Hello Everyone, Just wanted to give you an official over cap of our accomplishments for the Mission of Hope Visit to AUP this May. This was truly a trip that we will cherish in memories for the rest of our lives. There were so many wonderful experiences that we got to have this trip that far surpassed all other visits. Hopefully you have ventured onto our Mission of Hope – Philippines Facebook page to see all the photos of our journey. (Look in the right column to go to our site)
Mission of Hope 2012 Trip Recap
Some highlights of our trip:
The Mission of Hope Team was able to give out 50 scholarships this year to deserving students in need for a total of $5,950. Seventeen of which will be able to graduate in 2013. Most of the scholarship applications this year where from struggling seniors who had so many credits to take that even with the $100 scholarship, it will still be 2014 before they can graduate because they are so far behind. Money was deposited directly into each of the students account and I was personally given a receipt for each student.
The Mission of Hope Team was also able to give out 141 uniforms to the incoming Freshman Class. You should have seen the look on their faces when they found out that they were actually going to get to enroll in classes because this huge obstacle had been lifted from their shoulders. They all jumped for joy when they got the news and rushed over to get their voucher for their uniforms. The tailor was personally paid and the students have already gone there to get fitted for their new uniforms.
Another highlite of our trip was our overnight retreat with the WSA 2012 Officers. We took all 18 officers and some sponsors to a resort in Batangas, had dinner and bonding time with these students. It was an amazing opportunity that we had to get to learn more about these young officers and hear about their dreams for their future as well as hear about dreams for the the working students that they represent. This year, we are really really impressed with this group of officers and especially with the New presient Rey Ybanez. He caught our eye last year with his attention to detail and leadership abilities. He was truly instrumental in helping us with coordinating this trip and especially with preparing for the retreat and Sunday party. We ate, swam, played games and stayed up almost all night…laughing and having so much fun. We had the resort all to ourselves, so we were able to truly bond and enjoy each others company. We had some testimonies during the night, and then I got up and spoke to the kids, offering them encouragement, love and most of all Hope! We presented all the officers with a scholarship and told them how deserving that they all were to be working full time jobs, going to school, and still dedicating their every ounce of extra time to being an officer to help other working students succeed. We also passed out Hershey Chocolate bars – a HUGE Hit!!!! This will definitely be something that we will do every year if the Lord allows. Cost of the trip: $1,125 (personally paid by Quirante family)
On a side note, our family along with the guidance directors Flor and Mylene took a trip to Bicol. In 2009 and 2010, we financially and spiritually adopted “personally”, two young men: Ishmael and Moises Olarte. Our relationship has grown to a bond that is too hard to put into words. They are truly a part of our family – just like our sons. We talk via email and facebook at least 4-5 times a week…. since 2009. We wanted to visit their parents and other 7 siblings on this trip to get a better idea of living conditions from where they come from, their lifestyle, their challenges, and most of all to meet the loving mother who raised such well mannered, hard working young men. All was set in place for our return. Transportation was arranged, a hotel near by was secured, and all arrangements made. Unfortunately their mother unexpectedly passed away just 21 days before our arrival. Let me just say, how heart wrenching it was… knowing that we both wanted to meet each other so badly, to embrace and share in the joys of motherhood. It was this trip that I would be visiting her grave with tears in my eyes instead to pay our respects. The trip was more difficult than we could have ever imagined – both emotionally and physically. The hardships that these families have is unsurmountable. Once we arrived in Bicol and checked into our hotel, we ate a quick bite to eat and then headed up the mountain to the Barangay where the Olarte family lives. It was about a 8KM hike up the mountain side. All rock, and not a true pathway. (you have to see the photos). After a couple of hours, we reached the home and was able to meet the father and other siblings. What a delight to finally get to meet them. It was an emotional time as I spent some minutes quietly with the father. He was so sad that Mom Olarte was not able to be there. After some greeting time, we walked another 2 km to a nearby beach where we had a wonderful lunch prepared by the Olarte family. We ate lunch together, swam in the ocean, and enjoyed each others company for several hours. A memory that we will truly cherish forever! On the way back, Ishmael took me to a place in the Barangay where they use to mine for gold. He wanted to show me the crude conditions for where they had to work in order to make money to support the family. I spent about an hour here learning about the gold mining process. It was such a scary and unforgiving way of life for so many here. I simply said a prayer to my self, thanking God for allowing our paths to cross with these boys so that they would never ever ever have to go through that again. It was just awful! The day was winding down, so we headed back to say our farewells to the Olarte family. Ishmael and Moises knew how exhausted we were and how the heat and elements had taken a toll on our bodies, as we were just not as adapted as they were to the surroundings. Their older brother made some calls around the Barangay and with in minutes, there were 4 motorcycles to take us down the mountain. Let me just say, that I know that we would never have made the difficult journey down. I’m so blessed to have these two boys take care of us all. What a blessing and what a learning experience. (trip personally paid by Quirante family $1,380)
Another fun thing that we did was surprise a group of boys who work on the farm. I met this group three years ago and was amazed at how hard they worked – some up to 75 – 80 hours a week in the sun, working the farm. Most of the time they were late for any activity that we had – just to learn that they were so dirty from working, it took longer to shower and get ready to make an appearance before us. On our visit this trip, I got a tractor and the Mission of Hope team along with some advisers, jumped on and headed out to the farm with a home made lunch in tow and a suitcase. We had asked the supervisor ahead of time to have all the boys work in the same area on the farm so that we could surprise them with a hot lunch and visit from our team. Boy was it a surprise! We laughed, and ate, and enjoyed each others company and shared stories. After the lunch, I opened the suitcase and the team distributed NEW long sleeve t-shirts for them to wear while they work to protect their skin from the sun exposure. They were all so surprised and very happy. Everyone had their hands full and their belly full. What fun! (Personal expense of $245 paid by Quirante family)
We also had a group meeting with the Theology students. I had been told by many of the students over the years that they have to dress up with shirt and tie to go canvass or do any ministry outreach. So we gathered the Theology working students together and gave out over 250 dress ties. We listened to their testimonies and about their journeys. It was an amazing time with these spiritually gifted young men. (all ties and the suitcase were donated)
Friday evening – we had vesper service with all the working students. A time to gather, meet and greet and welcome in the Sabbath day.
Sabbath was especially special for us as we were greeted by the working student officers at 5 in the morning to a sunrise serenade. We all walked over to the side of the hill and sat down, sang praise songs, worshipped together and watched the sun rise in the sky. For Sabbath school we attended the Filipino church so we could hear our Moises Olarte sing, and then attended the International church for Sabbath Services. The working student advisers treated us all to a potluck where we ate wonderful dishes and spent quality time with this amazing group. The passion that they have for these working students is so wonderful. It is an honor and priviledge to just be in their company. I have even teased Flor and Mylene saying that I may be white with a pointed nose, but I feel like we are sisters! We just laugh and embrace and enjoy the moment. Who would have ever thought that I would be able to bond with people who live so far across the world. We too email often and stay in touch and even send cards in the mail. As the sun began to set in the sky the Torch Bearer group come knocking on our door and entered with voices blazing. Sounds of angels is what I always say. I admire this group and what Sir Esplana has done with these young men and women. They touch my heart with their voices every time we hear them sing. (personal donation given to the Torch Bearer group by Quirante family to further their musical ministry $200)
Sabbath evening, we had three English classes for students who wanted to improve upon their conversational English. We had games and had so much fun. You could hear the shouting and laughter from miles away. We gave out 30 English Tagalog dictionaries to the top performers in each English class and everyone walked away with pockets full of Hershey chocolate kisses. (personal cost of $150 for supplies provided by Quirante family)
Sunday was the BIG MEGA PARTY! Starting at 3:00 PM, all the working students were given permission to leave work early WITH PAY, and come to the Mission of Hope Mega Party. We played games, interacted, and then fed all 600 students with a “Home Made Thanksgiving Type Food Buffet” All the kids could eat! Something that the students all look forward to. This year, the officers wanted to have a pagent for Mr and Mrs Working Student. They had a talent show, fashion show showing school attire, formal attire, and sports attire. There was even a question and answer session and the winners were given a $100 scholarship. All the runner ups were all give prizes as well. The advisers said that they had never ever seen the interaction with all the working students as they had seen this evening. All the cheering from the individual work departments, cheering on their own contestants representing their departments. Wow it was a lot of fun! We also had the gymnastic team perform for a little entertainment and spent most of the rest of the evening socializing, and picture taking. There were tears of joy and happiness from so many. I night that everyone will remember. (Quirante personal cost of the party $1500.)
Our container of supplies did not make it to the party. Some papers had still not been signed off on and time ran short to get that done. Guidance director Mylene and the WSA President will be going to customs Tuesday to get everything signed off and get the crate delivered to the school so that the contents of the container will be distributed on June 24 at the working student acquaintance party. Pictures will be taken to document the supplies)
Personal cost of our travel to AUP, transportation, boarding, and food for the Mission of Hope Team: $13,500 for 6 people.
All in all, it was a wonderful memorable trip. So much so that the Mission of Hope Team was already planning for our return trip for 2013 with dates and projects.
During this year’s visit, the team was escorted all around the campus to see what the individual needs were of different departments and dormitories and we were able to speak with so many students to get an idea of true needs as well. We are REALLY REALLY going to need prayers and financial help for 2013. We will be starting a big campaign very soon to start soliciting donations of items that are probably in most peoples homes already not being used. Our church friend is once again supplying us a container for 2013. I can guarantee that we will fill up a 40 foot container for all the projects that we are attempting. Please continue to pray for the Mission of Hope Team that we are successful in our fundraising efforts. We have a big budget this year: $55,127 for supplies, scholarships, and uniorms, and $50,000 for travel/room & board expenses for the Mission of Hope Team.
~Teresa Quirante, Founder of Mission of Hope