Earl Lehmann returned from his nine-week trip to the Philippines in early April. It was his second trip in as many years. Only he doesn’t go for the holiday—he goes to help the people, especially the children, on the island of Samara.
“A friend of mine in Abbotsford, who is Filipino, invited me to go to the Philippines with him and for eight years I told him I didn’t have the funds,” Lehmann said in recalling how he came to go on his first trip. In the ninth year Lehmann phoned his friend and said, “Hey! I have got my ticket for the Philippines. When are we going?”
“So we went in February 2013. He is from the island of Samara and I went to the Pentecostal Church there because I am a member here and that was the beginning of my story. This year I went back by myself after I canvassed for some donations. I paid for the trip on my own. Every penny that has been donated to me goes to the Philippines.”
He explained that there are 1,600 people under the age of six on the one island. “There are 7,107 islands. I can’t go to all of them. I have been asked why don’t you go help the people in New York or in Vancouver. But I was given the goal to the Philippines—that is what I am doing now. There is little work and no welfare program. It is a sad situation all around,” he said.
With his background in engineering, Lehmann acts as an advisor to the locals. He has helped them develop a water system (still half completed) that pumps water up from near the ocean where a hot water spring comes out of the ground. It then is fed by gravity down to the different villages.
Lehmann returned from his trip with 2,600 pictures. “You can see in some of the pictures that half of the people on the island carry water in buckets on their heads through the jungle. It is unsanitary and something needs doing. I feel I have been called to do that. I am retired and I have the time on my hands—the one thing that I don’t have is the funds.”
He buys goods from donations that he receives and then boxes them up and ships them over.
“I have people there who I absolutely trust,” Lehmann explained. “So I ship it to Manila, and Manila ships it to Botangas, and Botangas ships it to my island. Then there is a family over there that distributes it.
“I would like to go once a year but I have to see how that works,” he told the Times.
“So I am trying to collect as much as I can to send over to feed my kids. At least to feed the little kids.”
You can contact Lehman at 250-449-2279. Tax receipts are available through the Evangel Chapel in Greenwood.