A Tribute To Outreach People
I love outreach projects. But the ones I do organize have a twist. I will tell more about these later, but for now the story is about outreach projects organized by other friends.
Last November, I had a schedule for two consecutive outreach projects, the first one, was for the elders of the Missionaries of Charity (MOC) at Tayuman, Manila sponsored by my friend’s company, and for the next day, for the little girls and boys of the Boys Town, Marikina, sponsored by two birthday celebrants, one of whom was my old student and “mentee”.
My friend and my student contacted me asking help on how to go about their outreach projects. So my role this time was merely to help coordinate the sponsors of these two outreach projects and connect them to the sisters of MOC and my other contacts, to share my tips and tricks of the trade as to where to get quality yet low cost materials for food and donated goods, assist in logistics, help bring in more volunteers, and to mobilize all involved.
After a successful day at the MOC and before getting ready for the following day’s outreach project at Boys Town, I rested by returning to the Gesu church at Ateneo, my alma mater, for a long delayed quality time with the Lord.
After having recently attended Prayer School at Don Bosco Church, I tried applying what they taught us ~ to ready oneself before praying.
So when I went inside Gesu, I found a spot and sat for a while and observed the belen, the Christmas lanterns, and the new church set-up, how peaceful it felt as there were only about five people inside at that time and a student taking pictures of the giant belen. I brought out my bible, book, and my giant fan. When I was finally ready to pray, I kneeled and closed my eye.
As my knees touched the wooden kneeler, I found myself listening to the sweet sound of instrumental music from the piano that started to play.
Deep within, I felt the Lord was pulling out the works to make me fall for Him more. Okaaay I have to admit, it was not just for our quality time. I went to Gesu for my date with the Lord. So to have music playing right at the very moment I started praying on my knees, made me feel instantly overwhelmed by His love and attention, that tears just instantly flowed. I felt so special and so loved.
In my heart, I told Him,
“I know I am called to be here. And now I am here. For our quality time. For our date. And now, you’re even showing off. Pshaw… You truly know how to make my heart melt! Well… I am impressed, more than that, I am floored. You truly love me, Lord.”
“I know what we have is something special, and not everyone can understand it. But I feel safe and at peace. And what you say is more important than what others say. I know I have you Lord. So for now, you are my lover. And I am yours.”
Thank you also to the student taking pictures whom I guess was practicing church music for the mass that night.
I continued to pray and tell the Lord how my day went, my worries, and prayer intentions for others and myself.
After that, I brought out the book I bought from Prayer School, entitled “Stay, Wait and Pray” by Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB. It was gonna be my first time reading a book while praying!
I opened my book to the first chapter on Sinai, the topic from last Thursday’s talk to review and digest the words of the chapter – this time in my own pace.
“Moses went right into the cloud. Come right in. Welcome, my beloved servant. Enter the joy of your Master. But you must choose to pray. Let go of the marketplace. It will still be there tomorrow. Promise.
I’d like to tell you simple things that matter, like, when you gave food to a hungry brother, you did it to me. See?
I’ve been walking with you all throughout.
Whatever you were so busy about, whatever you worry about, whatever you cry about… I was and will always be with you. Do not be afraid. Climb right up. Make yourself comfortable.
My friend, the divine romance is just about to start.”
I started crying again on the second paragraph. And all I had were four pieces of tissue. And I already used up two!
You see that very morning I got the chance after a long time, to actually feed a Lola again. I was busy checking on everyone, asking how they are and if everything was going well until I got to a row of lolas, and I asked them one by one if they needed anything.
Suddenly the last Lola in the table asked me, “Hija, pwede bang magpasubo?” (Can you spoon-feed me?)
Of course I said yes. I was used to it. Some elders can eat on their own and would get irritated if you try to help them. Some cannot feed themselves and volunteers will be readily assigned to them. But nobody noticed this Lola needed extra help. I saw that her eyes were shut closed rendering her blind. So I guess before I got to her she was just feeling her way out of eating a plate of menudo and rice. We talked a bit, I teased her a lot, and asked how her food was. Lola was able to finish eating her banana too.
How did He knew exactly how to touch my heart? I know I should no longer be surprised, but I am!
You see I have volunteered for so many outreach projects and organized a lot of them on my own, but as I continue to play the role of coordinator, I had little chance to do the actual feeding of an elder or a kid during the recent outreach projects.
I guess it came to that point that we’ve become better in helping out and organizing outreach projects. We know what to do. We know what to say. I knew we were helping the beneficiaries. But I forgot that the lolas and lolas, the kids and all those we are helping and feeding is actually You…
I might have forgotten. I might have made my efforts a puny matter, but not to you. To you… It was a big deal. To you.. It was my great gift to you. And now you are saying you actually got my gift, Lord? Sniff!
“I’d like to tell you simple things that matter, like, when you gave food to a hungry brother, you did it to me. See? I’ve been walking with you all throughout.”
Out of all the chapters in the book, the days I could have volunteered, the days I could go to gesu, the actual time I could have prayed to you, you exactly chose this moment for your message. This could no longer be a coincidence.
Who am I Lord to have your attention? To have your reply and your very own confirmation that you have received the food I gave you? I am just your servant – deeply humbled and in awe of your grace. But thank you, Lord. Thank you very much for this. I might not be able to recover from this surprise.
“Spirit of love, consoler of souls, you never deny the sweetness of your loving gaze to those who sincerely search for you.”
Indeed I have been sincerely searching for you and I found you Lord!! You were always in my heart.
“Graciously open your heart to your servant that I may feel your powerful love.”
Thank you Lord! I will never ever doubt of your faithful love for me. With your love, I am content Lord. Because you are enough for me. I love you Lord. Huuugs!! Thank you for spending quality time with me. Til our next date. =)
Dear outreach friends, donors, and volunteers,
This one is for you. I know our hearts come from the same mould. I know the Lord loves me. I don’t need to do anything, yet He loves me. I am already saved. And so are you. But the reason I do outreach, is because I love Him too. Let us continue to share to others the opportunity to be more blessed.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
Time to shine!