Linap Center Logo

Update, June 16, 2005

Dear Friends,

Today is the day I have long been waiting for. I am truly excited to tell you that at long last, construction on the new Lingap Center has begun! You may recall that we experienced a series of delays, which resulted in the building being reengineered and subsequently rebid. On May 23, the contract was awarded to RD Rocen Construction Company from Cebu City, Philippines. The estimated time needed for construction is 210 days. It should be noted that the winning bid is for almost exactly the amount originally budgeted. Consequently, no adjustments need to be made to the budget. The actual construction work began today! I will be receiving construction progress photos in about 10 days and will be posting them on the website on about a weekly basis. Therefore, please check the website from time to time to check on our progress. This can be found at [click on "Photo Gallery" and then on "Construction Photos"].

As you will recall from my May 1 update, I was planning to visit Cebu at the end of May, which I did. During this visit, I worked out all of the operational details that need to be in place when construction is finished and we switch to a daily operations mode. We will soon be able to accommodate between 80 to 100 truly wonderful children! I met with the Mayor, Arlene Zambo, and my local attorney, Atty. Danilo Deen, and all is in readiness. The children are very excited that construction is about to begin - I showed them the revised blueprints and was amazed that even the little ones asked a lot of questions and looked and looked at the prints! (I have a photo of this now on the "Construction Photos" section of the website.) I also met with the local Toledo City Rotary Club, who are partnering with the Ann Arbor, MI Rotary Club to provide all of the furnishings and playground equipment for the new facility. They (the Rotarians) are as excited to be a part of the project as I am to have them.

On a different subject, I have received numerous requests to have names removed from the World Vision mailing list. I must apologize for this. I had consistently asked that supporters of the Lingap Center not be added to their mailing list, unfortunately they were added anyway. Consequently, to be removed from the list, you can do so by calling World Vision at 1-800-777-5777 and ask that your name be removed. I have been advised that it might take a while to go into effect, but you will be removed from their list.

On a related note, you will recall from my May update that I have now set up my own Foundation, "The Lingap Children's Foundation," and will no longer be affiliated with World Vision following the completion of construction. I would like to add that you will NOT be added to any mailing list (other than this one) and that 100% of your contributions go directly to the children. This is possible because I pay all Foundation expenses myself, including administrative costs, postage, travel expenses (e.g. to the Philippines) and legal costs etc. Additionally, several donors have contributed services, such as the printing of letterhead, postage for this and other "update" mailings and some legal services for example. I think it is important that you know that we have no overhead costs of any kind - 100% goes to the children.

A little about the children; they are all doing fine. Thanks to a few "directed donations," we were able to provide dental checkups for all, new book bags for school, shoes for some of the grade school graduates, new shirts and rice to supplement the meager food budget etc. The Philippine school year began on June 1, so they are all now doing their best to "make us all proud of them" (their words).

We accepted a few new children (bringing our current total to 31), whose stories are not very nice - including one of the worst cases of child abuse that I have ever seen. This has convinced me even more than ever that I am doing the right thing and it is you and people like you who have made it possible. I am looking forward to being able to provide safety and a home for 100!! The children are truly blessed to have friends like you. This has certainly been a challenging project, but it is worth every bit of the effort.

Today, "Construction Day", is certainly the day I have dreamed and prayed about. It has now begun. As you know, the construction is fully funded, but I continue to be worried about ongoing operations. Therefore, please tell your friends about the project and direct them to the website. Tax deductible donations are gratefully accepted. Checks should be made out to "The Lingap Children's Foundation" and sent to me at John Drake, P.O. Box 1553, Jackson, MI 49204. I will try to keep you informed as we move along. Again, please check out the construction photos as they are added to the website - and feel free to sign the guest book.

As I think about the hope that you have collectively provided to the Lingap children, I am reminded of the following quote:

"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light."

Albert Schweitzer


John Drake