Sola Gratia: A Heart for Needy School Children

Hindi natin kailangang hintaying yumaman bago tayo magsimulang tumulong sa iba.  We don't need to wait until we get rich in order to start helping others.  That is one big lesson I learned from this man and the work that he has started --the Sola Gratia Ministries.  Sola Gratia means "grace alone".

The children beneficiaries with the Sola Gratia family in the foreground.  Church workers, the Municipal Vice-Mayor and newly elected councilor at the back.  Manito, Albay.

During the last weekend of May 2013 I went back to Manito, Albay as a follow up to an earlier activity two months earlier (related by my friend Sarah here).  This time I was with a family of four and another office mate.  It was a long weekend trip from Manila to Bicol and back in a little over 2 days.

What inspires me so much is the fact that Sola Gratia is run by an ordinary man who does not even earn as much as I do but has already been distributing school supplies of bags, notebooks, paper, pencils, crayon, and sharpeners -- essential needs of school children who could not afford them.

While I and perhaps a lot of other people have been dreaming of helping others and debating on methods and philosophies for and against dole outs and long term effects of different kinds of voluntary social services or social enterprises, this man with his family has simply made the decision to follow his heart.  They simply saw the great need of poor school children from places like Tarlac, Quezon and Bicol where they have already distributed school supplies in cooperation with local churches.

I am thankful to Sola Gratia Ministries for the inspiration, the partnership, and for the spiritual and educational help for these school children living in one of the poorest regions of the Philippines.  May they continue to inspire and extend practical long-lasting help to more school children around the country.

What did Sola Gratia Ministries get as a reward from their sacrifice and work?  Nothing of financial value but they did receive at least two things:  the joy of knowing they are making a difference in the lives of others for the glory of God and God's reward of giving them one night's view of one of His most majestic creations -- Mayon volcano as seen from Manito, Albay (see photo below).

Mayon volcano seen from Manito pier at night.  low tide.  Photo taken on an 8 second exposure with a Pentax camera by our companion and office mate, Alexis.

Sola Gratia Ministries has a short and simple motto:  "Loving poor people for the glory of God."  If you want to partner with them, or if you want to support their ministry, they can be found on Facebook as Sola Gratia Ministries.


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