As promised about 5 minutes ago, below is the written script of my sharing. To listen while watching the video, click here. Plenary 5 video, at the bottom of the page. Scroll to 9:48 to listen.
Oh and Cal-Pac Taskƒorce Philippines’ resolutions got adopted! So cheers all around for those who made it happen.
If you are interested in further articles about my time check out this article from Global Ministries
Here are the words I spoke..sort of. I don’t always follow exactly what I write.
My name is Adam Shaw and I am a young adult missionary with Global Ministries. I served 18 months in the Philippines and am currently serving as Mr. Taskforce Philippines as a part of the Justice and Compassion Essential Ministry Team. I have been asked to share a reflection on what it means for me to be part of a church that offers young adults opportunities to serve:
My ministry in the Philippines began by building relationships with tenant rice farmers and urban poor communities by living with them for about 5 weeks. With the farmers, I helped with the chores, pampered the carabao-the water buffalo and shared meaningful time with their families. With the urban poor, I watched the children, played cards with the youth, attended organizer meetings, listened to their stories of struggle and laughed at their jokes. I came a stranger, but I left as ANAK, as a son, as kuya, as brother, I left as family.
I also left tired. I was so tired from being away from my room for a month, my clothes were so dirty from me trying and failing at washing them in the stream, much to the amusement of the locals. And so when, 2 days after I got back to Davao Francis, my supervisor, said to me: “Adam, they are inviting you back for a solidarity march.” And I, my naivety on full display asked him, how long of a march?
He said, 93 miles in 5 days.
My feet hurt just thinking about it, I was still tired from my 5 week adventure, my clothes were sort of clean, I was physically drained, mentally exhausted , my heart was homesick and all I wanted to say was No!
The B’laan Lumad tribes of Tampakan were asking me to march with them as they publicly demonstrated their peaceful resistance to the land grabbing entry of a large-scale open pit mine in their ancestral land, a march that transverses what is the affected watershed, the entire far south of Mindanao.
I was called to join the march. Called, tired as I was, homesick as I was, dirty and smelly as I was. The first day, it was hot& humid. the second day was more of the same, plus we got rained on. by the third day I was carrying my shoes in one hand because I had blisters on my heels, and shuffling along in my flip flops because I had also blisters in between of and on the underside of my toes, and it was impossible for me to walk without pain. By the end of the fourth day, I was utterly exhausted, sleep deprived, suffering from my recurring amoebiasis and unable to walk because of my infected blisters. Now every night after the day’s march there was a cultural and solidarity night, as more people joined the march every day. I usually sang. That night however, I wrote a letter and had a friend translate it, as I read my letter aloud. It was a letter that asked for forgiveness for my state of being, and one that asked for their permission for me to stop and rest before catching up. It was a letter of shame. I was ashamed. Ashamed because the nanay’s the grandmothers, the children, who I had marched alongside of for 60 miles, they were still going strong, going because they had to, because it was their ancestral land, their HOME that was at stake, because marching was their hope.
In the depths of my shame, the B’laan thanked me, and gave me grace. A Loving Grace for we had walked together, a Humbling Grace, because I could go no further. An empowering Grace of why they couldn’t also rest. Inspiring Grace. Amazing Grace.
On behalf of all young adult missionaries, thank you. Thank you so much for your love, for your prayers and for your gifts of financial support– that allows us to receive God’s Grace from people with whom we were in ministry with yesterday, and share that Grace, that same amazing grace, to those people with whom we are in ministry today. Thank you very much.