Getting some of the children hear to open up is a bit delicate as they have had a tough life. One teenage boy and I have been able to chat about small things and he eventually opened up explaining how he got to this children's home. He is the 4th oldest out of 9 kids. His dad is an alcoholic and mom was admitted to a mental facility 7 years ago. Part of his family roamed the streets of Tagbilaran looking for ways to survive. At one point his 3 brothers and 2 friends were hungry so he went up to a bread shop and nabbed a few buns. Little did he know that a police officer was right behind him. He spend 3 months in jail at the age of 14 for this misdeed before being sent to AOL. I couldn't help but think of Les Miserables while he was telling his story.
He contemplated running away but Grandpa Boni (more on him later) convinced him to stay. Now 7 of his brothers and sisters are here with him. I asked what he thinks would have happened if he choose to run away, without hesitation he replied that he would be dead. One of the friends he was with was beaten to death in jail and the other is dealing drugs in the city (punishable by death in the Philippines).
He is now working to get back on track from years of wandering and grateful to be in the presence of loving people. With the wisdom and character building he has learned at AOL he now is a beacon of light to his friends from the old days of stealing, drinking, and fighting.
It is really a blessing to see the love of Christ displayed and seeing changed lives as a result.