Posts Tagged ‘monsoon’


By Meredith Booth. Photos by Allen Cumbia.

calloutAs one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Manila, the Philippines, is far from serene. At all hours of the day, streets teem with buses, cars and tricycles (see first photo) pumping thick, black exhaust into the sultry sky. An endless stream of people wade through murky flood waters, their clothes saturated from the monsoon rains. Piles of discarded trash litter the ground, spilling into the scrap-metal shanty homes that line the road. The poverty is all-consuming.


In early August, our 10-member team of volunteers served families and children living in evacuation centers in Metro Manila. Many of these centers exist to support the thousands of families displaced by the recent flooding, while others serve as temporary government housing for impoverished families.

PhilippinesArmed with a spirit of adventure (and a few essential craft supplies), we left Richmond with anxious excitement for how God would change us and use us during this trip. We were prepared to sing and tell stories, ring chimes and play games, and do just about anything God placed in our path. And that He did.

He placed us in gymnasiums swarming with crying babies and smiling children. He took us to open-air awnings packed with hungry children. He drove us through neighborhoods built upon landfills and inside the walls of a women’s prison. We sang songs with their children, painted butterflies on their faces, and rejoiced with them until our shirts were drenched in sweat.

In the midst of such deep physical poverty, gratitude abounded. Children splashed in the waters that washed away their homes, smiled for our cameras, held umbrellas to keep us dry, and joyfully honored us with their finest hospitality.

And still our team was left reeling, consumed with the devastating need all around us. In one of our conversations with Elmer, the missionary we partnered with in the Philippines, we asked, “How do you deal with the overwhelming need here?” And his reply was quite simple, “Because it is my joy. You see, you are the answer to these people’s prayers. You are what they’ve been praying for.”

And so, in a place that seems somewhat forgotten, God has not forgotten His people. He answered with face paint and with puppets. He answered with enough. Enough rice for a thousand hungry bellies. Enough hope for a city under water. Enough crayons for a sea of tiny eager hands. Enough faith to believe God is still present. He has answered with enough in a place that has not nearly enough. He has answered with us.

“I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess … I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:11-13, The Message).

Team members: Meredith Booth, Allen Cumbia, Hope Cumbia, Jensine Cumbia, Gladys Johnson, Ralph Starling, Matthew Szucs, Ruth Szucs, Cathy Tankersley, Lynn Turner

See Related Story: How are mission trips funded?

Meredith BoothMeredith Booth is a fourth grade teacher for Chesterfield County. At FBC Richmond, she enjoys serving as a small group leader for youth on Sunday nights and taking part in local and international mission projects. She loves traveling, being outdoors and spending time with her family, especially her nephews, Jackson and Wesley. God has given her more than enough.

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