Just before Christmas things were looking pretty bad in the Philippines. You might recall that there were troops in the streets of Makati where the World Vision office is.

A few of us contributed to a small collection and sent A$444 to Nora Avarientos, our field director. She and her team decided to give the money to two families who were victims of bomb explosions during the coup.

Here's what she wrote:

Dennis Pascual, a brother of a sponsored child named Evangeline, was hit in his eyes by a bomb explo­sion. He underwent an operation but unfortunately his eye was not saved and attending doctors are trying to save his right eye. Your gift will go a long way to respond to Den­nis' current medical needs.

Rolando Estrada is a SO dropped child [what a terrible way to describe a person - PJH]. He and his family were also victims of a bomb explosion when Ro­lando happened to pick up a bomb left by rebel soldiers along the way, and brought it home. He died instantly as the bomb exploded while his mother who was near him, was brought to the hospital for medication. The family will surely benefit from the gift you've sent as this will defray some of the debts incurred during the crisis and the needed repairs for their house.

Your sense of community with us is deeply appreciated.


Most people connected to the VAX will have seen the news that the plane that crashed in India a few days ago, was the one Sue Dean was waiting to catch!

Statistically, it seems one is more likely to be killed on the way to the airport than in a plane. But some of the places World Vision people fly don't have the greatest safety records.

I'm sure God cares for Sue in a way that makes Him glad that she was not on the plane. But then He also cares just as much about all those who were on the plane.


In my last Trellis I only made a passing mention of Mexico. I was in Mexico from Friday 26th January to Tuesday 30th. For two days we enjoyed project visits on the Yucatan Peninsula.

My trip reports are not as inspirational as those given by John Steward. One reason for that is that I just don't see as much as John does. His experienced eyes see things that ordinary mortals miss. That's why it will be great for those of you who take up the invitation to go with him on the Ministry Exposure Visit later in the year.

Today I wrote to my young relative who asked about sponsorship. I thought a word or two from personal experience might be interesting. Hopefully it gives you a little window into the projects we visited in Mexico. When I get around to it, I'll bring my snapshots in for anyone who wants to see them.

Here's an extract from the letter:

Your mum asked me to send you some information about sponsoring a child through World Vision, so here is a brochure. When your letter came I was in Mexico visiting some projects supported by sponsors. It was very encouraging to see the things each community had achieved.

Lots of things happen with sponsors' gifts. Let me tell you about one thing I saw. The people of the Yucatan in Mexico live in houses which are not like yours or mine. Only one room. Dirt floor. The walls are made by sticking a lot of branches in the ground. I guess that's not too clear, let me draw it...

On top of the branches they stick mud. When it dries they have a reasonably solid wall. For a roof they sometimes use palm thatch, but it is expensive so most people use only corrugated cardboard. It looks quite solid. Like corrugated iron roofs here. But when you touch it, it almost falls apart in your hand. One man told me it only lasts one year, while a palm thatch roof lasts twenty years! And I know from personal experience that a palm thatch roof provides a very cool house compared to cardboard. Natural products are usually the best.

     The trouble with these dirt floor houses is that they are unhealthy. When it rains it is hard to keep the water out of the house, and with pigs and chooks running around outside, guess where all the pig-poo and chook-poo ends up!

So these people are using some of the sponsor's gifts to build new houses. Still only one room. But now with concrete floors and palm thatch roofs. The boys and girls in these homes don't get sick as often. That means they attend school more regularly. It's amazing how far reaching the impact of one concrete floor can be.

If you want to sponsor a child, you just fill out the coupon and send it back to World Vision. Someone in our Donor Services Team (we have a special team that looks after Queensland) will select a child from among those waiting for sponsors. I don't know where that child will be from. Could be one of 30 or 40 countries. If you have a preference, write us a note, and we'll see what we can do.

I will keep you all in my prayers next week in Guatemala. Please pray for all of us as we meet to consider and plan the future of World Vision's ministry.