Today is my birthday. Rob, Kris, Keith and Darryl came up and sang me a stunning rendition of Happy Birthday. A regular barbershop quartet. Rob also greeted me with chocolate cake and a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. Yum!
From here we were able to go to Greg's office and call home. Taylor had left for Kids Kamp that day and I wanted to hear how he did. My mom said he cried a little and had a pathetic look on his face as they were driving off but other than that did OK. Since Austin and Taylor were gone we only got to talk to Emily and my mom and dad. Even though it wasn't everyone it was good to hear their voices. Around 10:00 we left for the feeding center.
This feeding center is run by CBC. They feed about 35 children a day. Without this center most would not eat anything all day. If that isn't bad enough a lot of them are told to only eat a portion of it so they can take the rest home.
I'm not sure what they were eating. It was rice with some sort of meat and I think potatoes.
Some were so little that they needed help eating and drinking.
After all the kids had finished eating we were taken on a short tour of the area where these children live. It was poverty at its worst. Tiny little alley ways between the houses wind down to the river. It is a maze that would be easy to get lost in had we not had a good guide. All of these 'houses' are built out of whatever they can find and are thrown together. Because they are by the river all of the lower houses are on stilts.
As far as you can see either direction down river there are houses. It is the saddest sight you could ever see. Thousands of families living like this.
This river is in the top three most polluted rivers in Asia. It is one polluted, nasty river. Even so it is able to produce a crop called Kang Kong. It is a leafy green vegetable that is high in calcium and a small amount will feed a large family. It's amazing how God provides for his people.
I don't know why but I love this picture. Out of all I took on this trip this one is my favorite.
One thing that I never got over was all of the kids that were unsupervised and walking along the busy roads. And it wasn't just here, it was everywhere. Kids as young as two that miraculously never run in the road and managed to stay unhurt. At least while we were around.
Across the road and down about 50 yards from the feeding center is another church plant out of CBC. In the short time it has been up and running it has over 350 people attending three weekend services. Amazing! They also started a preschool that is doing well. Greg is such a great business man. He has lived there long enough to know how the government works. I was wondering why they would start a church so close to the feeding center where they are also starting a church he gave two main reasons.
#1 Because all of the houses by the river are built on government land they will eventually be torn down and the government will relocate everyone and give them a piece of land on the outskirts of the city. The feeding center/church is on the river side so when thousands of people are ripped from their homes so will the church and feeding center that has been in their community helping them. The government will give the church land and without even knowing it help plant a new church.
#2 Due to some reason I didn't figure out Greg said that people on one side of the street rarely, if ever, cross to the other side. That is why having a church on both sides of the road is important. If only on one side everyone on the other would never take the opportunity to enter.
We held our second community rally tonight and Satan provided much opposition. When we got to the barangay hall they had double booked it and there was a basketball game going on. We weren't about to get on that court. We were finally given the OK to use the area outside the court for our rally.
We, again, split up into groups and passed out fliers inviting everyone to come. Filipinos love Americans so because of that they were excited to come see what was going on. I don't know if there were more people at this rally or if it just looked like that due to a smaller space but it was packed. We had just a few minutes to get ready to do our drama. We weren't at all ready when they started the music. We were scrambling around trying to make it look good when the power went out. The music stopped and while they regrouped and got the music going again we regrouped too with all of our props and were ready when it was showtime.
Clear vision also did their drama and right in the middle of it the power went out again and they couldn't finish it. Tough Guys got up to do their demonstration and, as expected, the power went out again. Something good must be getting ready to happen because things just kept going wrong. Even with all of those things the gospel was still given and many people heard and accepted Christ as their savior.
In the end that is what we were there for. The dramas are good, so are the karate demonstrations but our main goal was to provide people a chance to hear the gospel and we did that. After the program was done all of the kids starting asking for our autographs. They were going crazy trying to get every ones signature. It was a mad house but one we had to soon exit to go to dinner. After McDonald's we went back to the hotel to pack for our beach adventure.
Some things I have noticed about the Philippines so far...
*there is police and security presence everywhere. every store we enter, every place we go.
*the police are often times accompanied by a metal detector. if a metal detector is not present then that means you have to open your bag for a search and you get a mini pat down before entering.
*driving lanes are more like guidelines.
*you can order fried chicken and spaghetti at any fast food restaurant including Wendy's, KFC and McDonald's where it is called McSpaghetti.
*the entire country is loud. the music is deafening.