RCHT Newsletter Spring 2017
It was a joy to join in the 35th Anniversary Celebrations at Rehoboth at the end of October. A group of 12 from the UK were there with a great many others at the celebration event and over the weekend. The staff, youngsters and members of the RCHI Board all took part. Also present were the Mayor, representatives of Tarlac Agricultural University and members of the local community who support Rehoboth, together with a number of previous residents, some with their families. It was also very special to have lunch on the Sunday after church with many of the alumni and to hear their stories. You will read reflections of two of the visitors and one of the alumni in this newsletter, as well as hearing the life story of one of the most recent additions to the family. Rehoboth really has made a difference to lives – and continues to do so.
Anniversary Celebrations are continuing when we meet for our annual Rehoboth Rendezvous on Saturday 22nd April at Godmanchester Baptist Church between 4.00 and 7.00pm, when there will be a programme of activities for young and old and an opportunity to sample some Filipino food. We are especially delighted that Amy Tuquero, Rehoboth’s Executive Director in the Philippines, will be joining us and speaking on this occasion. Do come and join us if you can to meet Amy and hear about the work of the Home. For more information please see our website. Please also see the Godmanchester Baptist Church website about parking arrangements at the church. Philip Thompson (Chair of RCHT)
Rehoboth Children’s Home began in 1981 and for 35 years God has wonderfully provided for the needs of the Home in many ways. A home and family have been provided for over 200 children and young people. Educational assistance has also been provided for 66 local families in need over the last 9 years. On October 29th 2016 we celebrated our anniversary in the Philippines. This is what some of those visiting at the time have written:
“In October I got the chance to visit Rehoboth with my husband, eldest daughter and a small group of church friends. I had visited 10 years ago and the bright colours sights, sounds and heat stirred familiar memories but for my husband and daughter it was a long awaited first visit and it was exciting to share the experience with them. We were eagerly welcomed into the Rehoboth family and experienced so much laughter, joy, love and care during our stay (the children found our attempts to learn their language very entertaining!). It was brilliant to see how children I had met 10 years ago had grown into wonderful young adults and so special to catch up with Jeroniel who we had sponsored since he was 10. He had graduated earlier that year but was volunteering at the home so we had the chance to get to know the amazing young man he now is. We also got to meet our new sponsored child and got to bond with her through trips spent swimming, shopping, visits to Jollibee and doing everyday things together.
As part of our visit we led teaching sessions and learnt together from the children and each other, shared art and craft activities, Scottish dancing, read with the children and painted a new mural. A highlight of our trip was the privilege of joining in with Rehoboth’s 35th anniversary weekend. The children and staff had worked really hard to prepare dances and songs to share and many previous residents returned to join in with the celebrations. Visits to some of the children’s homes and learning a bit of their background had brought home the reality of the hardship and poverty they had experienced yet they focussed not on the difficult life circumstances but on counting God’s blessings – a real challenge to us all!”
Maria George (Rehoboth Sponsor & daughter of Vernon Andrews, co- founder of Rehoboth)
“I was privileged to be one of a group from the Huntingdon area to visit Rehoboth Children’s Home in the Philippines last October. I had visited once before in 1999 but this time we were able to take part in their 35th anniversary service and it was lovely to meet up with past Rehoboth residents who had come back for the occasion and see how happy they were in their adult life.
We got involved in life at the home and spent most of the time sharing with the children and staff. We led Bible activities and did a number of craft activities. We also played games and read with the children.
Kathryn Thompson, who works as a full time volunteer, had organised a varied programme for us. This included a trip to a beach resort with all the children and staff. It was a great place to relax and to cool off in the sea. We also went out in smaller groups to visit some of the children’s homes and to look round the local town of Camiling. The children were very responsive and loved having us there and they and the staff made us feel very welcome.
The most memorable thing for me was meeting up with the children and their families that I sponsor. You pray for them and write to each other but to be able to spend time with them was great.“ Rosemary Steen (RCHT Trustee, Treasurer & Sponsor)
“In 1988, when I was eight years old, I came to Rehoboth Children’s Home with my seven year old sister Connie. My mother and my sister decided to bring us to Rehoboth because our father had died and my family couldn’t afford to meet our needs and especially our schooling. I stayed fourteen years at Rehoboth and there’s a lot of memories that I can’t forget. To have a family who loved and cared for me, who molded and taught us how to pray and hold onto the word of God. I finished my study of BSFT Bachelor in Food Science and Technology and graduated in April 2002. Since August of that year I have been working as a domestic helper in Macau.
When I attended the anniversary I was so blessed and amazed at how God has worked for 35 years at Rehoboth and I was blessed by the presentation of the children, and I did not expect that I would receive a certificate of appreciation. I also enjoyed the alumni lunch and meeting with Auntie Connie. It was good because I met people again and it’s been many years that we haven’t seen each other, and we have a successful conversation with them, especially with Auntie Connie. I’m so glad that I met her again even though she can’t see us but still she can remember all the alumni and I’m happy for that and I’m so blessed. “
Mary Jane Ibarra (Rehoboth Alumni)
When Michael was young he was in the mall with his mother in Manila when he was snatched by someone working for a kidnapping syndicate. He does not remember how old he was but he remembers he was cared for by an older woman and he has talked about the abuse he suffered there. Some time later, he thinks when he was about 8 years old, he managed to escape and ended up on the streets of Angeles city where he lived as a street child begging for food. After a while, a local councillor took pity on him and took Michael into his home. He stayed with the family for three years until they were no longer able to provide for his needs due to ill health. He was then referred to the city social welfare office where he was placed in a local children’s home. It was there in 2012 that Michael started school and completed Grades 1-3. After three years, the home unfortunately closed down so he was transferred temporarily to a government home for special children where he completed his Grade 4 studies. Last year, he moved again and on June 9th he was welcomed into the Rehoboth family where he started his Grade 5 studies.
As Michael was separated from his family when still young, he does not remember what his name was, where he was born, or who his family was. He longs to know who he is, where he came from and to be reconnected with his family again, but at present we have no information. The people who found him named him and his age has been estimated through dental age assessment. Michael is keen to finish his studies and train to be a car mechanic. He is really good at fixing things and has repaired electric fans, bikes, speakers and radios. His first love is cars and he has built himself a remote control car and truck from recycled materials and most often can be found in his room making some adjustments or improvements to his design.
We pray that Rehoboth will give Michael a hope for the future as we seek to be the family that he yearns for, to enable him to complete his studies and reach his goal of becoming a car mechanic. We pray that one day he will find his family and they will be reunited once again.
In 2011 we brought to your attention our serious concerns about Rehoboth’s finances which threatened the viability of the work in the Philippines at that time. We are most grateful to those who responded then with specific gifts and those who increased their regular giving. We are now again in a similar position. Owing to a number of factors, over some of which we have no control, our expenditure is regularly exceeding our income and our reserves are steadily decreasing. We were blessed last year with a small legacy, a good part of which covered the cost of the necessary repairs and renovations to the house where Kathryn lives at Rehoboth.
However, to maintain the existing level of provision for the children in the Home, our income needs to increase. We are deeply grateful to God for his wonderful provision over the past thirty-five years. We realise that everyone’s circumstances are different and we appreciate both single and regular gifts. As supporters we felt you should be made aware of this situation.
Please contact us if you would like any more information about this matter.