Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Begin and end the day with...starbucks

This post is dedicated to one of the finest exiled yorkshiremen there ever has been - Geoffrey Boycot. (No really, it's frank!)

He will know from Esther that I have discovered a new found love for Starbucks. In Robinson's Mall in Manila, there is a beautiful Starbucks with beautiful coffee. And so it was with some relief that we decided not only to breakfast there today but wrap up the day their also. Once again, the experiences in between the two visits are beyond my level of vocabulary really.

We shared in devotions at the drop-in centre we visited on Monday. I spoke to the children - slightly amused that this would be my normal practice on a Wednesday morning at Wheatley Lane School. My brief message based on Philippians 4:13:"i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..." went down seemingly well and was greeted by spontaneous applause after almost every sentence - something we should introduce at church i think...

In all honesty, i felt something as a fraud, because i have become aware time and time again in these last four days of my own spiritual poverty and have wondered at the depth of love for God some of these kids have. i can learn more from them i'm sure than they ever could from me.

What followed was once again joyous and passionate praise and worship from the children who and then the real fun began as (on the spot) Stella led us all in a few action songs. Now, normally i hate such things (unless i'm the one enforcing them on others!) but the spontaneity of the moment and the sense of laughter and enthusiasm from the children was too much to resist. I have to be honest, when a similar amount of enthusiasm and excitement was shown by the Korean Methodist Church Sunday School in our corridor at 5:20am onwards (yes 5:20am!!!!!) i wasn't so ready to respond with words of blessing.

We then headed out to lunch - a lovely spot in the week so far, good food, a lovely warm breeze and chatting for a couple of hours before heading off to visit a new born baby in hospital. For some reason, certain members of my church feel i need the practice at holding babies (why?!) so i duly took my turn at holding 7 day old Angelo who now weighs 2lb. I didn't drop him, neither did he cry. Result!

Next we went to visit a street community, this was another makeshift shanty town in the suburbs of manila, and the smell was pungent to say the least. We had been saying that each day we hit a new low in terms of the things we witness and the conditions we are viewing are getting worse not better. We moved on to two other communities in abject poverty and yet again were greeted with a warm welcome and bubbling delight from the multitudes of young children.

Finally we headed to a local park, again a home for many families where we were entertained to a wonderful display of hip-hop dancing. If you've seen Diversity on Britain's got talent, then you have an idea of the type of style we witnessed but i would dare to suggest that the Lunetta Dance Crew would be better.

So a really upbeat end to the day. Words fail me when i think of some of the things i've witnessed and though it seems unbelievable there is, for me, a real danger of not taking all this in. All i can do is wonder at the dedication of the Kanlungan staff, instant celebrities in each community we visit it seems, and trust God, for as we shared this morning, it is Him who gives us strength to endure, and unreal so it seems to say, Him who appears to be strengthening the children we meet and giving them a hope and a future.

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