Saturday, July 26, 2014

Six Months In The Philippines - The Struggle To Love

“The people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.”
This quote came up in my Facebook newsfeed a few weeks ago, and the truth of it smacked me in the face with force. There are a few of those in my life at the moment.

I have now been at Ruel Foundation orphanage in the Philippines for six amazing months. In that time I have, among other things:
* Coached in a soccer tournament
* Written a book
* Become a pro-tricycle driver out on the busy streets of Calapan
* Met many new people, from close to ten different countries
* Still not got used to being stared at, pointed at and laughed at
* Seen three kids go off to be with their “Forever Families”

Apart from my official roles of teaching, maintaining the blog and Facebook page, and being in charge of the petty cash, ultimately I am here to be a father-figure to the kids here; to show them the love of God. This is easier with some kids than others.

There is one child in particular who I am just struggling to love. God has used her to reveal some things about myself, many of which I don’t like. She just pushes all my buttons and, to be honest, annoys the heck out of me.

She has been separated from the other kids because of the way she treats them. She sleeps in the building next to my apartment, so hers is the first voice I hear in the morning and she is always the first to the schoolroom. She will seek me out in a crowded room full of people. She is desperate for attention and is determined to get it, through sometimes positive, but mostly negative ways.

I don’t know details of her background but I know she has been through some terrible things in her short life. She is desperate for love, and doesn’t cope well when people come in for a short time, she gets attached and then they leave.

My heart breaks for her as I see this rollercoaster in motion. Because I have been here for a few months and am around her a lot in a normal day, I seem to bear the brunt, though I refuse to take it personally.

She will be all affectionate one minute and literally five seconds later her face darkens and she says things like “I don’t want you. I don’t love you. When I go I will not miss you.” She sometimes hits and bites. It’s like someone flicks a switch, and an immediate transformation happens, often several times in a single day.

I carry on with what I’m doing and wait for her to leave, because that’s the normal reaction when you decide you don’t like someone, but she doesn’t. In fact, she stays nearby and moves closer. I can’t imagine the torment of loving someone deeply, but the only way you can express it is by spitting anger and hatred toward them.

With God’s help I continue to do my best to show her love, though I have failed so many times.

I am convinced that whoever takes this girl into their family, whenever that is, will literally be angels in disguise, because that’s what it will take.

We are praying there is someone out there for her.


  1. I'll be praying for her, your interactions with her and for a forever family. I can't imagine how hard it must be to process what she's been through. Thanks for loving her even though it's hard.

  2. Your "friend" is exhibiting behaviours that are typically seen in children who are in our emotionally challenged special education programs. Our students are normally placed in psychological counselling programs in conjunction with their educational program. I don't know if this is an option at Ruel, or even available in Calapan, but I would recommend looking into this if she isn't already receiving some sort of counselling. I will keep you, her, and everybody else in my continued prayers. God Bless!