08 Jun The Face of Love
By Lindie Freed
For the past nineteen years, my husband, Joshua, and I have had the privilege to lead high school and young adults for three-week trips to Dennis Drake’s community in the Philippines. Dennis has given his life to caring for the unloved, feeding the poor, and educating the uneducated, while building up a community for the deaf there on the island of Bohol. During our time, we shared the story of Jesus through dramas, created relationships, led student weekend retreats, and performed other service projects. We have met many Filipinos throughout our time and have watched as students grow in their faith and deepen their relationships with Jesus.
Bringing our kids along with us has given them a unique worldview as they got to know friends around the world who are hurting, who love Jesus, and who work so hard for so little. It’s all extremely humbling.
The oldest sister, Angelin, could sit up, but her body was fragile, tiny, and weak, and her clothes were soiled with urine.
Several years ago, our team spent time helping to rebuild homes which had been destroyed by a large earthquake. We met a family of ten whose home had been ruined in the quake and their living conditions were almost unbearable. They lived together in a small, dirty space.
Their two oldest daughters, Angelin and Analin, had severe special needs which kept them inside their whole lives. They often sat or lay on the ground for hours and hours by themselves while their parents were working.
The oldest sister, Angelin, could sit up, but her body was fragile, tiny, and weak, and her clothes were soiled with urine. I remember placing my hand on her back, which was about as wide as the width of my hand. We gently introduced ourselves and, as we gathered around her, we realized this tiny, sick young woman had an amazing spirit.
Worshiping with other believers and praising the name of Jesus together with that community changed our lives.
Although she couldn’t speak, she was able to communicate clearly through pointing and pushing. I grabbed her tiny hand and started massaging it, and then started to massage her shoulders. She loved it. Then she pointed to Jake Rinn, one of our team members, and she pushed me away. She wanted Jake to sit next to her and then she started laughing. We were all crying! Her spirit was so strong even while her body was so weak.
Angelin went home to be with Jesus in early May of this year. She is healthy and perfect now.
Our lives have been touched and blessed by the time we have spent in the Philippines. Throughout that time, Jesus has shown me what compassion looks like: slowing down to pray with a new friend in need, encouraging others, and being encouraged by people from a faraway land. Worshiping with other believers and praising the name of Jesus together with that community changed our lives. Our time with them has broken our hearts and sifted the way we look at the world. Over and over again, Jesus has shown us what love looks like. Love is merciful.
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