Rolan, his Mother and Amy
Rolan and Amy
Rolan, a young boy in Manila, was born into a family that does the risky work of scavenging for salvageable items from a huge mountain of smoking rubbish. Sadly, Rolan couldn’t work everyday alongside the other children because of his heart condition. However, a bright spot for Rolan was participating in a Saturday “Sidewalk Sunday School” operated by Metro Philippines. There, whenever he was well enough to attend, he could enjoy games, songs, and hear dramatic stories about Jesus Christ. Sometimes the workers would give all the kids who participated a treat, such as a couple of slices of bread. What a treat! He would lift the bread to his nostrils savoring its fragrance, and then enjoy eating it, bite by bite.
One Saturday several years ago, a pretty girl named Amy from Okinawa on a mission trip from Okinawa Christian School International (OCSI) introduced herself to Rolan, and immediately their friendship budded. For him, the friendship, like the bread, was something to savor, at least for the moment. What Rolan did not know was that Amy was there because Jesus Christ was preparing her heart to do something more lasting. She felt a deep yearning to do something more for Rolan than just create nice memories of that day. She decided to sponsor the very sickly, feeble Rolan, committing to long-term support for his needs and over the course of several years, enlisted her church and others to pray for him.
Amy has constantly kept Rolan at the forefront of her prayers and thoughts and looked forward to the day she would be able to meet him again. During spring break this year, eleven secondary students from OCSI had the opportunity to go on the annual six-day mission trip to Manila to work with Metro Manila in the same area of “Smokey Mountain.” Leslie, who plans and leads the group was pleased that the middle and senior high students showed so much enthusiasm in garnering financial and prayer support for the mission from local churches here in Okinawa. She is mentoring teachers and leaders to carry on the mission program in the future.
A bright-smiling, now sixteen-year-old Amy was among the young missionaries on this year’s sojourn. She was beaming when reunited with an energetic, thriving Rolan during a visit with his grateful family. Through Amy’s support, Rolan was able to receive the medical attention and surgery he had needed to survive, and to enjoy a quality of life much greater than the meager existence he experienced before. With tears running down her face, his mother told Amy that it was her involvement in Rolan's life that allowed him to be alive today.
A little exercise of the imagination leads us to ponder over a larger picture that blends into Alissa’s story; that is…..
- The experiences of sixteen other members of the
recent mission trip. The new relationships that our Lord wove into their lives
are equally important for the building of the Kingdom of God as are the ones He has allowed us to form over the past several years.
- Add to this picture, the faces of the staff of
Metro Manila who are constantly ministering to the “poorest of the
poor”, who are training Filipinos to carry on the sidewalk Sunday school
evangelism, and who regularly open their personal living quarters to volunteer
groups such as ours.
- Scan to the border of the picture and you will see churches of various denominations, as well as parents and teachers from OCSI who supported the mission team.
- Look deeper into to background of the painting and you will make out
faces of many who sponsor children worldwide, meeting needs because of their
love of Christ.
· Fellow American Baptists, look closer at the painting, and you will see a mirror. You are a part of this beautiful collage through your faithful support of our ministry in Okinawa, Japan. Even though you did not personally know young Amy, or all of the other mission participants, your acts of faith resulted in their bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. As David likes to say as he quotes a line from a favorite show, "We are all in this together".
David and Leslie Turley