(photo source: Google images)
When they were in great need, they would write, relating in detail the devastation a typhoon had brought – wiping out their homes and livelihood. They write, not that they are dependent on other people’s support, for they do not come short in prayer and even with fasting, but that they would like to share their hardships, the trials they encounter. And it dawns on me, that they need to “share” their poverty so we could learn to share our prosperity.
They would write, how their small, beloved chapel had been blown away by the storm, and they pray to get even just a small donation to repair the roof and to buy cloth to sew into curtains to serve as covering in the place of walls. These are believers who praise and worship God in spirit and in truth, who are filled with the Holy Spirit and prays for the sick with power from on high – for the glory of God dwells in a humble manger covered with hay where the Savior lay – just like He dwells in their hearts and in their “ramshackle” chapel.
(Photos from JMCIM Davao Outreach; no available photos from San Andres, Quezon Outreach)
This outreach of our Church is in a far-flung barrio of San Andres town in the province of Quezon, a 12-hour bus ride from Manila. Their livelihood comes mainly from fishing for it is near the sea, and during hard times, they would make do with corn as a staple, for rice would be too expensive for them. But they are rich in faith. Those who live high up on the mountains would trek a 5-hour descent going to the worship service, then back again afterwards. They need to start early, even before the dawn breaks.
(photos above from jmcim.org; Tiaong, Quezon crusade)
We had given some financial support to these faithful believers, but there hadn’t been any communication this year, so this time, I’m writing them. I write to tell them that the Lord has accumulated their blessings and has not forfeited them.
For isn’t this our fervent prayer that during the time of His silence, we hope that He is accumulating all the blessings intended for us and will heap them on us in His perfect time?
(There are other outreach stations of our Church who may be poor in material wealth, but truly rich in faith and for that, I glorify God).
So, what’s stuffed in your sock this Christmas? Maybe sacks of rice and cartons of canned goods, bread, noodles, milk, etc. to fill our brothers and sisters in Christ? Or, maybe blankets to ward off the cold at night? Or, not-so-expensive quilts (we found ones which cost about P350 or about $7) to cover the cold bamboo slats or concrete floor where they lay themselves to rest and sleep? Or, clothes that they could wear when they go to worship the Lord? Whatever we give, may these warm their hearts and homes this Christmas.
There’s so much need around us: empty stomachs wanting to be filled, children dreaming to be clothed and to be warm at night. May we be the hands of Christ helping to fill this need.
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