I am still volunteering at the clinic each week on prenatal shifts and birthroom shifts. I love very second of it and can't even begin to tell you all I am learning. Each day I am so in awe that I am living this life, the life the Lord set out before me, learning to be a midwife, seeing new babies born several times a week, learning a language and a culture, and building relationships here.
One of my favorite parts of my schedule is going on an outreach to Isla Verde to do prenatals for the Badjao women in the community. Even though my language training in Visayan is completely useless with these people as they speak a different language, I am finding it to be so worthwhile spending my time with them. I am even working it into my free time to go volunteer there with some filipino missionaries who have been planted in the Badjao community. This is what I have learned so far about the Badjao--
They are known as sea gypsies as they make their
living off of the sea, selling pearls and fish.
They are very poor and unaccepted among the filipino population here.
Most do not know how to speak
English or Visayan, read, write, and have no concept of time.
(Making questions like "How old are you?" or "
What years were your children born in?" hard to answer.)
They practice Islam, yet are not accepted
or recognized as Muslim by the Islamic community here.
They wear wonderfully bright colored clothing
and have very distinct (beautiful!) faces and voices.
To learn more about the Badjao people, you can click here.
So when the Badjao patients get prenatals, they are done at Isla Verde, as the women rarely come to the clinic for their check-ups. When the women are in active labor, they show up at the clinic and are admitted, given care, and extended grace. Most of the time, they don't bring anything with them (baby clothes, baby hat, change of clothes for the mother, etc), because they simply don't have it. But what they do bring with them is a whole caravan of other Badjaos, who are close-knit and supportive of their kind.
On my last shift a few days ago, I was able to help with a Badjao patient who had come to the clinic to deliver her baby. It was such an eye-opening experience, one where I was able to witness first-hand the power of the Holy Spirit transcending language barriers and the power and dominion of Jesus proving faithful to help in time of need. Read what my housemate Sarah said about what happened here.
Interactions like these truly bring to light the reason I have come. Yes, I desire to learn the skills to become an able midwife. And yes, I am very much in love with the filipino culture. But so much more than those things, is the desire to see these people come to know Jesus as Savior. When I think about the Badjao, how they aren't even accepted in their surrounded community and how they are really in need on so many levels, I can't help but think that THESE are the people Christ came for. Yes, I know He came so that all may know Him as Lord, but these are the ones that have been disregarded by so many, but have not been forgotten by our God.
All that being said, this is where YOU come in. I am only here in the Philippines by the grace of God to provide for my needs through people who are willing to support stateside. If you read all my blog posts from this past summer, you can witness such a repeatedly faithful Father, as all my needs were met for me to be here this fall. Now I am looking toward the spring, completely trusting God to burden your hearts to see the need and commit to pray and financially support.
I found it quite ironic as I am here completely on donor support that God would choose to speak into my heart so much on the topic of generosity. Through 2 Corinthians 8 & 9, I have been SO challenged. I urge you to take just a few minutes to read them as well. (chapter 8 & chapter 9)
I heard in church this past Sunday a quote by Baptist missionary, William Carey, who said,
"I will go down, if you will hold the rope."
The same words beat true in my heart.
I am willing to go down
down to the places others don't want to go, down to the places that are not easy and might be hard, down to the dangerous places--all for the glory and renown of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Will you be willing to hold the rope?