Watching CNN at 3 am today, I was startled to see that the number of babies affected by the tainted milk produced in China had ballooned to 13,000!

The figure could still rise in the coming days.

There are no words enough to describe my outrage.  I could feel for the parents who are struggling to make sense of this right now.

I pray that the Chinese government, after that impressive display of the OLYMPICS would also show an OLYMPIC-SIZED efforts in treating these babies for free.

God, take care of the precious little ones.  Rescue them. Those babies who may be very far from medical facilities and whose parents do not have any means to have them treated.  Lord God, perform your miracle in China.  Hear the cries of the parents and the little ones.

Forgive the people whose greed significantly affected the innocent ones.

Dear God, you know each one by name.  Reach out to them as a FATHER, that only YOU, our Divine Father ever could. Embrace each one and whisper your healing words to them.

In Jesus’ name

AMEN

The news about the tainted milk in China was really horrendous.  I was tearing up when the news indicated that the 4th baby had died after being fed that tainted milk.

The news also said that 6,000 more are being treated right now.

I could just shake my head in total un-belief.

I am not sure who the real culprits are – but most of the times, when products are released without following strict health restrictions – it would be easy to find that GREED plays a major part.

When real estate companies in the Philippines would pay DENR to declare what used to be agricultural lands as industrial that can be converted to residential or other things beside agricultural, the bottom line is greed.

When major landslides and erosions take place because all the trees are gone.

When retail stores hide the expiry dates of their products and still put them on the shelves, that is greed.

Everywhere, it can be seen.  It can be felt. Even inside our homes.  Sadly even inside our hearts.

Greed affects us all.  And in this case, the innocent ones are the ones losing their lives because of greed.

God, please rescue the little children.  They are in pain and some are dying.  Forgive us all for our greed (in whatever way, shape, degree or form) and cause us to repent ( to change our perspective and act according to that changed and renewed perspective).

Reach out and rescue the little ones in China.

In Jesus’ name

AMEN

I am maybe alone in saying this. I did not enjoy the Opening of the Olympics.  But before you send me packing for my things and banish me somewhere let me tell you why.

I was in CEBU – and as China was impressing the whole world with its pageantry ( too long though!), I was in a small hotel in CEBU working on a powerpoint of my Boss for the following day.  I was tired from the previous sleepless nights and much as I wanted to sleep, I also felt the uneasiness being in a new surrounding.

I was thinking of the billions of dollars spent on just the Opening of the Games.  Too much money it seemed were poured to impress the whole world.  Well I felt that the whole world was on “intentional ignore” mode and Olympics while it was not supposed to be political, I could not help but feel it was already too politicized on the other extreme.

It was sad that nations come together and play sports, display unity when it is farthest from reality.  I started asking why do we have the Olympics after all?  How can we as humanity, ignore so many injustices, hunger and poverty and come together and play games and make it so ornate that it could lit up the whole city.  It seemed like the Olympics is the world’s anesthesia every four years.

The following day, tanks were rolling from Russia to Georgia.  I did not even hear of the place called South Ossettia before, now it is hugging the headlines and CNN broadcasting.  As the drums in Beijing were playing, as people were clapping their hands, Georgia was being destroyed by the Russian military.

In the past, I  enjoyed parts and pieces of the Olympic Opening Games, but this year, it seems like the whole WORLD IS GROANING MORE IN AGONY, only to be ignored because it is the OLYMPICS.  After the Olympics, it is going to be smoggy in BEIJING again as their millions of cars, and factories will be churning out smoke on a daily basis.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Olympics. I just don’t like it when the OLYMPICS are used to get us distracted from what the world leaders are supposed to be doing to help the plight of their people.

The rings of the Olympics are very poignant display of unity and interdependence.

I wish someday we would realize how much peace could be had when we really have unity not based on our ideologies, but based on the unity from our transformed hearts.

Bread for the hungry…

August 7, 2008

The other night, I accompanied my wife to a breadshop owned by a good friend. It was 9:10 PM and the store was closing at 10, according to our friend.

I took a seat at a nearby table/chair settings next to the counter and my wife did her business with the sole staff running the operations for that shift. In the middle of their transaction, a young man with his friend who was holding their instant noodle soup bought from 7-11, tapped on the glass and asked if he could buy 2 pieces of bread. I was just observing the whole thing from about 3ft away.

“Sarado na?” (the store is closed already?)- the young man asked.

He went to his friend and said what the store keeper said.

My wife pointed to the bread and said “you have 2 pieces left, why don’t you sell those to them?”.

“Magugulo lang ang records ko eh. Tapos na ang pag record ko pati yung pera bilang ko na…” (it will just mess up our records. I am done finishing my records and have already counted the money) – the storekeeper complained in her high pitched voice.

By this time, I was already standing behind my wife and I also added “dagdagan mo na lang ng +2 dun sa record mo – madali lang naman isulat yun…” (just add +2 to your records. It is really easy to just write and add those)

“Eh tapos na talaga records ko eh… di na talaga pwede…”( my records are really done now… I really cannot sell anymore…”

I looked at my watch. It was only 9:15PM.

This was a case of a storekeeper not doing her job and closing shop/records 45 minutes ahead of closing time.

This to me, was a case of a storekeeper who was so mindful of her financial recordings and having clearly forgotten that she was in the business of selling bread first, and recording those sales second.

Your hunger is not as important because I am too lazy to write additional 2 pieces of bread bought within 45 minutes of the closing time.

“wala pa kaming tanghalian eh.. kanina pa kami nagtatrabaho at nagbubuhat…”(we have not eaten lunch because we had been working and carrying stuff) one of the single men chimed in…. and went back to stir his noodles.

I felt my anger rising.

Not just because of the way the storekeeper was cheating on our friend, and for deliberately hindering my friend from having higher sales for the day, BUT IT WAS MORE BECAUSE OF THE DELIBERATE, INCONSIDERATE RESPONSE TO TWO HUNGRY MEN who just wanted 2 pieces of bread to go with their instant noodles for their dinner and lunch combined.

Injustice gets on my nerve everytime.

Sometimes when we think of the injustices done all over the world, in DARFUR, CHINA , MIDDLE EAST toward its migrant workers etc, we think of people with huge vested powers depriving people of their decent wages, housing and food.

But the forms and varying degrees of injustices are all over the world. It could even be as “simple” as being denied a bread for dinner – even when the person asking was BUYING within store hours and had the money to buy them – THAT WAS INJUSTICE.

I read somewhere that the measurement of our power is through the gentleness by which we exercise them.

It doesn’t matter what position you carry or functions that you do, it is in your gentleness in the dispensation of your function/position that your sense of power is measured.

This morning after saying our breakfast prayer, I was again reminded of so many people who may have so much less for food today. I suddenly remembered the incident and felt again the sense of injustice rising from within.

I immediately texted the owner and explained to her what I have seen and witnessed.

Injustice gets me angry all of the time.

Injustice gets me frustrated all of the time because many times I feel powerless to do anything about them.

Eventually, It drives me to my knees to pray.

That I will be vigilant in making sure that I exercise compassion and God’s tender mercies at all possible times.

That I will always remember that people are more important than my records and accurate plans.

That I make myself available to the Lord so He can feed the hungry both physically and spiritually.

Lord God, let the full manifestation of your KINGDOM be upon us now.

PS. Just got sms response from the owner: ” I talked to her already. She took it negatively.”

I rest my case.