Photos by Bell
SANDAKAN : 'Four Things To Do Before Christmas' is initiated by the Sandakan Parish Youth Apostolate in collaboration with the Diocesan Youth Office. The 4-part program is an opportune occasion for the youth to experience the love of giving, to come to the aid of those in need and support their hope. The first encounter was on the 6th of December, a visit to the Agape Day Care Center located adjacent to the Old Folks Home, Jalan Sibuga, a place for children and young adults with disabilities aged 7 to 25 years.
Gathered at the Church parking space at around 8.00 am, we held hands and prayed for in prayers we seek His presence, as a body with one mind and voice.
We arrived at around 9.00 am and started the program with some action songs and games. This activity engaged not just the children but also the teachers. The session brought cheers, laughter and fun to them. We shared some food, sandwiches, cakes and drinks with them. They were in a more relaxed feel, settling down for the next session.
The next session was a coloring activity. We stayed by their side, motivating and supporting them throughout the activity.The teachers and the nurses there are very helpful and very kind to each and everyone of them. I was deeply touched by their commitment and love ~ providing quality care, being positive, highly engaged and interactive with the children.
During the coloring session, a boy name Mikail caught my attention. He looks like a normal boy; he has a bright smile and very good at coloring. This called to mind, the movie, "Every Child Is Special." portrays Ishaan Awasthi, an eight-year old boy whose world is filled with wonders that no one else seems to understand; colors, fish, dogs and kites which was not important with the adults. Ishaan just cannot seem to get anything right in class. One day a new art teacher came into the scene, Ram Shankar Nikumbh, who infects the students with joy and optimism. He asked them to think, dream and imagine, and all the children respond with enthusiasm, all except Ishaan. With time, patience and care, he ultimately helps Ishaan find himself.
The experience that I gained at Agape Day Care Center told me that we all have a dream and hope. For some of us to discover our talents or to achieve the dream we want, we need someone who can love and care for us while guiding us to the path we chose. I believe the special children in Agape Day Care Center do have their own dream in life and they are so blessed to have their teachers and the nurses there to journey with them. It was a wonderful and fruitful visit for me. I learned so much in just a short time with them. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to the teachers and nurses who are patiently journeying and guiding the special children. "You are the light of the world" - Matthew 5:14.
"God loves you the way you are, He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you be just like Jesus"
- Max Lucado