Today I cried.
Today we purchased, portioned, and distributed bags of food to families of scholars in Navotas (scholars are the kids that Rev22 church send to school). In all honesty, I slightly dread this part because the process of visiting homes is: fitting into tight, dirty, stinky spaces (plus it rained today so add WET to that list).
We loaded about 30 bags into backpacks and ventured out with Pastor and his wife for the afternoon.
Street kids surround me. "HEY! What's your name?" Over and over. Maybe they won't try to hold my hand this ti....nope. Oh well. I kinda like it.
The first house we visit is the size of a twin bed and 9 people live in it. It's a shack that extends out into the street.
Moving forward, we get to the homes of families I know, Andreana (my interpreter during clinic) and Carmen.
Sitting in Andreana's house, we prayed for her and her mom and sister. I put my arm on her and leaned against her and the weight of how much I care about her fell on me. I haven't known her very long and have only seen her twice in my life now but I love her like a sister and I love that I DO love her! I'm so blessed to just waltz into this community and be received by such deep respect, admiration and love. Sniff.
I'm already emotional when we get to Carmen's house down the street. Carmen has a 4 year old daughter Tricia Mae, whom I deeply love (she might have some developmental delays). We get into Carmen's house and she has a poster on the wall with all our names on it. I sit on the bench and pull Tricia into my lap. Pastor tells us how Carmen works so hard to make about $2 US a day selling bleach and garlic. Her husband is an abusive drunk and her father is sick and needs money for medicine. She is struggling. She is crying. Christina prays for her and we all start crying. Carmen is such a wonderful, dedicated, hard-working mother. She doesn't deserve all this.
The community of this church and Navotas is so incredibly RICH that I can't describe it without weeping. I think about having to go back my community at home. It's so isolating in comparison. In this moment, I would trade every last toilet seat to keep this raw community close to my heart.
It's actually really selfish. I want to keep what I feel when I'm with them. It's true what they say about these darn mission trips. They give you more than you can ever give to them.