Ate Letty Encina dedicated her life to helping others. As a Hope Center director in the Philippines, her dream was to see children living in hard places reach their full potential and learn about Christ. COVID-19 cut her ministry short, but the Child Champions and children she left behind are thriving because of her.
Daluyan ng Pagpapala Hope Center Director Letty Encina and her husband, Pastor Sieg Encina, together with other Hope Center staff and volunteers.
In Daluyan ng Pagpapala Hope Center, there are 41 young volunteers, ages 13 to 18 years old who care for children in an impoverished community in Manila, Philippines. These young volunteers were born and raised in this community themselves, so they know what it feels like to be a part of the vicious cycle of poverty. Thankfully, Director Leticia Encina or Ate Letty, as she was known, saw their potential when they were still little kids.
Letty dedicated her life to sharing the Gospel with other people, especially children. “As a Child Champion, she was living as Christ. She had passion and heart to help people,” Mina Santilla, a Child Champion at the center, says.
Ate Letty was one of the founders of Breadcom Ministries Foundation Inc. (BMFI), which partners with OneChild to reach out to children in Manila. Before its partnership with OneChild, BMFI had already established its ministry in the community by helping the children through a feeding program, teaching the Word of God, and leadership training. Mina Santillan, a Child Champion at the center, says, “The vision of our Hope Center is to reach out to the marginalized children, that they will be known and they will reach their full potential, for the glory of God.” Mina says that if these children do not realize who they are and what they can do, they will just continue the cycle of poverty. Ate Letty did not give up pursuing this vision and was able to see the positive results of their ministry through the lives of their young volunteers. Mikaella Rosal, a volunteer at the Hope Center, says, “Ate Letty saw my leadership skills. It made a big impact to me. I am here because I love the children. I was just like them before.”
Ate Letty did not get to continue her ministry. She died on August 11, 2020, from COVID-19-related complications. Her vision lives on in the thriving ministry she helped build. And the young volunteers, Child Champions in the making, are blessed to have been mentored by her.
All smiles and ready for the registration of 150 children in Mandaluyong City. Hope Center Director Letty Encina (center) was pictured with other Child Champions of OneChild in the Philippines.
During Letty’s Memorial Service on September 5, 2020, people fondly remembered her: “Letty was known to be a jolly person and always was the one to entertain the crowd by being a host and a game master.”
Charles and Gildard: The Future Generation
Charles Antonis one of the sponsored children in the Hope Center. He is popular in their community because of his storytelling skills. “Ate Letty saw his potential,” Mina says. She organized an event where Charles performed his storytelling on stage in front of more than 800 people during the National Children’s Month celebration in 2019. It was one of the proudest moments for Anton and his family. Charles’ mother, Cherrylyn, says, “I am thankful that the Child Champions are taking good care of the children. I can tell that they really love them.”
Letty Encina believed that every child has the potential to be successful in the future and will be able to thrive. Sponsored child Charles Anton, 6 years old, is one of the children who Ate Letty believed in, and she encouraged him to develop his talents as a skilled storyteller.
Gildard Belarmino, another sponsored child at the center, benefited significantly from Ate Letty’s help. He has a blood disorder called Cooley’s Anemia, which is a life-threatening disease. A month before Ate Letty passed away, she wrote a medical intervention proposal for him to secure funds for his medical care. With the goodness of God and His divine intervention, a sponsor from OneChild donated the funds for Gildard’s treatment. Ate Letty sent this word of thanks to the sponsor: “Your generous support will indeed help Gildard get the medical intervention for his sickness. You have made him feel happy, and your care means a lot for a poor child like him.”
Sponsored child Gildard Belarmino, 6 years old, was diagnosed with Cooley’s Anemia, a life-threatening blood disorder. Letty Encina became instrumental for Gildard to start receiving proper treatment when she wrote a proposal for him to receive the medical funds he needed for care. A sponsor committed to fund Gildard’s treatment, including his monthly blood transfusions.
With the sudden passing of Ate Letty, she can no longer witness how Charles and Gildard will grow or what their future will be. But one thing is for sure, Ate Letty had planted a seed of hope that will be cultivated by these 41 young volunteers as they continue to walk alongside these children.
Mina and other volunteers are committed to continue what Ate Letty started at the Hope Center. Mina says, “We will not give up on this ministry. We will continue to make Ate Letty’s life our example and inspiration.”