2018-19AA Helen Villalba-Festejo

AA for Handmaids of the Lord

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Help her reach her Fundraising Goal: $10,000

Helen Villalba-Festejo

“Learn to have less so that others could have more”. “We are but channels of God’s kindness.” 
“Share the little you have and it will be returned tenfold”.  

My name is Helen Festejo, from Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) Parramatta-Blacktown Area. I am married to Macario Festejo III for 23 years now and we have been blessed with 2 daughters, Julienne 19, and Ysabella 14. I joined HOLD in July 2014.   My husband could not join me then because of work commitments.

ANCOP stands for Answering the Cry of the Poor. Of all its works, the Education Sponsorship Program is closest to my heart. I am convinced that Education offers hope and frees people from poverty. To the impoverished areas of the world, this is a gateway to social transformation.  When I was shown the work of ANCOP and asked to be the messenger, I could not turn my gaze elsewhere.  I am humbled to be called to serve God and His people in this capacity. It was also a timely invitation in this Year of the Poor. I feel that this is my call to action.

The plight of the poor is not new to me.  While I was not born materially rich, neither could I say that I was born poor. But my parents were.


Both our parents drummed in our heads - that it is through Education that they got out of poverty.  That "education breaks the cycle of poverty " was my father’s catchphrase. We grew up witnessing people turn up at our doorstep  usually in the early hours of morning when we would all be busy getting ready for school.  Sometimes, we would be instructed to put some rice in a small bag, and hand to the visitor; while my mom would hand out some money.  In those times, my siblings and I did not think we had much to be able to give, in fact the life we had was modest but our parents always said: “Learn to have less so that others could have more”, “We are but channels of God’s kindness” , “Share the little you have and it will be returned tenfold”.  

I did not fully realize the magnitude and fruits of those little actions until I went home in 2005 to bury my father.  Mothers, fathers, beneficiaries of my father’s kindness came in numbers.  “I owe my life to your family”; “My daughter /son would not have gone to school without the help of your family’.  “I am where I am now because your family helped me”. Many of them now have decent jobs, living their dreams and more importantly paying forward. Kindness is being duplicated and multiplied.  Indeed, the blessings came not only in tenfold, but in hundredfold! Thousandfold!   And we have been truly enriched by them.

Because of this, I vowed to continue their legacy: to help where I can whenever I can.  When I was invited to be an ANCOP Ambassador - I said ‘Yes’ without hesitation - although my husband and I are already supporting a similar program in the Philippines.  I did not think of how difficult it would be for me to fit this humungous task in my already busy schedule. I could only think of the many people who could benefit from this endeavour. I could only count in my head how many people can become agents of change, if they are made aware of this mission. And I can only think of the many people whose lives will be improved as a result of this effort.  I can’t imagine the work to be free from obstacles, but I believe in my heart that if this is the work of God, He will send people to help me.  


 “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” 

~ St Augustine of Hippo

Helen's ANCOP Awareness/Fundraising Gallery

2018Ancop Valentines

2016-17AA Portia Mariano

AA for Handmaids of the Lord

Portia Mariano

Peace be with you my dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

I am Maria Portia Mariano, a HOLD member from Sydney, and currently works as a dentist at Bankstown. 

Our involvement with CFC-HOLD opens the opportunity to serve others through ANCOP. The tasks assigned to an ambassador of ANCOP are quite  overwhelming but with God's grace and everyone's participation, the work becomes enriching and the goal, achievable. 

In 1987, I started joining the free dental clinics in the Philippines conducted by the dental associations. We went to the provinces, remote and poor areas. Last year, I had the same opportunity  again after a long time to serve in Naga  with the Maronites of Sydney and the Missionaries of the Poor. We went to the home for the aged, mental hospital, home for the disabled and to the slum area where the poor people live beside the massive garbage dump site where they get their source of income and livelihood.  Although the atmosphere lacks glitter and comfort, the people are happy and grateful to the missionaries for what they have shared with them.

One of the priests said,

"if one goes there thinking that he has something to give to the poor then he should think again, because what he gives are just material things, in return he receives more from the poor, the grace from heaven."

Let's join hands and support our mission. Every single consideration of the poor is a big help for them and for their future. 

Portia Mariano – Ambassador for Handmaids of the Lord

Portia's ANCOP Awareness/Fundraising Gallery

2016-17AA Kceb Limsiaco

AA for Canberra

Kceb Limsiaco-AA Canberra

"I give, because I know how it feels to have nothing. I give, not because I now have too much, but because I was once in need and someone helped me."

My name is Kceb Limsiaco from HOLD. I am a HH leader.  I am a single mum of a 15-year old daughter and I work as an IT Business Analyst for a Federal department  in Canberra.

Coming from a poor family myself where making ends meet is difficult I experienced first-hand the hardship of life during my younger years - to rely on assistance from relatives and friends for shelter, clothing and food and where education is a privilege if at all possible. I know the feeling of wanting to study but with no, if not limited, resources. The difficulty, tiring and sleepless nights I experienced in joggling work and study just so I can finish a degree. The memories of it all are still vivid in my mind as well as the people who helped me during those trying times. I believe I was able to make it through not solely because I worked hard for it but mainly because of God's providence and with the assistance of His people who helped me make it through.

And so I am now paying it forward by helping Couples for Christ (CFC) ANsweing the Cry Of the Poor (ANCOP) program of bringing poor kids to school.

Friends, please help me with this drive and together let's transform and give opportunity to the poor to transform their lives. Your donation, no matter how little you think it is can make a life-changing difference to someone's lives. Thank you.

"I give because I know how it feels to have nothing. I give not because I now have too much but because I was once in need and someone help me."

- Kceb Limsiaco, CFC ANCOP Ambassador for Canberra

Kceb's Fundraising Gallery

So you think you can Dance-for a Scholar

you can dance flyer

In solidarity with our brethren affected by typhoon Yolanda!

We will have a low-key ( instead of high tea) year-end fellowship on 23 Nov after the dance workouts by our sisters.

The committee would like to ask each chapter to instead of spending too much to bake your favourite treats and bring to the "high tea" fellowship, let's just please bring pandesal and drinks - enough for each chapter. The committee will provide "filling (palaman)for the pandesal.

Again, $8 per family to go to ANCOP!  Let's pray and excite our members and encourage them to please attend this year end event.

by M. Capistrano