Today I met Pastor Glen, brother in Christ and amazing example of what it looks like for one to live like Jesus. His story is so encouraging, He grew up in the fields and could have chosen a comfortable life in the middle class, but instead sold what he had and moved to the slums. He believes that the Kingdom of God exists here and that he hopes to tell those living here that there is hope in Jesus despite what they see as a hopeless situation. For him, it’s a sacrifice that is made possible through Jesus Christ, He sees Jesus’ sacrifice as the biggest sacrifice - that he would give up heaven to come down to earth. Therefore, Pastor Glen’s sacrifice is to do exactly what Jesus did. He humbled himself and chose to live with the least of these. He says he lives as the people here live to understand the struggles they face everyday, His trust in God is incredible. He prays hard to deal with the hard things around him…just like Christ did on Gethsemene. He prays: “Not my will, but yours be done.”
This man embodies what it looks like to live out the Word. Pastor Glen mirrors what Jesus told the rich man in Mark 10 - to sell all he has and give to the poor.
The next day, I had the opportunity to accompany Pastor Glen and his wife to their daily job as high school cooks. Their job is to cook, serve, and wash dishes, all starting at 5 AM and going nonstop to 2 pm. For the 2 or 3 hours I helped in the kitchen, scooping rice, opening soda bottles, and handling Ate’s or Kuya’s dishes to serve the students, I was exhausted. Pastor Glen and his wife do this for longer and every single day. I did not hear them complain at all. Tim (my teammate) said something that really stood out to me. He said while he was washing dishes, “What if God called me not only to live among the urban poor, but to cook, clean, and serve for and upper class high school every single day?” Would I still be able to praise him? Pastor Glen and his wife’s commitment to living with the urban poor and still rejoicing in the Lordgave me a completely different perspective on what the joy of the Lord looks like.
God, may I find joy in you. Give me eyes that see what you see. Thank you for your never ending love that touches everyone from the richest to the poorest. I pray for your name to be known in slums - that my brothers and sisters here in Manila would encounter you. Thank you that you are already at work here. Thank you that you provide for our every need. May you become all we need. As we live in the slums and see the realities of poverty, protect us from discouragement and doubt. Remind us that you love each man, woman, and child in the slums, and that you have a perfect plan for them.
- Jordan Kwong