These Filipino Kids

During my travels, I was privileged to visit an island right off of Cebu, Philippines. It was a tiny one, a 45min motorcycle ride to get from one end to the other. Vision Help had recently founded a church there, and John wanted Caleb to film the work they had been doing. We stayed in a room off of the church sanctuary.

What was crazy about this church is that it had become the kid-hang-out. Kids of all ages would flock to the church courtyard and spend all day under the shade provided by the tree there. We became very close in the four days I got to spend with them. And by the time I left I got this crazy whimsical idea that maybe someday I would want to live with them… We’ll see what God does with that one.

 

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You know that old Simon & Garfunkel song, ‘Cecilia’?

Those boys were singing it loud to me.

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I don’t know where on earth they would have heard it, but it made me laugh. They sang it loud, accent and all, and I laughed loud. “Oh, Eleyana, you’re broken my heart…”

You know, teenagers here in the States think they’re so cool. They put on their sun-glasses, whip out their iPods, and think they’re the best things since sliced bread…

Well, they got nothing on these Filipino kids. These boys and girls who talk fast and are quick to laughter.

These sweet kids who don’t care whose watching when they dance for God’s glory. (I never got that tune that they were dancing to out of my head.)

Isn’t this crazy? ‘Cause self-conscious me didn’t want to get up there with them when they were practicing on the stage.

But then a thought occurred to me… Who would be missing out if I said no to being crazy with a bunch of giddy kids? 

Mostly me.

But I would also be letting them down, and what kind of Christ-example would that be.

I only let myself think “self-conscious” for a moment before I squash myself down, slap a smile on my face, and jump up on that stage. And yeah, I probably look a little goofy as I try to learn the moves, but who cares when they are laughing at me and their faces light up full of joy.

And then they start singing this ridiculous song and we laugh together. Yeah, we laugh together and get lost in the fun of it all.

I fall in love with them, and they fall in love with me, too. I’m made a sorta big sister to them all as they look up to me knowing I don’t look down on them, and we can just be real with each other.

The guys are confident and jovial.

The girls are shy and meek-hearted.

And there is this little boy, who is probably seven, and he has a HUGE crush on me. He stares at me and blows me kisses. His name is Jerome and he is so spunky. He sings at the top of his lungs, and it’s so off-key, but I love it!

“I neeeever know how much it cost, to seeeee my sin upooooon the cross…”

It’s coming up from the foot of my stair-case, and how can I help but smile as I watch him from my perch above.

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The girls ask me to lead a kids bible-study and I say yes completely unaware that none of the kids I’m supposed to be teaching understand English. But I teach them Jesus Loves Me and they’ll have that in their hearts for the rest of their lives.

That alone made the confusion of struggling through non-communication worth it.

After the study we walk to the beach.

“Aren’t you scared,” the girls ask me as we walk onto the dock.

I look behind me and see they all have a hint of fear in their eyes, and it hits me, they don’t know how to swim. But they grab each others arms and walk boldly onto the dock and keep one eye on the waves below. And they laugh as they pull each other and joke around.

When we’re on the sand I’m amazed by all the shells. I look at them in wonder and start collecting a bunch. They giggle. It’s not so special to them. I suggest that they each pick one that they can write their name on, so I can take it home. Their eyes get big with excitement and they start collecting heaps of shells. Each of them has a good hand-full by the time we leave. And on the way home we sing worship music to the Creator of every shell, every laugh, and every beautiful off-key voice. And I know God was smiling down on us, maybe laughing with us, too.

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In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

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