Monday, May 30, 2011

luxury of an education

A friend of ours, Ate "B" is a Filipina who deeply desires to minister to the children of this neighborhood, and not only to the children, but to their families as well.  She has begun a weekly Bible Club for many of the children, including many of the ones who come to work for us, as well as additional children who have joined them.  

  This is an answer to prayer for me!  I see so many needs, and really want to make a difference in the lives of these children, but without adequate language skills, I'm woefully incapable of getting beyond a very basic relationship with them. So I'm very excited about being able to pray with and encourage Ate "B" in her work.  Her vision is to help these children learn of God's love for them, while also helping them to learn basic life skills.  

  One of those life skills is to learn to apply themselves and succeed in school.  To help them do that, Ate "B" and I want to help them get some of the supplies they will need to even attend during this new school year, beginning June 6.   And to encourage them to value these supplies, we are requiring that they meet some standards, including regular attendance at the Bible class, diligence in their school studies, some Bible memory in Visayan, and some service projects.

 So this past weekend, a few of the children met at our house (along with Michael!) where we waited for Ate "B" to join us.  

While we waited, they played, and there was a mini hand-stand contest.  
These guys were good!

When Ate "B" arrived, we shed our shoes

and went inside to work on cleaning an empty apartment, 
soon to be rented by a colleague of ours.

They scrubbed,

and swept,


 and mopped.

(This reminded me of Pippi Longstocking's mopping methods:
they just grabbed wet rags, and deftly used their feet to scrub that floor clean!)

There was no slacking, and no complaining.

 These kids know how to work hard, and cheerfully.

Ate "B" (who was shy of the camera) inspects the floor

The apartment was (not perfectly, but almost!) clean 
from top to bottom in record time.

And all to earn some supplies 
that they will need to go to school.

Would I have been willing to work to earn my own school supplies, 
all those years ago when I was an elementary student?
I guess I always considered those supplies my right, my privilege.
Going to school was just what I had to do. 
There was no option.

But the luxury of an education is not the privilege of the whole world.
And here, in my front yard, are children who have a greater appreciation
for the value of an education than I ever did.
Without it, many of them will end up literally sweeping streets,
or collecting recyclables
while finding their next meal out of a trash can.

How exciting to have the privilege of offering hope to even just a few children;
hope of a better way.
Hope in Christ,
that spurs us to work with all our heart to honor Him 
with this life He has gifted to us.

" know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe."
1 Thessalonians 1:11-13

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