The GSPI Board of Directors
I was born and lived in the Philippines until I was 40 years old, and moved to the United States. The living conditions in the Philippines is one of great masses of the poor people, with a large gap between the privileged and underprivileged. The sufferings and struggles experienced there propelled me as a widow with children to become intentional in stepping out in faith to help in my humble way one living person at a time, especially the vulnerable, in order to better their quality of life, with the support of my family.
Having passed through different seasons of my own life by the grace of God,I decided to dedicate the rest of my days living with purpose by adding value to others' lives. My own parents set the example of serving, helping people in the healthcare field. I believe that it is my story too, to live a life with an incorruptible purpose destined to serve, help do what other widows and orphans perhaps cannot do by themselves. I am dedicated to helping others reach their potential.
GSPI has the great mission of listening to the unique stories of those we serve, adding value to their lives where we can, and making a positive difference. Presently, being a widow and an orphan myself, I have a deep empathy for and sensitivity to those who are in the underprivileged status .
Gracious Samaritan Philippines, Inc., started with a vision to help and serve the vulnerable. I had been longing to do this. And I believe in timing. When the right timing came into being, I expressed my desire to my family, in particular my brother Don and to Good Samaritan Ministries founder Bettie Mitchell to build a legacy that is eternal and incorruptible.
My decision to move from my home country of the Philippines to the whole new world of the U.S., affected the coping mechanisms of our whole family. I needed a community that was safe, attentive to our concerns, where we could be confident of being treated with respect and dignity regardless of what we had. Good Samaritan Ministries offers service on donation, and with unswerving intention to empower others to use their fullest potential in life. GSM is where my passion to serve was warmly nourished.
Because GSM makes me aware of our own accountability, I became more responsible of my own life. I made sure that my life has an eternal purpose -- to build a legacy that will not perish, to believe in my potential, that I can do things that matter and can make the world a better place with my family support and others.
As a result, I had a conversation with my brother Don over the phone and asked him if would be willing to partner with me with the above mentioned idea. Without a second thought he agreed. I then took a trip to the Philippines and organized a meeting with family members. Don took all the responsibilities of implementing our voted action plans, finding dependable volunteers including Aika, Stephanie, Lucena, Elma, Bagani, Kahlil, doctors Monika and Evette, started the survey, started working on program proposals especially in the registration process for legalization.
Other helpers in the GSPI cause are finding us because I share our concept with friends and acquaintences. I tell them what they are doing, what we have done, and post on Facebook. Some are willing to participate and support our cause. They donated whatever they don’t need from their household, some pre-loved clothes, shoes, etc. A very generous couple who owns a winery sponsors our wine tasting events. In the Philippines, a kind business woman donated 100 pairs of slippers, an ardent friend donated Bibles. Whatever opportunity I can share our organization, I just do it.
I give full credit to my Creator, the Source of all Resources, and for allowing my brother Don who literally is a genius who envisions with me and does all the nitty gritty from the moment of conception to present. Without him I would be in disarray. We both agree on building a legacy of serving through loving our neighbor.
Today, we are still in the infancy stage. We are still sowing God’s seeds of love. Because I am so inspired by our beneficiaries, having the chance to connect with them, getting to know more about them, my thoughts are always with them, they give me more energy, more meaning to live. My life isn't made by what I have, what I can accomplish and call it success. It is made by what I can do and accomplish with others in our organization.
For the future, I envision that the true value of loving our neighbors that we sow to every widow and orphan's heart will develop a ripple effect to their loved ones, household, their own local community, their city, nation, the world. I firmly believe that a dream’s package deal comes to us a size bigger so we grasp it, chew it, digest it, as we grow into it. That is, our signature "The Good Samaritan Story " of the most famous author in the world, my hero, mentor, Jesus Christ.
Founder Grace Smith shares the story of how GSPI has become her life's mission.
Founding visionary for GSPI, Grace Smith serves as National Director, based in the state of Oregon, in the United States.
Don Pagusara is our Philippines-based director, in charge of coordinating programs, events, registration, and finding locations for it all until our own building is ready.
As treasurer, Aika balances our books so that we can get the best value out of every donated dollar. Aika has also supplied many of the photos on this website.
Stephanie stays on top of the needs of our programs, events, volunteers, and beneficiaries, making sure that all resources are accounted for and well used.
Lucena ensures that the great volume of administrative paperwork required in managing an organization of this kind, including keeping minutes of our board meetings, is handled efficiently and clearly.
National Director, USA