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General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines

December 2011

The day we were in General Santos for a Christmas concert, we received news of a tragic accident that took the lives of thirteen people.  A group of pastors, their wives and children were traveling in convoy early in the morning from General Santos to Davao, a three hour journey over narrow, winding roads.  An hour outside of Gensan (the local reference to General Santos), the first van in the convoy hit into the back of a large truck/trailer that was stalled in the lane, killing five of the pastors (injuring a sixth), their wives and two children, and injuring three other kids.  The accident left eight orphaned children, and the one surviving adult in the van lost his wife and daughter.

We put the word out right away by email and facebook about the tragedy, and donations started pouring into Alabaster Ministries to care for these children.  A week after the accident, we flew back from Manila to visit the children and the surviving pastor in the hospital.  

Here are some videos of out time there:

This first is of Pastor Vic Martinez who lost his wife and daughter, but had his three year old son in the hospital room with him.  In addition to the head wound which is visible, he had internal bleeding, and his son had pelvic surgery.



This next video was in the room where two newly-orphaned children are hospitalized, and the uninjured 15 year old brother of the precious 3 year old girl - all pastor's children - was also there.  The parents were buried that morning.  Bob asked the 11 year old what his favorite song is, and we sang that together.



Jonas, the uninjured 15 year old brother of the three year old girl Micah, who is in a lower body cast, was traveling in the van following the one in the accident, so was uninjured (can't even imagine the trauma of his being at the scene though).  We found out that he is a worship leader and guitar player in the church, and Bob asked if he would like to sing us a song, which he did using Bob's guitar.  We asked him if he had guitar - "no" - and we decided that Alabaster Ministries would buy one for him.  I thought you'd like to see this very touching act of worship, especially in light of what the day's events held for him.

 

Through the very generous donations to Alabaster Ministries in the days following the accident, these things were done:
• The medical and hospitalization bills were paid in full for four people (three children, one adult)
• The funeral and burial expenses were paid in full for 13 people (11 adults - 5 pastors, 6 wives -, 2 children)
• A brand new Mitsubishi 15 passenger van was purchased to be used by Pastor Orlando Gacote, the lead pastor of Victory Christian Chapel, and who has taken on the guardianship for three orphans.  This replaces the church van that was destroyed in the accident.
• Special Christmas gifts were given to the orphans
• Helped to renovate Pastor Orlando's home for the addition to his family of three orphaned children
• committed to the monthly support of Pastor Orlando’s family toward the additional expenses of the additional family members

Here are photos and a video this very special group sent to us with after they received the new van and Christmas gifts: