Familie ColenbranderWe are Hans and Annemarie and we have worked with Sparrow for a week. After a flight from Amsterdam to Manila, a drive from Manila to Batangas by car and a boat trip from Batangas to the island of Oriental Mindoro we arrived in Calapan City, where Remco and Ellie Pijper work and where their Sparrow foundation is located.

We first learned about the foundation’s vision and objectives and were shown round Lazareto extensively. People live below the poverty threshold here. Sometimes they even live with up to 10 people in a small house which is just a few square meters in size. It struck us that in spite of the poverty people tried to make their home and garden cozy and tidy.

For several days we accompanied Ellie and Remco while working on the Sparrow projects. We visited the school in Lazareto, which Sparrow’s sponsor children go to. It made a good but crowded impression. In some classes there are as much as 52 children! It was nice to find out that the children really enjoy to go to school and to Sparrow’s bible studies. During the Open Office we met their parents as well. That morning a lot of people came to the Open Office to ask for advice or to drink a cup of coffee. It was special to hear the people of Lazareto ask for the possibility to set up bible lessons for adults during the Open Office. The people want to increase their knowledge and learn more about the bible.

We also visited some people who benefited from the Medical Fund to find out if they were doing well and if there were any problems. We brought medication to some other people as well. Before leaving we prayed with the people and thanked God. A lot of people in this area do not have access to medical care, because they cannot afford the medical costs. Some people are sponsored by Sparrow, which provides them with the medical care they need. One of the sponsor children (Jay Mark) complained about pain in his legs and back for some time and was skipping lessons because of this. Together with Jay Mark and his mom we went to see a doctor for further examinations. Hopefully he will get good medication and can go to school without pain again.

All in all this was a busy and intensive week. We enjoyed the beautiful island, the kind people and the street scenery. We met a lot of people and experienced special moments. Remco and Ellie: thank you for your hospitality, your ambition and passion for Sparrow’s people and children.