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Rev. Oliva Fabros often reflects on Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This verse eases her worries as she waits for news of her son's health and desperately needed surgery.
Fabros learned recently that her 32-year-old son, Siegfried, was diagnosed with a severe heart ailment requiring immediate attention. The cost of the surgery is beyond what Fabros can afford or raise on her own. With her immediate and church family's encouragement, she revealed her family's vulnerability and son’s desperate need and asked the Iowa Conference for help.
“I would just like to say thank you to the Conference for sending her to us. We love her to death, and we would do anything for her,” said Barb Walter, member of Beacon United Methodist Church and church secretary for Beacon, New Sharon, and Eddyville UMCs and good friend to Fabros.
After hearing Fabros’ plea and with no time to waste, Bishop Laurie and conference leadership reached out to Iowa United Methodists asking for monetary donations. So far, Iowan’s have donated over $33,500, with many donations coming in within 24-hours.
Fabros expressed her amazement and gratitude to every person who gave by saying, "It's wonderful to be a part of the body of Christ, through the United Methodist Church. This support is really overwhelming. I never expected it.”
Health care in the Philippines is not like health care in the United States. Siegfried's procedure expenses are estimated at 1.5 million pesos, approximately $31,000, and pre-payment for the procedure is required. Every day the procedure is delayed, Siegfried's health declines dramatically.
“If I were in the Philippines, my son would have died because we don't have that amount of money. We could never raise that amount, especially now with the condition of the Philippines. Many are jobless, and it is really very hard or impossible. I am overwhelmed by the love shown by the Conference,” said Fabros.
Unfortunately, as COVID-19 cases soar, the Philippines has ordered more than 25 million people into lockdown over Easter, including the Philippines Heart Center, and scheduling Siegfried’s surgery will be delayed.
Fabros’ youngest son, Rey Oliver, works for the International Methodist Church of Hong Kong as a Director of Children’s Ministry. That church is also working hard to raise funds for Siegfried.
“I'm not stressed or afraid anymore. I have faith and assurance now—with the help of God, Iowa, the Philippines, and Hong Kong and every little bit people have given—that he really will make it through," said Fabros.
Siegfried most recently worked for the cruise industry and was stationed in Alaska and Miami before the industry shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also served as a vocalist, organist, bandleader, and Praise and Worship leader with the Philippines' United Methodist Church.
Online donations have closed but check contributions can be sent to The Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church, 2301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, IA, 50321. Please indicate “Fabros Health Fund” in the memo line. Monetary donations to individuals are not tax-deductible.