Manila kids are definitely different from Negros. The demographics were different from last year too. I preached the gospel to many college kids this year aged 16 to 19. The high school kids had quite a good command of English too, as compared to those in Negros last year. Negros schools were more rural whereas Manila was a city.
Many of us who went last year told me they preferred Negros because the students responded better. The students in Manila were not as emotional and as receptive. Last year many tears fell as I preached the gospel. This year there were tears too, but way way lesser.
I don't know why but I actually preferred the classes I went into this year. Firstly the students were at an age where they were more discerning toward the things they heard and they were more searching. They can first appear disinterested, but when you meet their needs with the gospel message, it just lifts me up each time those indifferent faces light up with concern and understanding. Not that simple faith doesn't work but to a person who works things out with her mind like myself somehow this resonates better.
The workload this year was slightly heavier. I went into more classes than last year. High schools were physically trying when there is a need to struggle for their attention. College students were emotionally trying. To enter a class whereby the lecturer says '10 minutes only', look at their eyes which zap away my emotional energy by the sheer amount of different needs each presents and to shape my gospel presentation spontaneously based on the vibes they present.
Some of my fondest memories of this year's classes. A 10 minute presentation in a philosophy college class whereby nearly the whole class ended up emotional or tearing. God actually used that very short presentation by a total stranger to do a work in their hearts! I was struck, touched and very encouraged. Another instance was in a year 2 high school class. When I asked questions to be more engaging a little boy with pink painted fingernails deliberately shouted the wrong answers to disrupt the session. He gradually toned down and started listening as I proceeded, and in the end when I called for them to raise their hands if they accepted Jesus, he put his up confidently and looked straight into my eyes. And another when i entered the noisiest high school class ever in faith telling God in my heart: i can only depend on You to speak in this one! They were playing games and there were not enough chairs to seat them but they arranged themselves quietly on the floor when I started. And miraculously the two classes directly next to mine became quiet too (they were noisy as well) and the whole class looked at me and listened. Yet another instance when a sweet year 11 girl told me she has accepted Jesus and asked me to sign on her notebook for memories' sake. Another little boy followed suit and I ended up having to turn down the rest.
It was an uphill job going into their hearts but when the gospel reached there, there's nothing but sheer joy and encouragement seeing God work.
The gospel is a gospel of power indeed. I not only saw that in the classroom but it was strongly evident in the lives of the Smci-ians that worked with us. The spirit of serving us, the joy when they worked, the simple faith and the perseverance, the love. Every single day I find myself touched by one or more of them. To the extent that I even think to myself all the time: this is Jesus in them. This is Jesus in them. No other thing could have grown into such abundant fruit. It is a joy to see them, a joy beyond description. It shows not just the saving grace of the gospel but its incredible life changing power. These brethren, their lives do the gospel justice!
I will continue with the proposal blog nx time :) thanks for reading.