Friday, February 24, 2012

PI, HI, & me

A few years ago I got to go to the Philippines for a short mission trip with YWAM (Holoholo Ministries).  It was really great.  I love to see different places and experience different cultures.  Not only do you get to learn about other people, but you learn a lot about yourself.

Let me say that the Philippines is a beautiful place.

But like all places, there are areas...that could use a little more beauty.  Areas you don't see on the vacation brochure...

This is the Balatas dump.

(click on image to enlarge)
We went to the dump on more than one day.

There were a lot of things you don't want to see there.  Homes...built on trash.  The ground you walk on sinking just a little under the weight of your foot...because it's not's trash.  At another site named 'Smokey Mountain', methane gas would be visibly rising out of the 'mountains' of rubbish.  But the most heart breaking thing about this whole scene is the even...going through the trash for things they can recycle for money...or for things they can eat like left over hamburgers and other food.

(click on image to enlarge)
I would see little kids who were maybe 5, 6, or 7 years old walking around with sticks just swiping at loose pieces of rubbish hoping they would find something good underneath.  That really...affected me.  I thought to myself, "Kids at that age should be running around and playing ball...not digging through trash for something to eat or recycle."

Even in the midst of all that, there were still pockets of beauty bursting out.

(click on image to enlarge)

...and it was such a blessing to be there for that.  Sharing food & songs, playing games, talking about hope and the possibilities of something more than the everyday realities they faced.

There were a lot of people that I got to meet, but let me introduce you to Joel.

(Do not click to enlarge...LOL or you'll enlarge my asian afro pictured here)
There are a few things I remember about Joel.

He was a street kid.
He stole stuff (i think).
He was chased by police.
Beaten by police.
But when I met him, he was a happy guy.  He would always have his Walkman w/ headphones on...just listening to his music.  Maybe once or twice I would hear him singing (in the mumbled way we all do when we have headphones on).  He also helped me learn two Filipino songs.  I think I remember one...and parts of the other.  Or I could have totally forgotten both and am just combining the two to make one song.  I don't know.

Thinking back to this time reminds me that simple things can be enormous blessings. 

Flash forward to today.

I am home.

In Hawaii.

...and I see tents on the side walk, a man sleeping at a bus stop with all his possessions packed into a shopping cart, another rummaging through the trash for aluminum cans he might be able to recycle and instead of engaging them, instead of coming close and trying to be a part of their story, I "mind my own business"...and walk on by.

I feel bad about that. 

So I've been praying that God would show me someone I can be a blessing to...and for about a week or two I've noticed an older woman around Queens Hospital.  She is always in the same place, just sitting.  I wasn't sure what she was doing or what she needed.  So recently I decided to get a closer look...sorry, I'm not that good with I don't know how else to describe it.  But anyway, as I was walking towards her ready to say, "Howzit Aunty?"  I heard her talking to herself in an angry rough sort of way...and I got a little...caught off guard I guess.  Schizophrenic.  My grandma was schizophrenic.  I just didn't know what to do.  I didn't know how to help...and I just kept on walking.  I suck.

It's weird that when going to a foreign country how I can have so much hope and feel like there is so much that can be done...but here at home, where I feel there are so much more resources, I feel it's harder to help people.

Not sure where this is going.

I guess I just wanted to reminisce a little and remember what happened before...remember how when I saw people like Joel, I didn't see him with disgust or indifference, but I saw hope and possibilities.

And maybe just to remind myself that I can see people here at home that way as well.

We'll see...

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