Tears of Joy: Aurora’s Story
Bacolod City, Philippines
In the early morning mist of tropical Bacolod City, Philippines, the streets are covered with proud billboards. It’s just been named the most livable and eco-friendly city in the Philippines, an award it has won in past years as well.
But just 20 minutes from the city center, the urban infrastructure gives way to sugarcane fields and rural neighborhoods, with homes made out of bamboo and tin, streets muddy and crumbling, and alleys full of standing water and trash. This is Purok Seaside, and it is home to Aurora, Jalin, and Michael.
FEBC staff journeyed to Purok Seaside to visit a partnering church. The pastor there explained that many congregants want to grow in their newfound faith, but don’t have any way to do so. Leah Navarro and Jude Press from FEBC-Philippines distributed radios and listened intently to the stories of the people struggling to survive in this challenging environment:
This radio means something very special to Mrs. Aurora Bawagan. When her husband had a stroke only a few months ago, Aurora was devastated, both emotionally and financially. At 65, arthritis had already forced her out of her laundry job, and now her husband could no longer work to support the family. With one daughter supporting all three of them, there was barely enough to feed herself and her bedridden husband, much less buy a radio that cost 1000 pesos, more than 4 months of living expenses.
When Leah Navarro, one of our local staff in the Philippines gave her the radio, Aurora started to cry. First they were tears of sadness, then tears of joy, as she turned the radio on and heard the sermons of her favorite pastor, and recognized the hymns that she hummed to herself in her darkest moments.
“This helps me every day in my life, especially with all the problems I have,” she said. “I often hear a Bible verse quoted on the program that speaks directly to what I am going through. Thank you, thank you so much for this radio!”
Michael Cabaya is 25 and works at a small shop (pictured above) in Purok Seaside. He’s been listening to FEBC programs for a long time through his local church, but did not have a radio of his own until now. With the gift of his new radio from our Philippines staff, Michael can continue to listen to the music he loves that’s played on FEBC stations, especially hymns, such as “Be Thou My Vision.”
Michael is currently working to support his brother who is in Bible school, but when his brother graduates he has plans to go back to school as a Bible student as well. Eventually he wants to be a worship leader and use his passion for music to bring others to Christ.
Where We’re Headed
The Philippines is home to over 100 million people, scattered across over 7,000 islands. Our teams journeyed to two of these islands: Luzon, home to the capital of Manila, and Negros, where Bacolod City and Cabacungan are.
Next week we’ll share the story of two more people from the Bacolod City region, who received radios and told us what they meant to them. Join us over the next 7 weeks as we take you throughout the Philippines to several different radio distributions. From rural areas, to urban ones; through slums, dangerous neighborhoods and the poorest of the poor, you’ll see the lengths our staff go to distribute radios to people who desperately need them.