In February 2016 we received the following letter from Rev. Rogelio Lopez, minister of our partner congregation in Ulay on Negros Island in the Philippines. His daughter, Mary Grace Lopez, was the first Ulay college student sponsored by our congregation. She graduated from college in March 2011, and several of us from UUSM attended her graduation. In December we sent each family in the congregation a Christmas gift bag of food, soap, toothpaste, and school supplies. Here is his letter, the first we've received from Rev. Lopez:
To all at UUSM:
Good day to everyone!
I'm Rev. Rogelio T. Lopez, I have a big thankful to everyone who help us, especially with my daughter Mary Grace Lopez that she graduated her course through your contribution. If there is no one who help her, we cannot send her to continue her studying in college. Thank you so much for your support. She is now in Kuwait. I'm just a local minister here in Ulay congregation to give cheerful to everyone. Through your big help with us and your support many of those students can continue their education even though it's only on high school. We are so proud to all of you that you are helping our congregation and to all our members. I hope that you will continue what you are starting. Even if you are so far from here but you still visiting our congregation to see each other. But we are sad that many of members they never talk to you because they don't know how to speak English. But we have students who wants to talk with you. But you still come here.
Our congregation is always in a good way. We are thankful that we are many members here in Ulay congregation. And you give us a budget which is the lunch of ours. It is so big thanks to all the members who attend the Sunday service, especially those members that is far from here. They cannot reach their lunch when they are going home because it almost 12:00 noon when the Sunday service will be done. But because of this they have no problem about their lunch.
In regards of your support, it is so big help to our every members and especially with our students. Some of the parents they cannot sent their child to go to school. But because of your student support their child will have an education.
I am happy upon receiving my package. Thank you so much. Our Sunday service is always active. Once again, I will thank you all for saving me from my sickness and for my operation on kidney in year 2011. You are my saviors. And until now I am here in our religion which is UUCP for my better life. I hope that you are happy always. Take care always and may the Lord bless us.
God bless us and thank you very much.
Rev. Rogelio T. Lopez and family
Note: Sadly Rev. Lopez passed away in August 2020. The Ulay congregation is now lay-led.