Today, my wife, son, and I joined over 50 of our colleagues from the church in the Philippines where I work, for a fun day of environmentally aware activities at the Zoobic Safari Nature Park in Subic, Olongapo. The almost three-hour drive, while hardly difficult, certainly tired me out even upon arrival there, and suffice it to say that I was adequately pooped. It was well worth it, though; the Yellow team had a lot of fun going through the park. The highlight was feeding the tigers, fierce, monstrously immense creatures. God is a wild God; He’s created the most terrifying animals. Please feel free to rummage through our photo album on Facebook.
My life revolves around four people: my God, my wife, my son, and my daughter. I blog about Cathy and Nathan all the time; It’s only fair I tell you a little bit about the other girl in my life, my two-year-old, Nicola Jean, or Nicki.
As of the moment, Nicki is a polar opposite of her ahia (Chinese for “older brother”). Whereas Nathan is personable and warm, Nicki will generally ignore most people with whom she is unfamiliar. Nathan is a nonstop talker; Nicki will generally keep to herself, although she is now learning new words and developing a personality of her own. Nathan is wiry and lean; Nicki is solid and rotund.
Which makes her the cutest little butterball on God’s green earth!
She really is quite cute, although her personality really does lend itself to her being called a bit snobbish. Family members and work colleagues (who meet her when I take the family to church) will attest to the fact that she won’t go off with just anyone. If you are a stranger attempting to pick her up, she will purposely bend over and make it extremely difficult for you to pick her up. Like I said, she’s solid, and she feels heavier than her brother, although she is – currently – lighter than he. Smiles are generally rare, although when they come, they can really brighten up the place. Nicki usually smiles when I play some dance music on Macky, allowing her to bounce on our bed and shake her head in time with the music.
I call her DestructaDora the Explorer, because she likes to look around, and whatever she touches, she destroys. (That’s a joke, of course; I renounce any cursing in the name of Jesus). Nicki is quite feminine, though, despite her tyrannosaurical ways: she loves clothes, and always tries her mother’s makeup on. She’ll shriek when she sees something (that I imagine she thinks is) gross; she’ll plant a kiss on my cheek or lips then giggle.
I’d tell you more, but she’s asleep with her brother in the next room, and I want to go over and pray for the both of them. If you’ll excuse me, please…
Today, my five-year-old son, Nathan, and I volunteered for the Real Life Feeding Program of the Real Life Foundation. Every Saturday, the Real Life Foundation invites volunteers to assist in a medical mission slash feeding program for over 150 malnourished children of Pasig City. For only PHP250/adult (PHP100/child if you’d like to bring a child under the age of 12), you pay for the medical checkups and nutritious meal of 10 children for that day. (You also get a free shirt, but that’s icing on the cake.)
I wanted to take Nathan along because I felt it would be an eye-opening experience for him to see the situation of other children less fortunate than he. He was a real trooper. We were assigned to the ‘entertainment area,’ which basically ran groups of ten kids per group through a series of short games designed to keep them occupied while their dining tables were being prepared. Nathan helped in the games, holding the hands of kids and jumping them through the ‘tubig-lupa’ (water-land) game, as well as the ‘hep-hep hooray!’ game.
When the time came for him to assist in the feeding, Nathan really stepped to the plate, so to speak. He helped first by handing over utensils and napkins to each child while I distributed bowls of vitamin-enriched porridge. He then passed out glasses of water. After they were done with their meal, he gave them plates of chocolate cake, cleaning up their meal plates before placing the chocolate cakes down before them. After they were finished with that, he helped me clear up the tables.
(I have no photos of these activities because I was working with Nathan, obviously, but there were photographers about, and I’ll post a few up after I secure their permission.)
Fewer things in my son’s life have made me prouder. It is one of my biggest hopes that Nathan grows up to be a world-changer, and for that to happen, I’d love for him to have an awareness of life’s stark realities and the awesome opportunities God has provided him by putting him where he is, with his unique sets of talents and personality. Today, I hope a seed has been planted; in the weeks to come, I hope to help water it so that it may grow.
“Point your kids in the right direction â€” when they’re old they won’t be lost.”- Prov 22:6 (The Message)
Note: If you’d like to participate on a Saturday at the Real Life Feeding Program, please call 8171212 and ask to be connected to Sony Dela Calzada.