In keeping with Rodel’s last wish to help those people living with AIDS (PLWA) and their families, and those who died alone and forsaken by families and relatives due to stigma attached to these illness, Rodel Naval AIDS Care Outreach (RoNACO) was established. Since that ministry began, some of the PLWA accepted the Lord Jesus because of the sacrficial love and care our volunteers demonstrated.
Later on the name was changed to Rodel Naval Care Outreach (RoNaCO – note: upper case “A” is changed to lower case so the ministry could be expanded to include poverty-stricken families living in the slums.). We named this outreach after my late brother not to immortalize his name but we believe that Rodel’s life is a good testimony of God’s love and mercy.
This charitable organization is registered in the Philippines and in Canada. RoNaCO does not receive any fundings or grants from either federal or provincial governments of Canada. RoNACO depends entirely on donations.
RoNaCO has been helping many poor orphans who have been left because one or both parents died of AIDS, as well as assisting the parent where one remains. Sponsorship is for their educational expenses, such as school supplies and allowance for fare and snacks. We continue to serve the children and some parents or guardians are requesting that help them as they move to college. This is handled through our partnership with a local evangelical church, River of Joy Christian Fellowship. The church is situated at Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz which is one of the centers of concentrated slum areas in Manila. There, Pastor Charlie Ferrera and his wife Maggie, along with their three daughters and some church members, work tirelessly in these slum areas. Maggie coordinates the volunteers of both RoNaCO and church members. Most of the volunteers are also very poor but in spite of these, they are happy to serve the Lord.
Kids Bible Studies – Inside the Church and on the Sidewalk
The sidewalk Bible study is held on a sidewalk near the railroad tracks. It is amazing to see how they hold the attention of sometimes hundred or so of children. The children are very attentive and it is obvious they are having fun. This is more remarkable considering that for most of them, they would have neither the discipline nor the teachings at home. Many of them go to school or to bed hungry, so our efforts would not be complete if we did not help nourish them physically as well as spiritually. Feeding them one meal or snacks once or twice a week is barely enough, but that is the least we can do.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
These children did not choose to be born in dire poverty. They are innocent, pure, naïve, precious but growing up in the environment they are, these are some of the most likely to happen to them.
They will …
Can we break the cycle? Only by God’s grace and the help of those who care. It does not matter what the reasons or excuses might be. Children are helpless bystanders and to make a difference in their lives is to make a difference for future generations. There may not be an instant solution to the world’s poverty but we can make a difference … one child at a time!