By Pavlina Davis
It is with a great pleasure that I am submitting this report to you from our recent trip to the Philippines. The Philippine islands have been part of our lives for a number of years and every trip only enhances our understanding of God’s desire for this land and its people. We feel very privileged to have a small part in it.
Our time was, as usual, evenly distributed among the local church fellowships, the Bible School and Kingdom Message Ministry School. As Brothers Mark & Tomas already described our activities over the past two weeks, I will only lay out the details of our work in KMMS and what we were able to learn and observe while there.
First of all, let me say that it has been a great blessing to see the school in the state it is in. Over the years the processes have been smoothed out and so what you can see now is a well-oiled operation dedicated to forming little minds in a Godly direction. This year the children range from Kindergarten to fifth grade and their number has reached 181. You can observe the order in the buildings watching the students walk in a single line when leaving their classes. When you enter the classrooms, all the children get up and proclaim unanimously, “Good morning, beloved sponsors,” or, “Thank you for the feeding, beloved sponsors.”
We had the opportunity not only to attend to administrative and financial matters but also to teach the little ones the ways of God. During two Sunday meetings Sister Nancy shared various Bible stories. It was quite amazing to see the response to the questions about the knowledge of the Bible. While a few years ago, both the children and the adults had no idea who Noah or Moses were, this time, even the littlest ones were able to provide the correct answers to questions about Bible characters and stories. In addition to Sunday meetings, Brother Burt visited the fourth and fifth grade classrooms and shared with these children the plan God has for their lives and how they fit into the overall plan God has for humanity. The seed of the Word of God has been planted and it is beginning to bring forth fruit.
While working on the administrative matters, we were able to introduce a new student database that will prove to be a great asset in the near future. Also, a new out-of-location backup system has been set up which will enable us to keep all the important records in case the local backups would suffer any damage.
In addition to these, a meeting was held with the school board during which the following matters were discussed:
- Seeking donors in the Philippines: There is a need to begin seeking donors in the Philippines. Not only are the resources available in other parts of the world limited, however, it is also desirable to make the school as independent from the international support as possible. Some contacts were made at this time and we are expecting support from better-financially-off Filipino nationals. However, more needs to be done in this area. The KMMS board will seek ways to investigate other possibilities.
- Job provision for mothers: There will be activities implemented that will help the mothers keep productive while waiting for their children at the school’s compound. These activities will also bring income not only to the individual families but also to the school. They may include (but are not limited to) sewing, craft work, soap making, etc. The KMMS board will look into opportunities for sellable products that may become the possibility for this endeavor.
- Nutrition for the children: Fundamentals of children’s nutrition were discussed that would lead to the betterment of their overall health. The sugars will be limited in the school’s canteen and more wholesome snacks introduced. The white rice in children’s feeding has been replaced with more nutritious red rice.
- Vitamins for the children: There is a possibility to purchase vitamins locally for Php 100 per a child per month. The stakeholder’s board members will look into this possibility as well as investigate other options.
We also held numerous meetings with the school’s principal, Sister Marissa, and the school’s administrator, Sister Cherry. When asked to compare Kingdom Message Ministry School, Inc. to the other schools in the area, we learned the following:
- There are six schools in the Ampayon community where KMMS operates. One of them is a public school, five are private. The public school is not really comparable to the private ones due to the fact that the teacher-student ratio is 1:50 in the best and therefore the overall quality of education is on a much lower level. Out of the five private schools, KMMS has the highest number of children out of which most of them (82%) are indigent. The remaining 18% are students paying a small tuition which covers about one-third of the expenses for one child’s education.
- KMMS offers slightly higher salaries than the other private schools in the area and has more qualified teachers. Each teacher was meticulously selected based on her qualifications, background and the way she demonstrated her test lesson during our summer classes. As we were able to visit the classes and observe their teaching methods, we can certainly testify to the quality of the teachers. Job well done!
- KMMS is the only school that provides regular feeding to its students. Thanks to our generous donors we have been able to provide a wholesome meal to all 181 children, faculty and staff every Thursday. Even though the cost ranges at about $500 a month, it has proved to be a very rewarding investment. We trust the Lord will enable us to continue with this endeavor in the months and years to come.
- KMMS has extremely good cooperation between the faculty/staff and the parents. Each month there is a meeting held with the faculty/staff and the parents. All the issues and the current month’s activities are discussed and no plans are finalized unless the parents are in agreement with it. This enables the school to have complete support of the families. This support is essential when working with the children but also when the need arises to have the parents’ assistance with maintenance/cleanup of the school’s premises. This involvement has recently proved to be invaluable during summer reconstruction months when the parents’ assistance played a very significant role.
We are very much encouraged by what we see happening in the Philippines. Thank you very much for all your prayers, financial support and words of encouragement. We very much appreciate your investment into this work of the missions and are confident that you will receive your blessing for doing your part.