Rebuilding Communities in the Philippines

Rachel Chimits

God restored one man’s heart and give him the strength to not only dream again for his community but also take action.

As the Philippines prepare for their elections, their police forces are also gearing up to deal with riots and gun violence that have erupted during the last two elections.

Thanks to gang wars, drug running and terrorist groups, the Philippines deal with twice as much gun violence as the United States. A national cry is rising for the government to deal with the corruption and resulting deaths.

Others feel as if it’s no good trying to fight against the seemingly overwhelming wave of violence. 

A Death on His Doorstep

When World Challenge’s partners first met Noe, he expressed a deep concern about his community. 

At 75 years old, Noe had spent more than half of his life in his neighborhood and could recount with great detail many of the difficulties people around him faced. However, his face became drawn as he recalled one particular event. 

“Only a few months ago,” he relayed to the team, “a violent fight broke out in the community. One young man was shot right in front of my house. He died, and there was nothing I could do.” 

Noe wanted the young people in his community to live better, more productive lives. They had their whole future ahead of them. He felt overwhelmed, though, by the poor circumstances surrounding many of them and the social pressures that often led them to end up in gangs or addicted to drugs. 

He was very interested in what some of the team were saying about change for the community, but he wasn’t a believer and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to attend any meetings. 

Learning to Dream Again

The team continued to meet with Noe, and he began asking more questions about God and how God was at the center of all the team’s lessons for community improvement.  

Finally, he agreed to begin attending their trainings. Initially reserved, he spent his time observing and listening. The team organized a medical-dental mission with a local church, and Noe was heartened by the sight of how many people gathered to volunteer and those who came for help.  

Soon after, he surrendered his life to Christ. 

He joined a weekly home bible study, then went on to complete the community training World Challenge’s partners provide. Eventually, he began serving as the vice president of the committee. 

His addition has been a great encouragement to the team. A member explained, “We can see that he is very wise when it comes to decision making.”

Noe’s connections and long history in the community are a huge blessing for the committee, and he has great dreams for the community. 

One of them is to make the open space near his house into a community center and playground area for children where families can safely gather and spend time together.

God at the Heart

Rather than being utterly weighted down by the troubles his neighborhood and country is facing, Noe has begun taking action to bring God into the lives of people around him and allowing the Lord to transform their lives. 

He is serious and passionate about the transformation that he longs to see in his community, and he is inspiring many of the younger team members who work with him.

Noe’s renewal is at the heart of God’s work in the Philippines. A revolution that brings families together and gives children a future must first start with God at the heart of each individual.