Saturday, February 12, 2005

The other day I saw a little girl sleeping. She was curled up in a ball, sucking her thumb, fast asleep. She looked so calm and peaceful, the way kids do when they are sleeping, in spite of the fact that she was sleeping on the ground on a sidewalk on a corner of a busy intersection. What appeared to be her family was a few feet away. They were filthy and looked desperately poor. They had a younger child with them, happily playing in the dirt. he was as naked as the day he was born.

My heart is broken for such as these. A part of me wanted to jump off the jeepney I was riding and offer some kind of help. A part of me still wants to scoop up the little girl and take her home.

The image of her still haunts my thoughts. I can still picture her family sitting on the sidewalk. I can still see her sleeping, her face like an angel. This motivates me to strive and work even harder for the kids at the Sonshine Center. I may not be able to help every street kid in Iloilo, but at least I can brighten the lives of some. I may not be able to take them all home with me, but I can least be a part of something larger than myself that blesses and enriches the lives of these kinds of kids.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Chris and I have a new Ilonggo language tutor. Our first tutor, Rowena, was great, and we now have become friends. Her family came to Eric's Birthday Pool Party. She no longer teaches at the language school so we now have a new tutor. Our new tutor, Sam, is also great, but she demonstrates the challenges of learning an unwritten language. Ilonggo has a few strict grammar rules, but much of the language is formed around common usages. Since we now have a different tutor, we are learning her usages and idioms.

In some ways this absence of strict grammar makes Ilonggo easier to learn. Just go ahead and speak, don't worry about grammar, mix in a little English, and usually you will be understood. Once I got over my perfectionism, I found I could speak and understand much more than I really know. And since I look Filipino (probably because I am Filipino), when I am on the street people already expect me to know the dialect.

Most educated people here know and understand English, and some Filipinos speak it very well. When movies are imported from the U.S., they are shown in English without subtitles. The Sonshine Center Filipino staff are definitely fluent in English. The children who come to Center speak only Ilonggo.

The language school, CNC, where Chris and I, and the other missionaries here, go for Ilonggo instruction is actually a school that teaches English to Koreans. The deal is that we teach English to Koreans, and we get lessons in Ilongo in exchange. This has also blossomed into a unique relationship with the school. Students and tutors from CNC come to the Center at least once a month to help us minister to the kids. One of my students comes every Saturday to help out at Sonshine Kidz Klub. The school has also started giving a monthly financial gift to the Center. This is an incredible example of God's favor on the Sonshine Center.

Friday, February 04, 2005

I love short- term missions.

In college I went on five short-term missions trips, all five to Mexico. On those trips we would do street evangelism through dramas and skits. On my first short-term missions trip during my Sophomore year at Oral Roberts University, I led someone through the Sinner's Prayer for the very first time. I will never forget that experience. As a young teenager, I heard the call to foreign missionary work. I remember the night I heard the Lord reveal to me that I would be a missionary. On the short-term trips during my college years, I felt that call to missions strengthened and confirmed.

The Sonshine Center has several teams visiting each year. This year, we have a team coming almost every month. I love when short-term missions teams come. I love to see people join the ministry, even if just for a week or just a few days. I love the enthusiasm and excitement teams bring. A husband and wife we are very close to will be visiting us with a team this summer. Another couple we were in Guatemala with will be visiting as well. I am so looking forward to these upcoming visits. It will be my privilege to serve the Lord here in Iloilo alongside these brothers and sisters in Christ.

How about you? What is stopping you from coming here for a week or ten days? What is keeping you from coming here on a short-term missions trip? Christ is calling YOU, say "YES," and He will take care of the rest. He will provide the how and the when, He will overcome any obstacles, but before He can bless you with money for a plane ticket, you have to say "yes."

Just GO. You will never be the same.