Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The first days...

When arriving in a foreign city, most would probably go straight to a hotel and rest. Who wouldn't? Spending more than 6 hours at the airport and 12 hours inside a plane could be tiring.

But I didn't. First stop? The J. P. Getty Museum at Los Angeles. Very impressive as soon as you see it but more so once you learn about what the creator had in mind when he designed the building, the lines, the colors. The works being displayed were beautiful but the greatest were those done by the Impressionists such as Renoir and Van Gogh.

The new house of a wonderful couple became our resting place for the second night. This is their adopted daughter ... Mei-li (or beautiful in chinese)

A typical American street... lined with uniform houses.

In San Diego, I found Jose Rizal... not to mention Jollibee, Chowking, Red Ribbon and Goldilocks... now where is SM?

Streets were lined with trees and sensor sensitive stopsigns...

And one night, the festival of the boats...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For a common cause

Dozens of shanties extending along the length of the high and thick wall separating the street from the river. The place reeking of the foul smell of the stagnant river. The street was littered with bits of trash. Scattered all around were puddles of muddy and stinky water. All over were wooden carts. Young girls were washing baluts in big plastic basins. At the other side of the street were stacks of uncooked corns. No mistake about it, these were their means of livelihood.

Who would believe that this was the place we would see as we enter a street that was seemingly just part of a modern city? But as we drove through the street, we saw the kids, most were dirty, huddled together. They smiled and waived.

They knew our passenger. She is one of them. Only because she spent most of her Saturdays teaching them. Together with other souls giving themselves to reach out to this unprivileged sector of the society. Not many would dare do what they are doing.

For one whole afternoon, we had the honor of sharing with them this opportunity to be of service to God and men. We danced, we sang, we laughed, we acted, we fed, we gave. We took part in something bigger than ourselves. It was not easy.

The kids could be unruly. They sometimes took over the space of the imaginary stage. They shouted too loud. The pushed each other. They fought with their seatmates. They pretended to be the persons being called to receive their Christmas presents.

On the other hand, it was a joy to see them praying with their hands put together, eyes closed and heads bowed down. It was music to hear them utter the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was wonderful to listen to their laughter. Noted were words of understanding as they indicated who were the good and the bad persons in the skit.

All throughout the activity, I felt a surge of pity to see them live in squalor and poverty. You get the overwhelming urge to take the the kids and just give them a bath to make them clean.

Pretty innocent faces, happy to receive a paper bag full of treats and eat a warm bowl of soup.

For a short time, we brought them joy thru food and material gifts. But for a long time, and we hope, forever, we shared to them something more valuable : the love of a merciful and forgiving God.

I know that a lot of time, effort and hearts were planted in this place. I leaarned they have been here since 2003. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been this easy. Things could have been more unruly.

What impressed me most was the passion of these girls and boys in their teens and early twenties. At a young age, they are already doing great things for God. They are already reaching out to those in need. Most of them were also products of the same kind of outreach to their respective streets. Led by a family blessed with a passion for the lost, they do their share in different ways : ministering to the metros, sharing the Good News, building relationships, investing in the lives of the people, feeding the children, and redeeming the stage.

I do not ask them what they are getting out of this. I know. I believe we are in the same boat. It is to share to others the joy that we have in partaking of the assurance of a loving God and a forever life.

I never imagined that a leaders’ meeting a few months ago would turn into something big. A simple desire to expose a group of young adults to evangelism became concrete plans, turned into Sunday morning presentations and on that day, an all-out performance to declare the Good News.

Truly, it was the hand of God. With His design, events and people fell into place so that as we blessed others, more so we were blessed.

Thank you to the Metro Ministries, the Redeemed Stage and CAFEYA.

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (www.evotional.com)