YFL Singapore Immersion – Work with the Poor

(by  Juan Enrico Feliciano – YFL Singapore Servant)

It has been an exciting 2-day trip that made me a better person.

The CFC-FFL (YFL) Singapore has book our flights initially for the upcoming World Youth Congress. However, due to sudden change in dates, we change the purpose of our visit in our hometown for an Immersion Program.

Initially, I was not planning to go. Earlier of March, the whole month was scheduled as packed as sardines in a can. There was no way I could go back home for the Immersion program. But of course, if you believe, God will find a way. Suddenly, there was a small “resting” period that opened up for me and I was booked to go.

The trip was a blast full of eye-opening experiences. Firstly, there was the restoration village in Novaliches. We visited one of the houses and its residents shared how they live their lives normally. You can see that there is genuine emotions in them as they were sharing the times of trouble, depression and hardship. But all those were overpowered by the simple gladness when they are helped by the missionaries.

It put a big smile on my face to see how the little of things that we ignore can cause tremendous happiness for the people of Novaliches. It taught me to appreciate.

On the second day, it was a deeper experience. Even though, I was not there the whole time and only visited one house, I learned a lot. The mother’s story about her difficult times was really moving. Especially when she began to explain the members of her family. The restoration village in Batangas is in the rural areas of the Philippines. They are deprived of the basic “necessities” that we have here in the urban cities. She explained that her young son is very caring and appreciated every little bit of the foundation offered. Her young daughter gratefully accepted the things that community gave to them and promised to themselves that they would the same. It was inspirational. How can someone who has almost nothing can say that they are willing to give anything as if they have everything? There was no hesitation between the family members.

I was shocked that they know and confident where they are heading and plans to be there someday. I was moved to hear that with their strong faith with the Lord and the help from the community, they have dreams and plans that may succeed one day. It was just plainly what we call an “epiphany”.

The day was cut short because I had to catch my flight but I think that was part of the plan. As I was alone in the bus trip back to Manila, I began to reflect. I began to wonder am I doing the right things. Or even I wonder, am I on the right track?

Then I began to realize, I am on the right track. If the people in the restoration villages can appreciate what little they have and willing to give themselves out there because of their faith in God’s plans, why can’t I? I know the Lord has planned my stay in Singapore, my education here, my trip to the Philippines, the whole sudden change in plans, everything. I believe that he is the focal reason why I am here right now, reflecting on this trip. Because, without Him and if I don’t believe in Him, I would have stayed in the Philippines. Just do what I was “told” by the society and never get to that promised life that God has prepared for me.

Really, those people in the Restoration village, especially that child in Batangas taught me a lot and yet, I was there to help them. They helped me to open up my view of life as I was just listening to their lives.

It was said that people do come in our lives for a reason. And now, I believe in that saying. I know now that God will lead us to them. These are the people that will help us to grow. And if we open our hearts and we help them in return, they would change us to be better, stronger and to become more joyful people.

These people are the Jesus in our lives (and I found mine in the trip) and help us to proudly say, “I choose God, I choose Life and I am God’s child.”