Kindness is a virtue and a value that is often neglected or even abused today. Nevertheless, kindness should be a part of our lifestyle and not just a mere act—for kindness is an act of love. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that “kindness and love are the most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse.”
The Bocala sisters, Janelle (22 years old) and Rachelle (21 years old), were our new found friends from Australia who had come over to Bangkok, Thailand for their mission trip. They were one of the simplest persons that I know. But what made these persons peculiar was their kind of dedication and generosity to help and give out kindness wherever they are.
Before they headed out to their mission field at Bamboo School, we decided to give them a little tour around Thailand. During several instances while walking around the city, we would often see them buying extra food, bottles of water, carrying with them some money and with precious smiles to give to the less fortunate people along the way. They enjoyed stopping for almost anyone they came across that needed some help. With these random of acts love, they were able to impart to the needy the sense of importance. I have never witnessed such raw kindness as displayed by Janelle and Rachelle. And what do they receive in return? Nothing fancy. Just some genuine smiles, some “thank you”, “God bless you”, respect and that sense of contentment and pride of giving. As Bob Anderson said, “There is nothing so rewarding as to make people realize that they are worthwhile in this world.”
Soon after, the time had come for us to go to Bamboo School. Bamboo School is a mission post, a clinic, with its mobile clinic, a school, and an orphanage all at the same time. It is located in the mountains near the borders of Burma and Thailand in the small village of Bonti, supervised by a dedicated nurse from New Zealand, Ma’am Katherine, or “MOMO” (mom-mom) as the kids and the village people would call her. Upon arrival, Momo gave us a tour around the place and enlightened us with the situation of the school and the primary needs of the kids: LOVE. This was the purpose why Janelle and Rachelle were brought here. Upon seeing the condition of the place as the children welcomed us with such warmth, I saw happiness reflected in their eyes. It was just plainly painted on their faces.
After a month in the school, they stayed over at our house to celebrate the New Year with us. Afterwards, my brother, Kyle,
together with our friend, Ray, and I decided to join them at Bamboo school. The orphaned kids have different backgrounds. One of them was a sole survivor of his family that was massacred by rebels who attacked their town. Another child was abandoned in the trash by his prostitute mother. Some were battered children, others have terminal illness, some have abnormalities, and some just needed someone to love them. You can’t help but be drawn to love them with their smiles and hospitable affection.
Each day with them was a new experience for me. I could still remember our first assignment. We were
told to make a coffin for someone who died in the village. A few days later, we were told to make
another coffin for someone who committed suicide in the village. Even our last task was to make a coffin
for someone who died of natural causes.
We spent our days praising God with them, eating with them, playing and simply enjoying the moment with them. We also helped the school with some of the chores, attending to the needs of the patients in the clinic, visiting the village, taking care of the babies and young ones, teaching them the English language, some values and lots of other things.
Not long after, it was time for us to go. Although many words remained unspoken, the hugs and goodbyes came closely enough tofill the aching gap that the community, especially those children, had left in our hearts. We took our last look at the village and the school then with a deep breath and bid our last farewell. The joy and laughter that we shared, the stories we exchanged, and the kindness each of us imparted and received in return was just a glimpse of what a better world would be like if we can change it. I don’t really know how kindness works, but those ripples of joy did really make a difference to the kids and to me.
(You can visit Bamboo School’s website at (http://www.bambooschool.org/)
Watching Janelle and Rachelle who travelled all the way from Australia just to be with them and to show those children their
importance and value to the world, touched and changed me as a person. They would even go to lengths as spending their
fortunes as often as possible just to reach out to those who needed them, spreading kindness one day at a time to those within their reach. Plato quoted, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” Janelle and Rachelle are just two of those who are not only supporting people fight their battles but also fighting alongside with them through their selflessness and kindness.
Two years ago, together with the Filipino-Australian SDA Church of Australia, they visited MVC and some parts of Northern
Mindanao in connection with Northern Mindanao Conference to help build churches, build lives and reach out kindness. And just this June, they held an evangelistic meeting at Carmen, Davao city in cooperation with the Davao Mission, and more souls were brought to the feet of God.
Whenever I ponder about giving love and showing kindness, I am always reminded of the Bocala sisters. We don’t really need to make grand gestures of love or kindness to make a difference. Just a simple act of kindness to the person next to us can be a start. It may seem small to us but we will never know, it could mean everything to him/her. That trivial act of kindness from us may trigger a ripple of joy that could stretch even to the unknown parts of the world and make the world a much better place. According to Desmond Tutu, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
What bits of kindness have we shared today?