At Christmas Time -Godly Perspective
When I first came to Payatas I was aghast at many things. The poor, the destitute, the uneducated,suffering children,,,
One thing however, stuck in my mind. The people had no hot water. No hot water for washing dishes or taking a shower or bath. It was awful.
My thoughts for Payatas when I was first planning to come here was to help people get little hot water heaters so they could have some comfort.
It was a generous but naive desire. Do you know why? It is because people here do not use hot water. They have no desire for hot water and even if you gave them a free heater, they would not, probably could not, pay for the electric or gas to run the hot water heater. So despite my good intentions, it was and still is a ridiculous idea. I have been here six years and I still do not have one. If it is your intention, I will gladly accept it but don’t worry about the rest of the people.
We have had some very nice medical missions here of which I am thankful. They came and they diagnosed and performed minor operations and even paid to send some people for treatment at a hospital. These missions were very profitable and successful.
Then we had one group that came here and basically did little more than hand out some vitamins. Perhaps a month’s supply. These people although they had good intentions. Had water heater mentalities. They spent thousands of dollars on plane fares, food , and fancy hotels. They had offered to reimburse us for the food we bought to feed about 1000 people. We bought it, cooked it and distributed it. When it was time to reimburse us the Pastor asked for receipts. I just laughed and told him to forget it. It was $200 which was a great deal for our Church. I told him that there are no receipts in street markets. So the Church lost on that deal and these people got to feel good about how they helped the needy. There was however no real help and it turned out to be a vacation for these people.
Not one of the people in our church has a car. I am the only one. It is a put together 21 year old “Owner type Jeep”. It needs repairs on a weekly basis.
Unlike churches in better off communities, Payatas is the home of the infamous garbage dump. It is here that men, women and children who are called bums by the wealthier neighbors , work 12-16 hours per day to support their families. The Government balances their waste management programs on the backs of thousands of the residents of Payatas. Entire families work just to get food to eat. From the perspective of the more well off, they are lazy bums. This is a term that boils my blood and brakes my heart as I think of how industrious these people are and what they endure in life.
There are so many Filipino overseas workers all over the world living life in peace. The number that send anything to help us help these people is almost none. We have some Filipinos who give. One person emailed me and asked how could he give. I gave him the account number of our Local bank. He deposited 200 Pesos. That equals $4.90 U.S. I wanted to cry. No, not because the amount was low according to American standards but because it was so high according to a poor man with a heart to help. When I think of people who claim to be friends and how easy they could sign up to send $5 per month and don’t bother, it drives me nuts. When I think of those people who faithfully send to this Organization, it touches my heart to think how much they care.
I don’t mean to judge how much money people have but even when I was poor in the States I could give $5.
There was on Face book the story of the police officer who gave the homeless man who had blisters on his bare feet in the winter, a pair of socks and boots. He got 5 million hits. People think this is wonderful. I think it’s more than wonderful and it makes me feel that there are good people with good hearts out there. However, these millions of people will get touched by it, put it on Face Book yet never give a dime to help another human being.
Our ministry survives at poverty level. Not U.S. Level but Philippine level.
I think how my own children could not go to school last year because we had no funds and how many kids in Payatas do not attend at all. Yet we still teach our children and we have been teaching the children here.
We have had six years with these kids and have watched them grow. Kids with no hope now look forward to a brighter future. Kids who had no idea who Jesus was are now calling on his name. Yes, in a so called Christian Country they had no idea that there was a God.
With all the poverty, these people still say Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays. They thought it was insane when I told them how many churches cancel services on Christmas. These people know how to worship and praise the Lord. They know how to pray and seek God and without money and the frivolities that accompany money, they still know how to love and be loved.
As you go buy your Christmas presents, and decorate your houses and trees.
When you visit your friends and family and celebrate with sumptuous foods. When your children wake up in the morning and rush out to the bedazzled Christmas tree to see all the presents they will receive, please, take five minutes and think about this:
Our children don’t expect presents, there are no trees or decorations, no special foods or presents under a tree. This is not all of the Philippines. There are plenty with money here, just not in Payatas. The forgotten land.
The one born on this day, Jesus, said there were two great commandments:
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
When you are doing all your running around ask yourself, have I showed God love in any of this? Then ask, have I shown my neighbour love? Have I considered the plight of the poor? Have I though of my fellow man?
The world is changing. People have left Christ out of Christmas and people who claim to be Christians show no evidence of being one.
Please, show some love towards Payatas: