Ormoc and Tacloban – Aug 7 – 8
A later morning with breakfast at the hotel at 7 am. I tried to call Debbie, but couldn’t get a cell connection.
We’re off this morning to the Sabong Bao community housing project, which I visited last year. The project is to build 80 housing units, using resources of the E-CARE loans and “Receivers to Givers” program. It was due for completion in 2017, and the last of the houses were blessed by the bishops of the ECP in June 2016. Not only have they completed (with the exception of some utility connections and streets) the homes, they have created a self-reliant congregation, with a priest. The Church of The Resurrection now meets for worship in the community building, which they have already outgrown, and are planning for a new church building on a piece of property in front of the housing project they have already purchased.
Fr. Alvin Sion is the priest for Resurrection and reports to the Prime Bishop as the church is not located in a diocese of the ECP. He is Canonically resident in the Diocese of Davao. We met last year and are Facebook friends. I had a chalice and paten given to me by The Rev. Richard Fenn, my rector at St. Luke’s, Jamestown, NY when I was ordained priest there. I brought them to Fr. Alvin and gave them to the congregation.
Worship was great, with a packed house – lots of kids – a young woman took photos for me during the service (see the album below). I preached and assisted at Communion and got to offer birthday blessings for two children. We walked around the housing area and had coffee and snacks at one of the members’ home.
We then drove to a mushroom growing project, where they were preparing lunch for us. We got a tour of the mushroom growing facility and an explanation of the process. The mushrooms are sold locally, as it is hard to keep them fresh to transport to the cities. They are also a variety I’ve not seen before. The organization is run by 20 women, with 4 men (husbands) included to do the “heavy lifting”. All the members are retired and share the responsibilities of the farm, including raising goats and tending an organic garden (they make their own organic fertilizer also).
After lunch we returned to Tacloban in a light rain and Gideon dropped me off at my hotel. I cooled off a bit and then walked down the block to a shopping area, just to take a look around and a change of routine. Gideon picked me up for dinner at the E-CARE office (and staff apartments). Dinner was some of the fish we bought at the market in Guiuan. After dinner I returned to the hotel and am working on this journal and photos of the day.
The hotel is new and different from the one I stayed in last year. It’s nice with very small rooms and hot water showers. Tomorrow I’m off to Manila and learned I’ll have to take a taxi from the airport to the Church Center. I think I’ll try my new Uber account for the taxi. I’m scheduled to meet with the Prime Bishop at 3 pm tomorrow. Tuesday is the trip home and Jaime and I will meet at the airport.
I’m grateful for Gideon Bustamante, Zena Caytap, and Fr. Alvin Sion for their hospitality and taking the time from their schedules to show me around, and to all the people we visited and their several projects of mission, outreach, and community development. It’s a remarkable ministry I experience here, people working hard to improve their lives and the lives of their communities. The leadership of the young people like Gideon, Zena and Alvin is inspirational.