As i walked across the Manila area today what came to my mind was the popular hymn, Amazing grace. The hymn made it’s true reflection of my life today after exploring the conditions of life of some fellow brothers and sisters in the marginalized communities in Manila. The title of the hymn means a lot because i discovered that the amazing grace and love of God has seen me through my life till the present moment despite the various challenges that i encountered.
For the few days that i have been here, i have come to understand that indeed mission is about being present in communities where God is already at work and not bringing a foreign God to the people, but to journey with them in their efforts to develop and improve their lives. There are thousand of people living near the dumping site and some depending on wastes for their food and income. The Smokey mountain is a place where a hip of municipal waste has almost turned to be a mountain with green trees growing and the people are continuously exposed to such wastes and little attention seem to have been paid to their plight or concern for good life. These are innocent people whom because of poverty have been living in inhuman conditions for decades and i wondered the type of grace that God has shown to other communities to have a better life than these people. They are continuously at risk of natural calamities and disasters and i asked myself again how special i am to have escaped all that throughout my life.
The second place i visited today afternoon was Navotas, and had the opportunity to meet staff of an organization that works with the urban poor to improve their lives and they took around their small facility and also a relocation centre where about 70 families live packed together in a basketball court. I wondered if these families know what privacy means and if they really have experienced that amazing love and grace of God. They have been staying in those conditions for a year now and i am wondering what the future holds for them.
Mission isn’t simply about telling our own stories and other people’s experiences but coming out of the darkness to light and move together on the road to good life and success. God is at work in these communities and what made me surprised was how organized these communities are in supporting the aged people and young ones. The youths had a small home made studio for recording songs that seek to educate their peers on drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, early pregnancy and other issues but the small computer they used had been totally demolished and destroyed by the typhoon that struck the place. The commitment that these people are showing to their welfare is a great testimony to what God is doing and i invite you to join the marginalized people of the world in their struggle for good life and God will reward your kind acts for he has a special and unique plan for your life.
May that grace lead you throughout your life .