All you need to do is Google the Payatas and you will soon be aware of a place whose streets are lined with trash and garbage trucks are the most utilized method of transportation.
Little children, “knee high to a caterpillar” as they say , roam the streets with burlap bags over their shoulders seeking valuable recyclables to help pay for their families food.
Payatas is a place of limited joy , peace or happiness. Each day brings with it another set of problems.
Here at Payatas Baptist Church, we spend much time telling the people of the love of Christ if only they would surrender their failed life and accept that which He has in store for them.
One of the ways we help the poor here is to instruct them in music. Those who wish to participate learn to read music and play a musical instrument.
It all started in my own house. I bought Laura a violin and for $3 per week, got her lessons from a local Pastor and violinist. In the meantime, Linda expressed an interest in the flute so I was able to find a very nice used one on eBay.
Laura started learning immediately while Linda found the flute too long for her little arms. We switched Linda to a electric keyboard which she like much better and started learning immediately. My wife, not to be left out, took over the flute and is doing incredibly well.
It was at this point God gave me the thought that we could do this in the church so we purchased another violin for Laura and gave one of the children her violin. Laura started to teach the child what she was taught and the child became very proficient.
We had one old guitar in the church that another Pastor had donated to us. I made an announcement that anyone who could learn to read music and play two songs will get a free guitar.
So far we have 11 guitarists!
We took it another step and added violins to that offer.
We now have 6 violinists!
A close friend and I were at a music store as I had to buy guitar and violin strings. (Yes, these kids are so poor that if they break a string they will no longer be able to play.)
He noticed the recorders they had and bought 6 for the littlest children.
We had received one from some friends so now we have
We also was gifted a couple of Ukeleles and I bought one and so we now have 3 Ukeleleists (Is that a word?)
Andrei is a little boy with a birth defect so he only has one arm but was very determined to be part of this group so we bought him a harmonica and one for his instructor and he is doing very well.
Now I am searching out a used coronet as we have another interested party.
Music has caused these children to learn discipline. They also know what it is to be part of the family of God. Each one of these children know the Gospel and love the Lord. They are also quick to share it with whoever they come in contact.
Their love and progression in their music has made them believe the scripture: Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
These children when asked have expressed their desire to be Doctors, nurses, police officers… as opposed to their un churched counterparts in the same district which only see the garbage business in their future.
Every Sunday before evening service all these musicians practice Christmas songs. We are hoping to make our very own Christmas dvd this year.
I see a orchestra in our near future. Little by little I squeeze money from here or from there and buy another instrument. Little by little we train another child for this purpose. So I will buy a coronet and a trombone and a Viola and a Celo as the Lord allows and soon, before you know it, Payatas will have an orchestra.
With God, even the sky does not limit us.