Thrill of the Hunt

“Ukay ukay” in the local vernacular is a term referring to second hand clothing and goods. It’s derived from the Tagalog word “halukay” which means to sift or dig through. At least in this part of the Philippines there’s no thrift store where everything’s organized by size and color, tidily hanging on racks. Rather, when we’re looking for a second hand item we go to a ukay-ukay vendor.

There are many places in our little city that specialize in ukay-ukay. Most are traveling tents in the market on weekends with people digging through piles of clothing in heaps around. There are a few established shops that cycle new inventory every month. Since these items mostly come from the States and Korea, its perceived to be of greater value and quality despite being used. Last Sunday, the mom of my son’s classmate beamed with pride when I complimented her dress, exclaiming “it’s ukay-ukay!”

In the States, we don’t often readily admit that our clothes are from thrift stores or Goodwill, do we? But here, I greatly enjoy the thrill of the hunt for branded items in the local ukay-ukay. (I like dressing my kids in sturdy Oshkosh shorts and ON flag t-shirts!) The cheaper, the better too. There’s plenty of damaged and stained items, but often enough a sharp eye can find good quality and a quick wit can get a lower price.


The Gift of Donations

Nessa, young mom of 3 choosing donated clothes for her family

You may not know what happens to your donations when you clean out your closets. But for you, our friends from Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch, CA, if you have ever dropped items into the yellow Global Supply collection bin in the parking lot, your donation may very well end up with us!

A huge shout-out of THANKS to the Global Supply volunteers (and my mama) who spend hours upon hours in all kinds of weather sorting donations every week at the As You Are Church storage garage! They pass your items on to medical missions, crisis pregnancy centers, orphanages, retirement care home facilities, Haiti outreach, and many other ministries including ours.


Head of household of 9, with grandbaby enjoying new shoes and book

Last month we received delivery of 8 large shipping boxes full of donated men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes and baby items! Our living room was truly a ukay-ukay center for about two weeks as we unpacked, sorted and began distributing the items to our church family, friends, and greater community. We were able to prioritize pastors  and their wives and children, and a family of 9 in our church in need. After earmarking and distributing to several dozen families, we still had 5 boxes full of clothes and shoes! Truly a huge blessing!


The Joy in Sharing

Ptr. Russel and Ptra. Josephine

We were led to give the 5 boxes to Pastor Russel and his wife Josephine. They pastor Faith Family Church in a remote community in Laray, Macrohon. Most of the congregation are laborers, carpenters, and farmers with large families who work hard for their living. The donated items brought joy overflowing for the unsuspecting church members when they gathered for the distribution of the clothes and shoes.


Pastor Russel, his wife and sister wife stopped by this morning and shared their deepest thanks on behalf of their community. Ptra Josephine shared this story:

Ptra Josephine explains the origin of the donated items

(At our house two weeks ago, Pastor Russel had chosen a pair of of black dress shoes for himself to use while preaching.) While distributing the items to their church members, one of the young men couldn’t find what he needed. His school uniform shoes are broken and he longed for properly fitting shoes. She realized that the teen wears the same size and gave Pastor Russel’s “new” dress shoes to the youth who was overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude!


The words we keep hearing over and over are “salamat” and “pasalamat.” Everyone who’s received even a single shirt or shorts has expressed their sincerest thanks for the items which were freely given to them and freely and joyfully received! Every time someone thanks me, I point them back to the Lord. “Thanks to God,” I say, “To God be the glory, because He is the one who saw your need and gave this blessing!” Thanks be to our Lord, who sees and meets needs, for his glory’s sake (Philippians 4:19).


Thank You for the Love

FFC members holding their donated items

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Hebrews 6:10). In the Message, this passage reads “God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it.” Thank you so much for showing your love to God and allowing us to be part of that love, by being the channel to distribute blessings to the people we live among and serve.

God bless you!

The Gift of Ukay-Ukay

One thought on “The Gift of Ukay-Ukay

  • February 27, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    A beautiful story of how God’s economy blesses people around the world. I’m proud of your work and your Mom’s. I know God is too.


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