Before coming to Manila, I visited the website of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), where I learned I would be assigned for a couple months as a Global Justice Volunteer (GJV) of the United Methodist Church.

The website told me that KKFI is a social development organization that offers different programs for the community. Its website said it is committed to helping, teaching, and empowering individuals and communities.

I was excited to be a part of this kind of community work and eager to see how God would use me in the scheme of things of KKFI. For two months, I worked and lived with the staff of the KKFI and the beneficiaries of its programs.

During this period, I observed up close and personal how the KKFI people lived out their faith. Their avowed objective of aiming for a just and more peaceful world was not an empty statement that is nice to hang on the wall in beautiful, decorative font. I saw how committed they were to work together for their single purpose of making life better for people they are able to reach and touch.

While at KKFI, I genuinely enjoyed working with street children of the suburban town of Pulilan in the province of Bulacan under the “Kalinga Mo, Kinabusan Ko” (Your Care, My Future) program.

I worked with Love Daroy, another mission intern who is a Filipina. We taught the children from a place called Tramo and the local dumpsite. I could tell that the children enjoyed coming to classes and take time off from the streets at least for a few hours every day.

We taught them not only basic lessons in English and mathematics but Christian values and life skills as well.

There were evenings when Love and I would go to a restaurant for a dinner or to a supermarket where we watched street children go about their businesses of selling sampaguita flowers and begging for spare change from passers-by.

Invariably, we would express our worries that these children might drop out of school or associate with the wrong people. There were endless possibilities of a wrong turn. They might get pregnant or get hooked on drugs or get into trouble one way or the other because streets are definitely not the safest place in the world for kids.

We hope that by teaching and working with children and youth through KKFI’s programs, we can encourage these children to turn away from risky, or even criminal, activities and focus on their education and future.

At KKFI, I enjoyed working with other staff members. I see how Love and others can serve as positive role models to children. We share to them the message that there is hope and that they are loved. I see all around me how God’s love was shared with the children and their communities.

It was a real blessing for me to be part of KKFI’s work and to build relationships with the staff members and the children and their communities. I know now that KKFI’s website does not say it all. There is so much more to the Foundation that meets the eye and you cannot see it unless you really involved in KKFI’s activities.

I feel privileged that I witnessed and experienced firsthand how KKFI is changing and transforming communities for the better, and how it works towards their vision, my vision, and God’s vision of “a society where peace, justice, integrity of creation, and abundance of life reign.”

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