Recently, I found myself on the streets of the Philippines.
I had not come to the Philippines with Compassion but came because I had responded to a whisper from God that I received two years earlier to come and serve — and to give without any expectation from those who would receive.
One day after serving at a Christian teachers conference, providing seminars and music for teachers in the Philippines, I was returning to my hotel. It was already 10 p.m. and I was tired from a long day of ministry, but I was also very hungry.
Next to my hotel was a McDonalds. I have been really good about not eating fast food, but I was so hungry and I knew that a cheeseburger would hit the spot.
As I walked over to McDonalds and was about to enter, I happened to glance across the street.
I saw six little boys about my son Emerson’s age, 5, and they were all huddled together. I thought this was odd. It was late at night; shouldn’t they be home? Where were their parents?
It looked like they were just playing a game, so I shrugged it off and went inside to order my food. But as I sat down and started to eat, I heard the whisper of God saying,
“Jon, go over and look out the window at the boys again.”
I got up from my table and looked out at the little boys.
As my eyes focused on what they were doing, I realized that were not playing a game.
They were tearing open bags of garbage from another fast-food restaurant, letting the trash fall on the dirty cement. With their small hands they were picking out whatever food they could find and eating it.
In that moment, my heart broke. In their faces I kept envisioning the face of my own little son and daughter all alone on a street late at night, trying to find whatever food they could to survive.
I immediately left my meal and walked up to the counter again. I ordered 12 cheeseburgers. With puzzled looks (what a crazy Canadian) they filled my order and I raced outside to these little boys.
As I walked up to them, I handed them two cheeseburgers each. They looked up at me with wide eyes filled with awe and were quickly overtaken by excitement — like it was their first Christmas. My heart broke for these boys and all I could say was,
“Jesus loves you and I love you and this is just a small way that I can show you God’s love.”
In that moment there was really nothing else I could do but walk away, knowing that I had responded to the whisper of God and some of his little children would not go hungry that night.
Was it a big deal for me to buy 12 cheeseburgers for these little boys? No, not at all. What’s 12 cheeseburgers?
The big deal was, I responded when God whispered to me to look out that window. After I saw what He wanted me to see, the choice of what to do next was obvious.
Let me ask you a question as you start this New Year: What would happen if we listened more intently to the whisper of God’s Spirit and then took a step of faith in response?
As I left the Philippines, I realized that my intention was to be a blessing to the Filipino people. However, as I left this country and its beautiful worshipers of Jesus, I felt so blessed in my spirit.
This blessing is not anything that money can buy — it’s simply the knowledge and peace you get when you know you are walking in step with the Lord and helping His little children!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jon Bauer is a husband, father, worship artist, songwriter, teacher, Compassion artist and follower of Jesus Christ whose home base for ministry is cold Alberta, Canada. Jon and his wife, Andrea, sponsor 11 children.
Jon’s newest album, Forevermore, was just awarded “2012 Worship Album of the Year.” To download FREE songs from the album visit jonbauermusic.com or iTunes.
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Beautiful image of children. Love the smiles!!!
Thank you Jon for being an inspiration to us all. When I saw you buying all those cheeseburgers and coke and fries, it got me thinking how a foreigner could look after these kids on the streets when our own people can barely have a glance. God bless you
P.S. I laughed when I read “crazy Canadian”… that’s what we (we’re from T.O.) felt like too most of the time when we were there! Most people balked at the places we were visiting (too dangerous in the slums) and the things we were doing (handing out food to street children)… but truly, like you said, we felt blessed in return!
Not sure what happened to the first comment I posted. But I was saying that this post brings back great memories. Our whole family went to the Philippines two summers ago to visit our two Compassion daughters. 🙂
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing Jon. This brought back memories for me. Two summers ago, we took our family to the Philippines too… in order to show our two first-world-kids what extreme poverty looks like. We were able to visit our two Compassion daughters. It was an experience that changed our family forever, what we saw there broke our hearts even more for the things that break God’s heart!