Lukas Nelson, EPCALM’s first Expat Volunteer from Seattle, Washington State arrived on schedule on November 24, 2011.
He immediately set himself for his missions work on Day 1. On the day of his arrival, he was welcomed to a dinner briefing at the EPCALM office in Quezon City by the EPCALM Execom headed by its Chairman of the Board, Dr. Erlyn Cabanag-Demerre. Present during this meeting were Executive Director Mr. Cesar Dumogho, Outreach Director Pastor Norma Manuel and Execom member Marie Beth Lorenzo.
Mr. Dumogho gave Lukas his feel of the flow of outreach for the Spiritual Arm while Pastor Manuel laid down the specifics of events that Lukas would immerse himself in to fully grasp the spirit of EPCALM for the sick. Lukas, barely done unpacking with no time to cater to jetlag set out for his first taste of the Philippine countryside, LAGUNA on Day 2.
Ms. Lorenzo accompanied Nelson to Laguna on public commute to officially represent EPCALM in a Prayer Fellowship gathering of Laguna Christian Churches organized by Pastor Manuel. The gathering signifies the growing prayer support for EPCALM and patients now being strengthened all over the Philippine Islands through linkages under the EPCALM National Prayer Chain project. On November 27, Lukas had a taste of Pampangueno hospitality when he joined the EPCALM Choir in its caroling outreach for a cause at Mekeni Food Corporation (MFC) in PORAC, PAMPANGA. A full 11 man EPCALM delegation was warmly welcomed by the MFC led by Tatang Felix Garcia and his sons and their families. The Garcia family has been a supporter-donor of EPCALM since 2010.
Then Lukas had his first taste of public commute alone as he went to Batangas to visit the newly enlisted EPCALM patient Glenn Mayo (article to follow). Pastor Manuel and Lukas coming from separate ways met in Batangas to visit Glenn at his home. Equipped with God’s word, Lukas and Manuel embraced the Mayo’s, literally and figuratively.
To date, Lukas has met two of EPCALM’s growing list of patients. Arlene Bismanos was the first patient he met during his regular EPCALM office day. Bismanos enlisted with the EPCALM patient program upon her diagnosis on January 2011. Now done with intensive intravenous chemotherapy, Arlene proclaims glory to God for her remission. Now on continuing course of oral chemotherapy, Arlene has gained weight with a unique glow of complete healing that she has claimed. Lukas along with Dr. Demerre, Mr. Dumogho and EPCALM secretary Anna Orani prayed for Arlene as she continues on her healing journey praising God every step of the way. To quote, “ Nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoon, na dahil sa sakit ko nakilala ko siya”. (I am thankful to God that through my sickness I have come to know Him). Let us pray for Arlene as she undergoes a repeat bone marrow biopsy soon.
Let us continue to pray for Lukas as he serves God through EPCALM. That his act of love in leaving the comforts of his home to venture into the ministry of touching the lives of EPCALM patients and their families will inspire others to be the helping hand, the ray of hope, the thread of life for those afflicted with leukemia. And that the spark that Lukas has ignited by his example of selfless love for the afflicted will spread like a flame to touch more lives broken by leukemia, made whole again.