The Valbuenas in March

March 2023


Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Philippines! I pray you all are well. I wanted to send out an email to let everyone who has been praying for us know how we are.

We praise and thank God for the safe and smooth return flight to the Philippines. We arrived here on 2/23/23 around 12 noon and was hit with the intense heat. The following day, Odek performed a wedding for one of our homegrown missionaries and it was beautiful.

The children and staff of SBCHome had planned a surprise welcome party for us and it was a joyous reunion and a joy to meet the new child we had taken in while we were away in the US.  Elizabeth was able to give each of the girls little bead necklaces and bracelets which were purchased in the US by a dear sister in the Lord. We also had bibles for the older girls with their names embossed on the front. The boys each got new socks and a t-shirt.

While in the US, Odek was able to raise funds for the building of a church for our mission churches. Odek was able to have the lot cleared where the church will be built. The foundation has been dug and materials have been ordered. This week the foundation will be poured. Our first unforeseen expense is getting the material up the high mountain where a regular vehicle cannot go. Extra delivery charges were added for a special truck that is capable of making the climb. Our homegrown missionary is so excited and grateful for this church being built where the people will be able to worship protected from the sun and rains.

A dear sister in Houston gave me (Annalisa) money while we were still in the US to sponsor 4 Family Friday night meals. Our first week we were able to bring the entire children’s home over to another Island where we have a mission work, and the children were able to play in the water. We had chili and hotdogs, grilled chicken and of course rice. Last Friday, the children had, for the very first time, copycat Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. They immensely enjoyed it, and I was so glad to be able to introduce to them something I enjoy while in the US. This past Friday, I’m thinking of recreating Whataburger’s Patty Melt. The 4th sponsored Friday night may be a Mexican platter meal. If you would like to sponsor a family Friday night, please do let me know and I assure you the children and all the staff would be very grateful and blessed!

A few days ago, Odek unexpectedly lost his cousin. While we were in the US his cousin had been relaying to Odek how he was physically tired from the huge lump on his neck. The week we arrived, he had the lump checked and received the bad news that it was cancer. He was preparing for an operation when he suddenly passed out and never came to. Two days prior, Odek and I were visiting with him and Odek diligently spoke to him about salvation and he had assured Odek that he had made amends with God and called out to God with a repentant heart. Not knowing that he would be gone in a few days he was telling Odek how very thankful he was for God’s mercy and grace despite all of his shortcomings throughout his entire life. Those last conversations with him have been a source of comfort and hope for Odek.

This month (March) in the Philippines is Women’s Month.  This past Sunday we took the women out for lunch after the morning service. The women of the church are called “WINGS” which stands for Women in God’s Service. We honor them and commend them for all the work they do as wives, mothers and faithful workers in the ministry. Odek also preached that morning about Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives in Exodus who were instructed by pharaoh to kill all male babies. Shiphrah and Puah had more fear of God and disobeyed Pharaoh thus preserving life which led to the birth of Jesus Christ. Odek’s three points were that these two women (1) fear God, (2) love children (preserve life), and (3) induce productivity.

I want to thank you for praying for us. We are so grateful for the trip we were able to make to the US which was truly a blessing to us emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have returned here to the Philippines renewed and ready to eagerly dive into the work. May God bless you all and repay you fourfold for all the love bestowed on us, all the prayers sent up for us, and all the financial support sent to us.

To God Be the Glory!

The Valbuena’s
Your Missionary to the Philippines

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