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The Anatomy of Compassion

06 Jul Activities | Comments
The Anatomy of Compassion
 

The world is still reeling from the side effects of the global economic crisis that hit the world this year. Worsening level of poverty and famine, increased spread of virulent diseases, and deadlier onslaught of calamities caused by climate change are only few of the by-products of the meltdown. The good news is that the Church is not without a steady supporter in times of need.

 

Over the past 31 years of Christian service, the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church worldwide has consistently ministered the love of God to the vulnerable members of society through its various outreaches. This is even strengthened by the founding of the iCare Compassion Ministry.

 

The iCare Compassion Ministry Outreach Foundation Inc. or iCare was birthed because of the vision of its founding chairman and president Sis Dory J. Villanueva and vice president Eleanor V. Tugna in 2007. The early beneficiaries of the foundation were the children from the Christian Compassion Ministries, an orphanage in Marikina City, who were treated to a day of fun at the Enchanted Kingdom theme park. Then it was the time for the elders at the Golden Acres Home for the Aged to be showered with God’s love when they were visited too by the iCare Ministry. In June 2008, shortly before the classes opened, the first Balik-Eskwela project of iCare was introduced in Bulacan where about 120 children from underprivileged families received complete sets of school supplies.

 

A week after the 30th anniversary of JIL Church, thousands of bags of basic goods were distributed to poor families from various places in Metro Manila and nearby municipalities. In November, iCare was formally launched with the mission to respond to the specific needs of identified individuals in the community in obedience to God’s second commandment – love your neighbors.

 

Later that year, in time for the Christmas season, iCare conducted one of its biggest gift-giving projects at the JIL Prayer Garden in Bunlo, Bocaue, Bulacan. Over 6,000 families were blessed with bags full of goodies. iCare head Sis. Dory also shared the grand objectives of iCare Ministry to the beneficiaries. It was the most special moment in every iCare outreach because it was the time for people to be ministered to and prayed over. Sis. Dory always emphasized on the best gift that people could ever receive – and that is the gift of God’s eternal life in Christ Jesus.

 

In Matthew 25:36, Jesus said, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” With this inspiration, iCare revisited the Correctional Institute For Women on February 27, 2009. Sis. Dory and iCare treasurer Soc Garcia distributed food and personal necessities to about 200 female inmates. The iCare head delivered the good news about God’s transforming and delivering grace. She also visited and prayed for the recovery of the patients in the infirmary section of the Institute. The JIL Church has an existing cell group in the women correctional under the leadership of Pastor Benny Aniban.

 

In early 2009, another life-empowering project of iCare was launched to help poor households with meager income. The objective was to help poor families augment their earnings through food support and skill training for business.

 

Under the program Adopt-A-Family, a selection process was made to guarantee that only qualified families would be enrolled in the program. Church workers assisted in the selection process.

 

Interview forms were distributed to applicants, filled out, and submitted to the iCare Search Committee for final approval. Initially, thirty families made it to the list from more than a hundred of applicants.

 

Adopt-a-Family was officially launched on February 21, 2009 at the JIL Prayer Garden in Bocaue, Bulacan. Several initiatives were lined up for this project: a four-month long adoption of the family through weekly food support, skill training¸ and small-scale livelihood assistance. After the successful kick-off, Adopt-a Family is now integrated in the Church’s compassion program that is adopted in various JIL Churches nationwide.

 

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iCare Nationwide

In May 10, 2009, JIL Batangas launched its own Adopt-a-Family program to mark its 25th anniversary celebration. Regional Pastor Rev. Addie Asi presented the adopted families to the 30 volunteer church members who committed to assist the families for four months. A great number of people from the congregation also vowed to support this project in the succeeding months. The affair was also graced by provincial representatives from the Department of Social Welfare who had also assisted JIL Batangas in the screening of the beneficiaries.

Up north, JIL Regional Pastor Rev. Jun Balquin spearheaded JILPangasinan’s own Adopt-a-Family in celebration of its 25th anniversary on May 29, 2009. On-leave JIL Church worldwide president and spiritual director Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva and iCare head Sis. Dory participated in the gift-giving project. Hundreds of families from Metro Dagupan and neighboring towns trooped to the venue.

Street sweeper Precy Abulencia, widow and mother of five children from the town of Calasiao, remarked: “Di ko alam na may nagmamahal pala sa amin nang ganito.”She was just one of the hundreds of people from more than 600 families that would be fostered by iCare for six months.
iCare for Children

Staying true to its thrust of adopting holistic development program for people, iCare engaged in a summer vacation tutoring. Called Gabay Sa Karunungan, the summer activity focused on complimentary tutorial lessons in Reading and Writing to the less privileged children in the community. The pilot class for this project was launched in April to May 2009 with over 100 children participants. Held in cooperation with the Jesus Is Lord Colleges Foundation, free meals were also provided to children even after tutorial session.

Before school opened in June, iCare continued its tradition of distributing free school supplies and items to underprivileged school children. About 200 school children in Bulacan benefitted from this particular initiative.
iCare in Action

Even before the development of viral infection and other dreaded diseases that threaten people worldwide, the JIL Church has been regularly conducting medical and dental missions.

With iCare, however, focus on healthcare ministry was furthered. In Bulacan alone, about a thousand patients benefitted from medical and and dental missions in August 2009.

When the two most devastating typhoons in Philippine history hit the country in September and October, iCare immediately pooled its manpower and resources to initiate relief operations in areas most damaged by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. Working full-time and non-stop, iCare packed goodies for thousands of affected families in the National Capital Region and other parts of Northern Luzon.

Meanwhile, in time for Christmas, iCare came up with the ingenious project called Shoebox. Empty shoeboxes were distributed to generous donors and members of the Church to fill with gifts, toys, and other surprises for the recipient needy children in various hospices.
iCare owe it to donors and partners

Acknowledging that iCare is possible only because of the concerted effort of generous donors and able benefactors, Sis. Dory extended her appreciation to both local and international partners and to selfless volunteers who devote their time, expertise, and effort in caring for the sick, the imprisoned, the abandoned, and the poor.

“iCare shall remain true to its vision of becoming an institution respected and supported by other organizations that is geared toward impacting community transformation. With God’s grace and enablement, we shall continue to be extensions of His love and care,” said Sis. Dory.

Bro Eddie, in his speech during iCare outreach in Dagupan City, quoted Proverbs 28:27, “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” He underscored the importance of ministering to others by emphasizing that “Ang tumutulong sa mahihirap ay hindi maghihirap.”

Jesus cares, so must His people.

 

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