Dear friends and family,
For the very first time, Wes & Linda Coffey (aka Mom & Dad) stepped foot on Philippine land. They travelled to the opposite end of the globe from our home in Ontario to my home-away-from-home here in Manila. However, this was no ordinary visit. This was truly a mission. By God's grace, they impacted so many lives here throughout the month of November, and they will not be forgotten by our community. Their compassion and loving kindness left an impression that would best describe them as "second parents" to my friends and to the children and youth. I'm also blessed, because my parents now have a much greater understanding of why I would chose this lifestyle of servitude to Christ and to the street children in Manila - as difficult as it is move far away your own family. However, "Tatay Wes" (Daddy Wes) and "Nanay Linda" (Mom Linda) have truly been embraced by the people here as part of a much larger family.
I want to share with you just a taste of what my parents experienced over the last three weeks. Since I've always believed that, like our actions, a simple photo can speak or reveal so much more than words, here is a number of photos from my parents experiences in Manila. I've included captions, but these pictures alone speak volumes about the love my parents shared and experienced, including the injustices and pains they felt in the communities here.
|Mom & Dad arrive at our team's drop-in center and office|
|First ride in a Philippine "tricycle" - a motorbike with a sidecar|
|The harsh contrast from privilege to poverty quickly hits hard|
|Visiting Jace (the eldest boy in his family) with his siblings.|
His family is homeless and lives under an overpass. Jace
is in our Sponsor-A-Child program in which someone is
sponsoring his education in elementary school.
|Visiting the Napacor Community. In my arms is|
Louie-Jay - one of our most charismatic daycare students.
Reymark (bottom right) is another of our students.
|Squeezing through tight walkways of squatter homes|
|Visiting families we're reaching out to through our programs|
|Arriving at the Sucat community. Our involvement here started with|
a simple feeding program. Now many of the children are recipients of our
educational programs, and we have a strong relationship with the families.
|Typical homes in the Sucat community|
|You need to cross over a river by this tree trunk to reach some homes|
|Mom & Dad helped with a fun children's program in various areas|
|Walking on coconut shells in a relay race|
|A tiny infant takes a nap on a bench outside|
|Enjoying some food at the Night Life program|
|Mom & Dad read a story and also assist with the crafts at|
the SLC (Simula Learning Center) - our daycare in Alabang.
|They also helped out at Educare - our daycare in Makati.|
|Mobbed by the kids as we arrive in the streets|
|Ate Cecile leads the street kids in a prayer before our program|
|Thoroughly entertaining games|
|Dad's energy and fun personality was a delight for the kids|
|Mom hands out a snack|
|Perfect timing - Mom & Dad's trip coincided with our annual|
camp for street kids and youth. Each of the campers are clients
in our Sponsor-A-Child program (sending them to elementary
and secondary school) or in ALS (high school equivalency exam).
|Rizal Re-Creation Camp was founded by an American missionary|
|Counselor Linda and her cabin of giggling, fun-loving youth|
|Dad and his boys|
|I had the joy of being a counselor for the youngest boys|
|And of course, my parents had the opportunity to spend|
time with Jam's parents and family.