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Growing faith and food in the Philippines

April 17, 2018 • Philippines
This community garden provides healthy food to Rita's community and to a local orphanage.
This community garden provides healthy food to Rita's community and to a local orphanage.

Community garden leads to lives transformed by the Gospel.

She might not look rich, but there is gold under this Filipino grandmother’s feet and a treasure laid up for her in heaven.

Rita is one of the first people in her rural gold mining community in the central mountains of the Philippines to follow Christ, and she is now a leader in her church, which helps care for the FAITH (Food Always In The Home) garden that provides fresh produce to 30 families in her church as well as to a local orphanage.

“Since I accepted Jesus Christ, He changed my bad character into something good,” Rita says as she takes a break from grinding the coffee beans she has laid out to dry in her yard. “My life is good. I take care of my family. I help take care of other people. I help take care of the church. I’m so happy now.”

Samaritan’s Purse Canada food and livelihoods projects in countries like the Philippines, where the poor often spend up to 45 per cent of their monthly income on food, can transform entire communities with investments from donors like you.

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Rita is able to care for her blind son and blind daughter-in-law as well as her many grandchildren.

Rita takes a break from grinding fresh coffee beans.

Rita takes a break from grinding fresh coffee beans.

In this area of the Philippines, gold mining is the primary source of income—albeit a largely unprofitable one.

Many in the region are very superstitious with animist beliefs and many practice ancestor worship.

But when a local pastor, and Jonathon Libag, who works with a Samaritan’s Purse Canada partner, set up a demonstration farm in the area 13 years ago, five local men joined the training—one of them was Rita’s husband.

As Jonathon and pastor Victor were training the farmers on organic farming, they wove in Biblical teaching.

“The men were crying the first time they heard the Gospel message and learned how their relationship with God could be restored through Jesus,” says Jonathan. “They said, ‘We want to learn about Jesus even more than we want to learn about farming.’”

The following Sunday they came back with their wives and their children, and said, “We want to follow Jesus and we want our wives and children to follow Jesus.”

Today 30 families attend this thriving church. The garden and livestock tended by Rita and others, produce a bounty for them, and for a local orphanage that houses about 30 children.

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