It was very important for me to document my mission trip and share it with you, because it was YOU who made it happen! All your donations, prayers and support helped make if possible so I wanted to make sure I share this with you, as it’s your journey too.
Extreme Response (ER) Christmas Party #1 was for the 10 boys who live at the Extreme Response, Manila Children’s Home (MCH), and was like no other! After introductions, greetings and reunifications for many, the ER Christmas Team showered the boys with individual backpacks filled with lots of practical goodies, toys, treats and great recreational activities for the home. The boys expressed their gratitude and also performed a song for us too. We received a tour of the home where the boys live and also the office upstairs where all the planning, case management, and logistical stuff goes on. I was particularly interested because my first job out of college was working in a group home and there’s a special place in my heart for those at risk children. I learned a lot about their program and was really impressed with it all.
After the Christmas party in their home, we all drove over the a pool house, (literally a house rented for the day, with a pool) and were pleasantly surprised with the most beautiful display of a traditional celebratory meal, called Kamayan.
A kamayan dinner is a Filipino feast in which you eat lots of food off banana leaves at a communal table, without any utensils. What! An! Experience! It was delicious meal enjoyed with the boys, the Christmas Team, MCH Staff and some ER staff too. We had a wonderful time with the boys and it was so heartwarming to see the joy and laughter on their faces that day.
I learned a little bit about the boys, their heartbreaking past as well as their progress while living in the home and felt compelled to do some research and find out more. The Extreme Response website states the Manila Children’s Home mission is to “care for at-risk children, particularly 6- to 18-year-old boys who have been neglected or abandoned to live on the streets… The first six boys to take up residence (in 2014), ranging from 4 to 13 years old, were indicative of the children the Manila Children’s Home (MCH) seeks to impact. The three oldest are brothers who were abused by their father before being placed under government protection. The three younger boys were found on the streets by government social workers, unable to speak and apparently abandoned.”
It was beautiful to see the staff interact with the boys; their love for their work and for the kids really shined through! One of the highlights of my trip was meeting this inspirational woman, Gela. She is the Program Director and has done a stellar job at creating an effective and efficient system to run the home. Something else she does, that I love, is literally documenting and celebrating the accomplishments! I learned so much from her during my trip, this is one gem that I will really take to heart and start incorporating more in my life!
Gela’s husband, John, is the Executive Director of MHC and has the best smile and laugh you’d ever experience! He laughed the entire week as he helped us with the other Christmas parties too. It was an inspiration to witness the joy and love that they have; serving the needy, at risk and vulnerable children of their community. It’s hard work! But their faith, love, devotion, calling and obedience to divine guidance has led them to this ministry and made a difference in countless children’s lives.
MCH is funded by donations and if this has touched your heart, or peaked your interest, or you would like to know more about supporting this wonderful organization and cause… please visit their website @ http://extremeresponse.org/how-we-serve/manila-childrens-home/