It’s amazing to see people from the other side of the world join us on our journey to reach the ultrapoor in the Philippines. Recently, Dale Sutherland, brother of ICM’s Chairman, David Sutherland, visited ICM for his 3rd time. He brought with him a group of visitors from McLean Bible Church (MBC) in Washington DC to Bacolod City to visit many of the ICM slum communities and even a local prison. Along with Dale, trip participants Joy Lippard and Joe Piorkowski were also already ICM supporters and got to experience what God is doing through ICM in a deeper way.
Friends United After 4 Years
Joy first visited the Philippines with McLean Bible Church on a Vision Trip back in 2009. During a trip to Dumaguete, Joy met Judilyn Yangco at the ICM Excel House (Judilyn’s Story & Judilyn’s Update). Since then, they’ve kept in touch over the years with various different correspondences, but it wasn’t until this year that they were finally reunited in person. During their first night in Bacolod, Joy performed with Judilyn at a local Crusade event. Bless, from the ICM Children’s Choir, also accompanied the Duo with her guitar.
In Bacolod, the MBC team was also reunited with the ICM Children’s Choir; several from MBC had hosted the Choir kids in their homes or attending one of their performances this April during the Choir’s USA Tour stop in Washington DC. So when the team was invited to visit the Choir kids in their homes, they jumped at the opportunity. “Seeing Ronilyn and Gretchen’s house was pretty devastating. I just kept thinking about how they were just at my house sleeping in a comfortable bed with pillows and sheets and meanwhile their reality is sleeping on a dirty floor every night. That was hard to take in,” says Joy.
Joy continues, “I’ve played and sung for a lot of audiences, but by far one of the most rewarding moments for me on the trip was singing in the middle of an alley way in a slum community surrounded by a captive audience of at least 30 kids. Those are the people who are forgotten by the world but I believe are closest to God’s heart!”
A Profound Sense of Hope
As an ICM Transform Community supporter, Joe Piorkowski says, “It was wonderful to be able to actually see and hear first-hand the stories of families whose lives have been changed in tangible and meaningful ways through ICM’s programs.”
Joe continues, “Observing the depth and scope of the poverty and suffering among the ultra-poor in Bacolod with my own eyes was incredibly distressing. For example, seeing a family of seven, mostly children, living in a modern-day dungeon — an unlit room the size of a small van – with large roaming rats sharing their tiny living space, was just shocking.”
“Ultimately,” says Joe, “I was left with a profound sense of hope because, despite the horrific conditions, I was able to see God’s Hand at work in caring for these precious people through ICM’s efforts. Despite their circumstances, their eyes and their smiles reflected back the love they had received, and that they showed a deep sense of joy and peace based on their faith that God ultimately would provide for them.”
Thank you, McLean Bible Church, for walking with us to reach out to the ultrapoor in the Philippines and share the love God has for them.