Real Life Talks. I’ve always believed in helping young people get their education. I grew up seeing my grandparents and parents do this. Besides making sure we got our education and despite my so many delays before getting my degree, they supported other scholars. Which is probably why I believe in Real Life Foundation so much. The fact that it is our church’s social responsibility arm and that they help struggling students get through high school and college, were enough reasons for me to support the foundation.
But I thank God that I was there at Real Life Talks a few Saturdays ago. To be reminded that this started really small, is just so inspiring. From a burden that God placed in the heart of one man some years ago, Doc Joey, who saw malnourished kids in Pasig and decided to feed them, to a “project” that other people in their community wanted in on, to a full blown, legit NGO today. Wow. The Lord is good.
Because poverty is so prevalent in our country, it is only right that the church be involved in helping our fellow Filipinos. And not just by giving food or financial assistance, though that is good. And not just by giving them tuition so that they can finish school, though that is also good. We don’t stop at merely creating graduates. What makes me more sold out on Real Life is that they (we) help them grow in their relationship with the Lord. Life skills and people skills are taught. Their character is developed. They not only become successful people in their fields and upstanding Filipino citizens, they also become wise, honorable, reliable, compassionate, generous, courageous, loving leaders. They become disciples of Christ. It’s the Jesus factor.
My friend, She, and I shed some tears listening to the stories of some of our scholars and graduates. It’s amazing to know that some of them graduated cum laude or summa cum laude! But more amazing is how they are not only free from poverty, but how they are a blessing to their families, their communities, and their workplace. They practice integrity even when their job might be compromised. They give back and help those who are still in the community they left behind. They volunteer and serve in church. Some of them are even campus ministers now, and if I remember correctly, even pastors! It makes me tear up knowing how Jesus changes lives. What a privilege it is to be part of it.
We realize that we cannot solve the entire country’s problems. We know that. So why even bother? I love the story Pastor Ariel shared about a young boy at a beach, tossing stranded starfish back in the ocean. The beach was filled with hundreds of them. An old man said that there was no way he was possibly going to be able to put them all back, so what he was doing didn’t even matter. The young boy said that it mattered to each one that he was able to put back into the ocean. Similarly, we may not be able to help every single Filipino, but we can help some. And it may not seem like it matters, it may seem small and insignificant, but it matters to each person we help. It matters to us. It matters to God.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40