Many of you know that we came to the Philippines to minister to street children. The missions organization we are working with is ACTION International, and they have several ministry sites in Manila.
A couple weeks before departure, we got an email explaining that the directors of the street kids ministry will be in Thailand for training the first nine days of our trip. But not to worry, they have another ministry nearby they could use us at for the first week: it’s called Shalom Paanakan, which is Filipino for…
Shalom Birthing Center!
Wow! I have to admit, our birthing experience is pretty limited, (i.e. ZERO), but we were onboard and trusting God to use us anywhere and for anything… and I mean anything.
Cutting the umbilical cord.
Shalom was the vision of a retired British midwife, living in the outskirts of Manila as a missionary for ACTION. She observed the need for adequate and affordable birthing care, as too many women and children were dying as a result of poverty and overcrowded hospitals. She started delivering babies out of her home for 500 pisos, (the equivalent of $12.50 USD). Her patients and services quickly outgrew her house as the number of babies delivered grew to over 150 each month! After many years of fundraising and prayer, the new Shalom building was constructed and is where we are serving today. Here’s a link to a video of how it all started.
Mavis, the founder of Shalom, third from the left.
We spent the first day sorting through and organizing boxes of donated equipment.
After. Isn’t he handsome?
Most days of the week we helped out with prenatal and postpartum checkups. The waiting room was filled with ladies waiting for their exams. I’ve never been in a room with so many pregnant women! The process was tedious with limited workers, and some of the women would end up waiting hours for what would be a 15-minute checkup in the States. We were impressed with how patient and appreciative they all were, with the 80th patient still smiling and saying “thank you.”
Full waiting room.
The checkups start early with a health education class. This week’s class: family planning.
“Too many babies can make you poor and unhappy. Two is enough!”
Following the class is a Bible study and devotion. Both are taught in the national language of Tagalog; English is also a national language and taught in school, however many that live in poverty don’t attend school and are not fluent in English.
After the classes, the checkups begin.
Steph did blood pressures.
About 90 a day.
Jason weighing in the mamas. Cindy doing blood tests. She’s served 14 years in Manila.
Prenatal exams; finding fetal heart tones.
Although unexpected, our week at Shalom was a blessing. The creation of life truly is a gift, one we’ve come to appreciate for the miracle it really is.