This is the last piece for my recollections of our Manila missions. Day Three features our visit to the local hospital. It was a rainy day, so naturally, rainy days meant longer traffic waits as well. Manila has some pretty bad traffic - when you're stuck in a jam, you're really not going to be mobile for awhile. I remember being one of the "priviledged ones" to get to ride in Alvin's car. His car, though old, had air-conditioning; and that was a pretty big thing, considering the humidity in the surrounding atmosphere from the evaporating damp residue left behind by the rain, combined with the heat exuding out of everyone who sat like a can of sardines in the other 2 ministry vans.
Whilst the others fell asleep in the car, Alvin and I had conversations - about why we started doing what we did. Why/how did AFJC even begin; the leaving of everything behind; the answering of God's calling; uprooting and relocating; lost-in-translation moments; not even knowing where to start admist the loneliess and chaos. Alvin, in his usual humble tone spoke about how himself and Jace found themselves walking through one of those malls in Manila, shopping, before standing still in their tracks and really throwing themselves THE questions "Why are we here? What are we here for?". I suppose that's how missionaries start too, because they are only human. And why pick that name - onemustardseed. Such a strange name it must sound to people who do not understand why I selectively branded our dream as a singular plant seed. It was good stuff; he's such an inspiration to me. Rather, THEY really inspire me. Looking how far they've come gives me hope, that God knows what He's doing - fer real.
Anyways, we finally get to our destination. No, there ain't air-conditioning here either. I think apart from the lack of cool air that you get when you visit most hospitals in Australia, or Singapore, was the condition of everything. The brain took awhile to process everything my eyes were taking in.
It was like a scene out of those movie remakes of war; like a hospital set in the 1920s, with huge oxygen tanks for air supply, no sign of hygiene with roaches crawling around the walls. The patients were just content to have a shelter over their head. But later we found out that many of them harboured fear.
We split into teams, and went into different wards to share words of encouragement, and to share a message of God. I'll be honest, I love-hate public speaking. It's my heart to share with others what I've learnt, what I've experienced, to show some love via verbal language. But I get soooooo nervous everytime I share in front of a group of people. My heart literally palpitates (so much I can feel it bang against my chest), and I get sweaty and cold in my palms. Oh boy, so the impromptu sharing was a challenge for me.
I recalled the time when I fell sick as a child; I had high fever for a week, and the doctor suspected dengue. The night before I was due to be hospitalised and get a jab/possibly a cold shower, I recall singing happy songs, songs I learnt from a Christian Children Concert my aunt brought me to. My mom could not comprehend how a child, who must have been feeling terrible with fever, could be this happy outwardly. Now that I think back about it, it must have been God, because I felt at peace, and on the day after, I was completely well! My body temperature showed no sign of fever, or of virus threats at all.
I shared that story in the ward I was in, and to my surprise, people actually responded. I also shared about the lady who spent her whole alabaster jar of expensive perfume on Jesus (Matt 26:7); at that moment in time, it felt right. I'm sure God was there, working His way into hearts. As awkward as I was after my sharing, that had no proper closure, Allan, one of the AFJC guys took over to share more in Tagalog, and to open a salvation call. People responded! People responded! It must have been God!
It was some experience for ALL of us. Because all of us were called to rise to the need at that moment. We all shared life stories, we all sang praises, we all worshipped, we all preached, and we all prayed for the people. It was like being in a desert with no sign of water, till that very last moment where you prayed for rain, and the first drop of hope lands on your face. Then in pours. It was pouring that day (literally), but God was pouring down even more. Some significance, and how timely. Our God works in those ways.
A glimpse of hope goes a long way.
(by the way, the awesome photos were documented by Shaun)