Saturday, August 15, 2009

Unfamiliar Familiarity

It has been about a year and a half since I was here in the Philippines. Ever since leaving in January of 2008 I felt strongly that I would be back. So, when Colleen and I talked about where to go on our honeymoon, the choice seemed obvious. Beautiful Manila. Where the air is so polluted that just being here for two days has made my throat scratch again. Where sewage puddles in the streets making dinge fever a commonality among the people here, especially the poor. Where the traffic makes daily traffic in LA seem like a Sunday drive, and the dogs roam breeding all kinds of God knows what diseases. Where poverty is the norm, unclothed babies are everywhere, and squatter shacks are simply part of daily life.. it is to this industrial paradise that we chose to have our honeymoon.

To tell you the truth I couldn't be more excited to be here. Despite its inherent lack of beauty as a physical location, I can honestly say I have never visited a more beautiful place. Four years ago a missionary who taught at a local missionary boarding school was driving to his home in a condo right outside one of the few golf courses in Manila. As they were driving through an impoverished neighborhood, his youngest daughter asked the question "Daddy... why don't we do anything to help the poor?" The simple question would be the start what today, I would consider the most incredible ministry to the poor I have ever been a part of.

It has been four years since the question was asked. Last night around midnight, amongst a down pour of warm rain, a truck container loaded to the brim with food was unloaded by a dozen or so homeless Filipinos and a handful of missionaries from the surrounding squatter towns. The container will serve around 2,000 meals a week, to several hundreds of impoverished families for a whole year. This is only the surface. To go into depth of all that is going on here at the place we are honeymooning will take another blog for another day. The only thing I will say for now is it is simply incredible what a community of believers can do for a community, for a family, for an abandoned child. It is hard for me to find words to describe it.

I guess the words that comes to mind when we are here are words like:


It is no wonder why we love it here so much, because really, I don't know of any words that are more beautiful and significant. They are the kind of words that move beyond simple physical descriptions to ones that suggest things that are new and different... things that heal and rebuild... things that bring new life. When all is said and done, I find that these words beat the sunny beaches of Tahiti any day. I would much rather be around new life. Life... where a simple question creating a spark of action can transform and inspire the lives of thousands. Life... where taking care of those who are forgotten is common place. Life... where the lives of those who have everything entangle with the lives of those who have hardly anything. Life... where the heart of God is seen in the actions of his followers like a light shining on a hill.

As I walk the familiar streets of where I was a year and a half ago... I am reminded that this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. When I think of my marriage to Colleen as the start of a new life, I truly believe that this place more than any other represents the kind of new life we want to live together. What a perfect place for a honeymoon... what a perfect place to inspire the hearts of our new life together.

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