Philippine Update from the Beards.
General. As followers of our site know, we ae close to many staff and children at IFL, Laguna, and have semi-permanent quarters on their compound, which houses dozens of staff, about 40 orphans, a school, and a church. We have had several trips to IFL and have spent nearly two years with them since 2017. The pictures are from our April visit this year.
Last week we reported about an outbreak of Dengue Fever among the children and a few staff. We called for prayer and assistance. Our local prayer group at Manna Church, Sanford NC has taken on the prayer burden for the situation. Meanwhile, IFL is running a round-the-clock prayer time for all their staff and families. We have many loved ones at IFL. The time during the COVID lockdown was hard, but other things have been happening, also. This provides an update and begins with the Dengue Fever outbreak.
- Dengue Fever Outbreak.
Most of the children (5) that first contracted Dengue have come home, but a second group of three children and one staff member from IFL contracted the fever, also. Two children were also briefly in the hospital for other reasons. So, we are keeping all of them in prayer. Most hospitals in their area are completely full, and Dengue cases have increased the patient load of most of them. Several have set up extended ER temporary facilities because there are no rooms available. IFL is maintaining a 24/7 prayer time until those sick from IFL are home and the instances of fever stop. The situation has not been easy, because staff must accompany those hospitalized, others make arrangements or provide transport. Hospitalization is not simple, and not like the US. Few people have insurance, and when they do it does not cover much. The bills at IFL are mounting, even though they have been granted some help from local doctors and hospitals.
There are government issues as well. Spraying was not done completely in the IFL area but did cover nearby areas. This made IFL an increased target for this mosquito-born fever. While some corrections have taken place, they were not in time to prevent the fever from being contracted by several children and one staff. IFL has instituted a no-contact quarantine with the current health issues, which also does not make things easy for normal schedules, school approaching, and community contact.
Please pray. We are personally sending help. If anyone wants to join us, please let us know.
2. Staff Changes.
Several key staff have recently left and new staff (including graduates from college, who stay at IFL for two years to help the school and church, have come into several positions in this ministry. All the change has not been easy, so the health situation has added additional pressures. Pandemic effects still play a big part in the government and functions of IFL. A significant part of their function was the oversight of a federation of Christian schools, but many Christian schools failed during the 2-year pandemic/lock-down period. The combination of staff changes and the dramatic reduction in the numbers of Christian schools has further exacerbated administrative and financial issues.
3. Our Part.
We do not know when will be able to return due to our own circumstances and the health/quarantine situation that persists at IFL. We are aiming at a return late this year or early next year. Meanwhile, we are talking via text and video regularly to encourage our loved ones who are in the middle of these circumstances. We are still Nanay and Tatay to a bunch of children and young staff. Our heart is with them, and the pull to return is strong but it is not possible right now. We also train others in biblical creation (including observing the heavens), but those plans were significantly disrupted by the Covid pandemic until April of this year, when we spent one month with them. We are busy, in the meantime, developing more resources in NC and building a home.
Bottom Line: Please pray.