PANGASINAN, Philippines — In 1999 Pastor Paul Sasis’ father built a bar in the town Lingayen Pangasinan in the Philippines. After converting to Christianity, his father tore down the bar and started construction on a church complex.
The church complex currently called Be The Message Campus was finished in 2013. Under the leadership of Paul Sasis, Be The Message Church founded an ongoing mission in the community of Lingayen Pangasinan.
The need of the community of Lingayen Pangasinan was great. Pastor Paul Sasis related to me during our interview that the average family living there struggles to provide themselves one meal a day.
The average wage per family is about four dollars a day in the community of Lingayen Pangasinan.To combat the ever growing poverty in the region Be The Message Church created The Act of Kindness (TAK) Project. TAK is subdivided into four categories to help improve the quality of life in Lingayen.
The four categories are Education, Nutrition, Spirituality and Family Relationships. Under these four categories, all of the TAK’s projects fall. Pastor Paul Sasis divided the TAK project into these four parts in order to meet the four main needs of the people.
Currently, the TAK project sponsors 75 students through their food stamp program. In this program, each student has food stamps they can use to get food at their schools and they also have a living allowance to use to get their school supplies. Transportation is provided at no cost to all the students in the program.
In addition to their food stamp program, they have constructed two classrooms on the main campus and are building an additional campus for the missionaries that go over. This additional campus will serve as the cabins for the missionaries that go over there.
A part of the families and relationships side of the ministry is the Lively program, which empowers families by providing them with motorized bikes. Five families are currently in the Lively program which started this year.
The fathers of the five families use these bikes as taxis and help raise money to support their families. The lively program is another facet of the TAK project’s ongoing mission to improve the quality of life for the families.
During the TAK Project’s’ last trip to the region, they held a mass marriage ceremony for the couples interested in getting married. I am happy to report that 15 couples got married during their last ceremony.
Under the nutrition and health category of the Tak Project, they have doctors from the surrounding community come out and visit to give treatment and first aid supplies. People come from around all the neighboring villages to receive aid.
The clinic they have established there provides medical aid to the residents based on their chance of risk. In order it goes as follows: Pregnant Women, Children, Elderly, Women and Men. They distribute first aid supplies, vitamins and give occasional check up and medical care to the locals.
The Tak Project, along with providing medical care, does mass feeding at the Be The Message Campus where the people in the village line up for food. When interviewed about the Project, Pastor Sasis mentioned that some of his fondest memories from his trip were these feedings.
Sasis said, “the look in their eyes when they line up was amazing. Food to us is not a big deal but to them it like we gave them a million dollar.”
The TAK Project’s four-step approach to dealing with the needs of the community of Lingayen Pangasinan has proven remarkably effective in the short time since its launch.
– Robert Cross
Sources: Sasis, P. (2015, September 11). Tak Project [Personal interview].