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Thursday 21st August 2014
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 Mail from Steve Burnett in Illigan City, after the Floods.

Hey you guys

 

Hope you are well and blessed?

 

Itís a week now since I came home and I am back to the grindstone! Just finished work but emailing you before I leave the office!

 

I went to Iligan not sure what to expect. Would the city be devastated and destroyed with need and anguish on every corner? Would I be overwhelmed?

In reality, nothing much looks any different on the surface. You would really hardly know there had been floods except for the occasional property thatís not been cleaned out and all the driftwood that seems to be everywhere (apparently all the massive logs got taken by the govt shortly after).

Its only when you speak to people and ask that you realize the sheer terror of what happened just before Christmas. Whole families were drowned in their beds. Children were swept away and drowned or found dead in the waters. People I know told me heart breaking accounts of their terrifying ordeals.

Then when you visit some of the areas where many homes were destroyed and you see what happened to concrete houses and the main new bridge, you get a feel for the power of the flood waters.

And when you visit the tent cities where 1000s of people live without elec or sanitation and as yet no real hope from the govt of a new homeÖ..they talk of red cross grants for 50k or 70k pesos but no one got one yet! And how hot is it under canvass when its 34 degrees outside??

 

I prayed with people and for people. For sure there is need but mostly I saw people used to life struggles just trusting God and getting on with their days.

 

I saw Stephen and Sonia and their family really loving and helping kids and families both in their neighbourhood (feeding on Saturday morning) and at the dump (feeding on Monday morning). This totals some 300 kids approx and there is some real good kids and real needy kids and really hurting kids included (and all sorts of other kids too I guess!). Their new worship centre and home is just great. Itís a nice size upstairs room with kitchen and 3 beds/2 baths off it. Its spacious and airy with a nice balcony. They are in just the right place too. The neighbourhood is apparently where the shaboo is made and sold (crystal meth) for all of Mindanao. There are lots of kids with parents in jail for this. I guess the world has plenty to tempt a young man or woman with if they have no work or educationÖ..

 

And the kids at the dump and their mums were just so pleased to see Stephen and Sonia and Adrian and Aiyleah. You can really see the love going both ways. Christís love.


 New Van for MSM
Great thanks to Steve and Fran Burnett  'Compact and Bale'  for an answer to prayer for some time. For the last 4-5 years we have had to get by with numerous old vans to get us to venues to raise awareness and much needed funding, many times we have broken down and had to pay for costly repairs, but now our prayers have been answered in the form of a 3 year old beautiful van, fully maintained and serviced, praise God. A lesson for us all,"for those who wait on the Lord, in HIS name it will surely come to pass"

SONYA RUSSELL
 
In October this year Sonya came to India for 2 months to volunteer at A.F.R.A. Home in Chennai.
After a week or so in Goa to climatize herself with the native way of life she made her way to Chennai overland. Joseph was there to meet her at the railway station and she stayed at the orphanage for 2 weeks until we arrived when we took her to see our other projects in Andra Pradesh, Pune, overland. Shortly after she arrived in Hampi for a well deserved break before returning to A.F.R.A. Home in Chennai. Her experience in Hampi was so great that she returned on her way back to Mumbai for the final few days of her "life changing trip"
 
Here is an excerpt from her trip,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
 
"The kids laugh at me and copy everything I say. They have no toys so I am now tasking them all with making Christmas decorations out of the husk of a coconut and some beads. They will do anything they can to take a peek in my cell room if only to see something slightly Western.
I only wish I had brought out more things for them......
The smallest of things means so much! If only a touch of the face, a hand hold or just to be sat with them while they eat their rice from steel plates with their right hand (left for ones bottom!) when sitting in rows on the floor.