They have been without electricity for several years, but that was about to change on this day. Jessica and I were on our way to the bridge with a gift that the Lord enabled us to give. A few years ago, being a part of providing a gift like this would have been much more difficult (we chipped in with a few kind hearts). In the States we were a middle class family at best. However, even with less than half the income we had when we lived in the U.S., we are able to do a lot more with less and we find ourselves in about the upper middle class here in the Philippines. It is in that position that we have been learning the joys of being able to use God's resources to bless others beyond what we were able to before. Since we moved here, we started a savings account for ministry and God gave us a great opportunity to use some of that savings (along with the help from others) to buy a generator for our friends at the Bridge.
One of the men there said to me that in the past, they tapped into the near by power lines, (which is illegal and dangerous) for electricity until the power company cut all their lines. Since then they have been living in the dark, except for some glass bottles filled with some sort of flammable liquid and a rag/wick for light. They never complained about a lack of light. What disturbs them more than the darkness are the mosquitoes that come at night.
We pulled up to a group of excited men when we arrived with the generator. They greeted us and then quickly went to work. Lifting the bulky generator, which weighs about 100 pounds, they carried it down a little homemade wooden ladder and through the dark passage leading to their homes under the bridge. The usual curious little heads began poking out and looking at the big brown box. The children wouldn't understand what this clunky little machine is till after the sun sets.
As soon as the men set the generator in place, Kuya Edwin pulled out a box of wire. They began unraveling and straightening it.
Both young and old were involved as they stretched the wire that looked like it could run the length of a football field.
Edwin pulled out an old florescent light that he used to use when they had electricity. He wiped away what looked like years of dust and corrosion and prepared the wires, hoping that the it would still work. They pulled wire throughout the make-shift homes so that every family could enjoy the light. Jessica and I had to leave before they finished the job.
We dropped Kuyas Edwin and Tony and the hardware store to pick up a few more needed supplies. On our way to a bible study later that night, Jessica and I got a text message on my cell phone saying, "Kuya Sean, thanks, we all have light now. The kids are so happy playing in the light."
This generator will not only give them light and perhaps keep the mosquitoes off them at night, but it will also aid in teaching under the bridge and enable us to do film showings. We are planning on having a monthly movie night and a Bible message. We will invite the whole community, including their neighbors to share the gospel with them as well. With the generator, we can now bring in our own power wherever we go so that we can use our computer, projector, T.V. and P.A. system to share the good news that Jesus Christ forgives the sins of those who trust in Him alone.
I'm am excited that God allowed us to bring physical light into their lives, but I am even more excited that God has allowed us to bring the light of His Word into their lives. Many of our friends under the bridge have received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We are seeing lives change and generations who used to live in darkness, now living and growing in the true light. Please pray that God would continue to be gloried in their midst and for their continual growth, health, protection, work and sustenance. Thank you to all of you who make it possible for us to show them love through your prayers and support.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Mother's day turned out to be an expensive day for us. After church we took Jessica out to a nice Italian restaurant for lunch. It was a bit upscale for the Philippines and cost us around $30 to feed our family of 7. Afterwards, we went to get some tea. Kian was carrying the baby (Isabella) in her car seat and I was carrying my book bag on my shoulder. We set my bag under the table and Bella next to it. Soon after, Jessica, Grace and Tyler sat in chairs around the table. Kian, Christian and I went to the counter to order our drinks. We sat down and sipped our teas, read and chatted till the little ones got bored. When we decided to leave we packed up the baby and our things, but noticed that my bag was gone. I never even saw anyone near our table. Jessica figured that they must have grabbed my bag while I was ordering and she was distracted with reading or the kids. Inside my bag was my bible, a book for school and my PDA, (a little handheld computer) ouch! Perhaps worse than the value of the PDA is all of my information on it; including our phone numbers and addresses. I have copies on my computer, but we pray that we will not get another visit from the thief who took my bag. It is possible that he saw and white guys carrying a bag on the street and followed us into the coffee shop hoping he might get a computer. This is the kind of thing that can happen in any big city. I am just glad that the two times we have been robbed in the Philippines were not in our home. That seems scarier to me. I also praise God that my family is safe. I know this picture of Isabella is not related to this particular story, but I took it today and I just couldn't resist posting it.