By Justin Emmanuel Rivera
“Team fruitcake, team fruitcake, masarap, masustansya! Team fruitcake, team fruitcake, hindi lang pang pasko, pang araw-araw din!”
That cheer permanently paints the faces of the kids at Kaylaway Elementary School in my head. It reminds me of how many kids gave their lives to the Lord that day.
Joining the One Voice team as a volunteer at their Mt. Batulao outreach is something I look back to now and think, I am so glad I did that!
When we first arrived at the school, which was at the base of Mt. Batulao, the students had curiosity written all over their faces. I could tell they were puzzled by our arrival. They were shy, too. As the day progressed, however, smiles began forming and they came out of their shells.
We divided the kids into three groups. Each group was to come up with a cheer. To my surprise, I was told that my church mates and I would spearhead one of the groups. In our designated room, our group began to brainstorming a team name and a team cheer.
I asked the children for their favorite things and began from there. One student whispered, “Fruitcake!” I heard him and had a light bulb moment. Fruitcake! That’s it! The other kids head the boy’s comment, too, and we all looked at each other and just knew: “Fruitcake” would be the name of our team.
We then came up with a brilliant and about-to-be-famous cheer: “Team fruitcake, team fruitcake, masarap, masustansya! Team fruitcake, hindi lang pang pasko, pang araw-araw din!”
The heat was beginning to get the better of me after breaking for lunch, and I was getting tired. By lunch time, however, the kids were more comfortable with us, and they were more eager to continue on with the activities we had planned for them.
Seeing them so excited and so happy brought a smile to my face. I was just so happy that, despite the heat, these kids were so eager to learn. When it was my turn to teach the kids, it began raining, and the weather became much cooler. I thanked the Lord midway through my Bible story, feeling awake and refreshed again.
At the end of my lesson, I asked the kids to close their eyes and stand up if they wanted to commit their lives to the Lord and pray. I felt like such a “stage Dad” when the kids began standing up one by one. When we prayed, some of them cried, and I couldn’t stop thanking the Lord.
Finally, the day ended, and photographs were taken. I didn’t want to leave the school. I didn’t feel any hint of exhaustion either. I just wanted to remain with the kids. I felt so fulfilled, so joyful, and so thankful. God had done His work through me and in His children.
I was in all-praises mood for Him on the way back.