Recently, I and 60 other church leaders went on a vision trip sponsored by an organization which, in partnership with local churches, is trying to make a difference in the lives of more than 100,000 Filipinos who are living in unspeakable poverty–people who each earn around PHP20 a day (or US$0.46). On this trip, we observed what this organization is doing among ultra-poor families in several communities in General Santos City.
At the end of the trip, the participants were asked to talk about their experiences and share their observations and insights. One lady shared about a 4-year old girl who would not leave her side; in fact the girl wanted to leave her home and go with this lady. Seeing what was going on, the pastor working in the community informed the lady that the girl is a victim of an ongoing sexual abuse…by the boyfriend of the girl’s mother! Furthermore, the mother tolerates this inhuman behavior because the boyfriend gives her money for some of her family’s needs!
Say all the nice things that you want about the Philippines: It’s more fun in the Philippines! The Philippines is the first Christian nation in Asia. Filipinos are the most hospitable people in the world. All these mean nothing to the 8 million Filipinos living in ultrapoverty, among whom this story of a horrifying breakdown of decency is commonplace.
I refuse to simply be a “poverty tourist” who captures the plight of these people using my digital camera and yet not lift a finger to help them. Fellow Filipinos, especially those who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ, I ask that you be enraged with me by this reality and to commit to be a catalyst of transformation in our society. God’s Word is clear:
He has shown you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
What’s your move?
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