“You’re just using us. All this ‘good acts’ are just actually to benefit you and your agency. You get paid and you prosper. Your life gets well when you leave us. But us? We’ll stay poor and in this pit of hopelessness forever.”
This is what Kuya George told me when I talked to him. Maranatha Family Church is on the go for evangelism this year and our home group focused on a community to see lasting fruits. Our hearts are set on seeing His transformation in Iraq, R. Castillo St., Agdao, Davao City.
We have ministered in this place a lot of times few years back as His Mission Church. We provided food and shelter when 150 plus families lost their homes due to a fire incident. We had several Bible studies going on after that and many lives were nurtured. Most of the recipients for our feeding program are from this community. We dug the ground here for years. But many of us transitioned to different seasons of life (getting married, moving to a new place, work, studies, etc.) and in my personal opinion, these changes with the lack of consistency and readiness contributed to why we have seen little success.
But when we went back their hearts were very welcoming. Even those drunk and religious like Kuya George. If this happened few years back, we could have experienced yelling, threats and closed doors. Today is another story. A better one.
No matter how hard I convinced Kuya George that we’re not doing this for our “agency”, his heart was closed. I understand… After years of people coming to this place… people from different religious, government agencies and NGOs trying to help them but were unsuccessful, he lost hope. That’s why it was easy for him to conclude that people are just using this place, people and situation to benefit an organization… leaving them still in the midst of poverty after.
My heart was crushed inside in that 1-hour conversation. This community is a perfect picture of abandonment, rejection and hopelessness. Kuya George showed it to me.
In the midst of brick walls, it was that one spark of selfless love that changed it all. When I told him that we’re not being paid and supported in all that we do but we ourselves are spending from our own pockets, he let his guards down. We started feeding 100 kids and teaching them about Jesus last Sunday. We are also reaching out our old contacts to start new Bible studies all over the place. Kuya George couldn’t believe it that we would go out our “comfort zones” to give our hearts to this community just because we love them. That despite our limitations, we’re dedicated to feed their kids, teach their families and bring life to those who are willing to receive. He couldn’t believe that there are people who would actually go the extra mile selflessly for the sake of love.
“Naa lang jud mi diri kay nahigugma mi ani na community Kuya.”
“Atik. Tinuod jud na? Kamo?”
“Oo Kuya. Impossible ni kung wala ang gugma sa Ginoo. Pero kay ang gugma sa Ginoo nag-overflow sa amoa, gusto sad mi mohigugma sa mga tao diri.”
After this, he invited us to visit his home the next time we’re there so we can pray for him and talk more when he’s sober. It was then that I learned this lesson:
Money can not change a circumstance. Religion can not change a circumstance. Programs can not change a circumstance. It is ONLY that pure selfless love that comes from God that changes hearts and lives.
We can bring millions worth of livelihood projects in this community, send all their kids to school and build them new homes – all these will have little or no effect. It is the selfless love of God that makes a difference…