As I am typing these words, one hand is holding a peanut butter sandwich, which finds its way into my mouth every so often. I pause and use my other hand (the one typing) to take a sip out of the refreshing, cooling cup of water to my right. After satisfying my thirst, I go back to typing, with the hand holding the sandwich still doing its job: feeding me.

Now that I've described my setting, it's time for me to explain in detail the reasons for this very descriptive introduction. Hopefully, if you ever do what a lot of Ateneans did today, you won't have to endure the sun's killer stare.

start break <I take a bite out of my sandwich. Hmmm... yummy... nom-nom*> end break

Back to blogging.

Today, August 13, 2011, I went to my first tree planting activity, at Brgy. Pandan, Cabusao, CamSur. I had grand plans and even dreamed of finishing the task without a hassle. We were told to plant two trees in the area, and that didn't seem like much of a challenge for me. So, I shrugged the activity off and didn't bother researching on the how-to's and the what-not's.

Well, when I got there, I realized the pain I would have to endure just to get one tree planted. Along with my block mates, we positioned ourselves alphabetically and began digging through the dirt, pulling out the weeds, and picking out the rocks from the soil. I thought to myself, "Lord, you alone can give me the strength to finish this." I couldn't do it alone, and I knew it. So, as the others sang a bit and cursed at the blistering sun, I silently did my work. I wouldn't waste my energy ranting on and on about the situation.
As my spot for planting was nearing its clean state, one of the coordinators approached us (me and the next four afterwards) and apologized, saying that we were digging at the spot with pipes and that we had to move to another place. It's safe to say that I got discouraged after that. How could the others understand the effort we put in? It hurt to realize that we had to start from the very beginning and get dirty all over again. Add to that the humidity and sunlight and you've got a deadly trio.

Anyway, even though we were moved to another spot, I was very grateful because I was placed beside a kind Education student (a girl) and when I asked for help in cleaning out the area for planting, she didn't even hesitate to help. And you know what's more worthy of praise? She cleaned out the whole spot, when I only asked for her to show me how! Isn't that a real blessing? Even as I started digging the hole for my tree, she was constantly around, ridding the area of itchy plants and later, even frogs! :)

After working very hard to clean to soil and getting used to the red ants crawling around, I was able to finish planting the first tree. As I said, the ES girl helped me throughout the whole time of my planting, and for that, I am very very grateful and indebted to her.

To make this long story short, I learned something from this experience without expecting it. As I was pulling out the weeds and the roots from the soil, I realized that it was similar to winning souls for Christ. Every person is different - some are harder to convince than others and some easily submit to follow Christ. The first time I pulled the weeds, I clutched all of them at the same time and tried pulling them out of the ground. I even tried chopping them off with my trowel! But some really wouldn't budge. I could feel myself getting blisters when I decided to pull them out one by one. As I did so, the weeds came out more easily, and some, even though they really took much of my time, also slowly came out.

At that moment, I felt God tell me that that was how to really share Christ to others. I can't just try to win souls for the sake of doing it - I have to treat every one of my targets as people with different backgrounds, roots, and beliefs. I have to take the time to work with them and allow them to understand that pulling them out of the darkness, the dirt in their lives, are for their benefit. :)

I may be really drained physically after that outreach for the people of Brgy. Pandan, but in the end, I could say that that event was successful. I learned more than a few things about life and Christ, and I was able to realize how lucky I am to be in my position.