Who We Are

The VOGA team consists of a group of like minded friends from Australia who have a shared passion in making a real difference to the lives and communities of the urban poor in the Philippines.

Our Partnerships

We partner with Voice of Grace Compassion Ministries in Manila and they perform the day-to-day operations of the project.

We are partnering with Australian individuals and businesses who share in our vision to address the educational needs of Filipino youth in poverty.

Sponsorship is an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives and communities of the urban poor. Our partnership enables long lasting sustainable change.

The VOGA Team

Rick and Maria Bell

Rick & Maria Bell

Michael Bell

Michael Bell

Ian & Di

John & Maria Coman

Andres & Ish

Andrew & Ish Cresswell

Maree Smiler

Maree Smiler

Ian & Di

Ian & Di Wheeler

Danny Bakker

Danny Bakker

Neil & SoJeong Shuker

  About Our Team

Our team consists of a group of like minded Australian friends who collectively have professional experience in the following:

Community development

Pastoral care

Pastoral care


Book keeping



Small business

Project management

All members of VOGA are volunteers. This means donations are not used to pay salaries or fund trips to Manila.

The VOGA team works closely with our project partners VOGCM who provide VOGA with an in-depth knowledge of the operational workings and transparency of the financial records of the projects in Manila.

The Founders

In 2004, Rick & Maria Bell, and Rev. Noel & Reylita Erese (Filipino nationals), formed Voice of Grace Compassion Ministries, Inc, a Filipino registered not-for-profit organisation in order to address the educational needs of Filipino youth in poverty.

Rick & Maria Bell

Their Story

Rick and Maria Bell have been involved with the ministry of the Bright Lights Learning Center, Voice of Grace Compassion Ministries and Voice of Grace Australia since 1998. They travelled to live and work in Metro Manila amongst the urban poor with their three children from 1998 to 2013.

Rick and Maria say:

Living life in the beautiful country of the Philippines, 7100 islands was amazing yet not without its challenges. The language was difficult but the sweet natured Filipino people made it delightful for us and laughed along with us when we made so many ‘unique mistakes’ in word and culture. Their care and true friendship for us changed our hearts and taught us what it is to be resilient and value people above all things.

Both Rick and Maria have degrees in Theology and pastored churches in Brisbane, Australia for the Christian and Missionary Alliance since 1987 and planted two new churches, the Bright Lights Learning Center and the Care and Resource Center for the school in Metro Manila along side of their co-workers Noel and Let Erese.

They were married in Sydney in 1982 and have three children Simon, Lauren and Michael, all now married and who have given their parents five beautiful grandchildren.

Rick and Maria say that they had felt the deep call of God upon their lives to be available to be used wherever their God would call them to. The needs are everywhere but their unique calling was to Manila and its surrounding underprivileged people groups. They often feared the hopelessness of situations and their personal inability to be of help but God had a plan far greater than their sphere of focus and they watched as He drew out their faith and built an outstanding team.

Where Are They Now

Rick and Maria are currently now living in Brisbane, Australia and committed and responsible for continued Sponsorship relations and development, serve on the board for Voice of Grace Australia who seek to serve, support and enhance these continuing ministries in the Philippines.

They say:

We along with our team can say there is no greater joy than to give your lives, resources and time to see others become all they become, there is no greater joy.

Rick and Maria Bell

Rick & Maria Bell

Let & Noel Erese


Director Reylita Banlaoi Erese (LetLet) is a Bachelor of Science in Biology graduate, a Licensed Professional Teacher and is completing her thesis for her Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) major in Educational Management.

She had served as a high school Biology teacher for 7 years and had consistently received the Teacher of the Year Award at Grace Christian High School from 1992 to 1999.  At the height of her teaching career, she resigned in April 19, 1999, to follow God’s calling to join and support her husband, Noel, to plant a church in Cainta.

Reverend Noel

Rev. Noel Sanchez Erese, is a Bachelor in Theology graduate at Ebenezer Bible College in 1986. He had pastored 2 different churches, planted 2 churches, then became one of the pioneer workers of Cells Alive Christian Fellowship in partnership with American & Australian Missionary Couples.

He is currently appointed as the Supervisor of the Eastern Luzon Commission where he oversees 39 churches under him.

The Erese Family

Noel and Letlet were married in December 20, 1991 and are blessed with three children, namely: Joshua Noel, 26 years old and a Computer Animation graduate and currently pursuing a BS Multi Media Arts course; Daniel Noel, 15 years old and is currently in the 9th grade; and Faith Colleen, 13 years old and in the 7th grade. They are all actively involved in the Youth & Music Ministry of the church.

Noel and Letlet, together with Rev. Rick & Maria Bell, eventually responded to the needs of the local populace and started the holistic ministry of Cells Alive with livelihood projects and the Bright Lights Learning Center in the church building which eventually led to the incorporation of Voice of Grace Compassion Ministries in 2004.

Letlet is currently the Director of Voice of Grace Compassion Ministries, Inc., responsible for planning, organization, direction, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the ministry’s operations, finances and programs. She also oversees and reports on the organization’s results for board of trustees.

Letlet firmly believes with what Nelson Mandela said,

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

What a great joy to see precious lives being changed one by one.

Let and Noel Erese
Erese Family

Let & Noel Erese and family