Bahay Pag-Asa in Bacolod City, Philippines is a separate corrective and transformational facility exclusively for children in conflict with the law. Check out their Facebook page here.

We have had our moments of heart-to-heart conversations and have started a sibling-like bond. From some of the conversations I have had with the boys, I have realized that, as humans, we all crave love and attention. People need to know that someone believes in them and cares for them. When that’s gone, they seek attention and love from things that could be unhealthy for them. When talking to Brother Dan about this, he said, “Abandonment is an open wound” I agree with him. When we feel abandoned it causes us to become cynical, less trusting, and angry, which manifest themselves in various ways. During my stay, I hope I could show these boys that they are loved and cared for and that they all have the potential to do great things. They are not their past mistakes.


We are here and enjoying every minute we have with the boys to where we even cancelled our trip to Manila. And we are trying to learn Ilongo so we can have small conversations in their language. We’re all ready to miss our flights home and spend the rest of the academic year!


As I reflect on my own experiences throughout life including this LSI experience, I realize that I should strive to live out the Gospel just as Brother Dan does. It is not an easy task, as my group and I have learned on this trip. Outsiders looking in may tell you they your service is in vain and to give up. This is because they do not have the compassion and humility that is required to serve others in need. It is hard for most people including myself to deal with these negative views when we are around our own peers because we do not want to be outcast for doing the unpopular thing. The challenge is to brush off the people that give us a hard time and have faith in ourselves and in God. Brother Dan exhibits the perfect approach to the challenge by bringing humor and joy into the situation.


When you are being criticized for something you believe is right, it’s hard to just take that and not act on the emotions she was stirring. However, Brother Dan reminded us that in service you see the good and the bad. Well that encounter we saw the bad in service. We all knew that even with our short time there we were making an impact even if it was only a minor one. Each one of us ignored and didn’t let this lady’s remarks get to us. We banded together and denounced what she said and reminded each other why we came there in the first place. It was a good bonding moment with my group and it was also a good look at how the world doesn’t always agree with the service work your are doing. It’s ok you don’t have to convince everyone. All you have to do is convince yourself that what you are doing is important and is helping.


When they needed something nobody was there to give it to them, and nobody was there showing them the love and attention every child deserves and needs. Within the short amount of time I was here, I was able to touch lives and let them know they were loved. But, most importantly, I was able to experience the love back.

I never thought I was as vulnerable as I am, and really I always thought I didn’t have much. But being around these boys has showed me a new meaning to life and has forced me to realize my vulnerabilities and appreciate them.

If I learned anything from these boys, it’s that people are good. Everyone is good. We all just need love and guidance to make good decisions. Although we might veer from our paths, love and guidance are always there to help us back on the path.



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