BANGON BARAKO

BANGON BARAKO

By Rose Vivares

“No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a simple ripple that over time can turn into tidal wave affecting the lives of many.” – Kevin Heath

On a random day, Rose wanted to do some random act of kindness. She wanted to help in her own little ways. But later did she realize, that random day is no ordinary day. It will be a start of something big. With that small seed of kindness in her heart, it made a huge effect to those people who helped her and her friends to help as well. With her five loaves and two fishes, by God’s grace, inspired many lives. She knew from the very beginning, someone needs help and someone has to help.

Two days before Taal started to erupt, I packed my old clothes for disposal. I met two kids on my way to school and asked them to get whichever they wanted. To my surprise, each of them just picked two shirts and told me to keep the rest for others. No one came after them. I went home with the bag still full of clothes. I, and the kids, I supposed, had no idea, who they were referring to but they were right.

Janrel, one of our leaders in the Youth for Christ ministry, has relatives who are living within the danger zone of Batangas. On Sunday evening, he has been knocking for prayers and help for his family and updating us of their situation. That night, I realized that the clothes I packed were really meant to reach people somewhere else. I was so ready to help yet all I had was a bag full of clothes. Thinking about the boy in the bible whose loaves and fishes multiplied, I was affirmed that what I had was enough. I was even certain that help is on its way just waiting for the road where it could pass through . Someone has to be that road. Upon learning on Monday that Janrel's parents have not rested traveling from Calamba to Batangas and vice-versa, I started asking for donations from friends, relatives and the Couples for Christ community. I was right. Every one was willing to help as much as I am. Donations overflowed in just a matter of hours. Love couldn't be contained in our homes. Every other day, the goods were delivered by our Titos and Titas to the communities hardly reached by help because of the gravity of the situation that time. Frequent earthquakes, ashes, and the dangers of the road had no power enough to stop them.

Ate Eunice, Janrel's sister, received donations of all kinds as well. Ate Joy, a missionary from YFC insisted that we create a page and a system to reach out to more donors. From then, BangonBarako was launched. I can still remember the long chats I had for consecutive nights: first with Ate Joy, then with Ate Eunice and then with my siblings. More than the “how” of the project, we made sure we strengthened our “why”.

Days after, volunteerswere very eager to help and move. Considering the situation and their safety, we couldn't risk them going there. But they were as unstoppable. On the following Saturdays, as the adults were bringing goods to communities in Batangas, the rest organized activities for kids evacuated in Calamba. With dances, colors, games and movies, we hoped we made the kids know 'they are never alone.' The kids were our fuel. Seeing them every Saturday kept us moving. Their stories, little by little, have become ours, too.

To start is easy, to persevere, they say, is grace. There were days, even until today, that I would feel the burden of moving forward. It was hard planning and taking the next steps but thinking of the victims, it must have been a lot harder for them. BangonBarako's vision was clear from the very beginning: a barako rising up again and us being with them every step of the way. The battle has just started now that they are back home. Looking back, I can say that this has never been our own doing but God's. Our volunteers had only a fish or a loaf to share but nothing they offered ever has been too little. Each time we say yes, we witnessed how our limitations are of no match to God's calling for each one of us.

All hopes for the Barakos and all glory to God!