He Could Have Been Anybody’s Dad

MAASIM, Sarangani — Tatay Willie lives alone. The small hut he occupies contains all his earthly possessions: a scruffy mat, a small gas lamp, a cooking pot, a pail, a plate, some glasses and kitchen utensils, a small stove, some tattered clothes, and a stick to scratch his back.

This is his world. This is where he wakes up in the morning to listen to the crow of the rooster and imagine what the rest of the world is doing outside. This is where he snuffs out his lamp at night, closes his eyes, and waits for another day.

Tatay Willie cannot move around that well. He had fallen from a coconut tree 14 years ago and lost the use of his legs. Doctors in the hospital he was brought to said it would be impossible for him to walk anymore. He gets by using the strength of his arms.

His wife left him three years ago. The only child he fathered, he says, is somewhere in a town far away. He no longer has anything to live by. Coconut farming was his means of living. Now he depends on the help of kind neighbors who every once in a while to visit him, bring him rice and water, and attend to his other needs.

Tatay Willie is already 77 years old. It was a barangay official who begged the Operation Blessing team doing a medical mission at his village in Barangay Lumasal to visit him. This was towards the end of the day, and the team was already packing up, but some members were allowed to give in to the invitation.

A small dirt path led from the medical mission site to Tatay Willie’s hut. It was just a short walk away. When the OB team peeked into the hut, they were moved by what they saw. The old man living alone could have been anybody’s dad, but here he was living all by himself.

The OB team members tried to share God’s love as best as they could—a pat on the back, words of encouragement and comfort, a small prayer. When asked what he dreams of, Tatay Willie was ready with an answer: “I want to get up and see what it looks outside this place.”

The team left knowing that there is a way the old man’s dream can be made real. He will know God has not forgotten him.

They returned the next day with a wheelchair from OB’s partner, Free Wheelchair Mission. This will help Tatay Willie “walk” along paths he loved best, visit neighbors, and simply “see” what it looked like outside his hut.

Tatay Willie cried when he saw the wheelchair. God had hugged him.

February 2012
Earth-Shattering Tragedies
Nothing Can Shake Us
Both Young and Old Hit by Sendong

January 2012
Cleaning Up After Sendong
Missions That Save Lives
A Magical Christmas
Healing After the Storm
Holiday of Happiness
Iligan: Hope and Heroism
Cagayan de Oro: Tales of Survival and Compassion

November 2011
The Hat Weavers of Jao
The Right Tools for Recovery
Keeping the Malong Alive

October 2011
Operation Blessing Uplifts Flooded Calumpit
When We Need You The Most
Rainbow After the Flood
Surprise for a Survivor
A Heart Full of Hope
Worse Than Ondoy
Small Things Go a Long Way
Aid Arrives in Nueva Ecija

September 2011
Dreams and Answered Prayers
Merry, Joyful Mary Joy
Sharing Hope Through a Toy
Caring for the Seniors

August 2011
Erick Can Smile Now
Saving Grace
God’s Mercy Amidst Life’s Tragedy

July 2011
Winmark Finally Wins
Life When the River Rises
New Life Beyond a Broken Bridge
A Timely Blessing
OB First to Bring Relief to Hardest Hit of Davao Flood Victims

June 2011
Mission Behind Bars
Weaver on Wheels
Helping Out Grandma Potter
Sewing Her Way Out of Poverty
Enrico is All Grown Up
A Mother’s Honorable Dream
Wheel Marks on the Sand

May 2011
Meet Determined Dexter
How Precious is an OB Well?
A Celebration of God’s Faithfulness: Love Your Neighbor
"It's Like a New Life!"
Feet of My Own
Dancing On One Leg

April 2011
Something To Make Her Smile
Grandma's New Boat
Moving Forward
Everything Will Be All Right

March 2011
Operation Blessing Leaves Legacy Among Payatas Kids
Freed From Agony
He Could Have Been Anybody’s Dad
Seed of Hope

February 2011
Operation Blessing Moves to New Home in Pasig
Relief That Restores Hope
A Chance to Show Compassion
A Simple Wish Granted

January 2011
Believing the Impossible
A Stool for a Cane
Keeping the Vow She Made
A Gift Better Than Gold

December 2010
Road to Recovery
God Bless Ye Merry Little Men
Abandoned But Not Forgotten
There’s Someone Who Loves Me
No, Not Abandoned!

November 2010
God Cares, Still!
Just One Touch
Touching an Orphan’s Heart
Faithful in Every Season

October 2010
One Unforgettable Visit
One Heart at a Time
Mixed Rice and Toothy Grins
Blessed Beyond Measure
A Day of Enchantment
Someone to Love As We Grow Old

September 2010
Operation Blessing Serves the Elderly in Cavite
A Handicapped Woman’s Beautiful Feet
New Life, New Hope
Operation Blessing Helps Out in Damayang Lagi Fire
Operation Blessing Brings Smiles Amidst Fire Tragedy
From Hopeless End to Endless Hope

August 2010
Sewing a Better Life
Jhan-Jhan’s Priceless Gift
Operation Blessing Responds To Caloocan Fire
Operation Blessing Kids Graduate with Honors and Hope
Thankful Mothers of Payatas
Repair Skills Restore Hope and Dignity
The Best Gift of All

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