A Garden of God’s Word

Rachel Chimits

One woman decided that if God had changed her heart, he could change her life and her community’s life, and she set out to see it happen.

Edang was doing pretty well for herself. She worked for the nearby zoo and had been there for 14 years. The tourist trade in the Philippines made for lively business, and who doesn’t love seeing animals?

Of course, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, everything felt like it was suspended in the air for one breathless minute before anyone knew what would shatter when it all came down. The Filipino government decided to close their borders, and tourism dried up overnight.

After years of hard work, Edang found herself without a job. She wasn’t one to keep idle, though, and now that she had free time on her hands, she was determined to find a job.

Building Up a Community

Before long, Edang was attending a small group meeting facilitated by World Challenge’s church partners in the Philippines. She studied the Word and asked questions and eventually came to know the Lord.

The group talked about how God wanted a relationship with him to affect all parts of life, personal relationships and physical care for health as well as tending our resources responsibly. So Edang looked around the community and took notice of the vacant lot that had been turned into a dump site for the neighborhood’s trash.

She rolled up her sleeves and began hauling out all of the garbage and clearing the nearly shoulder-height grass and weeds. 

This work might’ve been possible alone, but that reduced the benefit the project could have for the entire community. Edang went to some relatives and neighbors and enlisted their help to turn the unused lot into vegetable garden. As the vegetables swiftly began to grow in the rich soil, she delegated the job of selling the produce to some of the women, especially those whose husbands had no work and who needed to earn some money to support their families.

Now 19 families are benefitting from what was once a derelict dumpsite.

Next Steps to Growing Together

Edang is now actively involved with World Challenge’s partners and community health evangelism. Together with eight other neighbors, she attended the training on “Tatlong Sandata Laban sa COVID-19 [Three Weapons Against COVID-19].” The group was taught how to demonstrate the correct use of face masks as well as proper hand washing and sanitizing techniques. 

They started sharing these lessons with neighbors, helping those they lived with day by day; but gradually, they began to work farther and farther afield. At first, everyone felt a bit hesitant to push into unfamiliar territory with people they didn’t know well, but with a little prodding and assurance from the training team, they went out two by two and began teaching in new areas. Their first-time experience inspired them and built their confidence.

Today, Edang and her team is ready for the next challenge as they work to develop their community and continue to trust God to empower them.