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Update posted 11.20.2010

Happy Thanksgiving! We may not be eating turkey, but we do have a great deal to be thankful for. I was just thinking that as Believers, one of the best is knowing Who we are thankful to. This week has mostly consisted of making preparations for our Christmas programs, including the Christmas party for the families of children in the Tabitha: Food For Life program. A Filipino party always means good food, and we'll also have games and such, but the party is also a way for us to reach out to the families and get to know them, and give glory to God. Many people and ministries do some sort of feeding project around the holidays in Davao, but Tabitha: Food For Life operates year-round, and has an entirely different strategy than most. Children become members of TFFL, after being screened and showing clear signs of malnutrition. There is a great need, because rather than children starving to death, what we encounter is lots of children whose families can only afford to eat small amounts of rice, and therefore are not getting the nutrients they need to grow. Each child in the program gets not only food, but also a growth chart showing their progress in reaching a healthy weight for their age, case studies of their family situation, regular house visits from our staff so we can follow up and reach out to their families, and events like the aforementioned Christmas party. During the week at our primary location at our missions base, the children have a daily program that includes preschool and Sunday school level educational activities, crafts, supervision during play, stories read to them from our small library, and other wholesome activities, mostly before meal time. When the food is ready to be served, they first wash their hands, as part of our focus on teaching hygiene; they brush their teeth (with toothbrushes given to them by us) after they eat. At times, through our follow up we become aware of medical situations that we can help in some way with, and we do what we can to make sure they are given the care they need, sometimes by partnering with other ministries in Davao. This has been probably our most successful program so far at HFTN Philippines, and we have plans to expand it. For me, it's not so much the charts showing the children have attained a healthy weight, but the joy and good character I see in the ones that have been in the program longest, that gives me a sense that we are accomplishing something in Agdao.
Our support letter from earlier in the year can still be downloaded here, and we also have a color brochure here. Some of the info is outdated but they are still useful.

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