band. But God, our Abba Father, shed His light and His miraculous mercy on us as each child who came received a party bag and each adult received a grocery pack with rice. We had just enough! And the food? It was like being on the mountainside near the Sea of Galilee 2,000 years ago…not only did we have enough food to feed everyone, but there was more leftover, even after all of the volunteers ate after the event!! We were all praising God for His kindness to us!!

We were so blessed with the presence of Father Roneil Canillas, Father Roberto Picardal and Most Reverend Bishop Crispin 042 (2)Varquez who celebrated a beautiful mass for us with the assistance of Deacon Jonathan Pading. We were aided by many of the mothers whose children are sponsored through the Oikos Sisters, the CRLJ Charismatic Community, Sister Bing of the Living the Gospel Sisters and many past and present sponsored scholars. Truly, each person was a gift to us and not only helped to make the day run smoothly, but made it fun too!

One of the high points for me was when everyone gathered in a circle and sang “Hawak Kamay” together, which means holding hands together. Being a foreigner, I was unfamiliar with this song, however, with a friend’s help, I learned its sweet meaning…You are never alone, no matter what happens. Not only can you look to God in Heaven, but you can always depend on me to be there for you, to hold your hand, to help you in this uncertain world. You are never alone. As the words were translated to me and I looked around at all of the people standing and holding hands, singing with everything they had in them, it really moved me. To me, that is what Oikos is all about…being there for anyone who God sends their way, bringing God’s love to the poor and giving others the opportunity to do the same.

It seems that for the Oikos Sisters, and for me, it was the very fruitful trip to Kkottongnae in South Korea that led to what we hope will be the first annual Adlaw Han Mga Kablas!!                                TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!

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Great News For The Charity Village!!

Although there have been a few ups and downs in the Charity Village, I have some great news to share with you!!  Building began in February and right now there are several homes built, painted and blessed!  Families have already begun moving into the village even though construction is still underway.  And ALL 25 HOMES ARE FUNDED!!!    Awesome news!!

There has been some difficulty in securing the land for the road going into the Charity Village.  First permission was given by the surrounding land owners of the village to build the road on their land, but then the families demanded an unjust price.  Also slowing down the construction was a ban on cutting down coconut trees.  Thankfully, these issues are beginning to be resolved!!

Due to a generous donor and a compromise negotiated with many prayers, the road right of way has been finalized and purchased!  And we are praying that after an assessment of the property and the coconut trees therein, the ban on cutting down the trees will be lifted within the coming weeks.  More good news continues as another generous donor has stepped forward to help pay for the heavy equipment needed to take down the trees.  When the ban is lifted, we’ll be ready to roll!!!

No endeavor in this life is without difficulty and road blocks.  The Oikos Sisters have found the way to keep positive thoughts flowing amid the twists and turns:  faith and trust in the Lord!!  Thanks be to God for their persistence and prayer.  Please join them in prayer that this village for the poor without homes of their own will soon be completed!!  Many, many thanks to you!!!

2017 Summer Mission Appeals

We in the Catholic Church are united within the Body of Christ, making us all brothers and sisters regardless of our earthly heritage. All of us come from the same Father, all of us are loved and cared for by the same Mother, and all of us were saved by our one Brother, Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter where we were born, what country we live in, our familial situations, we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus and are called to care for each other on a global scale. Keeping that in mind, the Catholic Church in the United States holds yearly mission appeals wherein missionaries from all over the world are invited to come and share the stories of their mission and ask for prayers and financial help for the work that they do.

Every summer for the past six years, Sister Clarissa has come to the United States, the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois in particular, to IMG_3820share her stories of the Oikos Mission and the work done by the Oikos Sisters to help the poor in their region of Eastern Samar. This summer, Sister Clarissa spoke at three churches: Saint Walters, St. Ann in Oswigo and Immaculate Conception.

She was warmly welcomed at each and every parish and was overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality that she was greeted with. A silent auction fundraiser was also held at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Sister Clarissa helped the members of the Poor Household of God to raise funds for all the work that the Sisters do, in particular, this year they focused on the Charity Village with the proceeds going to fund electricity and paint for the homes being built there.

New to this 2017 Summer Mission Appeal was a second appeal held in my hometown, Buffalo, New York. Although I am still in the midst of my missionary year with the Oikos Sisters, they asked me if I would accompany Sister Clarissa to the US and speak in the churches for the Buffalo Appeal. This was so new to me! I had heard missionaries speak before at masses, I have even heard Sister Clarissa give a few of her talks, but to listen to one and to give one are very different things!!

But just as He does with Sister Clarissa, the Holy Spirit was with me and helped to inspire me to speak the words that would most touch 034people’s hearts. I too was received so warmly by the priests and parishioners at the Churches I spoke at: Immaculate Conception in Wellsville, Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna and St. John the Baptist in Kenmore. I was so very grateful for the generosity of the people in Buffalo, and so touched by their interest in the Oikos Mission and their prayers and blessings for me.

It is with great joy and love that Sister Clarissa and I say THANK YOU to all of the priests and parishioners, to people in the communities that were so welcoming, to the Diocese of Joliet and of Buffalo, and to the members of the Poor Household of God as we head back to our mission in the Philippines. Truly, truly, the Oikos Mission could not do all of the amazing work that we do without the help of our caring and generous brothers and sisters in the United States and throughout the world. We are very blessed indeed!!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “I can do things you cannot do. You can do things I cannot do. Together we can do great things!”   Amen!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!!

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ABC…1,2,3…It’s A New School Year in the Philippines!

In June, a new school year began for most of the students in the Philippines.  Here in Borongan, Eastern Samar, the kids are excited and nervous about the coming year!  That is universal throughout the world for most kids.  What isn’t universal is that the families here cannot afford most of the school supplies needed for their children. The teachers here do not ask for a lot.  Notebooks for every subject, pens or pencils depending on the grade and handwriting pads.  But for families that work each day just to put food on the table, it comes down to feed my child or give her a notebook.  Which would you choose for your child?

046The Oikos Sisters strive to meet the needs of the neediest, that includes school supplies!  During the last  few weeks of May, we went to several barrios handing out school supplies to the kids.  Many families have been coming to our mission 20160529_150035house in the city to ask for supplies as well.  Thanks to the Poor Household of God, this year, we were able to give over 600 children school supplies, some of which included new school bags, shoes and uniforms, depending on the need.

 20160529_105147Not only that, but through the generosity of our sponsors and various donations made throughout the year, the Oikos Sisters aid over 200 children, giving them allowances for travel fees for school and money for school projects.

You can see how excited the kids are to receive the supplies and begin their new school year!!  Thank you to all the donors of The Poor Household of God for putting these smiles on our kids faces!!

To become a donor, please check out our donate page!!

Please pray for our little ones, and the big ones too, that they have a successful school year.  Thank you!!

To God be the Glory!!!

GRADUATIONS IN OIKOS!!!

Graduations are always exciting times, even here in Oikos.  All of the hard work and time sacrificed to studies has paid off and has culminated to a jubilant walk across the stage signifying crossing from one side of life to another.  The scholars in Oikos have worked so very hard and we are all so very proud of all of them!!!  These are the students who are sponsored by the Poor Household of God and who board within the Oikos Mission Houses, called Oikos Angels, who graduated college this year:

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Lino graduated from the College Seminary with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. He will continue on to Theology with the hope of receiving Holy orders.

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Ivan graduated Cum Laude from the College Seminary with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. He will go on to Theology with the hope of entering the priesthood.

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Maria Lyn graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education

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Joy Lyn graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture

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Kate graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration

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Benedict graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education

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Rosalinda graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education

These students worked so hard to accomplish their goals.  Staying up late, missing Oikos Family events to do school work and all the while, trusting in God to help them succeed.

Without the help and prayers of sponsors through the Poor Household of God throughout the world, this day might never have come for these students.  Everyday these students gave thanks to their sponsors and remembered them in their prayers.  Many, many thanks to those who helped to make this day possible for these high achievers!!!

There were three elementary school graduates this year as well:

Angel, grade 6 graduate who will go to high school here in Borongan

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Jake, grade 6 graduate who will go to high school in Cebu in a boarding school run by the Sisters of Mary:

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And Lhans, who will attend the same school as Jake in Cebu:

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Congratulations to all of the Oikos graduates!!!!

We are all so proud of our graduates!  Truly, all of them have worked so hard to achieve this great honor.  And all of them, all of the Oikos Family, are so grateful to The Poor Household of God who makes it possible for these children not only to go to school, but to be able to have money for their fare to and from school, money for their school projects and for food each day.

 And not only that, each one of these students, and in fact ALL of the students sponsored by The Poor Household of God, each one of them knows that this day, their graduation day, might not be possible if it weren’t for the generosity and love of people all around the world who sponsor them.  The thoughtfulness and love of these sponsors gives these children wings to succeed in school and in life.  If you are an Oikos Sponsor, THANK YOU!!!

 If you would like to become an Oikos Sponsor and provide the opportunity for a poor child in the Philippines to break out of  the bonds of poverty, please click here.

 We give praise and thanks to God for His great providence and love.

 

UPDATE ON THE CHARITY VILLAGE!!!

Quite a long time ago, the Oikos Sisters began dreaming about building a village where the poor people of Eastern Samar could live, those without land or a home of their own.  One of the philosophies of the Oikos Sisters is that all things happen in God’s time.  We cannot demand or rush God…we simply have to trust.

Well, it was just about one year ago that things began rolling for the Charity Village, and now we are in “full swing” mode!  It seems like every month there is a new development, a new accomplishment or a new challenge making itself known in the dream land of the Oikos Sisters.

1448177969677The Charity Village, just to remind you, is on land donated to the Oikos Sisters…1.5 hectors, in fact.  It is located in a central part of Borongan, away from the river and a little bit higher than the surrounding areas.  This makes the Oikos Sisters quite happy…basically being on land that is not prone to flooding.  The land is rich in flora and fauna, having many coconut trees, fruit trees, avocado trees, and beautiful plants.  The Sisters plan to add to the bounty coming from the earth with a community garden where all of the residents of the Charity Village will learn how to grow vegetables and be responsible for the garden’s care.  The plan right now is to have 25 homes built, along with a chapel, an evacuation qcenter and a medical clinic.  The evacuation center will be three stories and will house the Oikos convent, rooms for scholars, a large meeting area and plenty of room for many people to find refuge in times of need.  And the medical clinic will include rooms for OB/Gyn care, ambulatory care, a dental clinic, beds for overnight care should that be necessary and the Oikos charity pharmacy.  There are local doctors who donate their time to clinics such as the one the Oikos Sisters are planning.  Right now, the Sisters have funding for 22 out of the 25 homes and, the awesome news is…they have begun building the homes!!!

The first two homes were built during the Diocese of Joliet Partnership in Mission Medical Mission that was in Borongan during the first two weeks of February 2017.  Along with the medical team, a construction team also donates their time, talent and treasure to the poor people of Borongan.  Together with local community volunteers, the mission team made first homes of the Charity Village a reality for the Oikos Sisters!!

IMG_2293image (3) IMG_2294  Working long hours in the sun and the rain, the construction team did an absolutely amazing job building the homes that are sure to be the answer to many prayers here in the poorest region in the Philippines.  For certain, the team of missionaries and volunteers have answered the prayers of the Oikos Sisters!

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So…without further ado… (drum roll, please…) here are                                              THE FIRST TWO HOMES IN THE CHARITY VILLAGE:

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We give praise and thanks to God for His generosity and His providence.

And we thank the many people who have been praying for the Oikos Sisters and their endeavors.

What is up next for the Charity Village?  A road will be built for easy access to the land and construction on more houses will begin.

What is still needed for the Charity Village?  Funding for a few more homes (the cost to build one home is $2500.00 for labor and supplies) and funding is also needed for the evacuation center and the medical clinic.  If you want to help financially, you can donate here.  And your prayers are always needed and appreciated.

The Oikos Philosophy: Living By The Spirit

The Oikos Sisters have a beautiful relationship with God.  Over the past 18 years…almost 19, they have come to trust in the Lord completely.  Many people say that, you know?  Just put your trust in the Lord…but I wonder if all of the people who say that really know what it means.  Below is a blog written by Sarah Noonan, a missionary from Buffalo, New York living and working with the Oikos Sisters for one year.  Please take a moment to read the following…it is very inspirational, and gives a beautiful insight into the daily lives of the Oikos Sisters and what it means to really trust in the Lord…

I’ve written some pretty fantastic things in this blog that the Oikos Sisters do.  From sending kids to school to feeding the poor in the barrios, from teaching all people about God to giving free medications to the poor.  They eat sleep and breathe their charism, like going to the poor where they are and giving them a hand up like in the immersion and livelihood programs.  It is all amazing but it all takes time to prepare and people to do it.  However, sometimes, the most incredible giving is done spur of the moment, when the Holy Spirit taps you on the shoulder and asks you to help.  I think that’s happened to me a lot, but perhaps my busy schedule or shyness, perhaps even intimidation has kept me at times from approaching strangers and seeing if they need help.  I think the Oikos Sisters live so tuned into the Holy Spirit that they go at the merest tap and they trust with all of their being that God will protect them.  Today I was witness to such an occurrence,  and it literally moved me to tears.

Sister Minerva and I were at mass this morning, as usual, and after the mass we began to leave.  However, Sister Minerva saw a woman and a young boy who were sitting quite a few pews up from us.  As we were leaving, she suddenly turned and walked to the other door where the woman and her son was.  She greeted them and asked them about their lives.

The woman’s name is Jennifer, and her son is John Mark.  She is from Manila, but when she got married she lived with her husband in CanAvid, a town north of Borongan.  She has 3 other children besides John Mark.  A few years ago, Jennifer’s husband was killed, how or what for, I do not know, but Jennifer feared for her life and the lives of her children.  So, they went back to Manila and lived with her grandmother in a teeny home.  Deciding to return to CanAvid to see if she could get help from the government there, she and John Mark went there, but to her dismay, because she no longer lived in Can Avid, they offered her no help. 

Jennifer decided to come to Borongan, where a distant relative lives, and see if she could get the fare back to Manila.  However, the family here is poor as well and is unable to help.  Now, Jennifer and John Mark spend their nights sleeping behind the stage at the plaza in the center of town and spend their days begging for food on the streets, hoping to get food for the day, let alone the fare for a trip for 2 back to Manila.  She is a beautiful woman with kindness in her eyes, and my heart ached for her when I heard her story.

She tried a few times to approach the priests in the cathedral, but shyness and embarrassment about her situation kept her from asking for help.  So, Sister Minerva offered to help introduce her to the priests and told Jennifer where to go to get food always at Oikos.  Upon coming home, after our morning prayer, I asked Sister Minerva how else we can help her.  The Sisters were given money from a former resident of Borongan, and she said she feels called to give Jennifer the fare to Manila this very day!!  I cried out loud and hugged Sister Minerva…my heart just broke thinking of this woman and her son sleeping outside, going to bed hungry, far away from the rest of her family, especially her children.  And to think that in just a little bit, they will be together again…oh my, my heart just leapt!!!

That is the way, here in Oikos… to be open to the Holy Spirit where ever He sends you, whenever He taps you on the shoulder.  And to give.  Certainly, there are needs here in Oikos, certainly the pharmacy needs more medications to give to the poor, certainly we will need to get more rice so we can hand it out to whoever knocks at our door, certainly there are many more needs, but certainly there are people right in front of us who often get overlooked because we are thinking of the big picture, of the many needs we have and the many errands we have to run.  But, even with all of those things on her mind, Sister Minerva saw someone in need, and she immediately responded to that need…and lives were changed.  That is one of the things the Oikos Sisters have learned over these past 18 years…I trust with all my being that God will see to my needs and the needs of those who are under my care, and I see to the needs of the person right in front of me.  He will provide if only I have the courage to trust.

Living by the Spirit…being moved by the Spirit…how awesome is that?  The next time I feel that tug, I’m going to respond!!

To read more of Sarah’s blogs about her experiences in the Oikos Community, please visit http://www.godsgloryamongthepoor.blogspot.com.