The great Lego mission

 

A New York boy blesses Filipino children

By Cobbie and Dessa Palm | Presbyterians Today

A School on Wheels student shows Boden (center) one of the Lego pieces he picked up. Cobbie and Dessa Palm

Twelve children were huddled around a long table. Though they were only 7 to 13 years old, they would ordinarily be on the street, begging or selling merchandise for their families. They would not be in school if it were not for the School on Wheels (SOW) program of the Little Children of the Philippines. The children live in difficult circumstances, and because school was not a priority set by their families, they are behind in their education. By offering them nonformal education three hours daily for 10 months, SOW allows them to catch up on their lessons so they can re-enter public school.

On this day, they had just finished their lesson when they were treated to something they had not expected. A large box of Lego pieces was delivered by a young boy and his parents, who were visiting from New York.

The boy opened the box, spread out the blocks in the middle of the table and demonstrated how to connect the pieces. The kids’ faces lit up, and when their teacher gave the green light, they set out to build their own creations. The visiting boy helped the kids dig and find pieces for their projects.

The Legos were delivered by a child just like them, a 12-year-old boy named Boden Bubb from the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco, New York. Boden set up a drive among his schoolmates at the Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, New York. With their help, he collected 100 pounds of Legos to be donated to the various shelters and children’s programs in Dumaguete City. But there was more to his efforts.

We met Boden last September during our visit to the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco. It was then that he heard about God’s work in the Philippines. After learning that the Silliman Water Ministry was in need of another solar-powered water filtration system, Boden made a presentation to the church’s social justice committee, asking them if they would match his fundraising drive if he were able to raise half of the money needed. They enthusiastically agreed. That very night, he rushed home and set up a GoFundMe site. His theme was “Unless Someone Like You Cares a Whole Awful Lot, Nothing Is Going to Get Better. It’s Not” (from Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax”).

Boden reminds us a lot of the story of the feeding of the 5,000. When a great crowd of people followed Jesus, the disciples were faced with the challenge of feeding the crowd. Andrew pointed to an unnamed boy and told Jesus, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Many of us know that Jesus took the loaves and fish, and all were able to partake of as much as they wanted. And there was even more left. Little was said about the boy who had the loaves and fish. And yet he was profoundly moved by the presence of Christ to offer what little he had. It was in this act of giving that Christ could perform a bigger miracle, blessing and feeding thousands.

Boden’s parents, Brian and Vicki, share that their son has a big heart and a desire to help others, with Boden working on a number of food drives and raising money to support the local food pantry.

With Boden’s efforts, the Silliman Water Ministry will now be able to build another solar-powered water filtration system. Four shelters and programs working with children in difficult circumstances will also have big boxes of Legos that will enable the children to play, as they expand and express their imaginations.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for young children, individuals and churches who are touched by your Word and your spirit to help others. It is through them that children in the Philippines and many parts of the world feel the steadfast love, kindness and faithfulness of God. 

Cobbie and Dessa Palm are mission co-workers in the Philippines, where the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was established in 1948. Cobbie leads seminars for local church pastors, enhancing their skills in church development and revitalization. He also develops curriculum and trains churches in peace and reconciliation for the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform. Dessa coordinates the UCCP’s Theater for Evangelism and Advocacy, which trains church workers to creatively communicate the gospel.


Learn more

Read more about Cobbie and Dessa Palm’s ministry at pcusa.org/cobbie-and-dessa-palm

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