Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Sweet and Sour...
And so the day begins with breakfast, Filipino style. Orange juice and toast preceded by corned beef hash and sweet and sour pork! After having felt my stomach turn at these options on Monday morning, today i took the plunge, keen to not be outdone by Tony.
In the style of excruciating tenuous links and metaphors - my cross-stitched church was a great one - the day has turned out to be a mix of sweet and sour. (Joe Knight, i thought you'd like this paragraph!)
Firstly the sweet...
We had a lovely time of praying together as a team and with Esther before setting off to view another project. Its strange that we're all here for seemingly different reasons but ultimately keen to let God shape our heart out of what we see, hear and feel.
It was Stella's birthday today, surely 12months ago she didn't expect to spend the next celebration in Manila. As you can imagine, everywhere we went children and staff members a like qued up to sing happy birthday and in the first community visit of the day she was presented with a small cutting of flowers proudly from the children of the community. This was followed up by a lovely looking chocolate cake, but by the time Esther and i had returned from the dentist, it had disappeared!
Once again i was startled by the incredible devotion of the staff. They work incredible hours and seem so full of joy and hope, unceasing in their positive attitude and servant heart, i feel humbled and privileged to be among them.
We headed next to a school of 650 pupils aged 6-15 where we were almost carried across the playground in the excitement from the pupils and had the privilege of praying with the headmistress - quite formidable woman.
Then on to what was for me, the most moving bit of the day. We went to another residential centre where the children had returned home from school. Once again we were sung to, a deeply touching moment for me and we were danced to, also great and played with and danced with and prayed for and worshipped with. There we so many stories of hope and joy here. One stood out for me. A young girl of 15 proudly dressed in her school uniform was so strong in faith and ambition. She is doing really well in high school, is almost the best in the school in English - seriously she spoke it better than me - and wants to be a computer scientist. She has so much drive and desire to achieve despite the circumstances she finds herself in. Her trust in God is unswerving despite something i will mention below.
...and the sour...
An hours journey took us to another shanty town built on an old rubbish dump. The poverty here and obvious malnourishment is astounding and probably not helped by the fact that the whole community washes in a toxic stream flowing out from a pharmaceutical factory. This stream feeds into a huge lake of stagnant, stinky water and the stream also serves as the village lavatory or 'comfort room' as the Filipino's call it. Again words fail me to paint a picture, one hopes that photos and video footage when we return home will somehow help.
Toothache was another sour point but here's trusting in anti-bio tics and God and the sleep monitor is only At 5 1/2 hours as of last night - lets see is we make any progress tonight but the appearance of a lizard may leave me a little on edge!
That's all really apart from the girl with so much ambition that i mentioned above. She wanted me to pray with her because she is trusting God. She will need to. She has an inoperable glaucoma that will leave her blind in 5years time unless God steps in with a miracle and that will most likely be the end of her dreams and ambition. Great.