We have been here for two weeks and we have seen a lot that has changed our perspective. The buildings at our ministry site are all close. A small path is used to travel in the community and everywhere you look there are chickens, clothes hanging and KIDS. We are easily spotted as foreigners.
The kids are amazingly always happy. When it rains they all get excited and run around the community to get soaked with the water that gets through the crowded buildings. The kids are happy but there are some families that are not because our community is close to the river where the water rises and causes some homes to flood. They always tell us it goes up to the second floor. This also has prevented us from staying there for a few nights.
We have been working to create relationships and even went with a mother to visit her son in jail. We saw the separation of a son and a mother and a father and son on that visit. Separated by bars and the atmosphere of brokenness overwhelmed us. There is pain in these communities. Sometimes it is hard to see God in all of it because of all the layers of dirt that cover the people. Even in the brokenness I can honestly say that the people are not broken. Even with the curve balls life has thrown at them, they still find a way to overcome with joy and happiness.
It is a blessing to work with Manila Underground. The pastors have shown me what it means to work for the kingdom of God. Through them I have seen their heart for the poor and God’s grace coming down to the urban poor. I have sharpened my theology with these pastors and God is painting a picture of what it means to follow Jesus. Being incarnational and living among the urban poor has been a sharing of struggle. Though there is a language barrier because we do not know Tagalog, there is something that comes from living with them that you cannot find in any other kind of ministry.
Sometimes it is hard to understand why God flew us across the world to sit and sell fish for 3 hours, or why we sit with an Ate (older sister) that does not speak English while she cuts vegetables. I am inspired to seek God in situations that seem mundane, meaningless or useless. I want to see God in the unseen, I want so see why all of this is happening and where my part is in the bigger picture God is painting.