Sunday, March 31, 2013

Holy Week Visit to an Orphanage: One of my early birthday gifts from God

My husband and I planned early in Lent to have an outreach for our family during the Lenten season.  Then, we became so busy with deadlines and many other things and the release/delivery of our new vehicle happened much later than expected.
Our busy days became busy weeks and Lent was almost over.  Deep inside I was still hoping and wishing we could go to a charitable institution or to the same orphanage that we visited last year to celebrate my birthday.
Then, God surprised me when one of the servants managing the orphanage for girls where we went last year told me that they are still free on Holy Wednesday afternoon. Yes!  God answered my heart's desire!  Perfect timing because our van was already delivered.
The last few days leading to the outreach were again very busy days.  I hardly had time to plan and prepare.  But by God's grace, I was able to think of simple activities.  Since my advance birthday celebration fell within Holy Week, I decided to tone it down.  No cake, ice cream or balloons like last year. No more fancy decors or fancy loot bags.  It was much simpler compared to my Disney Princess-themed birthday party last year.
Our simple activities were graced by God's presence and our simple outreach turned out to be so much fun, not just for the kids of Tahanan ng Pagmamahal but also for me and my husband, my friends and my two kids. 
We started our simple program with the teaching of songs led by my ever-dependable husband who played his guitar.  My eldest son could not resist to join his Dad.  He played his guitar as well while singing with us.
My husband and his little assistant playing the guitar.  My little Mateo walking and dancing around
while Kuya Yanthy and Daddy teaches some songs.

Here is one of the songs that we taught them.  My son loves this song and he enjoyed helping his Dad teach this to the kids in the orphanage.  The kids in turn loved how my eldest son sang his heart out and played his guitar with passion.

The other songs we taught were Jesus Loves the Little Children and John 3:16 Song which are some of the first songs my kids learned from me.  Click on the song titles to watch a video of the songs.
My husband and I explained the meaning of the songs a bit to the kids as we taught them then we used the songs to lead them in prayer.  After that, we distributed John 3:16 book marks that I got from Christian Preschool Printables.  I instructed them to decorate, color or jazz up their bookmarks.  We provided them with coloring materials, yarns and ribbons.  Each child, including my eldest son and the daughter of one of my college friends who joined us, got busy right away with their masterpieces. 
The girls in the orphanage busy with their book marks with my college friend and her daughter.
My eldest son proudly shows his book mark.
Yanthy, my eldest, finished his book mark fast.  He went to the dining area eagerly and took the initiative to help out in setting up the table and preparing the food for the kids while the other kids continued to decorate their book marks.  He patiently prepared with the other volunteers and he didn't even rush to eat his share.  He waited until all the food are prepared and most kids were finished with their book marks before asking if he can already eat.  So we said grace before meals with the rest of the kids and those who were finished were asked to line up and their food and drinks were given to them.
I ordered food (spaghetti) from Amber once more just like last year.  Earlier that morning, we made some sandwiches. We also bought cartons of juices and marshmallows for the kids.  A couple friend who came to join our activity brought some Yakult and chocolate drinks in tetra packs and pizza.
The kids jammed some more with my husband after eating merienda/afternoon snack.  Then, I had a word hunt game inspired by 1 Corinthians 13.  We gave chocolates to the first three girls who found all the words that were listed. 
Then, I asked Yanthy and Cate to distribute our brown bag loot bags to the girls in the orphanage.  Each loot bag has a rosary aside from the sweet treats.
We had a closing prayer and the kids surprised us with a very moving song.
I felt so blessed that day!  I was blessed to be given the chance to serve God's favorites again and to bring Christ's love to them on Holy Week.  I felt blessed to witness my son happy to serve the Lord's favorites in his own little ways.  I pray that he would continue to do so when he grows up.  Moreover, my family had another meaningful bonding activity to celebrate my birthday and to bring God's message to others during the Holy Week.  God is so good!

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