• April 13, 2011

How do I be thankful enough? - Leeane’s testimony on the Philippines

Leeane G. -the first Heart’s Home vol­un­­teer to come from Australia- is back home in Melbourne after a four­teen-month mis­sion in Manila.
Here is part of the letter she wrote to share her last months of mis­sion with her spon­sors and friends.

“My last month in the Philippines was January. For weeks, with every invi­ta­tion we gave out to our farewell party, our friends would look at me and sigh and say, “Leeanne, is it four­teen months already? So soon! Stay longer!”

Goodbyes are hard. They bring up a store of thoughts, and with each friend it’s tempting to wonder, what have I done for you in the last four­teen months? We have argued with doc­tors and nurses and social workers on their behalf, we have exhausted lists of organ­i­sa­tions as we looked for help, but when it comes down to it, we came and wit­nessed the poverty of our friends and I leave and there is little that changes. And still, they look at me and say, “Stay with us!”

In the farewell mes­sages spoken to me at my ‘des­pi­dida’, and care­fully written in the sur­prise book I read at the Manila air­port with my heart pounding at with the thought of coming home, this is what my friends told me: ’’Thank you for inviting my child to your house on her birthday for spaghetti.” "Thank you for staying with my mother at the hos­pital." “Thank you for coming all the way from your country to live in our looban.” "Thank you for loving our chil­dren."

The sur­prise is that our friends under­stand our mis­sion far better than we do. Never counting or assessing what we have done, but care­fully storing in their mem­o­ries and hearts the times we accom­pa­nied them, and cel­e­brated with them and mourned with them. This is what friends do.

How do I be thankful enough that our friends wel­comed me into their lives? How do I be thankful enough for each warm hug from the chil­dren, and their goofy obser­va­tions about our life at Tahanang Puso- Heart’s Home in Tagalog-?

Lots of you ask me when you see me, how have I changed? And it’s hard to answer except for this, "That I am richer because in the Philippines I was loved and I loved".
The chil­dren are in my heart. And my prayer is a little of their love that comes through to the people I meet every day here in Melbourne."

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