Hello, my name is Rina Ecker. I grew up in the Philippines and I now live in Utah with my husband, Kirt and 4 kids, Kristal, Penelope, Rose and Peter.
I went to school at Central West Elementary School in Tubigon, Bohol. We were not blessed with a school library when I went to school.
In 2017 we moved to the Philippines for 7 months and our kids Kristal, Penelope and Rose also attended Central West Elementary School in Tubigon, Bohol. I was sad to find out that today is the same as when I went to school - there is still no library. I want to help gather books to send to this school and many others to come!
Penelope 13, Kristal 15, Kirt, Rina, Rosie 10, Peter 6
Our visit to the Laie, Hawaii Temple.
Kirt is the President of Judge Netting Mountain West, building netting barriers across the Western USA. He continues to help and support me and the mission.
Kirt and I still speak Visaya (my language) at home. He served his mission in Cebu, Philippines from 2001-2003. He loves the Filipino people.
The first time I traveled to the Philippines was in April 2003 and I fell in love with the people and the country. The next time I visited was in 2006 with my husband Dan and our son Kirt, who was going to Bohol to pick up his sweetheart, Rina, and bring her to California where they were married. We visited many places, one of which was the Central West Elementary School in Tubigon, Bohol, where Rina attended school as a child. The school was simple but clean and well-kept, with desks & chairs, colorful pictures on the walls, a sweet and loving teacher, and delightful, happy students. One thing that was missing, though, was a library for the children. We are grateful for Rina’s hard work and will do all that we can to support “Bookworms for the Philippines”. Please feel free to drop off books at our home at any time.
I am Jolly Ann Frecker, a mother of two, Pearl and Ruby. I am married to Karsten Frecker who served in the Cebu Mission from 2009 to 2011. I served my mission in Bicol region from 2011 to 2013. We live in Dillon, Montana USA. We own a small business in our local town of Dillon —Frecker’s Saddlery. We have strived to live what we believe is for the beauty of the world.
My name is Balanie Nietes, and I was born and raised in the northern part of the Philippines. I currently reside in Orem Utah with my husband Henry and four kids: Teancum, Zenos, Emrys, and Teomner. I was a missionary for the LDS church when I first came to Utah. After my mission, I came back to pursue my education as an international student at Utah Valley University.
I faced many challenges growing up in the Philippines. I was born into a struggling family, and I was exposed to social injustice, corruption, and poverty at a very young age. I came to realize that children did not have the ability to protect themselves, and they were mostly the victims of these poor circumstances. A strong desire grew in me that I would do something someday to make a difference in my community. I knew that education would play a crucial role for me to attain my goal.
I was blessed to be given the opportunity to attend college here in the U.S. I did not have the financial resources to support my education, but I was able to get full scholarships until I graduated through my active involvement with the International Center. My eyes were opened to many opportunities as I organized many events for the international students. Even after I graduated, up to this day, I still continue to organize various events for the Filipino-American community. I realized that unlike my country, there are many resources here that provide help and support for its citizens. I thought that if I could at least share some of these resources with my fellow Filipinos, I could maybe make even a little difference.
I started thinking of a very simple and yet powerful way to impact a child's life. I've always believed that one of the best gifts that you can give to a child is a book. To be given the opportunity to learn, explore, and imagine new worlds even within the confines of a small room is such a magical experience. Good books in the hands of a child can produce bright and creative minds that will build and shape the world we live in. Books have no boundaries. Knowledge doesn't discriminate. Learning has no limitations. A book can spark a curious mind regardless of the reader's circumstances. It's powerful and liberating! It gives life and hope to a struggling child. It provides a beautiful place to escape to. That's what a Filipino child needs. It's a lifeline until they are big enough to make decisions and to make a better life for themselves. While they are young, a simple book will help them to dream and to imagine and create a beautiful world, despite the mess and the chaos of the real world.
My mission is to provide books to children that belong to impoverished communities. I contacted my kids' elementary school in Orem to help my family organize a book drive for the Philippines. The principal reached out to all the families from that school to help us with our project. I was so delighted at how the school came together and responded at this opportunity to help the kids in the Philippines.
How I met Rina was a miracle! She contacted me upon hearing of my book project. She was an answer to my prayers. I was so happy to meet a person who shares the same passion as mine. I don't believe in coincidences, but I believe in orchestrated miracles. I feel that we are meant to meet each other so that we could magnify our calling to serve others. I am extremely happy to join and support BookWorms4thePhilippines in distributing books to the Philippines! I believe in its mission, and I am looking forward to learn and to grow as we realize our dream to provide books to destitute children in the Philippines.
My name is Zaida Regado Luke. I was born and raised in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. My family and I came from humble beginnings. My parents grew up in a very poor but loving family. My late father and I would wake up early in the morning to go dynamite fishing while my mom would get her breads and snacks ready to sell in front of our little house by the seaport. Port of Real is a passenger seaport which serves passengers from the town to destinations like the Polillo, Islands. Before going to school, I would sell the fish around the neighborhood. All these experiences were helping me develop a resilient and humble personality that helped me overcome many adversities in life. Ever since I was young, my family has inculcated in me the importance of education. As much as my family and relatives believes that "education is power", I too strongly believe that every child must have access to reading books. Learning how to read at a very young age helps students reduce stress and develop self-esteem and critical thinking skills. Ate (aunt) Rina’s selfless act of love and generosity to make BOOKWORMS FOR THE PHILIPPINES come to life is not only truly inspiring but also inviting us to see how we can positively impact the lives of many children in our own little ways.
Hello, My name is Mayla Wallace and I’ve always been working with hair and I’m happy that my passion became my living and my way of making people happy. - Mayla
Mayla has been excited to help collect books from day one. She has donated many books as well as toiletries for kids. She tells all her customers about the mission to provide books to kids in the Phillipines and she has her salon dedicated as one of our Book Donation sites.
Hi! My name is Shelbi Willis. I was born and raised in Arizona. I have been married to my husband Ira for 15 years and we have 4 beautiful kids, Kruze, Robby, Stevie and Jordy. We live on a farm we call "The Willis Farm" in Snowflake Arizona. We raise cattle, a milk cow, chickens and many other farm animals. We also grow alfalfa, corn, lots of pumpkins and a seasonal garden with other fresh vegetables. As a family we love to spend time in the outdoors hiking, fishing, riding quads, snowmobiling or snowboarding. We love to travel, although farm life can make it difficult to leave town at times. Kirt and Rina have been good friends of ours the past 15 years. Through knowing Kirt and Rina and their beautiful family we have grown to love the Phillipino culture and their people. We are so excited to be able to be a small part of this awesome cause and help provide books to children in the Philippines. It is on my bucket list to some day visit the Philippines with the Ecker family!
Cami is Kirt’s sister who LOVES the Philippines. She loves how simple and sweet the people are. She traveled with Kirt to the Philippines in 2005 and has wanted to go back ever since.
Her greatest love is serving those in need - and, ironically - one of her favorite things is BOOKS. … You can never have too many books!
Cami loves adventure, traveling, playing with her kids, and dreams of traveling the world - backpacking style. She loves a simple life and LOVES learning. She believes everyone should have the chance to read, learn and be who they want to be!