After one week in Pajo...
“What don’t you have in America?”
Yesterday, the five-year-old granddaughter of my host family asked me a question – “What don’t you have in America?” After stuttering for about ten seconds all I could sheepishly say was, “Jollibee?” I continued on, mentioning we don’t have as much rain or heat. We don’t have the same food, or call people “Ate” and “Kuya.” But as I picture my three-story, air-conditioned comfortable home, what don’t I have in terms of material comfort?
Before we left on this Trek, our staff asked us to arrive with simplicity and prepared us to give up a lot of our attachments to comfort and control. However, last Wednesday, I arrived in Pajo and realized I would be receiving a lot more than I could possibly give. I am now learning to receive a mattress and an electric fan. I’m learning to receive of instant coffee and breakfast every morning. I am especially learning how to receive of family time and the ways Mama Remi and Papa William have adopted me.
My teammates and I have been having very similar experiences in our living situations and the sense that all we are doing much of the time is being present with our host families. For almost a week, I’ve been feeling somewhat removed from the family in my posture of receiving. I would accept their hospitality as an end in itself but this entire time this family has been trying to show me how to be adopted, how to engage with people caring for me and loving me. And I guess that leads into a picture of God and his love for the church.
The church comes to Christ with nothing, arriving at his home of abundance full of those he loves. There, he invites us to eat and drink. He invites us to sing songs and lead Bible study. He wants us to sit and listen to the children he loves. He wants us to be united in one body. I am in His home right now, here in the Philippines, here in Pajo. With Kuya William and Ate Remi, Kuya Dwayne, and Ate April with Yesha and Yanna, with Kuya Michael and Ate Val and baby Ellie, with Kuya Brian and Ate Jona, and Ate Divine. I am home. I pray I would I would keep learning how to be at home.