Today was our first full day in the Philippines. Yes I am half way around the world right now sitting in a hotel room in Manila. To give you a little background, I am on a mission trip with Jerry Krosnowski – Founder of Risen Savior Missions (RSM) from Burnsville, MN. I am going to be here for three weeks.
This past December, Jerry came to our prayer group and showed a video about his program that is feeding starving and malnourished children in the Philippines. Our prayer group is one of Jerry’s financial supporters. I was touched by his presentation and gave him a donation and offered videography and music on his next trip. Well he took me up on the offer and I am here with a guitar and several cameras and video gear. The goal is to produce a new video about how RSM feeds about 350,000 starving and malnourished children a year. If he had more resources, It could easily be expanded to help save even more lives. I am sending you this email partially so it gets me to write about my experiences here. I hope you enjoy it.
First of all I can’t drink the water or get it in my mouth when I shower, otherwise I could get sick. I had been practicing keeping my mouth shut in the shower at home. No more singing in the shower. I couldn’t believe how difficult that was to do. :0 Well I resorted to putting a piece of tape across my mouth. (JK) I did have to keep fighting off the impulse to run water in the sink and take a drink every time I brushed my teeth. We are actually staying in a pretty nice hotel while in Manila. A fIve Star in the US. This is for security and safety reasons. After breakfast we went down to Caritas, a local charity of the Catholic Church to pick up three others that would escort us today. We first went to Mass and then drove to downtown Manila. Then we got on a motorcycle with a side car. They call them tricycles.
We drove into the barrios in bumper to bumper traffic with cars, motorcycles and people darting everywhere. When we got to the barrios we were mobbed by the children that are fascinated with having their picture taken.
I took hundreds of pictures. We also interviewed a woman with her children. We asked her about the feeding program. These people live on about 350 pesos a week. That’s about $7. There are a lot of mouths to feed too. So free food is a Godsend for them. There were a few times when I felt little uneasy when we were on the street and the locals were eyeing up my equipment. But we kept moving and stuck closely together. These people live in little concrete shacks with a tin roof. This woman we interviewed had a fire in her house. In fact there was a huge fire on March 2nd that displaced 14,000 people. 14,000 who are now in refuge camps. We went to see the refuge camps. I’m not sure if it’s worse or better than where they were living. They are sleeping in an old gym. The places where they are living were pretty bad. Imagine an old rotted burnt out concrete block shack that you got the “willies” when you walked into it. This is where they live.
There is a sadness in their eyes. There is also a joy. I took individual pictures of about a dozen kids. After I did this they asked what my name was in broken english. So I told them Ter-ry. So then they started chanting, Ter-ry, Ter-ry Ter-ry. I felt like a rock star as we were walking out of the barrios giving high fives with the kids surrounding me. There were a couple of people with cell phones. Imagine that, even on a paupers budget. So they had to take pictures of me because I took pictures of the kids. :). Tomorrow, more time in the barrios. These kids actually look pretty healthy because they have been on the feeding program for a while. We saw a lot of people sleeping under bridges, on the sidewalks. Beggars half clothed. There are 12 million people in living on 25 square miles. I am totally fascinated with all the beautiful faces I see. When Jerry had invited anyone from the prayer group that would be interested to come on the trip, he promised one thing. He said, “if you come on the trip, I guarantee you one thing, you will see the face of Jesus.” I think I have already gotten a few glimpses.