SharperFocus “Just another boy”

By Linda Manhardt, Major

Close to 200 children from the five outreaches of the Training College in the Philippines attend our meetings, so we decided to have a special “Children’s Festival” and bring the children to the college for a time of games, entertainment, Bible stories, snacks and a chance to perform a special number for each other.

The kids had a great time. Because of limited funds, we were unable to provide lunch, and asked each child to bring their own food. Of course, there were about 20 children who came without anything to eat.

We had prepared food for the cadets and staff—adobo chicken, rice and lumpia (spring rolls)—but we could not eat, knowing that there were children with nothing, so we  gave our lunch to them.

One of the boys we fed was 12-year-old Jerome. In fact, he was the biggest eater of them all. My staff remarked that they had never seen a child eat so much! We prepared 200 lumpia and plenty of rice. It all disappeared. And Jerome ate everything in sight.

He enjoyed the day. He stood next to me as he joined in on the songs and activities. I remember him laughing and being lively, especially during the games.

That was the last time I saw Jerome.

Because of his living environment and the open cuts on his feet, Jerome died three weeks later of leptospirosis, a disease contracted from the urine of rats.

Last week, the Training College conducted his funeral. The only comfort in the pain of his passing was the knowledge that he had accepted Jesus as his Savior during one of our Sunday school meetings. He was with the Lord, and as a result of the invitation given during his service, many others accepted the Lord as Savior as well.

We never know when it is our last chance to reach someone with the gospel.

That day, only a few short weeks ago, he was just another hungry boy in a crowd of animated children.

This is serious business that God has called us to engage in. We may bring the only chance of salvation to one who is lost.

I am reminded of how fragile life is and how precious is the opportunity to share the love of Jesus.

And now, I am reminding you.

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