This is week #4 of the Compassion Bloggers blog month to raise awareness and help find new sponsors for children. This week we’re taking a quote from Compassion International and sharing what it means to us.
“The presence of dignity doesn’t mean poverty is absent.”
One of the poorest women I ever met displayed great dignity.
It was our first Thanksgiving as missionaries in the Philippines, and 12 of us climbed into a 4 wheel drive truck for a bumpy journey through muddy rice flats and jungle mountains, across remote areas where nipa huts sheltered chickens, pigs, and children. Eyes rose from rice planting and raking to watch us pass, until we arrived in a collection of huts on dirt paths. People waited around a turquoise cement church building.
We were greeted by the sounds of an old hymnal, “Oh, Say But I’m Glad.” Seated on the second wooden bench up front, I immediately felt our bodies sticking together as Jacob whispered, “Mommy, I’m so hot.”An elderly lady behind us handed me a damp paper book of hymns, held together by scotch tape. We sang and prayed in the local dialect.
The pastor’s wife, mother of 9, played the wet sounding organ with a wide smile. Though her feet were black and gnarled from years of gripping slimy mud in rice paddies, she sat up as straight as a musician at a symphony in a great hall. It was as if her reverence for the message of hope she played overcame her poverty of life and person.
After the sweltering service, the pastor’s wife invited me up the short ladder into her nipa home. I sat in a bamboo chair and studied the walls woven of grass, the floor of bamboo strips, and the open windows looking out on goats and chickens and dirt courtyard. Without window screens or electricity, her home was beautiful and she the centerpiece, without worldly riches but abundant with dignity. “Oh, say but I’m glad.”
They brought us into the room full of pots of rice and noodles, with bowls of roasted pig and unknown dishes. The lady of the hut seated us on their “porch” and brought more food. We ate because such a sacrifice was made to serve us and because each bowl of unidentifiable delicacies was delivered with a dignified bow and gracious smile by the woman who knelt over and over at her stove on the floor. “Oh, say but I’m glad.”
Find out you can sponsor a child through Compassion International and be a part of bringing eternal hope to impoverished lives.
(Watch for more photos from this sweet lady’s home later today on the CHP Facebook page)