Tuesday: A mission team of about 30 people arrived from a Bible school in Manila. They cleaned up the piles of building waste and swept the grass and courtyard. They were here working in Leyte for a couple of weeks for their summer mission. Well, clearly it wasn’t just me who thought the place needed tidying up – they really were a Godsend. I was starting to get angry with what I saw as a lack of effort in the students to keep the place clean and tidy. With the help of the missionary travelling with them, I began to see things a little more compassionately. “Even youths become tired and weary”. They’d been through a lot. I’d had to live here just a few days. They’ve been living here for months. Before they leave everyone poses for photos. One of the visiting students tells everyone to shout “Tukdaw Zion!”. Tukdaw is Waray for “Arise”. Her name, appropriately, is Faith.

The visit seemed to inspire the students here too. The next day Pastor Lapora gave instructions and priorites for the students’ afternoon work time, and the students immediately started work. By the end of the day the building materials were organised, the grass had been strimmed and the place was looking much more pleasing to the eye. Now I could see not just roofs being repaired but dignity and honour being restored too.

Tukdaw Zion.

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