falling in love with the philippines, one child at a time

A few days ago, I posted a letter written by my 14 year old daughter two years ago.

At present, 16 years old, she is working for one month in an orphanage in the Philippines, and is sending updates to us via facebook. Here is yesterday’s note, which I am privileged to share with you. (The picture is from last summer’s trip to Malawi. We don’t have any pictures of her trip to the Philippines yet.)

July 26, 2010.

A little girl stares at me through the glass of a restaurant. I stare back, still watching the reflections of the couple eating rice and spring-rolls behind me. I see it in her eyes; she is hungry. Ratty, dirty clothes hang over her fragile body loosely, a bag of five peso coins strapped over her shoulder. I sip my tea and continue reading my book. I try not to look up as fear of weakening from her sad eyes takes hold of me. I’m scared that she may take my bag, my wallet or my heart. What if the kids behind her notice my generosity and try to take from me as well? What if I become too careless and end up losing my camera? It’s too risky; I cannot give her the thing she wants.

But I know what to give her.

I’ll give her my smile as I choke back tears. I’ll offer her my God and Saviour, who knows how to satisfy her. I’ll give her the ability to run around in my mind; to play hopscotch in my dreams; to bang on the windows of my heart untill I can no longer stand it. I so long to give her hope, love, peace, joy. But those things are out of my hands. But my country has the money to feed this city. My province has the ability to help these children. But we will only succeed if we say “Yes” to God, and go where He sends us.

So, I went.

And 30 minutes later, she was in my arms at a feeding for children just down the street. Her name is Jessica. As she sat on my lap, I rocked her back and forth and hummed in her ear as we listened to the bible story

♪When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father You are King over the flood
And I will be still and know You are God♪

And suddenly, i began to sway back and forth, as though I were not holding her, but we were on Jesus’ lap. And as he rocked back and forth, the three of us listened to the story.

And when I glanced down to look into her fragile eyes,

I was no longer afraid.

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2 thoughts on “falling in love with the philippines, one child at a time

  1. I am from Philippines. I read your story … and also choked as I read your account. I felt fortunate to be in a country where bits of mercies still happen … and most of the time you are a part of!

    My siblings in the past are like those children … but now, we have our share giving small mercies in our little ways … I can only say we don’t have supply like that of God’s – but we know how to give and when to give it.

    My church (Cornerstone Community Baptist Church) does a lot of feeding programs and medical missions to aid our less fortunate countrymen within our vicinities. We can only do so much.

    Your generous heart and courageous spirit … as well as those like-minded as you … is always treasured by us and extend a long way to raise the spirit of our less-fortunate fellows!

    Thanks!

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