For almost two years now, our efforts in the Philippines have been facilitated out of Tahanan Community Center. Over the course of that time, we have developed some wonderful friendships with young people in the Tacloban City area who have put forth great effort to both learn God's Word and implement it. The following write-up by Clark Miller reflects on this process.
In August, participants at Tahanan Community Center began orchestrating weekly service projects for youth to meet various needs within their city. These service projects not only give young people an opportunity to help their community, but also a way to exemplify the model that Jesus left for us. It is not enough that we are just hearers of God’s word, for we must work hard to actualize the teachings of Jesus! (James 1:22-27). This actualization of God’s Word comes through sacrificing time and putting forth great effort, the same type of sacrifice evident in the life of Jesus.
We must not get confused and think that Jesus’ only sacrifice came at the end of his life. He was constantly sacrificing his time and effort while he was alive to serve those who needed it most. Healing those without health care, feeding those without food, teaching those who lacked education, and empowering others to do the same. To imitate this sacrificial life of Jesus, you need selfless people who are willing to have such devotion and passion to serve people who cannot repay them (Lk. 14:12-14).
Thankfully, we have been blessed with a crew of volunteers who find joy in working to show the world what God’s kingdom is like. They visit a dumpsite and hospital to pass out food and to pray for some of the people. They gather and organize clothes to give to people in need. They held children’s activities in poor, provincial areas. They helped accomplish tasks at a birthing clinic that gives free service to all women. They put on a movie night and discussed a moral lesson with those who attended. The plans for their service projects for the upcoming weeks and months get more and more exciting!
We teach about the heart of God in Bible studies, but if we stop there, then we are poor teachers. We must demonstrate to others that we not only know, but share, the heart of God--a heart that aches for those who have been neglected by the systems of this world. Please keep those people in your prayers as we try to reveal to them how they matter in the kingdom of God.