Friday, August 13, 2010

Learning to Share...All Over Again

Hi family and friends!

It's been a wild couple of weeks!! My beloved childhood buddy Mike Goerz came to visit me for 10 days after doing a mission stint in Rwanda (...and it sounds like International Teams is doing great work there!). I was able to show him our ministries here in Metro Manila, and he's been a great help to us - especially with regards to bringing the children from our daycare/school on the "ultimate field trip". I can only call it "ultimate" (and/or epic) because we went to three big venues in one day. The first was Museo Pambata - a children's musem in Manila which we took the kids from Sucat to back in March. Aside from the following pictures, I'd love for you to also enjoy a video that might give you an idea of how fun this trip was for the kids...

This is what happens when you take our kids to a museum.

Teacher Toph and the kids explore the passageways
of the human body...just like in The Magic School Bus!

Ally takes Teacher Tin Tin, Jet Jet, and Bernadette for a ride!

The second location we brought our students to is called Manila Ocean Park. If you ever get the chance to come to Manila, I strongly recommend checking it out! The whole of the Philippines is encompassed by something called the "Coral Triangle" - an area identified as the most diverse marine ecosystem on our planet. I experienced as much awe and wonder as the kids did as we admired all kinds of marine life from above, alongside, and even underneath aquariums as we walked through a glass-enclosed underwater tunnel.

Sharks are SO cool, and it's also cool to imitate them.

And finally, we took the students to enjoy a hearty meal at Jollibee's (a popular restaurant-chain in the Philippines). After they ate as much as they could - and then a little more - we dropped each child off in the squatter communities where they live. We had fun counting down the number of children still awake as they each fell asleep, one at a time, on the ride back home in a rented jeepney.

Gab Gab has his game-face on - it's spaghetti-devouring time!

Lawrence conks out, and Nicole is soon to follow.

Mike was also able to help out with our feeding program in the Sucat community. Already, the children are asking "Where's Kuya Mike?" (or in English, "Where's big brother Mike?"), and "When will he come back?." There was a moment that I had an epiphany when Mike and I were hanging out with the Sucat kids, and I had been talking with them in straight-Tagalog for about 10 minutes (mostly answering questions about the new guy). I realized that I'm really feeling more and more like a part of the community there. The children and I miss each other when we're gone, we share a lot of our lives with each other (including meals, prayers, fun and games), and we can easily converse with each other now in the same language. I also feel the same way about the kids in our daycare/school and in our Saturday morning street children's program.

The Sucat kids love Kuya Mike.

Fearless street kids enjoy Jared's super-human strength.

Learning, teaching, and especially sharing what I can with the Filipino street children is one of the greatest blessings and challenges I've ever experienced! We were all once children ourselves (if you can look back to that time - even though it's a little further back for some, ;) sorry). We were also once taught for the first time to share with others. Sharing is such an important concept for children to grasp, and how amazing it must be when a parent witnesses their child genuinely and selflessly sharing even a snack or a toy for the first time. I wonder if somewhere along the way, between childhood and adulthood, that ingrained concept of sharing gets a little fuzzy. Maybe we don't lose it, but if we look at ourselves on the level of a global-community, we seem to have a hard time noticing some of those children in the corner of the room that never did have a snack or a toy. Laying blame or guilt on anyone surely can't be the best way to solve the problem, but maybe moving someone's heart to recognize the mutual joy and gains achieved through compassion and grace is a better solution, as it always was. From a Christian perspective, the example is Christ (through whom God himself humbly came to the world to free people from themselves and to move their hearts and exemplify what it means to love selflessly). From almost any perspective, I like to believe that these ideas of selflessness and sharing are so highly regarded! For myself, I know that I have a LOT more to share with the children here. Maybe I have only scratched the surface. Please pray with me that I will be able to share more and more as I grow personally and in my relationships here in the Philippines.

Thanks so much for reading! Take care!

1 comment:

  1. I had an AMAZING time there with you John!! Thanks so much for having me... and say hi to all the kids for me!