Rehoboth Children's Homes
You may just wonder what an article on a children's home in the Philippines is doing in a magazine focussed on Godmanchester. Well, without the late Vernon Andrews, Connie Andrews and the support of many members of the Godmanchester Baptist Church the home would not exist, and the lives of over 130 children would not have been transformed from poverty to opportunity.
The Rehoboth Children's Homes are in Santa Maria, a small village in the foothills of the central Luzon plain where around 70% of people live in poverty. In February 1981 the captain of the nearby village of San Pedro asked Vernon if he would consider helping children in the area in desperate need of care and education. Vernon wasted little time Rehoboth was opened on 30 November of the same year with the first group of girls coming from San Pedro.
Rehoboth was chosen as the name for the homes as it means 'room', and is taken from Genesis 26:22. Those responsible for the organisation believe that God has made room for these children at Rehoboth so they can prosper both physically and spiritually in their land.
Pastor Luzano lives at the Rehoboth Homes and is responsible for running and maintaining them as well as for the spiritual well-being of the children and adults there. His wife supervises the many domestic tasks with the aid of a small number of dedicated staff. The children help out too, thereby learning how to run a household efficiently. Tasks vary from the cleaning right through to caring for the pigs and chickens which are sold in the local market to help raise income. Some also earn a little money and gain valuable work experience by helping in the rice mill belonging to Pastor Luzano's eldest son. Naturally they also play with the local children, with rounders and volleyball being favourites.
Rehoboth has grown significantly since it was first started. It has already provided a home and a future for 92 children with another 45 currently being cared for. Education is given a high priority, as in the Philippines a good education can lead to a decent job through which the young person can break the poverty cycle for their whole family. 12 Rehoboth children have already achieved qualifications in college or university with a further 8 due to graduate this year.
Connie Andrews has been representing Rehoboth since 1982 travelling extensively to give talks and interviews to explain the purpose of the homes, and of course, to help in the vital fund-raising necessary to secure the long-term future of the project. Individuals and groups sponsor a particular child by making a commitment to £25 per month and regular prayer to help the child's physical and spiritual development. Sponsors and their child keep in regular touch exchanging news throughout the year. The Rehoboth Children's Homes are a registered charity with a Board of Trustees based in Godmanchester and a Board of Directors in the Philippines.
The information for this article was kindly supplied by Pat Jacobs who is the chairperson of the Board of Trustees and can be contacted at Godmanchester Baptist Church.
© 2001 Godmanchester Community Association
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