Ate has a home!

Many of you are aware that at the end February we started a project - building a home for Ate Gina (see post here). Several of our friends, family and supporters from around the world wanted to be a part of this project - we have donors from Canada, the US, Australia and Scotland! It was so awesome to see how a handful of people came together and within a month, we had a house built for Ate Gina. We started at the end of March, and at the end of April, it was completed!

I took a few photos of it just before it was complete:


 Manang Jose, the mason, putting on the last coat of smooth concrete to the outside of the house


The inside of Ate Gina’s kitchen and sala (living area)


Outside of Ate’s house

It was even a treat, as Ate Elizabeth, a Scottish midwife who used to work at Gentle Hands when it was a birthing clinic way back, was on holiday in the Philippines and she was one of the donors, and she came for a visit!


Ate Elizabeth visiting Ate Gina at her house

As well, a few weeks earlier, my cousin Tara was here and she visited the house, and her and her husband, Blayne, were also donors.


It was really cool not only for them to see their donation at work, but it really was very touching for Ate Gina to meet the people who made her house possible.

Because the house finished after Jonathan went on his trek to North America for 3 weeks, as well as me single-parenting and being sick a week, we have not been out to see it finally finished! I had some extra paint from Caleb’s room and Ate Gina took it and painted her Sala wooden walls with it. :)

So in the next week we will be going out there for a house blessing for her and will take AMPLE photos of this amazing project! 

It is such an awesome thing to see when a group of people (and it doesn’t have to be large!) come together, they can radically change someone’s life.

Much love xo
Jonathan, Tracey, Caleb & Rosie

We are almost finished!! || Ate's House

Just before Easter Break, I made a trip out to Ate’s House…

What progress they have made!!

We are so excited! All that remains is to plaster the outside, finish the hallow blocks to the top of roof and get windows and doors put on it!

And Ate Gina is just grinning EAR TO EAR! She even told me, “I can save money each pay and buy a bag of cement here and there, and continue finishing it on the inside when I can. I will have a roof and walls and that is more than enough for me!”

It’s so awesome to see how this is all playing out… I will go out again at the end of this week.

UPDATE: As of Tuesday April 22, they have finished the hallow blocks and are just doing the plastering and finishing windows!

Thank you for being a part of this project!

New posts on the Photogs for a Cause Blog!

A couple of new posts are on the Photogs for a Cause blog. Head on over there and check out what we have been priviledged to photograph in the last month!

Week 3 - The beginning of the end!

When I returned from Kalinga mountain province, I was thrilled to see the crazy progress on Ate’s House! There are walls! and a CR (comfort room/bathroom) is outlined!

After an almost one-hour meeting with Jimmy, crunching numbers, and seeing what else is needed to be completed, we came up with a plan and to have the house finished for April 30 - right on schedule.

The beam were being poured over the weekend and the roof materials made. This week the roof is to be finished, so Ate will be able to “loosely” move in over holy week, even though the floor is still dirt.

Next week is finishing the floor, the pipes and beginning onthe outside cement to seal the walls outside. The last few days will be making the windows and doors.

Here’s a front view of the new house in progress! So exciting!

 As of today, the last 2 of our pledges for the house have not yet come in. We are praying that God will continue to provide! He has done an amazing job of doing so thus far! Thank you for being a part of this amazing project!

Until next week!

Love Tracey et all xoxo

Week 2 - Ate's "mansion"

The drive out to Ate’s place is always so lovely and serene. The view is absolutely spectacular before you head from the top of the mountain down into the valley.

 When Jonathan and I arrived, Ate was surprised to see Jonathan as he has never been out there yet. She was pretty excited to show him the progress too.

Jimmy and one of the workers were digging when we go there:

 They have finished putting all the steel in place for the foundation and the 4 beam posts. The next day they were going to pour the cement for them!

 The mason, Manong Jose, started the day before helping. This morning he had already done 3 layers of halo blocks on two sides! Ate Gina and Jimmy said he was very efficient. He is over 60 and this has been his job since a young man. His work ethic is outstanding - he even told the younger workers, more or less, that they had better step up as it was not fair to take their time and use our money for their slow labor. :) Ate Gina said since he said that to them, they now keep us with HIM! :)

 The finished septic is now covered. This is at the front edge of Ate’s property, where one day she will put up a small sari sari (corner store) she said. She said she will have someone run it while she is working for us during the day. Awesome!!!

 Now that Ate can see the outline and beginning of the house being built, her face was beaming ear to ear. She even hugged me saying, thank you, thank you. When she showed Jonathan the progress when we arrived, she said to him, “Look at my mansion”. I did all I could to hold back the tears; truly this is something she most likely has always dreamed about. My heart was so very full.

And then I said, well, you will be like us when we first moved into our place - no furniture! A little at a time.

She said, Furniture doesn’t matter - I will have a safe house.

Yes…perspective I tell you.

 The amazing workers!!!

We received over $2200 towards this project and I’m grateful; I think we will use it! We have just gone over the $1200 mark. I was talking to Ate this morning and she said that the halo blocks are all around now, past her head. Manong Jose is a machine!! So thankful that it is progressing fast! Things I didn’t factor in were the plumbing PVC pipes for the CR (comfort room/washroom) and sink, plus the wiring for some outlets and lights. 

God was gracious to allow so many people be involved in this project that I think he knew what was still needed! I pray that it can be finished in the next 2-3 weeks. 

I’m off to the mountains tonight with my cousin’s wife, Tara, who is here on a whirlwind trip of 8 days of FULL ON ministry at 6 6 different NGOs!! 

Pray for our safety as we travel. And pray that the weather would continue to be good for the workers on Ate’s House.


Tracey et all

March 28 - Update on Ate's House

I made a surprise visit out to the site this morning…And I was really happy with what was going on!

Ate’s old house sat there on that empty space below and was relocated to her neighbors lot so Jimmy and the builders could start the beams and posts.

 The hollow blocks are already being inserted and concrete being made for the septic tank that was dug the last 2 days..

 Here you can see Ate’s house on the neighbors lot in front of her lot…and where the hardware store delivered the 500 pcs of hollow blocks!

 and bags of cement…

 and the steel for the beams and posts get made today!

 Things are on target, so far.. :) And keep in mind - everything is done by hand - shovel to dig hole for septic, mixing the cement, everything. It’s amazing!

I still am in awe of Ate’s beautiful surroundings out in Teresa in the province..

 Thank you again for your support and prayers for this project! We are building a house, friends! :)

We are building a house!

Before the weekend, we got word that the wire transfer had come through for Ate’s House Project…yes!!!

By Monday, we had gotten it exchanged and headed out to her place to do one last assessment of where we were going to begin.

 The view across the street from Ate’s lot - big fields of beautiful provincial land!


Ate’s Home…her new home will be 2x the size. She still can’t believe it’s really happening!


Ate Gina :)


The blue tarp is a makeshift room where her CR or washroom is. It will be so nice to not have to go outside to use the bathroom or shower once the new house is built!


Some of the lovely trees on the lot..fruit trees! 


Ate’s Street behind her lot..good thing we have a truck! :)


The mountain in the background is where they blast for marble. 


So we went and priced out supplies and put in our first order to be delivered today! It still seemed somewhat surreal for Ate when we were at the hardware store. :)

Ate & Jimmy, who is managing and working the project, at the hardware store.


Thank you again for your support and prayers throughout this project! Until the next House Update!

Tracey for all xoxo

Rosie's Outdoor Ed Experience || by Rosie

Every year in Middle School at Faith Academy, the entire school goes on what is called OUTDOOR ED. it’s a week long journey outside the metro for intense team-building, community outreach in the areas they will be, learning basic survival skills and a heap of fun & memories for everyone!

This year, Rosie and her classmates when south to Taal - a volcano on an island, in a lake. :) They had squads they did activities with, including survival skills like killing a chicken and roasting it over an open fire.
The groups also went into a school and did some fun things with the kids as well as a feeding program.

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Read her account HERE.

Update on Ate's Home


The funds have come in and are being wired today, to get to us for next week!

THANK YOU AGAIN to all who have partnered with us in this project. Ate Gina is getting more excited as we talk about the planning of buying supplies and an approximate start date. 

Here are a few photos that Jimmy, the man in charge of the laborers to build the house, took when he went out there last Sunday to measure the lot and figure out what size house would best suit the lot.


 front view of Ate’s current house made of scrap wood, bamboo and metal.


 the view of her lot from the road. she has planted lots of fruit and vegetable plants and trees, and even built this bamboo fence around the perimeter of her property!


 side view of ate’s current house


Ate Gina and Jimmy measuring the size of her current house

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Ate Gina’s new house will be 22 ft x 16 ft, as the sketch is shown here. 

The wire transfer should be through next week and if there is no hiccup we could start as early as next weekend. :)

Again, we thank you and are super excited for this project! Until the next update, bless you all!

Tracey for The Heppners

New post on Photogs for a Cause || Manila, Philippines

Just put up a recent post from this last weekend, of one of our PFAC (Photogs for a Cause) Affiliate Photographers who covered this one.

Go check it out :) 

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