The journey of Kevin Velez continues with Mission Ministries Philippines. Kevin is a 21 year old Global Studies student from Azusa Pacific University in California USA. He has joined Mission Ministries Philippines for 4 months as an intern to fulfill the requirements of his studies. We are excited to once again realize God's great works of the heart as Kevin genuinely expresses his encounter during another opportunity to spend time engaged with Mission Ministries Philippines.
Kevin's journey continues...
"Welcome back! Again, I just want to thank you for continuing to walk through this journey with me, and if this is your first time I strongly encourage you to check out my previous posts –they’ll give you a way better understanding of who I am and why I’m writing.
"This week I was given the pleasure of attending a community outreach program that is done in partnership with a local university. This university is known as La Salle, and it is one of the premiere institutions here in the Philippines. MMP partners with La Salle to give university students an opportunity to visit MMP partner schools in informal communities. The particular group of students I was with were from a theology class, and were there to put faith and works together.
"The La Salle students were amazing as they put on a program for the children that consisted of interactive games, story telling time, and provided lunch so they could break bread together. The professor even told me that some of the university students paid out of pocket for the food.
"The second half of the program saw the university students led into the community to visit homes and get to know local people and the realities they live in. I accompanied a group of young men to a local community center known as the Onesimus house. This house serves as a type of transitional home for out-of-school youth in the community that have been kicked out of their homes but desire a second chance to make their lives right.
"We were able to hear their stories and feel the weight of their journey. They expressed the pits and mistakes that led them to their current situation. Most of the stories were filled with the usual culprits of adolescent vices: drug abuse, gang involvement, womanizing, and broken family systems.
"There was a redemptive quality to the stories as each of the young men ended the group session by sharing what they wanted for their future. Aspirations such as finishing school, obtaining careers, and starting families of their own. One of the young men shared that in his heart he is praying for his family to be restored, despite of the fact that his mother and father are no longer talking.
"As we came back to the preschool for debrief, the university students were able to share what they were most impacted by and how the experience altered their understanding of people living in these types of communities.
"Although this is really only a small foray into the world of the “other,” I admire these students for being willing to engage in a program that brings them in contact with people that are far away from where they are on the economic scale. It shows the willingness to see things from a new perspective and walk in solidarity –if only for one day.
"It is amazing that MMP would partner with a local university to offer this type of exposure. I want to extend a challenge to you, think of a particular people group that you don’t know much about, or don’t identify with, and I want to challenge you to find a way to step into their reality. Whether it be volunteering in a community center, or however you else you decide to do this, what is important is that you try to see a perspective different then your own.
"I guarantee the results will be life-changing."
In love and grace,