Hope under grey skies….
“It started with a heavy downpour”, recalls one of the MMP staff. The MMP team that goes to Wawa can testify to the heavy typhoon rains that morning of June twenty-third; the weather was not in their favor and the day was reserved for the much needed medical and dental service to be given to the depressed area of Wawa, Cavite. MMP partnered with the Sagip Kalinga Foundation, who is responsible for sending a team of volunteer doctors on a mission to give assistance. The heavy typhoon rains sent showers all morning and this was not the only challenge the MMP team faced in preparation for this outreach. The previous day was spent getting together chairs, supplies, and materials needed to set up, but when it came time to count the medicine that was to be distributed, the MMP found much to their dismay that they were in short supply. Without the necessary meds, the ability to service hundreds of patients seemed an inevitable problem. The morning of the event, the MMP team and the community volunteers found themselves hard at work-one has to take a small boat to get to the community of Wawa and so many hands helped in transporting all the supplies. Both the MMP team with the volunteers and the community members all could be seen trudging in the mud, pressing to reach the medical site. Soon the site was filled with mothers and their children, those suffering from the flu and diarrhea, and others just waiting for the opportunity to receive a small dose of medical treatment.
Wawa is a depressed area in the city of Cavite and about 2000 families live there. The area is known for its immense poverty. The community is made up mostly of informal settlers or “squatters” who are people who have made informal and makeshift homes along the river or creek. The people in the Wawa community do not have a source for clean water. There is not a system for proper disposal of waste and so the throwing of trash is immense which is only one of the many problems contributing to insanitation in the area. The MMP team says that many of the diseases and sicknesses the people contract in the community are directly related to the problems of sanitation. So the Medical Mission is an opportunity of some hope for this community.
The beauty of that day came not because the rain stopped (which it did not), or because the work of bringing the medical mission became easy; no, the little miracles and gratitude from the community made the mission beautiful. The day before after MMP discovered the short supply a man who wishes to remain anonymous called. He notified MMP that he had the ability and willingness to supply the extra medicines for the Medical mission! Before community members were seen, the MMP team had the opportunity to share the gospel with the community. The MMP team preached about a God who is greater than any sickness and who offers eternal life that can free one from the fear of physical death. They testified to the community about how God had provided for the community with the provision of medicine from the donor and preached to the community about God’s love for them.
After the message, starting from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon, around 500 patients-half that number being children- were able to receive a medical checkup, medicine, and vitamins. In addition the team and volunteers were able to distribute clothes in the community. Pastor Jeffrey Samomtanez, one of the members of the MMP team, recalls the gratitude of the Wawa community, “They were so thankful for this medical mission. One mother came up to me and said she was so thankful. All of her kids were sick and the medical mission had come just in time. She would not have to use money to visit the hospital or clinic and now all her kids had the chance to be treated.”
It has been over a year since MMP started church planting and missions to the area of Wawa and relationship between the MMP pastors and the community has grown. The children know the MMP pastors and come out to greet them when they visit. It is the team’s investment in and commitment to this community-going three times week- that the people notice. For a community in which many of its members have experienced abandonment and extreme hardship, the love of Christ is shown through MMP’s commitment. Even under grey skies MMP hopes their actions will somehow say, “We care so much for this community because God cares so much for this community. We will not abandon the people here because of rain or anything else, and know that God will never abandon it because you are worth everything to Him.”