Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chinese from PNG Methodist Church cheer Tembari children

Andrew Tiong speaks to the Tembari children, saying they brought them “Christian love’.

The members of the Chinese congregation sing Christian songs. – More pictures by AP HERNANDEZ after story.

A Friend of Tembari Children

ON SATURDAY, the Chinese members of the Methodist congregation in Port Moresby visited the Tembari children and offered the day a religious touch.

“We would like to connect with Tembari children and show them ‘Christian love’,” said Andrew Tiong, one of the elders at the congregation.

He said he and about 20 of his brothers and sisters came to Tembari to connect with the children and be a part of their lives.

Simply said, they wanted to support Tembari’s effort in bringing a change in the lives of its wards that are abandoned, orphans and neglected – children whose future rests in the hands of our generous supporters and benefactors.

Seizing the opportunity of being with the children, the group performed some Christian songs to remind those who were present that the Tembari children were loved and that their love for them sprang from the Holy Bible.

Ever grateful as he was, Hayward Sagembo, Tembari Children’s Care president, thanked the delegation, saying that Tembari’s nutrition and education program would succeed because of the continuing support from our benefactors like them.

Sometime ago, a religious group visited Tembari, headed by the Chinese Methodist bishop whose name I could no longer recall, for a look-see of the center and its 200 beneficiary children.

In this group was Pastor King Ming Wu, who said they wanted to find out what they can do for the kids.

Indeed, she was one of the visitors on Saturday.

Happy about her return to Tembari to see the children one more time, Pastor Wu said they felt they could do something for the kids and that they would like to do it.

To our children’s unsophisticated mind, “Christian love” simply meant nice snacks of cup cakes and sweet scones, toys, foodstuff and clothing – a donation that fetched at least K3,000 (US$1,280).

Immediately after the brief ceremony to present the donation, the congregation members treated the kids with colorful snacks – a rarity in their lives.

You can just imagine the frenzy as they queued for the sweet goodies, to the delight of the Chinese delegation, and more so the volunteer mothers.

I had noticed that it was on Saturday that the last few 1kg packets of rice at Tembari’s store were finally cooked for the day’s meal of the children.

This meant that this Monday, there won’t be anything to cook unless Tembari spends from its daily petty cash to buy the grain, which it seldom did.

But as it has been said time and again, “God will provide” – a strong faith that has never failed.

Because among the donations were 200kg of rice good for 13 cooking days.

Well, with about 200 children to feed, we consume at the rate of 15kg of rice a day – from Monday to Saturday for a total of six days.

The Chinese donation would tide us over till the next rice delivery from a regular donor connects.

It was Ivan Lu, a Malaysian expatriate who is the senior executive director at RH (PNG), who brought the Chinese leadership of the Methodist Church to Tembari.

I remembered Ivan, who is a regular donor, calling me on my cell phone, requesting that I arrange for the Chinese Methodist bishop whose name I could now recall for an audience with the Tembari Children.

To me, it was an auspicious day.

Whenever some group expressed interest in seeing the Tembari children, it would – as always – start a long relationship between the two.

This has always been our experience.

The coming of the Chinese congregation into the world of our children is just one sign that we, at Tembari, are on the right track in our quest to provide them the services that would help shape their future for the better.

Thanks to our benefactors, because their support has made things working for our children.

And to our Chinese visitors, a BIG THANK YOU!

Our kids may belong to the United Church, but Christian love as professed by our Chinese friends from the Methodist Church has transcended beyond religious dogma.

Their quest to reach out to its needy brethren – the Tembari children for that matter -- springs from Bible teachings.

The group poses with some of the Tembari children in front of donated foodstuff and clothing.

A girl (center) reacts happily after receiving a rare treat -- a snack of cup cake, sweetened scone and a bottle of chilled water

Tembari kids showing off their snack foods.

Hayward Sagembo, Tembari president (right), gestures while presenting the program for the children to the members of the Chinese delegation.

Nathan Ho, RH (PNG) Group director (left) discusses something with Andrew Tiong, RGH (Group) PNG general manager for operations, about Tembari assistance, while a congregation member reacts.

Hayward Sagembo (left) gestures as he explained Tembar’s school building project while Chew Pang Heng (center) executive director of resource developer Vanimo Jaya Ltd, looks on.

Pastor King Ming Wu (left) watches while the children line up for some candy treats.

Two Chinese kids (right) help their mom out distribute candies.

A long line of kids await their turn to the candy.

Volunteer mom prepares some veggies for the day’s meal. Seen in the background are boxes of noodles donated by the Chinese visitors.

Two moms carrying a pot of newly-cooked rice.

Tembari boys pose while their buddy (center) plays the guitar.

Children play in the classroom while waiting for lunch to be served. – All pictures by AP HERNANDEZ, Port Moresby, PNG (October 8, 2011)

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