Barely a year after we, (Pastor Rod, my husband and I and our children ) came to Hawaii in 1993, my attention was caught one day by a beautiful lighted picture frame which I previously bought and hanged on our wall. It was a beautiful picture of a Spring. I was reminded of the Scriptures in the book of John which says, “Whosoever drinketh from the water that I shall give him shall never thirst and shall in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (I John 4:13)
As I closed my eyes I began to meditate. My heart was awakened and was reminded of the things that we used to do back in the Philippines. My husband, Rev. Rodrigo O. Almosara and I, Victoria L. Almosara aside from having pioneered and pastored the Brethren of Christ in the Philippines churches, we became actively involved in Community Organizing and Rehabilitation Projects, when Central Luzon where our main church in San Jose City was, then became the center of natural disasters like the Killer Earthquake in 1990, Mt. Pinatubo eruption, and various successive typhoons. We also personally went to Ormoc City after that first massive flash flood to bring some donated relief goods.
We had been recognized as a faith-based, non-government (NGO) organization. Government agencies like Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor, Department of Science and Technology as well as other foreign agencies like USAID, PDAP, Care International/Philippines, Netherlands Embassy, collaborated with us. They channeled the livelihood funds and other microenterprise projects to us for implementation and monitoring in coordination with PBSP (Philippine Business for Social Progress). These projects made a great impact on peoples’ lives and improved their quality of life.
All these memories flashed back in my mind and I felt something inside of me, an urging to continue what we’ve been doing in the Philippines. I started to be aware and realize that poverty and unemployment was not only prevalent in the Philippines but also a reality here in Hawaii. It was then that I shared this vision with the initial 13 women of our Brethren of Christ International church and named it “Ministry on Missions & Social Concerns.” Under this church Ministry we were able to solicit and distribute donated canned goods and used clothes to the indigent families, newly arrived immigrants and the homeless. We also conducted computer and other skills trainings to help those jobless become employable. Because of these initial trainings that we conducted we were able to avail of a $2,500 Neighborhood Grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation. And that started it all.
I decided to initiate a separate non-profit , faith-based organization to make our trainings formal and be recognized by funding agencies. So Springs of Living Water was registered as a tax-exempt non-profit organization in May of 1999. In 2002, because of the need to put up a Preschool where mothers could leave their children and nurtured while they go to work places, the Faith, Hope & Love Child Care & Learning Center was created and licensed with the Department of Human services. And because of the trainings and helping single mothers and newly arrived immigrants find jobs, the Springs of Living Water was recognized as the “Employer of the Year” by the Department of Labor and the Oahu Links.
Springs of Living Water and the Faith, Hope & Love Child Care & Learning Center have been servicing the community for 16 years now. At the same time my husband and I have been going back to the Philippines every year or twice a year as needed. I also had initiated the Springs of Living Water Multipurpose Cooperative and also put up and registered the Faith, Hope & Love Christian Academy in San Jose City. The initial plans for the Orphanage was envisioned in the same city back in 2007. All of these have been made possible thru the generous contributions and Missions Offering of the members of the Brethren of Christ International and the Springs of Living Water.
With the Typhoon Yolanda devastation, again the Lord had spoken to my heart. At first I tried to ignore it, closed my eyes and ears on the horrible news. But my spirit was vexed within me. My heart would cry out in distress. “Lord what can I do, we are nobody compared to big organizations and foreign aids which are already out there!” But with such challenges which we see before us, isn’t there some guilt if we don’t do our share, no matter how small it is? The orphaned children who are left abandoned and homeless the most vulnerable and need our help and assistance most.
These unfortunate children if not attended to will be vulnerable to hunger, malnutrition and worst of all, to abduction, kidnapping and trafficking into illegal adoptions and sexual exploitations. I told myself, there is such an enormous job to be done, so unimaginable that you could not even think of how and where to start it! But thank God, we are not alone. Thank God for the generosity and compassion of America and the rest of the countries of the world which are always willing and ready to give their support and help! Thank you for the thousands of volunteers who are willing to risk their own lives for the cause of giving hope and life to others!
Yes, we can make a difference by adopting a child, one child at a time! The Paraiso Children House of Refuge” is in its initial stage right now. But it will be a continuing long term Rehabilitation Project for the orphaned and abandoned children in the Philippines. The Project will be opened for everyone who would want to partner with us. You may contact us and send your donation through this website.
Again, Mahalo for your support and partnership with us!