You’ve heard the song, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” Then there is the one of the little boy who wanted Christmas shoes for his dying mother. Recently we asked the kids to make a list of one thing they wanted for Christmas.
Most of the boys asked for remote control cars and game boys. The boys who asked for the later voluntarily exchanged their wishes to a more reasonable gift after researching a few prices.
Freddie’s wish was that he could go home to Bohol for Christmas and spend it with his family, (approximately a two-hour boat ride away) . Some of the girls asked for a pair of sandals. Angelica wished for a pink dress. But, more than anything, she wished that her sick mother would get well. Joseph asked if we could give a job to his mother for Christmas. In addition to a pair of sneakers, Romar thanked God for the multi-passenger vehicle recently donated to us, for Daddy Matthew and I and, lastly wished God’s blessings on us.
Cyril understandably asked for a big house. (Currently there are 32 of us living in a three bedroom house, including staff.) We endeavor to believe God for a miracle, quite a big miracle in fact. We are praying for an existing property known as Psalm Base where we would be able to have separate housing for the boys and girls and eventually separate housing for staff as well, once renovations are completed.
Though I share Jessibel’s story last, she was actually the first to respond. Her big brown eyes were full of sorrow. Her bottom lip protruded as she headed for her bed. I called to her several times, but she failed to answer. She buried her brown-skinned face in her cushion as if without hope. After several minutes of reflection, she mustered up courage, arose, came to my door and said, “I want my friends to come to church and meet Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.” She then gave me a list of children’s names, most of whom she met while serving at the feeding program we conduct behind her school. Week after week, Jessibel invites and brings a handful of her friends to church. (She is the one holding the hands of the little children in the picture above.) I admire her great love and compassion especially in light of her own present crisis. Jessibel’s parents are about to get evicted out onto the street.
The government housing (if one could call it housing), they are living in, is about to be demolished. Jessibel was overcome with grief and cried uncontrollably when she first received the news. And yet, remarkably her Christmas wish was not for herself or her family.
Like Jessibel, the hand of poverty was heavy upon me at the age of 13. My father sold our house to the bank for $2.00 in an effort to avoid foreclosure.
God sovereignly rescued us through my loving Aunts’ generosity. They opened their homes to us, gave us food and a warm place to lay our heads at night. Because of their love, the chain of poverty was forever broken for us.
Yet I am greatly humbled by Jessibel’s testimony. My Christmas wish that year did not consider the needs of others. But by God’s grace, He matured and transformed me into the person I am today. Now we house, educate, clothe and feed 27 children, many of whom once lived on the street and all who come from abject poverty.
I can hardly imagine what God will do in the life of Jessibel as she matures. It is Matthew and my desire that Jessibel would be the first of many children who would desire to affect the lives of future generations for good as long as the Lord tarries.
We pray you all have a blessed and merry Christmas.