“Mommy, let’s get out of here! It smells awful!” Luke says as we walk through the hanging carcasses. We have lost our way and ended up in a meat market. As the odor attacks our nostrils, the muck squelches beneath our feet. Eager, bony cats dart around people’s legs, watching for any morsels that might drop onto the slimy floor.
Finally out of the meat market, we make our way past sleeping dogs and people scattered along the sidewalks. Fruit stands and small markets dot the roadside. Our noses often catch the sharp smell of the sewers that flow beneath the street. Little children with dirty faces hold out dirty hands for money. The sight breaks my heart. Endless lines of honking cars and jeepneys crawl by. Everywhere is a sea of faces—precious faces—each one with the hairs on their head numbered. Imagine!
At the doctor’s office, scores of people sit in a continuous line along the narrow hallway. I read my Bible as I sit and wait. Sensing the lady beside me wants to talk, I strike up a conversation. Her name is Lina. Like most people here in the Philippines, she is Catholic. She asks me about my family and why I’m here in Manila. I happily tell her we are here to study Tagalog because we are missionaries. She smiles delightedly. She begins to teach me the names of different body parts in Tagalog. She points to her nose. “Ilong,” she says.
The nurse finally calls my name. The doctor diagnoses my rash as impetigo and prescribes a cream.
Luke and I walk back home. Thankfully, our apartment is directly across the street from the Adventist hospital. We pass the friendly security guard, and he waves. “Magandang Umaga!” (“Good morning!”) I reply. We walk to the elevator and push the up button. It’s a long way to the 42nd floor where we live. I watch the numbers. Waiting for the elevator to come down can take a while. Finally it arrives, and we get on.
We are so blessed to be here in Manila. My prayer every day is that we will be faithful and make a difference in someone’s life for Jesus. He is with us!