Artisan of the Month

Alfie sews the end pieces and straps onto our camera straps that are hand made by the bracelet makers. He has been a good steward of all the Lord has given him.  Here is his story:

Alfie grew up in Batangas, Philippines.  He was raised by his grandmother because his mother went to work in Brunei after giving birth to him. Alfie never knew his father, and isn't even sure if he is dead or alive. When he was in Elementary school, he would work after school as a helper at a poultry farm and piggery until he graduated. When Alfie was 15, his grandmother died, leaving him as an orphan and having to take care of himself. He lived in a boarding house alone paying the rent. He found a place where he could receive on the job training in a factory as a trimmer by someone he had just met. That same person also taught him to sew. By the age of 16 he was already skilled in sewing. He worked at a factory as a regular worker doing the edging work. He also familiarized himself with the parts of sewing machine and learned how to fix one. After working at a large factory for seven years, he moved around to different companies and factories gathering skills and experiences at a very young age.He was working as an operator of a button haul machine, when he first met his girlfriend Mary Jane. 

Not long after that, Alfie moved to another factory and Mary Jane needed to go back to her province in Puerto Galera Oriental Mindoro. When he saved enough money to buy pigs to start a business, he bought two and moved to Mindoro to be with his love, Mary jane. He saved money in order to apply to have electricity in the house and God provided everything in the end. Alfie says didnt know the Lord was working in him, even before he was a teen, when he was learning how to sew. He didn't know that the Lord was going to use all the skills in sewing and provide him machines to help him and help other people too.

His early relationship with Mary Jane was difficult, but he wanted to do his best. To show respect to Mary Jane's relatives he joined their drinking and gambling. He was working on building their own house at the time. But often he was so drunk at night and waking up hung over, that working in the day would be impossible for him.

Alfie and Mary Jane started having arguments and fights. Deep inside him, he knew he needed to stop what he was doing.  (He says now he knows it was God who was calling him telling him to stop.) He was invited by his mother-in-law, Ate Lusing, to go to church one Sunday. He decided to go. He would just sit there hours after hours and meetings after meetings enjoying time with his "now family," he called the church. After months of listening to the sermons and the boys' Sunday school class with Pastor Al, the Lord started opening his eyes and ears to what He was saying in the Bible and what he should do with his life.

After he decided to believe and follow Christ, and he knew he needed to change. He stopped gambling and drinking. He diverted his time and attention to his family, taking care of Mary Jane and his mother-in-law he now calls his "inay" (mom). He would feed his pigs, plant vegetables, feed the chickens, and work in their house.

People that used to be so fond of him when he was doing bad things became aloof and mad at him. They are now saying he changed and became a goody-goody. Alfie pressed on and started helping making bracelets so his mom could have time to rest. He and Mary Jane would help make bracelets at night. They didn't have power back then. His mother-in-law hadn't had electrical power or lights in the house since the day she was born. He started to think about what he could do to make the life of his family better since it was now his responsibility to take care of them. Through his connection with Threads of Hope and their relationship with the mayor, they finally received power at their home.

The Lord provided a sewing machine through Threads of Hope in a micro loan. He was able to help with making the camera straps as extra income as well as making school uniforms and repairing clothes for other people, too. Soon he paid off the loan and continued to have work. The Lord has been really good to him, he said. His piggery is growing, as well as the poultry and sewing jobs. Alfie has been wise in how he invests the assets the Lord has given him. Now that he has his first child, he is more than thankful to the Lord for what He has done in his life. He cannot express fully how thankful he is to the Lord, and gives Him all the Glory. He can only help other people in return to what the Lord has done to him and his family. "All the spiritual blessings, the growth and material blessing they are experiencing only because of the goodness of the Lord."

Alfie and family in his new home
Alfie's home and workplace
Alfie's old home is now used for his poulty business.
Alfie used some of his own money to give away to others at the Christmas party for the church if they could come up and recite their Bible verse from memory.
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