Around the world, the Filipino people are known for their resilience. For Celeste Panganiban in Bacolod City in the Philippines, this translates to taking several part-time jobs in order to help feed her family. In addition to her job washing clothes, she also works as a masseuse and sells avocadoes and mangoes. Her husband is a construction worker.
Even with their combined income, there was a daily struggle to feed their nine children. Everyone in the family ate three meals a day, but—split eleven ways—the amount of food they received was small.
The family lives in a poor, urban neighborhood. Though crowded, the neighbors are friendly. One neighbor even lets them use their water pump for most of their needs, though drinking water must be purchased elsewhere.
Despite their circumstances, Celeste and her husband ensure that her children all receive an education and are raised with good values.
Pastor Alfie John Jalique of Bible Baptist Church in Bacolod City met Celeste’s children at a weekly outreach program and recognized their need. He began visiting their home with Food Paks provided by Children’s Hunger Fund and has continued to do so once a week for the last six months. The family has been very welcoming and open to hearing him share about the gospel.
When the family showed an interest in attending church services, members of the congregation offered to drive them (all eleven of them!) so that the family wouldn’t need to pay for public transportation. Church members have also begun buying produce from Celeste’s produce stand.
Even greater than the blessing of food and the lessened burden of budgeting their small income, Celeste and her husband have experienced transformation in Christ. Two of their children have also made a declaration of faith, and several others are eager to learn more.
“We are so blessed,” shared Celeste, “that my family was chosen for this Food Pak ministry where we heard the gospel—where we appreciate the goodness of the Lord despite our poverty.”
With a new foundation in Christ, Celeste’s Filipino resilience has grown into so much more; now she has faith that God is in control, and there is always hope for tomorrow.
Recipient names are changed to protect their privacy.