Guest Post: Mercy In Action – Helping Midwives in the Phillipines

Mercy Midwives in action -

Faith, fitness and birth: those are the 3 passions of Fit2B Studio founder, Beth Learn, and that’s one reason why Fit2B Studio is so involved in diastasis awareness and core health. We truly want to help people where it matters: their center! So when Kristen Benoit, a member of Fit2B, certified midwife, and servant with Mercy in Action, contacted us about helping their efforts to provide safe, free births in the Typhoon-ravaged Phillipines, they had our full attention. What a great “fit” for us! We raised over $500 for them with our Cyber Monday sale, and we invited Kirsten to tell our fans more! Kristen writes…

“On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as it is called in the Philippines, tore through the central Philippines, leaving a wake of mass destruction in its path. The aftermath of the storm is no longer making US headlines, but the lives of the people of the Philippines will never be the same.

Mercy Midwives provide prenatal and postpartum care for free to storm-devastated Phillipines!
Mercy Midwives provide prenatal and postpartum care for free to storm-devastated Phillipines! You can help by sending supplies, donating or simply praying!

“When the disaster struck in the central Philippines in 2013, God impressed upon Mercy In Action to set up a birth tent in the devastated areas of the Visayan islands. Mercy In Action is an organization founded over 25 years ago by midwife Vicki Penwell, and exists to provide mercy ministry among the poor around the world. Our focus, and greatest passion, is maternal and newborn health, as well as child health under age five, because these are the most vulnerable populations in the poor areas of the world. We have been working in the Philippines for over two decades, and to date, Mercy In Action has helped over 12,000 babies into the world, free of charge, among the poorest of the poor.

Born After a Storm: A new mother going home to a tent after giving birth under the care of Mercy in Action’s free birth center.

“It is estimated that a baby is born every 2 minutes in the central Philippines, so the government was calling for mobile birth units as a huge need. Only a week after arriving and setting up our mobile birth tent in Dulag, Leyte, Philippines (in a roofless school where the local government put us as it is the best location with tile floors and walls), we already have over 400 women in our care, and last night 3 babies were born in the same night! We are also handing out food and high-protein biscuits, and partnering with other organizations to provide much-needed medical care. Many, if not most, of the people we encounter are homeless, and nearly all have lost one or more loved ones.

“Just after Thanksgiving, I contacted Beth Learn, owner of Fit2B, to ask if she would be interested in sharing on Facebook about the work of Mercy In Action to help raise awareness. You see, our regular donations are enough to fund our ‘regular’ clinic in Olangapo, Philippines, and we don’t have the funding in place to support this mobile birth tent without the generosity of people who care! Beth went above and beyond what I was hoping for when she not only donated personally, but gave half of Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday sales to Mercy In Action! A huge thank you to Beth and Chris at Fit2B for truly reaching moms at their ‘core’ – the basic and yet essential need for safe, compassionate midwifery care.

Learn about "Mercy in Action" midwives who are bringing hope to birthing women in the devasted Phillipines! Please share!

Beth also asked me to write this blog post to further share about Mercy In Action. On a personal note, I have been involved with Mercy In Action since 1999. I completed my midwifery training with them, after which time my husband and I served three years full time working with them, and have since served on the board and currently as the director of Distance Midwifery Academics in a US-based location.

Family getting ready to go home... notice the improvised sign in the background. Mercy's founder, Vicki Penwell in rainbow shirt.
Family getting ready to go home… notice the improvised sign in the background. Mercy’s founder, Vicki Penwell in rainbow shirt.

“If you are interested in following us, please find us on Facebook, and read more about us on Please consider giving generously to support moms and babies in the Philippines this Christmas season, either through a one-time or regular monthly donation. Thank you and God bless!”

Kristen Benoit, LM, CPM, Distance Academic Director for Mercy In Action

Note from Beth: Can you imagine birthing in a situation like that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such a lovely group of trained midwives to love you, comfort you, care for you and even take you home and be sure you have what you need? I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve to support this group more, so stay tuned for that, but meanwhile, please consider clicking on their page and donating to them! Or gather some friends and put together a box of supplies to mail them! So many ways to help! Thank you so much, Kristen, for writing that for our readers to learn more. May our Creator who weaves those babies together in their mothers’ wombs – even in the midst of such desolation – continue to equip and empower you and your ministry to save those precious lives. Selah! This last picture I’ll leave you with really gripped me… her head on a satchel {fights back tears}

Newborn Check... one of 7 in one night. I wish I could reach through the picture and lay my hand on her head.
Newborn Check… one of 7 in one night. I wish I could reach through the picture and lay my hand on her head and tell her how beautiful she is.

80 thoughts on “Guest Post: Mercy In Action – Helping Midwives in the Phillipines

  1. Christine T. says:

    I think it’s wonderful you’re doing this. Please keep up the good work out there! Wish I could go out there and help <3

  2. Susan Broughton says:

    This is a really helpful thing! I lived in the Philippines when I was a teen and my Dad was in the military. My step mother in from the Philippines. She was able to take us to places I’m sure the regular American wouldn’t have seen. So I have seen a lot of poverty over there and any help they get I am sure they are very happy about.

  3. Kristin W. says:

    I’m almost embarrassed to say that when hearing about the typhoon, it never even entered my mind that ladies would be giving birth in the midst of the disaster. I thought about losing family members, about hospitals being destroyed, and a lack of food and water, but I never thought deeper than that. I mean, babies don’t wait for hospitals to be rebuilt or things to be sanitized. I especially didn’t think about the number of women needing a safe place to give birth and how scary it would be to wonder if you would find someone to help you. Thank you for your work and for sharing this story of how God is using you. It opened my sheltered, comfortable eyes a bit.

  4. Michelle Proper says:

    The women of the Philippines are truly blessed to have such wonderful folks helping with their births. Wonderful & heartwarming!

  5. Susan C. says:

    What an awesome ministry! We have several friends who have been missionaries in the Philippines, and so that country is special to use because we’ve lived a bit vicariously through them. Thank you for the work there!

  6. Kelly says:

    What a great story of an amazing ministry. We take so much for granted, I cannot imagine how different life would be living elsewhere. God Bless.

  7. Kim Campbell says:

    I think this is a great service and ministry you are providing. I hope they, in turn, learn to help others! Pay it forward! 🙂

  8. Cynthia says:

    Thank you for providing nourishment and other help for these young mothers and families. Are you also conducting Bible studies highlighting the good news about God’s Kingdom (as prophesied & commanded by Jesus) with them while you are there? Hope so! Matthew 24:14; 28:19,20; Proverbs 2:20-22; Revelation 21:4,5

  9. Katherine says:

    It’s always amazing to me how our Lord does what He does. I doubt seriously that I would have ever, on my own, come across this website. And I completely see His hand in bringing me here.

    Thank you so very much for doing the Lord’s work there in the Philippines. What an honor to be so very close to the beginning of so much life!

  10. Karen D says:

    It is so important to have midwives to support mothers a the time of birth, especially in the time of a disaster of this magnitude!

  11. rose says:

    What a wonderful ministry. It’s amazing how things, people, and places that are top news one day, are completely out of peoples’ minds as soon as the next story comes along. We often don’t think about how long people struggle to rebuild their lives after the headlines are gone.

  12. Betsy says:

    What an amazing ministry! As all moms know – babies don’t always wait for hospitals, a bed or even working lights!

  13. Judith Martinez says:

    Wonderful! We don’t think about childbirth in the aftermath of a devastating storm but it’s so important to have appropriate facilities and care. It’s not as if babies just wait a storm out before being born. When they’re ready, they’re ready.

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