Generosity Amidst Poverty

Generosity Amidst Poverty – A blog by Mercy in Action Intern Rich Wakely

This story is about generosity. Something that is a regular occurrence out here yet still amazes me each and every day! Children with nothing but the ripped clothes on their back will share what they have with their friends and family and strangers alike. This story is one of those.

Just the other day I was in Tabunok, the area where most of the kids that Mercy in Action work with sleep and hang out. I was walking along with my work partner Angelo to go and get his phone fixed. To read Angelo’s incredible story, click here.

As we were walking through Tabunok, a few of our kids from the MiA drop in centre ran up to us to say hello and see what we were doing.  Amongst this group of children was a young boy called Nilo. He is a great kid, who is pretty much a ball of muscle! He always has a smile on his face and always friendly to anyone he meets. Half way into our conversations the usual question came up “Kuya (big brother) Rich we are hungry, can we have some bread?”

Due to there being a bread shop every 5 meters out here in the Philippines it was not hard to find one and buy a couple of pieces for the children. At about 7p a piece it is never going to break the bank! Once the children had their bread we chatted for a while longer and then they disappeared off to their usual places to go find their friends.

As we walked to the phone repair shop, we found a young boy lying on the floor just outside. I hadn’t met him before, which is unusual as most of the street children in the area are known to Mercy in Action. Angelo and I took this opportunity to explain the drop in centre to him and that he could come and get a shower, free education, free food and a safe place to hang out. Whilst we were talking to him, Nilo ran around the corner in quite a rush. We asked him to come over to us, and without hesitation he stopped in mid run and came to say hello. He was still munching one piece of bread and had the other one safely stored away in a plastic bag for later. We asked Nilo if he knew this young boy, and although he didn’t, he happily agreed to bring him to the drop in centre the next day.

The next thing that happened is something I see regularly out here but always amazes me each time I see it! Nilo, a street child himself with two small piece of bread which would probably constitute as his dinner, took one piece, stretched out his hand towards the young boy who he had not met before, gave him the piece of bread and went on his way! Nilo had no relationship with the other boy, and had not even been asked to share his bread! He did it completely out of his own generosity.

This situation reminded me of Luke 3:11, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Nilo only had the clothes he was wearing and two pieces of bread to his name yet seeing the young boy with nothing, immediately gave him half of what he had! There was no hesitation and no thoughts of, “If I give him this I will lose out”. It makes me think how fortunate I am to have what I have, and challenged me about how much I help others and how often I give time to those in need. Nilo was in mid run when he stopped; he could quite easily have carried on running to where he needed to be, yet he stopped and gave us his time and this boy his bread! Jesus does not mind what we give, he looks at how we give it. Whether we give someone £1000 or a piece of bread, it really does not matter. The thing that does matter is how we give it, with a hard heart or a soft one. Jesus would rather us give a young boy a small piece of bread with a gracious heart than £1000 with a hardened heart!

On that early evening in Tabunok, a young street boy name Nilo challenged me to give more of my time to the people I walk past in the streets and be more generous. It is very easy in our busy lives just to walk past that person sat on the streets or the beggar on the corner. But just remember one thing Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

So as Nilo challenged me, I now challenge you. Slow down, take a look around you and see if you can find a person in need who you can help.

Rich has been an intern with Mercy in Action for the past 8 months. He volunteers at the drop in centre and on a variety of Mercy in Action’s community projects. If you are interested in becoming a Global Volunteer with Mercy in Action and making a big difference to some of the most underprivileged children in the world, please email or visit our Global Volunteers page

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