MAY 10, 2023 · BY AMY HECKMAN
Marsha* is a sponsored 17-year-old girl in the Philippines. She’s overcome many challenges across the years, including her family losing their home when Super Typhoon Rai hit the nation at the end of 2021. The storm damaged or destroyed millions of houses, at least 16,000 schools, and 330 health clinics, eventually impacting close to 10 million people.
Marsha, her mother, and nine siblings live in St. Bernard, a town that was almost completely destroyed by the Typhoon. Dan Balayo, child development coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region Church of the Nazarene, reported that all families of children served by the Nazarene child development center in St. Bernard were directly impacted by the storm.
The Church of the Nazarene in the Philippines responded immediately to the needs of the most vulnerable population, distributing relief goods and establishing safe spaces for children to process traumatic experiences from the storm.
Thankfully, Marsha’s family survived (as did all the families of other children at the center), but they had to move into an evacuation center right before the holidays.
At the time, Marsha shared this with her sponsor, saying, “It was really sad that we didn’t celebrate our Christmas at our home. Despite that, we never gave up. We still celebrated Christmas with happy faces. We prepared spaghetti, pansit, and bread. We were happy because we were safe and healthy.”
When recovery efforts started, and school work began again in earnest, Marsha didn’t let this ongoing upheaval deter her from her goals. In the midst of recovery and rebuilding, Marsha received an award for academic honors at school.
“My heart is full of joy [because of] receiving the award,” Marsha wrote to her sponsor. “This allows me to study harder. I am thankful and bless God for everything He did.”
A little over a year later, finally back in her home, she wrote the update below. Keep reading to see how joy continues to be a hallmark of Marsha's outlook and attitude.
Child sponsorship gives children help right when they need it. When you choose to support a child living in poverty through sponsorship, you give them encouragement to continue to on through whatever obstacles come their way.
Learn more here.
“Hi, how are you? I hope you are doing well.
After a long time, I am going to write a letter for you, with lots of love. First, I want to greet you a happy new year. I hope that your new year will be one of the best in your life. I'm writing this letter because I want to share with you how I celebrate New Year’s...
I celebrate those great days with all the [fun] that I can. Two days before the new year, we started our preparations. We cleaned our house, got ready and we look forward to the great day with my family. I made a list of delicious food item on December 31st and prepared it with my sister. I had an amazing celebration with my family.
How about you? How do you spend your holidays? I hope you are enjoying those days.
Thank you for your continuous support and for the Christmas gift that I have received. May God continue to bless you more.”
*Name is changed for protection.