We were walking past a church, a gorgeous catholic church. It was an old crumbling building filled with hundreds of pristine pews, incense gently wafted through the air and breathtaking stained glass windows lined the walls. It was well kept and evidently quite a bit of money had been spent to keep it in such immaculate condition.
But walking on the outside you would have never known. Homeless people lined the sidewalks, kittens lay dead in rubble right outside. Nude babies slept on cardboard between the legs of their hungry parents. Barefoot 7 year old's held babies on their hips as they begged for money or food. It certainly paled in comparison to the scene inside of the walls not 3 inches away.
Action needed to be taken; so off to McDonald's we went. We bought food and headed off back to the streets. We first searched out the children and began feeding them. We found a group of about 5 children, and the eldest eagerly took the food from us. She immediately sat down and gave the 2 naked babies food first; she than began to feed herself and the other two. The gratification on her face was priceless. They were so hungry, yet so thankful for what little we gave them.
Next we began handing out food to several adults sitting outside of the door. What happened next will stick in my mind forever. This man blessed me more than I ever could have blessed him.
He sat there legless, his skin darkly tanned and leathery; his chin tucked in to his chest as he slept. He had hardly any clothes on and he sat on a piece of cardboard. I crouched down next to him and whispered, "Kuya.."(A term of respect meaning brother) His eyes opened as he looked up at me. I handed him a small McDonald's box that had about a half cup of rice and a piece of chicken and he clutched it to his chest. His eyes met ours; an unbelieving look on his face. The food slowly settled on his his lap and tears started forming. His lips parted in a very unattractively toothless-but very BEAUTIFUL smile. In that second he was completely transformed. He reminded me of a child. His eyes raised heavenward, and he pointed up then began dancing where he sat. He was like a child at Christmas time. He was SO thrilled to have this bit of hot food. Oh yes, he had no leg, no clothes, he was old and wrinkly, life had evidently been hard; no physical beauty but the child like beauty that he had in that moment far surpassed anything. As we walked away I continually turned around to watch his face, that wonderful smile never once left his face. His head was bowed as he cradled the food in his hands and I was SO blessed to be able to witness that moment of the beauty of Christ. I must confess; whenever I think of this story or explain it to someone I can not help but grinning.
|Image I got from the internet of the church in Chinatown.|