”Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. And now, let the weak say I am strong.
Let the poor say I am rich.
Because of what the Lord has done, give thanks.”
– “Give Thanks” by Don Moen

I would always hear this classic, old praise song being sung in church and in various community gatherings,   but I’ve never heard it so beautiful and heartfelt than when it was sung last November 30, 2015 with the children of He Cares Foundation. The home was filled with resounding voices of love, gratitude and worship to God.
That beautiful Monday, we, the servants and Light Group members of Feast Alabang Town Center, left our abode south of Manila and traveled all the way to the north of the metropolis to spend time with 100 precious children of God at He Cares, a streetchildren caring center.
Feast Alabang Town Center has been blessing God’s people in Alabang for nearly three years now. Just last July, we were granted the biggest blessing of having the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every Sunday at The Feast. Truly, God has been so gracious and faithful to our family. We just couldn’t contain the love that’s overflowing, and this outreach was something we had all been looking forward to.
No holiday could stop us from being a channel of God’s love to the streetchildren, even for just a day. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the people of He Cares Foundation who were busy preparing the venue as well as the food. Some rushed to the kitchen to help, while most of us started bringing in the goods and sacks of rice we brought for the foundation.
Our excitement grew even more as He Cares founder Joe Dean Sola welcomed all of us. He shared the story of how He Cares started. Imagine, from feeding two street kids who went up to him when he was young, his desire to help has now built a new and bigger home for the streetchildren. He’s been changing lives one plate at a time for 20 years now. It was such a moving testimony and we were all blessed to witness him in action.
As the kids started to come in, we sat and mingled with them. The program started with worship and we sang worship song like “How Great Is Our God” and “Your Grace Is Enough,” which the kids surprisingly knew so well. To see these children raising their hands to God was a lovely sight.
Following the worship, the children were led to a dance exercise. And of course, we couldn’t spare the children from all the fun and energy, so the loving teachers of the Awesome Kids Ministry led the children into a few games.
The children were all hyper after the games, but when Joe Dean started to pray, they calmed down and listened to him. He led us to prayer before meals by singing the song “Give Thanks.” The children sang at the top of their lungs. That moment was so pure and sincere that it moved most of us servants to tears.
Even though these children went crazy during the games, we saw how Joe Dean and the He Cares family were able to teach and discipline them. As we were prepared the garage for lunch, the children rushed to the washing area where the servants helped them wash their hands. Then we sat with all 100 of them for lunch. And as we bid them goodbye, we gave each of them loot bags with lots of treats inside.
It was such a fruitful and fulfilling day, and seeing their lovely smiles was priceless. Most of them longed for the touch of our very hands, wanting to be hugged and carried. I realized then that we could give them our undivided attention or lots of treats, but no other gift can compare to love. By holding them and carrying them, I’m sure that we made them feel the love of Christ.
How fulfilling it truly is to give thanks to God by giving love and blessing others. May we all continue to give love like never before.
If you would like to share your time with the kids at He Cares Foundation, contact Joe Dean or Ardis at (02)928-8910. He Cares is located at No. 9, Mines St., Barangay Vasra, Project 6, Quezon City.