I am watching two kids playing while writing this. We are in a huge room with a play house and all sorts of toys. Both kids were playing independently. One was into trucks and little people, while the other was into cooking sets and teddy bears. Both minding their own business not talking to each other.
This what you call this phenomenon in my world. There may be variations but the explanation is simple: two kids play along side but independent of each other. I play here. You play there. No interaction. No fighting. We may pick similar toys or exchange toys at some point but that’s all the interaction we’d ever get.
Ring a bell?
Isn’t that how you treat your office mates? Isn’t that your attitude when you walk around town? Isn’t that how you treat others from half way across the globe? Isn’t that how you treat people on the internet?
I am not pointing fingers here because I do those, too. I am also guilty.
The world has slowly become apathetic that we don’t care what happens in other parts of the world. We think our poor internet connection is a huge problem or the lack of spoon and fork in the McDonald’s you ordered is the end of the world. Little do we know that there are people who don’t even know what a computer is or don’t even have food to eat. There are people who don’t even have homes or are doomed to die even before they were born.
Praises to God there are people like the Benkert Family whose patriarch, Levi, was willing to stake his family’s lives to God and live to tell of the experience. In his book, “No Greater Love,” we are plunged into the life of a missionary family in Ethiopia.
Levi Benkert is actually a real estate businessman with a failing business due to the real estate crisis of the late 2010s. He brought his family from the US to Africa to organize and establish a fledgling orphanage. Due to a strong cultural belief, some parents were forced to kill their children or the whole village will suffer the consequences. Levi and family were to save these kids from death and put them in an orphanage.
We are told of their difficult transition from being a successful business magnate in the United States to God’s humbled and struggling soldiers in the forefront of Ethiopia’s tribal culture. The story telling is so heart warming, anyone reading the book would fight the urge to jump into a plane bound for Ethiopia the first chance he gets.
Believe me, I almost did.
Yet for someone like me who has seen the situation of children here in the country – the orphans, the children with disabilities and many others with special needs, the urge to stay was stronger than the urge to leave. In fact, as I am jotting these words down in my cellphone, I realized the weight of the work in the country.
As of this writing, I am here in the airport and I have just finished a side line job of assessing and evaluating children with disabilities in Davao City (my third time). In the several times that I have been here, I was able to meet and talk to parents who have been waiting for professionals who could help understand their children’s condition. Some of them travelled miles just to get their kids assessed and finally find some clarity in what to do with their child. It is hard to ignore their pleas.
The truth is, even though we may see Africa as more in need than our country, there exists a parallel problem.
Unknown to most, orphanages are full to the brim. There may be sponsors and willing hearts who could help, but there is still a need for better facilities. There is still a need for beds, toiletries and education services. Blame the government all we want, but as long as no one would take the leap of faith to help them, nothing is going to happen. Unknown to most, children with special needs outside the metropolis cities like Manila, Cebu or Davao are usually tied up to posts or put in cages to prevent them from roaming around. Their parents, in their shame and poverty, could not get the necessary knowledge or training they needed to handle their own son or daughter. Their neighbors and the whole town, in their ignorance, treat this family as either pariah or curiosities. While efforts are being done to educate and help, it is often not enough.
After reading the Benkert family’s story, I knew deep inside me that the way to help is not to go out of the country but to go deeper in it. Saying that Ethiopia is poorer than us or blaming it to our corrupt government wouldnt justify our inaction and inability to help. The Benkert family thought at first that giving money is enough. Yet once they experienced the need in Africa, they learned that being in the forefront of the battle is more life changing and more meaningful than just sending materials and supplies.
In the same way, would we just sit and give what was excess in our fat wallets or would we take that leap of faith, leave the comforts of your home and learn to surrender to God in the field?
The question is for me than for you.
Worthy Habla is speech pathologist by profession. Obviously, he’s a bookworm and blogger by passion. Aside from being a nature enthusiast, he’s empowered being an Adventist Youth Leader, a deacon, a deaf ministry co-coordinator and volunteer.
As much as he loves to capture memories, he is fond of chasing the wind through running. He strives to rise above the state of mediocrity, and literally, he challenges himself to conquer heights though hiking.
Check out more of his musings through his blog, MANACLED.
*Worthy is the first guest blogger, Curly Bookworm ever had. Grateful for his gaiety in responding to a bookworm challenge. Kindly read the blog post by clicking the title beneath:
It’s not in the blogosphere where I first bumped with this creative writer. I got acquainted with his articles in CQ (Collegiate Quarterly). It’s just surprising how we end up collaborating. And I’m grateful for God’s gift of friendship authored by the Heavenly Wordsmith.
Keep posted for the other guest bloggers! Who knows, the next could be YOU! 🙂
© 2015 LAF
Note: Photo credit to Worthy Habla. This blog has a copyright. The photos and articles should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.