Last week on Wednesday we started hearing that the typhoon headed towards the Philippines may affect us here in the middle of the Island of Luzon. Many of us were unfazed as we have numerous typhoons a year and it usually just means a cooler day with some rain. By Wednesday evening reports started coming in that the typhoon was picking up speed and Kalinga should expect a Signal number 5 (more than 200km/hour winds). I admit that I started to get a bit nervous.
By 11pm on Wednesday night the winds started ripping through the Province of Kalinga. For the next four hours we were bombarded with wind and rain with whole trees being uprooted and roof tops being torn off houses.
Our clinic was flooded on every floor by the rain coming in through every nook and cranny while the office roof was shredded by the winds.
At our home it was only our garden and trees that were destroyed with our house and car thankfully being spared. Oh and the kids are loving playing amongst all the felled coconut trees next door.
Driving through town the next day however, Tabuk looked like a different place. So many of the squatter homes at the side of the road were completely demolished. Almost every power line was down. Most of the beautiful tree lined roads were now covered with branches, trees trunks and electrical wires. In our beloved village of Pakak many homes were destroyed and the roof of the church was blown off.
A family tries to clean up after the destruction.
The one and only church in Pakak.
Tabuk is in the middle of the clean up now. Burning of branches, leaves and garbage is continuous (*cough cough) and the power company is working overtime to get electricity restored. We have heard though that it may take up to two months before we get the electricity back!
Amazingly enough there were very few casualties and for that we are thankful. So we continue to press on with clean up and caring for the women that still need to have their babies.
Oh, another crazy thing, we were bombarded with labors for the week before the typhoon with all six beds full on two occasions. We just finished discharging all our postpartum mothers on Wednesday afternoon … just before the typhoon. Then, two days after the typhoon we started getting busy again! Could it be that a baby knows when its safe to come out?
(If anyone would like to donate money towards families who have lost their homes or would like to help the church in Pakak to repair their roof, you can click on the donate tab of this website. Be sure to designate the funds for typhoon relief and I will make sure it gets to some of those who need it.)
Our family just spent three days in Paradise here in the Philippines. We attended a missionary retreat at the Re-Creation Center (RRC) in Rizal Laguna. It was a CMPI (Christian Missions in the Philippines) missionary retreat for all missionaries commended by CMML (Christian Missions in Many Lands) and MSC (Missions Sending Committee). Wow, that was a lot of letters… All of that to say, we connected with about 25 other missionaries doing all different sorts of things all over the Philippines.
We had to drive 15 hours to get there (Okay I admit it, Achao did most of the driving…I drove for about 1o minutes…) but once we arrived we knew it was going to be worth it. RRC is a sprawling resort with acres perfectly manicured lawns and gardens. There was swimming pools, basketball courts, trampolines, giant chess boards and more, for the kids. They enjoyed getting to know some other missionary kids while Achao and I got to attend some great encouraging seminars from a preacher from New Zealand. Well, Achao couldn’t really understand his accent so he let me attend most of them while he watched the kids.
I love all the new connections we have made and look forward to seeing where they lead in the coming months and years. I have already agreed to help one bible translator put together a “safe delivery” pamphlet that he can translate into a local language where he is working so that he can give to the pregnant women he works with.
We are back to work, feeling refreshed. Kids are back to school (well, aside from Zion refusing to go yesterday…) Achao will continue to oversee construction at the Bugnay Birth Center and I will continue training and working with the midwives here in Tabuk City.
I will update again soon as it is officially Christmas season now in the Philippines!
This May, we had an amazing opportunity to work together with a team from Samaritan’s Purse Canada sharing God’s love with the tribal people of Kalinga through a medical mission. The team of 13 people consisted of nurses, dental hygienists, an eyeglass team, support workers and a doctor.
We set up camp at the local high school in Tinglayan and for five days we offered medical check-ups, dental care and eyeglasses for all five Butbut villages. We were joined by some awesome Filipino dentists and a doctor from Manila for a few days while we were in the mountains. That was a great blessing!
After 5 days of clinic in the mountains we attended church in Bugnay together with the village members we had been caring for during the week. We had such a fun time singing and dancing and praising the same God together!
The Canadian team then had a short break to explore the town of Sagada and take in the caving, waterfalls and pottery. After our break we came back down the mountain to our clinic in Tabuk and did two days of outreach for our patients and neighbours.
During the 7 days of outreach we saw over 1500 people, doing medical check-ups (with free medicines), dental check-ups (with free extractions) and eyeglass clinic (giving away free eyeglasses).
The team was awesome and as we say here in the Philippines, they were really “cowboys”. That means that they never complained when they had to sleep on hard floors with the bathroom quite a distance away, they ate all the food prepared for them although they weren’t used to eating rice three times a day, and they were just basically a pleasure to be around!
Thank you Tammy, Bernie, Nellie, Tina, Barbara, Barb, Patti, Helen, Wes, Shirley, Joanne, Maria and Conchita!!
It was late one night last week when the clinic got a text asking us to pick up a laboring woman in her village. There was already a woman in labor at our clinic so I asked Gay and Lovely to ride with Achao to bring back the labor. Gay has been with us for over two years and is a wonderful midwife, ready to take on the role of supervisor. I figured it would be a good way to ease her into supervising by having her be in charge of a labor pick up. Well, about half an hour later I got a text from Gay telling me that they had arrived and the patient was pushing and the baby’s head was already visible! Now it was all up to Gay and Lovely to deliver the baby safely.
After a few more minutes of pushing a baby boy was born, but he was not breathing. Gay and Lovely followed the protocols that they have been taught to stimulate and dry the baby. The baby lay there limply – still no cry. Gay and Lovely jumped into action quickly grabbing the neonatal bag and mask from the emergency birth bag and beginning resuscitation. The mother and her family began to cry because they thought they had lost the baby. Gay and Lovely kept working on the baby, all the while praying for God’s help. Within a few minutes the baby started to cry on his own – and kept on crying. Within an hour the baby was at his mother’s breast fully recovered. Mother and baby were brought back to the clinic so that we could monitor them for at least 24 hours to make sure they were fine.
When I saw Gay the next day I told her how proud I was of the her. If she and Lovely hadn’t been there with their knowledge and skills, that baby would not be alive today. We all agreed that the life of a midwife can be the most frightening and the most rewarding job – all at the same time!
The following story is a first-hand account from our Bugnay clinic midwife, Karen Ligab.
“It was almost 4:00 in the afternoon and I was talking with Achao (my boss) outside the clinic because he was getting ready to go back to the Tabuk clinic, when I noticed many people carrying someone in a hammock towards the clinic. I quickly opened the clinic for them to enter. It is a normal routine for us midwives in Bugnay to be brought people who have had an accident in the fields for First Aid or for wound care, but I was alarmed to see that this was a big emergency as they were carrying our pregnant patient who had been in and out of the hospital for pre-eclampsia. I knew her condition was bad when I saw her because her eyes were not in focus. Before they could even transfer her to the bed she began having a seizure.
I immediately put her on her side and asked the relatives to get my fellow midwives. The patient suddenly became limp and stopped breathing. Her husband and relative started crying and shouting her name. I started doing CPR on her and after 30 chest compressions she began breathing again. Rema and the village midwife quickly came in and started putting in an IV line and giving her oxygen and blood pressure medication because her bp was so high. We then brought her to the car to take her to the hospital. It was such a good thing that Achao was right there ready to take her. In the car on the way to the hospital, the patient started to have another seizure. We gave her an injection of magnesium sulfate, which is a medication to help prevent seizures. The whole way to the hospital we would alternate between monitoring her vital signs and praying for God’s mercy on her and her unborn child. After almost an hour on the road, that seemed like forever, we reached the hospital. At the ER the patient started having another seizure, but we felt secure that she was now safe in the hands of the hospital staff. After giving initial care to the patient, the doctor told us to bring her to the operating room because they were going to perform emergency C-section. We are very thankful to God that the patient’s life was saved and so was her baby.”
Our sister clinic in the mountains of Bugnay is such an important part of our ministry. Due to lack of supervisory staff we have had to close operation for 2016. Please pray as we plan and prepare to re-open the clinic in 2017.
It is that time of year again when we start to think about what on earth to get that person on our list that has everything!
Why don’t you sponsor a delivery in their name?
When you make a donation between $50 (a partial sponsor) and $200 (a complete sponsor) you or the person you choose will receive a set of footprints in the mail of the baby whose delivery you sponsored as well as the birth story.
Click on the “Sponsor a Delivery” tab above for all the details and instructions.
We just finished an exciting week with a medical mission team sent by Samaritan’s Purse Canada.
The team, consisting of doctors, nurses, dentists, an opthamologist and various supporting members, reached out to six Butbut resettlement villages around Tabuk. Hundreds of villagers had teeth filled or pulled, were fitted with glasses and received medical check-ups from the docs.
One of the best things about the way that SP Canada run their missions, is that they partner with organizations already on the ground to make sure the outreach is not only effective but to also ensure that those who need follow-up, will get it.
This leads me into sharing about baby Charmee.
We met Charmee and her mother at one of the village outreaches. Charmee’s mother brought her for a check-up to see if the doctor could give vitamins because she was so underweight.
Underweight is an understatement. Charmee weighed 2.7kg at birth two and a half months previously and was now 2.8kg. Charmee was severely malnourished.
The doctor called me over to talk with the mom. We discovered that she was told by someone that she shouldn’t breastfeed because she had a cyst on her breast and now her milk had dried up and she was forced to bottle feed.
Charmee’s mother showed us the bottle that she mixed in the morning and fed her throughout the day until nighttime. At 10:00am the milk in the bottle was already sour and full of ants.
I talked with the mother and asked her to come to our clinic the next day so we could teach her thoroughly how to care for her baby. She told me that she would come. Her neighbors told me that she would not come because she was stubborn.
She didn’t come in the next day … or the day after. My staff and I started to lose hope that we would ever see Charmee again.
But then yesterday I got a call from the clinic to tell me that Charmee and her mom were there!
I rushed back to the clinic and my staff and I began the process of teaching the mother proper infant care and feeding. (Because she couldn’t read, instead of mixing 8 scoops of formula for 8 oz of water she had only been putting 2 scoops for 8 oz of water!)
We spent the morning teaching her how to properly mix the infant formula, to make only what the baby can eat at one sitting, and to feed with a clean spoon instead of the difficult to clean bottle and nipple. Charmee drank her first 3 ounces and gave us a big smile before she nodded off to sleep for 3 hours.
Charmee will be coming in regularly for weight and health checks.
Please pray for Charmee to gain weight quickly and regain her health and strength.
Thank you Samaritan’s Purse for helping us to make a difference in our community!