Thursday, August 4, 2011

How To Make Sense Of This?

Just when I thought our family has seen what poverty truly is, God shows us more! As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am having a tough time reconciling the stark contrast between the luxury and the poverty that is so very evident all around us here in the Philippines!

Yesterday, we visited Rochelle, the Compassion LDP student whom I blogged about just before we left Toronto a couple of weeks ago.

First, we visited the Child Development Centre, PH920, where she grew up as a sponsored Compassion child. She now assists teachers there every Saturday... giving back to younger Compassion children what she has received from the centre as a child. Blessed to bless... what an amazing thing!

The space where 328 children come to attend Compassion-run programs.

Kitchen and food preparation area.

Some of the staff at PH920. Rochelle is the one in the white t-shirt beside me.

Next stop, Rochelle's house. Nothing could have prepared our family for what we saw there. It truly, truly truly broke my heart. Before we arrived at her house, Rochelle kept saying to me that I have to be careful not to hit my head at her house... I thought that maybe their doorway is low and because I am pretty tall compared to most Filipino people, I should be careful entering the doorway. Well... I'll just let the following pictures tell the story.

Alley leading to Rochelle's house from the main road.

Turning the first corner in the alley.

Notice me telling my kids to be careful not to step in sewage water.

Open sewage "trench" along the pathway.

My girl ducking to enter Rochelle's home. The whole ceiling was low,
not just the entry way. We could not stand up inside the house!!!

My girl and Rochelle towards the back of the house. What you see on top is the ceiling.
The girls are sitting down on low stools.

Hubby and my boy towards the entry door. You can see the ceiling on top of hubby's head.
They, too, are sitting on low stools.

Me exiting the house.

Turning the first corner; seeing people doing laundry.

The open sewage "trenches" once again.

My girl trying to avoid stepping on sewage water.

The whole house is no larger than 8x16 feet and all seven family members live there! Rochelle told us that when it rains, it floods inside the house! Remember the sewage water? Well, when it rains all that would be inside the house within minutes!!! It's literally an inhabitable place... but not only do Rochelle's family live there, a whole community of people do as well!

Heart-breaking... I have no words to describe what I feel. Upon leaving that community, I literally felt sick to my stomach... how can such atrocity exist? It was too much for me...

Then, we went to Ayala Centre where we treated Rochelle and a few of the staff from PH920 to ice cream! We had a great time of fellowship and getting to know each other more.

My girl and Rochelle enjoying their Halo-Halo (a Filipino ice cream dessert)!

A view of the mall interior... one of the many examples of First World
establishments here in the Philippines. 

We said goodbye to Rochelle and the staff... we truly had a great visit with them! Next stop, Marco Polo Plaza! We went from the luxury of what is Ayala Centre to an even more luxurious place. I'm sure you can now understand why I am having such a hard time reconciling things in my heart... how can such poverty exist right beside such luxury???

Our family gifted us with a one-night stay at this hotel because it is the place where hubby and I got married 17 years ago. It's been renovated and has a new name and a new owner. It used to be called Cebu Plaza Hotel.

My kids at the hotel entrance.

We were greeted with luxuries like this in our room.

And this...

And this as well...

And this in the bathroom...

Then we roamed the hotel grounds...

This is the poolside garden where we got married. Parts of it is still under renovation.
The actual spot of our wedding is behind us where the crane is.

Hotel lobby.

Relaxing before dinner. This room is bigger in area than Rochelle's whole house.

Then we went to dinner at the hotel's penthouse restaurant...

Such contrast... how to reconcile them? Maybe I'm not supposed to... I don't know. All I know is that a response is needed. And it is needed now! Today... not tomorrow.

Blessed, in order to give!
Saved, in order to serve!
Redeemed, in order to love!

Thanks-living. It's the only way.
It is our response.

After the visit, our family has decided that we will be sponsoring Rochelle!!! It is a huge commitment to see her through 4-5 years of university at $330/month but we know that our God is gracious. He has blessed us so that we can bless others therefore we will walk in obedience to His command... that is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him!

Will you join the movement of releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name and sponsor a Compassion child today?

Click on the banner below to read more Walk With Him posts every Wednesday...
I promise you will be blessed! 

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!


  1. What you are feeling is brokenness. I've learned that when I'm not feeling it, then I'm missing something. If I get too comfortable in my affluence and don't feel broken for others....then I need time with God.

    Just your post here has "broken" me all over again. God uses these stories to speak to me all over again.

    Praising God with you that you are taking a step of faith to sponsor Rochelle. Praying God will bless your relationship greatly. What a great way to start the sponsorship - by meeting face to face.

    And although you were surrounded by poverty then cool that you got to return to the site of your wedding. What a neat gift.

  2. What contrast. I can only imagine how hard it would be to reconcile the two.

  3. What an excellent thing to do as a family! You inspire me.
    And...I love to eat halo-halo! (I was born in Manila.)

  4. I cannot imagine living in Rochelle's house. I love seeing how God brought Rochelle out of there and how much she is impacting others. What a beautiful testimony of God at work!! I can relate to the stuggle of reconciling such poverty and wealth... When we stayed in the DR I still remember volunteering at a medical clinic in a Batey with open sewage...and then being invited to a church member's mansion and swimming pool after. It was one of the hardest experiences to sit in luxury after seeing such poverty.

  5. PH920 has closed :( My girl from there was able to move to a new project, I think all the kids were.

    1. Yes, I heard. So sad... but, trusting that God is working everything out for His glory.

    2. Same :) I'm glad I get to keep my girl :) But I did love this project

    3. Yes, PH920 was an awesome Compassion project! It closed right after our Rechelle graduated from the LDP program. She graduated this past May. We are now directly in touch with her through Facebook & email. So awesome!