Well, the situation in Olongapo seems to have turned into an episode of Eastenders. As I sit here writing this my mind is a whirlwind of endless possible outcomes for the two boys. It’s hard sometimes to know exactly when to draw the line and to say enough is enough. Ever the eternal optimist (as far as evangelism goes) I tend to keep hoping and hoping and hoping…that things will turn around.
Let me bring you up to
speed. Last weekend I was informed by Zee that neither of the boys had
attended the church due to having “overslept” (the service is pretty
early starting at 8 something.) They had however somehow ended up at the
Catholic church having attended a cult church (Iglesia Ni Cristo)
several weeks before. How this has happened is beyond me as everything
was in place for them to attend a Bible believing Christian Church.
There was some confusion over dress codes and the boys thinking that
Grandma couldn’t attend a “born again” church because she isn’t “born
again.” Hopefully these issues have now been resolved.
visited Zee later last Sunday with Simon who has very recently been
released from rehab. They cheerfully informed her that Simon had been
staying at the house with them which is against the rules. More
worryingly though they informed her that Grandma had left the house
again and was not coming to collect the money they needed for food for
the week. So they didn’t have any food.
Reflecting on the
situation I decided that the only sensible option was to go and find out
exactly what was going on and to lay down the law for the second time
in 3 weeks. Grandma confirmed that she no longer wanted to reside at
the house and preferred to sleep on the street as she had been doing
before. The root of the problem; she wanted to be able to house various
members of her extended family and was upset that this wasn’t allowed. I
visited the two boys with the local social worker from the Youth Centre
and after a long discussion, made it really clear that they are on
their last warning due to various things I had heard.
problem now; the two boys have clearly demonstrated that they are not
responsible enough to live unsupervised in the house and they really
need a male mentor to live with them and provide oversight. I have made
an appeal with my Olongapo contacts and hope and pray that someone will
see it as a ministry opportunity (and of course a chance for free
lodgings.) If no one comes forward and the boys continue to misbehave
the project will likely come to a sharp conclusion and both boys will be
back on the street, which probably means back to the solvents as they
have no source of income and will not be able to fund themselves at
school. This really would be a disastrous end, so please pray.
have had a pretty frustrating week in general. I finally decided to go
and collect my parcel, sent from the UK, from the Central Post Office
where it has been languishing since August accumulating various storage
charges because no one seemed to know where this mysterious “Central
Post Office” was located.
A few days ago I set off in the vague
general direction thinking I would “ask someone” when I got closer.
Having been here for some time I should definitely have known better as
you can ask 4 Filipinos for directions and they will confidently send
you in 4 different directions. This is exactly what happened so I found
myself in the unfortunate position of having to weigh up the various
conflicting pieces of information based on how “reliable” a person
Eventually after travelling on the MRT (Metro Rail
Transit) for a few stops I found a Jeepney (metal bus) to take me the
rest of the way. The MRT which travels in a straight line along a track,
is an interesting phenomenon as there are far more people trying to
travel on it at all times of the day and night than can possibly fit,
resulting in people being “bent” to fit inside. If you watch it from a
distance you can often see peoples’ faces and limbs literally squashed
against the windows as about three times the safe number of people have
piled into a carriage. Even more amusing is that usually the carriage
next door is virtually empty as for some reason everyone has headed for
the same one. One day the MRT overshot the last station heading out onto
the street. Commuters and pedestrians rushed to see what had happened,
most of them more concerned with taking “selfies” and posting them to
facebook than anything else. It was like they just couldn’t believe that
what had happened was even possible!
This short video clip is similar to what happens on the MRT here in Manila, although the guards don’t do that! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwbPd...
so I am on the Jeepney hoping that I am heading for the CPO and decide I
will double check with the driver that he knows where I want to go. I
ask him but he tells me to wait, thinking this means he doesn’t know I
decide to ask the other passengers who unfortunately ask the driver
again. He is understandably irritated by this and mutters under his
breath that I am “naughty,” thinking that I don’t understand, until I
respond “not really” and he looks very embarrassed. The kind old man
does a detour from his prescribed route and drops me right outside the
CPO, I feel obliged to tip him but can’t find any change so give him 100
pesos (£1.40) which makes his day.
I enter the CPO and head for
desk number 37. As expected there are far too many staff to deal with
the few customers. They can’t find my parcel and one by one go
searching for it before giving up and handing it to someone else to
continue. After 15 minutes or so they find it and start completing a
lo-ot of, I’m sure unnecessary, paperwork before I can leave. I take the
opportunity to ask the woman if they can’t re-deliver the parcel next
time as it’s taken me over an hour to get to them and cost me more than
the parcel is worth (with the £1.40 storage charge.) She informs me that
they don’t deliver parcels and its only then that I realise that they
hadn’t tried to deliver it at all.
I ask her why they can’t
deliver small parcels if they are going to the address anyway to deliver
the notice saying that there is a parcel one hour away. She tells me
that it is policy but that they do deliver books. This stops me in my
tracks as I know that my parcel is in fact a book and is clearly marked
as such. I ask her why they haven’t delivered my parcel as it is a book
and she says that she will make sure that next time I get a parcel they
deliver it to my house. I’m totally bemused by this point as with
millions of customers how can this woman possibly make a promise like
that to one individual customer unless she’s planning to devote herself
to this task 24/7 for the foreseeable just in case I happen to get
another parcel! I guess it’s more likely that she’s just saying it to
pacify me. I tell her that I will not be requesting any further parcels
from the UK as its all too much hassle.
Leaving the CPO for the
long journey home I decide to open my parcel to find it is a single book
by John Macarthur entitled “Being a Dad who Leads.” …..very useful I’m