I recently had the opportunity to conduct two days of marketing and communications workshops for the staff of CCT, HOPE’s partner in the Philippines. Though I had come to share my area of expertise, I truly relished the opportunity to witness theirs as I visited the ministry’s expansive work.
Our workshops were held at CCT’s retreat and training center in the town of Tagatay, which boasts amazing lake and volcano views. While the more affluent trek to this area as tourists, tucked away in the back streets and alleys are many who struggle daily to provide for their families. Following the first day’s sessions, I met Arvin, a CCT savings group facilitator. In just three months, CCT’s new savings program had grown to include about 200 people in 15 savings groups, and I was eager to learn more about those who had committed to save in solidarity.
Arvin invited me to join him for a short drive down the hillside to a savings group meeting. A brisk walk between winding collections of simple dwellings led us to Ate Lorena’s home, where the 12 women who make up Bliss Savings Group gathered to support each other in their goals to provide for their families’ physical and spiritual needs.
As I stepped inside the home, the group greeted me with the warm hospitality that characterized every Filipino I met. Gazing around the room, I quickly noticed two things: a glass bottle on the table that was about 1/5 full of coins, and piles upon piles of linens and laundry. I wanted to know more.
As Arvin explained it, the 12 women had begun meeting about eight weeks ago. Each week they collectively contribute 50–100 pesos ($1-2 USD). This group has chosen to invest their funds in running a laundry business for the retreat center, enabling their pooled funds to multiply more quickly.
Following a time of worship, Arvin opened the Bible to Luke 10 and read verses 38-42.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Arvin shared with the Bliss Savings Group the importance of remembering that their work is a blessing from the Lord and an act of worship to Him, while warning against the danger of being so consumed with the duties of business as to miss opportunities to be in the presence of our Savior. From the expressions on the women’s faces, there was not only acceptance of the message but also an element of peace.
I left reflecting on how work can be an act or worship: not just the parts of work that we love to do, but also the tasks that may not be as pleasing. If these women can worship and commune with God while doing laundry, so should we seek Him and seek to glorify Him in the oft routine tasks of our day.
Guest post by Kevin Tordoff