Philippines Girls Learn the Joy of Giving
The streets of Manila are filled with people living in desperate situations and extreme poverty. Everyday we come face to face with overwhelming needs that are beyond our limited resources and human capacity, making one feel so helpless.
One of those people who we encounter regularly is a man we call Kuya Ramon. He is an elderly blind man who spends most of his time standing on a bridge. Rain or shine, he stands on this bridge daily with a cup in hand and a walking cane. Sometimes we pray for him, sometimes we give him bread or water, but one day we felt that we were to invite him out to lunch.
After reading Luke 14:12-14, the Bible scripture about having a feast with those who cannot repay us; the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, so we went to the bridge to invite Kuya Ramon to have lunch with us at a fast food restaurant. It was an amazing time together as we learned so much about him. He wasn’t always on the streets; he grew up in the provinces and went to the city because he heard of a program that teaches music for the blind. He learned how to play the guitar and worked at a restaurant for a salary and some food.
In a tragic turn of events, his home then burned down in a fire and his guitar also went up in flames. Ever since the fire destroyed his home and his means of livelihood, he has been on the streets begging for spare change. He asked if we could provide a guitar for him. We prayed that God would be the one to provide him a guitar and for his needs because, at that time, that is all we could do. We told Kuya Ramon to keep praying daily for his needs and trusted that God would answer his prayers as well as ours.
A couple of months later, God touched the hearts of some people to donate towards a brand new guitar for Kuya Ramon. Every good gift is from above and it is supernatural when God touches someone to give so selflessly for others they don’t even know. With the brand new guitar in hand, our rescue girls and staff went to the bridge to invite Kuya Ramon again to McDonald’s where we presented him with his gift. He was overjoyed!
It was a beautiful moment for all of us to witness. In that crowded place, Kuya Ramon played his new guitar and sang his heart out. We all ate and laughed, and we wanted to take photos but Kuya Ramon didn’t want to pause for one minute to take photos! He just wanted to keep playing his guitar and sing. After a few songs, we were able to convince him to take some photos with us and for us to take him home so he can play his guitar to his heart’s content.
This is what one of our rescue girls said about their experience:
“While helping Kuya Ramon, it feels like I won the lottery. I’ve learned that you don’t have to be rich to help those in need. I’m blessed that I met him, he is so diligent, so kind and so faithful.”
I would hear from some of the girls that they continue to stop to greet Kuya Ramon on the bridge; they sometimes offer him a little bit of their lunch or give him a little of their meagre allowance without anyone asking them to. When we offer the little that we have in our hands, God is able to do something incredibly amazing for us all to witness. We don’t have to be rich, but in helping and serving, we realise our true richness that can’t be bought or earned and is everlasting.
By Ana Cozzone
Philippines Learning Centre Manager