“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:7-12
I spent the Holy Week on a grand adventure in an island far away from Manila. It is not the first time that I have been to a place with no electricity, cellphone signal or comfortable bed and I will not make this the last. I went to Jomalig Island for 4 days, 3 nights, more than 60 friends and innumerable experiences. The Jomalig Island Project of Project Lingap has filled our soul’s cravings.
Friendships and Intimacy
“Friendship arises out of Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden).” – C.S.Lewis
I often wonder how you could squeeze in that whole crowd together for a few days and get the feeling that you have been together for ages. Normally, people would form clusters and sub-groups. That’s what we do best and that is actually what happened. The organizers were closer because of the decisions that had to be made and they did well. The regular attendees were clustered together because they have stories to share about the past trips. The new comers also got together well because they found something in common to talk and laugh about. On a trip like this it is expected. It is also expected to have the more introverted types go out and explore on their own while the extroverted types go haywire with the number of people surrounding them.
Directions and Missions
Yet when you push a purpose, a mission bigger than each individual member, the clusters and the sub groups move as one. In the Jomalig Island Project as with all the Project Lingap before it had this to offer. The event offers not only a great place to bum around the holidays but a mission to the communities that makes life more worthwhile.
We have taught the kids to have fun and that not all tourists are there to lounge about, swim and use their bathrooms. Some tourists go there to genuinely get to know them. We taught the adults of the community that not all tourists go there to eat up their supplies, some just comes in to help them have a livelihood and a renewed sense of purpose. These and more make the Project Lingap and the Jomalig Island Project different from your usual trip.
A Higher Purpose
I don’t believe that this is about giving back. After all, Jomalig is 10 hours away from Manila and had nothing to do with most of us. They have given us nothing, hence we have nothing to give back. Yet I believe it is more of the love of God flowing in each of us that make us realize that we ought to help. This is what happens when you do God’s charge. We may come from different backgrounds, different religious denominations and practices, yet the call to do good deeds to other people who are in need binds each of us. It is the call of God to help those in need in His name and that is what we set off to do. His love moves us, whether we accept it or not, to reach out to each child, parent or adult in the Jomalig Island. You know this to be true because the moment you leave the place, you ache for more and wait for the next one. I guess this is God giving us a higher sense of purpose. All that is left is for us to answer His call.
At the end of each trip, what comes back to Manila are people with a beautiful scenery burned on their heads, a rejuvenated heart for service, a lot of friendships formed, and the commitment to do this again the next time around. This is what setting out on an adventure with a heart means. The foot is not just satisfied with the travel so is the head full of memories, and a heart full of love.