Let me tell you about my ministry this month. I felt drawn to working in the prisons. There is a man in the ministry here named Rolly and he has a good relationship with the warden of many of the prisons. He is our connection to the prison ministry. For various reasons (first we needed approval, then there was transportation issues, and now…I’m not quite sure what the issue is right now) we have not been able to go to the prison yet. We are hoping to be able to go this weekend.
If the prison ministry was not going to be feasible, I wanted to focus on working with the prostitutes, but they have been unable to house us during the week, so I had my one experience that I wrote about (blog: My Night on the Streets) and I think we will be able to go back a week from Friday.
That leaves a lot of time. The awesome part about KIM is that they have many projects going on at once and they are very connected with organizations in the area, so there are many options available. However, it requires initiative to seek out what you are interested in and then actually pursue it. I felt God tugging on my heartstrings for the feeding ministry the day that Jeff Long described all of the various options to us but it got overshadowed by the excitement of being able to work in a prison or with prostitutes. Yet the way things have worked out, feeding ministry is the biggest ministry I have been involved in…and I’m loving it!
I will describe a typical week to you:
Mondays – feed street boys who do not want the structure of living in an orphanage
Tuesdays – AM feed children/families in a poor local neighborhood PM feed children/families in a poor local neighborhood that is right down a dirt path from a very rich-looking neighborhood
Wednesdays – local school and then Tent City
Thursdays – AM feed families in the neighborhood of the ministry PM Homeless drop in center Fridays – Tent City
Saturdays – feed same families in the neighborhood of the ministry
Sundays – day off
I have attended most of these, some more than once, and plan on attending all of them before we leave. It is such a blessing have a set schedule like this because we are able to build relationships when you see the same people each time you go.
Tent City is definitely an eye-opening experience.
After a typhoon in 2009, the government picked up many people who lost their homes and put them in Antipolo, a town about a 45 minute drive from Manila. (I took pictures of tent city, please check out my photobucket pictures on the link at the bottom of this blog.) It is awesome the amount of aid they have received, however, these people have nothing, are now away from the city, and seem to have little hope to be able to get out of this situation. We bring out drinkable water, because even though there is a well for washing your clothes and showering (all in the same area, right out in public) it is not drinkable. It is sad that in this world people have to make a mad dash to get a bottle of water.
However, I was more impacted by the poor local neighborhoods. I am not sure why, but physically people seem to be much worse off. Rebecca on my team recently graduated as an RN and has attended several of the feedings. She has commented that there are many skin problems here that she simply hasn’t seem before. In one neighborhood, there were so many children with so many sores and wounds that were untreated and in various stages of infection. Many of the littler children don’t even have pants and just go to the bathroom wherever.
This is what I have experienced while going on a feeding.
When we got to one of the poor local neighborhoods people started chanting, “Feeding! Feeding!” when they saw the cars pull up. There will usually be about 15-20 (if not more) people who already have their bowls out and they make sure they are the first ones in line. The bowls and plates are usually pretty old and often have cracks or broken pieces. A fairly large percentage don’t seem to own any bowls or plates so they find plastic bags to put the food in. Near the end, you will usually have small children running up with their bowls to make sure they can get some. Many only have metal bowls, and I feel terrible handing them the piping hot food in their metal bowls because I know it is going to burn their hands. Off to the side, I saw some men playing pool on an old rundown air-hockey table using the pucks as pool balls.
Most of the time, we go with nurses but they have very limited supplies. The most used supplies seem to be hydrogen peroxide, neosporin, eye drops, and Tums. I have noticed many people have open sores all over their bodies, including small children. I haven’t been able to get a clear answer as to what exactly is going on. One nurse explained to me that she believes that the children will overheat and it will cause a rash, which they itch with unclean hands which creates a sore and since there are no proper medical supplies it becomes infected.
I have noticed that there are many “patchy headed” little children with little chunks of their hair missing. Many people do not seek out the medical attention on their own, so it is up to the volunteers to find open sores and ask if they would like assistance. Like our little friend, Lander.
He had many scabes and sores on his head but after taking him to the nurse and cleaning up the sores, he has improved more and more each time we see him! Oftentimes, I have heard the response from the nurse that they need to go to the doctor, but the problem is that they cannot afford to go to the doctor. Depending on the nurse, and depending on how bad off the person is, they will provide money for them to go to the doctor.
I remember when I was young, I cut my knee and my mom pulled out the hydrogen peroxide and that’s when I really started wailing because I knew it was going to hurt. I’m not sure what the difference is, but these children, even the really little ones, are stoic. It takes a lot to get them to cry – not that I want them to! It’s just that I can’t believe how much they put up with. A different nurse told me that when children have experienced a lot of abuse they often have a much higher tolerance for pain and are less likely to show emotions… :(
I liked what my squadmate Angie commented the other day at a feeding: that this is living out the gospel. We are bringing food, a few medical supplies, and the love of Jesus. I appreciate that each week this ministry goes back to the same places because it is investing in the people in each community. I am starting to believe that volunteering is not a one-time thing. Prior to the Race, I know there have been times in my life when I would start feeling the guilt of not volunteering, and I wouldn’t do anything about it until the guilt got too strong, then I’d volunteer at one event (and make a big deal about what a sacrifice it was in my schedule) and then the guilt would subside and I wouldn’t have to volunteer for months later, until that guilt started creeping in again. Even just being at a place for one month on the Race, I am noticing that a month is not a long time. Following Christ is about relationship: relationship with our Savior, with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with all of God’s children.Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling DesignDesigned by Tim Sainburg from Brambling DesignDesigned by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design