Christmas has always been regarded as a big event among the inmates, not only because it means receiving “maraming biyaya” from all organizations of which they are members, but also because they expectantly hope, that Christ would touch the heart of the decision maker, who, in the spirit of Christmas, would sign the release papers.
This anticipation continues to burn in their hearts, and sustains their positive attitude that no amount of doubt or sadness can take away.They strongly believe that the child born on the first Christmas day, Emmanuel, is “God with us”, to feel what they feel, to experience what they experience. To be tempted and tested as they are tempted and tested, in order that He might sympathize with them on the one hand, and aid them on the other hand.
For them, Christ is the power that can fill their hearts with hope when in doubt, lasting joy in moments of sadness and peace in time of fear. This is the common message dramatized in all the four group presentations, taken from Scripture. The theme: God’s sovereignty over every situation no matter how difficult, was well-interpreted, a clear indication that they are knowledgeable about the Bible. Talents in acting, script-writing, as well as stage props and costume preparation, cannot be overemphasized as they can be at par with those of professional productions.
While portrayals may have been done with an eye for the grand prize, the overlying impression was the profound and thought-provoking message that each conveyed, that could well be points for Advent reflection in place of a recollection.
The grand prize winner presented the story of Job, replete with realistic costumes and props, that taught the triumph of good over evil.Job’s remarkable example of bowing before God in worship inspite of his trials, is what we see in how every inmate participates in the opening praise and worship before any activity. They sing, raise their hands, and dance with an attitude of gratitude in their hearts, notwithstanding what each of them may be going through.
A number among the leaders of our WSC’s whose good deeds have reduced their sentence, that should already make them eligible for freedom, have been patiently waiting to be discharged for years. Others have fully served theirs and hopefully would be released before Christmas. Some sickly members have crossed-over to the next life without any clear indication if they could still gain their freedom. Many of them, especially those coming from the province, have not been visited by their loved ones for years due to lack of travel funds to come to Metro Manila. Watching the presentations could have fostered their trust in the God of mercy and kept the fire of hope burning in their hearts.
For some, though, persistence in prayer have borne fruit, as in the case of a member, supposedly sentenced for murder with her two daughters and a son, all serving their sentence, for three years now. They were recently acquitted and all of them will be released soon and may spend Christmas together, hopefully as one family.
There would not have been a Christmas gift-giving without the generosity of our donors
who have been faithfully supporting this project through the years. They have untiringly pitched-in their share with so much love for our CIW sisters who can never repay them except through prayers. With purity of intention, their prayers are like sweet-smelling incense welling up at the altar of God the Most High and are surely very powerful. Special mention to the Singles Ministry volunteers, Dada Sunga and Phine Garcia, who took a leave from work to assist in the distribution of the lunch packs and the gift packs of grocery items and toiletries, and the indefatigable emcees for the program: Audie San Juan and Tricord, DodieTejero.
The presence of Mission DCS, Aman and Winda Piano, with their donation of cash gifts for the group leaders and their assistants,together with the untiring efforts of ISM Coordinators, Rudy and Ves San Pedro and the other tricords, Dingding de los Reyes and Trell Narciso, who supervised the activity, were well-appreciated. The beaming smile of the beneficiaries have been heartwarming, giving credence to some lines from one of the presentation scripts, “Bawat hakbang ay liwanag. Ang landas na ating tatahakin ay patungo sa Diyos”
Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel for each of them for as long as there are people who care enough to share even from the little of what they have, for them to feel God’s love. . . in the ears that listen, in the gift of just being there . . .in the generosity of the donors . . . It is in the context of giving that the giver is blessed as well, with light as he journeys with the Lord on the way to our Eternal Home.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Download message in pdf: MISSION NEWSLETTER – CIW CHRISTMAS GIFT GIVING DEC.2016