Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Poems and My Nose

How did January fly by and I didn't notice it? Whew!! Thanks to Jaycee, who buzzed me and informed i just GOT A BLOG AWARD from her, I paused to doodle something tap my keyboard for some pieces. I love Jaycee, you must go follow her blog.

I put my 'Acceptance Speech' on my other blog. I was hesitant at first to let out into open my poetry blog (since I parked VenusSpeaks) because I still want to keep a portion of me to myself...but i figured it is silly. People already know me. So, here, welcome to my poetry blog:

A November Miracle

Everyday, on my way to the center, I pass by two of the smelliest places in our small city. (1) the dumpsite, where all the garbage from everyone in the city is deposited laid-out in the open to dry and (2) the Ugahan or the dried fish ‘factories’ where tons of fish are (you guessed it) also laid-out in the open to dry. These two places are not so far apart that it seems like the aroma you get when you drive by is one distinct smell on its own.

You really have to get here to know what I mean.

I already outgrew my impulse to cover my nose when I pass by these places. My nose automatically shuts off. My daily travels have immunized me that it no longer bothers me…well, except on rainy days.

Again, you really have to get here to know what I mean.

And then I’m reminded of that one cold night in an animal shed where bleating and mooing were silenced by a baby’s cry. I am reminded that this baby was welcomed not by the clean smell of sanitation but by an interesting mix of animal dung, hay and whatnot. I am reminded that this was no ordinary baby – He was the son of THE KING. Most of all, I am reminded that He didn’t have to be born like this, but he chose to.

I am having post-Christmas thoughts of the manger and the man who was born there. I am having repentant thoughts of how easily I can rant about things that cause me discomfort. I am having thoughts of how this world has lured me into thinking that comfort is a right not a privilege. I am having thoughts of how I padded myself with things and fleeting endeavours to be at par with the world’s standard of comfort. And my mind thinks back again of that Man who was born in the manger.

This man...

Who took up our pain and bore our suffering, 
Who was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities

This man, Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

This man who went through all these yet he did not open his mouth; was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 

And this same man who said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I close my mouth, and forget about what goes through my nose. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

BLESS Updates: Our First One and a half Months

The dawning of each year is a reminder of the chances we are given to live life better than how we did the year before. I believe the way to live a better life is to live beyond yourself. After all, the great commandment is about two selfless things: Love God above all, Love your neighbour as yourself.

Our BLESS Center requires a lot of selflessness to operate. We have been blessed by partners who not only support us financially but more than anything, uphold us in prayers.

Learning the Alphabet Sounds
We started operating last November 29, 2010 and 9 kids are presently under the program. It is amazing to watch God work in the lives of these kids everyday. Not only do we see changes in their intellectual lives but we see changes in their behaviour as they come to know more about Jesus everyday. We witness how they learned the meaning of words such as Please, Thank You, Wait and God Bless you.

We had our Christmas party on December 22. The kids had so much fun with the games, the singing and the eating. They also received gifts from special people. Our food were also graciously provided by some of the BLESS friends. Some young adults from the church volunteered to be our guests-slash-nannies for the day.

Getting ready for the game
The kids went home that day with a smile stuck to their faces. They had a wrapped gift on one hand, an apple and an orange on another and a cupcake on…well, two hands were not enough. It was awesome to see how the kids were blessed. We all got an extra hug from them before we said goodbye.

We had classes during the Christmas break. The kids didn’t have anything to do during the break so we asked permission from their parents if we could have them at the center instead. The parents, of course, gladly agreed.

We are a happy lot, aren't we?

Our greatest challenge right now is getting the parents show up at meetings. They know they have agreed on it but most times, only a few attend, even after constant reminders. Please help us pray that God would teach us how to reach out to them so that they too can experience the blessing that their kids are experiencing right now.

Everyday, Gladys (my assistant) and I give each of the kids a big hug before they go home. Just recently, one of the kids blurted out “Palangga ta ka bala Ma’am” (which means “I love you, Ma’am.”) on his own. Then the rest of the kids started saying it. We didn’t teach them to say it. They just did it on their own. I guess, in the eyes of these kids, love has already took on shape.

All of us who are in this ministry represent Jesus Christ to the kids. Thank you so much for your love, your support and your prayers. We are serving a Big and Loving God. The kids can tell.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Peace, and the Sound of the Sea

The sound of the sea was the first sound I heard today, the first of 2011.

We live about 150 meters from the shoreline. I grew up liking the sea but I never polished my swimming strokes. I thought, I naturally float so why bother. *insertlaugh*

Our community is interesting. We pay a premium for the land our house stands on so technically, we are not squatters. BUT, all around us, its almost like that. Houses are all over you couldn’t sketch a decent map. Streets are not named (which usually causes delays when waiting for some delivery) Some houses are wall-to-wall close, open sewer, animal dung sunbathe on the pavement. It’s a melting pot of people from different walks of life, with different cultures. Some houses have tall fences and iron gates with elaborate details. Some don’t have fences. People spend more time talking on the nameless streets than inside their houses. It has been known too as the refuge of wanted criminals. It cannot be described as anything else but VILLA BARBAS.

On normal days, we would hear the neighbor’s TV, radio and their amplified blabber. It is also ordinary to hear motor engines, hammer sounds and well, occasionally, gunshots ( as with the case of our neighbour committing suicide).  But today, it was not a normal day. The moment I was conscious, I ONLY heard the humming of the sea.Yes, ONLY the humming of the sea.

I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. It is not everyday that it gets to be this silent.

Silence is golden. It doesn’t imply peace. But I believe silence highlights the presence or the absence of it.And today, in that solitary moment, I am glad I found PEACE:

I don’t have a bank account that would last me for the next ten years, and I’m fine with that.
I don’t have a job that would guarantee that I’d get a paycheck twice a month, and I’m fine with that.
I don’t have a car nor the mileage that would take me places, and I’m fine with that.
I don’t have a jaw-dropping resume that I could flash at anyone to get a job, and I’m fine with that.

And here’s why.

I knew what it was like to have money (that would make me last for about a few years.hehehe)  but it didn’t make me feel worry-free.
I knew what it was like to get paychecks every 15 days but it did not give me any guarantee of the next bite on my plate.
I knew what it was like to go places (no, I don’t know yet how it feels to drive my own car. Hehe!) but it only made me feel like a stranger.
I knew what it was like to get a fine job without having the need to apply for it, but it did not make me feel like I was at my best.

Peace is knowing that Someone feeds you, even if He has to send it through a raven.
Peace is knowing that Someone has already given you what you need, even if its not exactly what you want.
Peace is knowing that Someone will bring you to the right destination, even if you don’t see where you are headed.
Peace is knowing that Someone wants you to DO what He had created you to for, even if it means quitting what you think you are best at.
Peace is knowing that Someone has a perfect plan for everything, even if means ruining yours.

In 2010, there were days when ‘ravens’ fed me.  I didn’t get the ‘things’ I wanted. I boarded buses and planes to some unheard places. I lessened my ‘stage’ time and ‘parked my pen’ for some needful service. I saw precious people walk away. I watched my dreams dissolve into thin air.

But, unlike the chaos of my environment that has now gone back to normal as I write, the chaos of 2010 is never to return. Peace is knowing that 2010 didn’t go well as I wanted it, BUT being fine with it.

I have a fascination with the sea. Some say the sea divides the islands. As I listened to it hum today, I’m reminded of what I believe about the sea: It connects them.

There are days I want the sea water to turn to glass so people don’t have to live very far apart. But, in Genesis, God said 

“Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”
 And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.” 

So, I'm totally fine with that. :D

May you all have a PEACEFUL 2011!!!!