“So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:2-4
“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
I have posted these bible verses first thing for this article just to highlight the grounds on which this article will be lifting from. This article is about volunteer work and I’d like to share my experience not to boast but to encourage others to follow suit because we are in dire need of “helpers.” Yup, “workers.” 🙂
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.” – Matthew 9:37
I believed I have never done much with just my presence in the home for the aged that we visited. I felt that there is still more that we can do to help. I believe that is the reason why God intended I meet and be acquainted to one particular elderly woman. I call her as “Nanay” because she is the same age as my Mom and she is an only child with no husband or children of her own. AND I was surprised that we share the same faith.
While listening to her, I can feel that the Spirit is moving in her. She is God’s chosen “worker” inside the elderly community. I have heard her stories of struggles in defending faith, in rebuking and most of all in crying out her pleas to God for salvation of people around her. I felt the desperation, the struggle – she prayed that God will take her away soon from that place and be with Him forever. Yet I encouraged her that this is exactly why she is where she is now and why we, the volunteers, are here – God still has some unfinished business for her to accomplish. I continued that we’ve been all moved by the Spirit to partake in a mission that requires team work among His “workers.”
It is in this instance that I gathered the idea why I felt like I haven’t done enough by helping out in giving them new set of pillows, giving them free food, drinks (thank you sponsors) and having fellowship with them. I believe it is only the beginning of an even bigger mission. This bigger mission will follow after this testimony of sharing the plight of the elderly in the home for the aged that we visited.
If we are to read this verse:
“Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach…” – 1 Timothy 5:3-16
I wanted to cry. BUT I know I can only PRAY.
They deserve better than this.
I wanted to cry my pleas out to the Lord when I saw how most of them struggled in bad living conditions, or even worst. Now I understand why some of them would prefer to live in the streets, homeless and begging for food – they have freedom to live a life not in captivity and suffering. But I also understand that it is more dangerous outside for people like them to be roaming on the streets day and night, by themselves, as they will be prone to all kinds of abuse.
But this next scenario just pierced through my heart. Now I understand “Nanay” when she urged me to visit a particular ward even offering to accompany me there because she wanted me to see the living conditions of those who are sick or mentally ill. Those who are mentally ill were clustered in one room. I saw a teenager, one of the caretakers, padlocking one door. I peeked inside and I saw 5 elderly people who were lying/sitting in monoblock beds without cushion and nothing else around them. I can’t help but ask why they are padlocking the door and he told me that these elderly persons were hostile to other people inside the facility that is why they have to be in a locked room – a room with nothing else but themselves, beds and a clean floor but stinking of their own litter and pee.
I think I felt my mouth fell wide open there.
Why? Because as a SpEd teacher, we are aware that if you are handling 5 children with different disabilities which includes behavioral disorders, it could be a mess when one starts to agitate the other – they’ll end up hurting others around them. With any situation, there will be those who will abuse and those who are abused – the protection is needed there. So I asked him what do they do when that happens, he told me that there is someone who oversees and checks them every now and then. But I know that that answer will never pacify me. Why? Because honestly speaking, each of them needs to be taken care of properly AND they are 406 in that now crowded facility with only very few caretakers.
BUT this is the reason why they need our help. If the government can only do that much for them, then I believe it is our mission to help in any way we can. I know that as a believer, God has commanded we obey the verse above – honoring widows and widowers. Most people who belong in this category are elderly people. Yet I know that material things and comfort will never give them as much joy as compared to the joy that they will experience in life in eternity. Thus, I believe the reason why we were sent there is to be intercessors – pray for them. Prayers are a way of instilling in them the peace and hope found in Christ alone.
Unfortunately I cannot remove the pain I feel every time I see their suffering. While looking at them, I was praying to God what I can do to alleviate their pain and suffering by means of faith. I don’t have millions in my bank account, I don’t own a car that I can drive back and forth to deliver the supplies, I am not good in planning out and in constructing more facilities that will accommodate all 406 of them and cater their needs, I don’t know how to maximize manpower that will help in delivering services of care to them…I was at such a loss how to help them completely EXCEPT through faith.
I believe this is why God intended I write this article – call out to the nations for more “workers.” My sisters in Christ and I are planning to visit them every now and then and we would like to invite more volunteers to come with us and pray for them. There is also a dire need in making sure that each elderly in the facility receives the care that is intended for them to have as well as fulfill the basic needs – food, clothing and shelter.
We were informed that 3 years ago, there were only 60 living in around 5 buildings that they have intended for the elderly. But now, they were able to gather more elderly from the streets who are homeless and without families reaching up to 406 all in all inside the facility. They need more quarters, more buildings, more medicines, more food, more clothing, more caregivers, more nurses, more doctors and more intercessors. The struggles that they are going through are in all aspects – emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological.
If you are reading this article and would like to extend your help in this advocacy, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to go ahead and visit them along with friends and co-volunteers, the name of the facility is Luwalhati ng Maynila Home for the Aged. I am truly grateful for any help given. 🙂
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10
“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” – Hebrews 6:10
God loves you, He loves them too and obeying His greatest commandment would mean us loving those around us too. Please share the love my dear sisters and brothers. ❤