RODRIGUEZ, Rizal — “Everybody’s got to have love,” declares a song, and again, “Everybody ought to have love…” Some do receive love in full measure. Some seem not to.
“Papa’s in jail,” said Helen (not her real name), a Grade 6 pupil of Macabud Elementary School. She is a wispy little girl who already talks and acts like a young lady.
“He was accused of rape,” she said wryly. “It’s hard to believe he would do that. Sabi ng nanay ko ipagpasa-Diyos nalang namin (My mother said we should just leave it to God). But I miss him so much.”
Her mom works as a janitress at the barangay hall and has six other children to support. Helen stays with a lady pastor, helping fetch water and clean pigpens.
Helen’s classmate, Jessa Regalado, is parentless. “I did not get to know my father. He died when my mother was still pregnant with me,” she said. “But our mother, we remember fondly. Maasikaso kasi siya (She took good care of us).”
Jessa was teary-eyed as she recalled what happened to her mom. A coconut, being harvested by a cousin, fell from a tree and struck her head.
“Nabaliw po siya (She became mentally ill). She could no longer recognize us and was talking gibberish. After a week, she passed away.”
Seven children in all were left behind. Jessa with three of her siblings decided to live with a family friend. Two older sisters took jobs in a far-off city as dressmakers. Another one applied for work in a mall. They try to send money home for the other children’s allowance and various needs.
“Madaming may ganyang kuwento dito (There are a lot here who have stories like these),” said the teachers of Macabud. “We have one student whose mother just died of leukemia. There’s another one who we found out was abandoned by her parents. She and her siblings were taken in by their grandmother. It’s a good thing they are able to cope with their studies despite their other worries.”
Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines (OB), aware of family conditions in communities like these, is sensitive to these situations. OB volunteers and workers are always reminded to pray for people they minister to and share Jesus’ love with them as well.
So when a throng of OB doctors, nurses, social workers, and volunteers visited Macabud for a medical mission, the message was loud and clear: There’s a lot of love to go around.
“Mabuti na lang may mga taong gaya niyo (It’s good that there are people like you),” the principal of Macabud Elementary School said gratefully.
“We’re just representatives here,” pointed out by OB staff. “There are several other people who also send their love—OB donors and prayer partners. We’re a whole team, and we do this because Jesus loves you.”
Helen and her classmates we’re spotted among those who had fallen in line for a medical check-up. She had a song to share:
“Hindi ako pinabayaan / Ang pag-iingat Niya’y laging laan / Kahit kailan hinding-hindi nagkulang / Pag-ibig Niya’y walang kapantay (He has not abandoned me / His care is always available / No, His love is never wanting / It is beyond measure).”
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