by Reins Mosqueda
One time, when I stayed in the central house and was about to leave for work the second day, I said goodbye to some fellow members and said that I will go ahead because I still have to go to work. I work at the Holy Family for Special Education (HFHC), a center for mentally-challenged students. One fellow member said to me that I will not go to the center to work but I will go there to play. I was so struck by what he said, “to play and not to work.” This phrase keeps ringing to my ears while traveling going to the center. To play and not to work? Hmm…how about that?
Our students love to play! They play many games and one of those I named after the title of an old song “Name Game”. Some students during class break would start cracking jokes or teasing each other and you can hear them laughing so loud and free. Most of the time during break, one or two students would start to tease their schoolmates by citing the names of the people around. They are like teachers who would start checking the attendance of students inside the classroom. Once they hear one’s name, they will laugh so hard. Everybody is so happy and enjoying it. At first, I didn’t understand why they are so happy just for that simple thing. I tried to analyze what’s so funny about that – calling one’s name. Nevertheless, I love seeing them enjoying themselves. Listening how they tease each other made me notice more of their simple joys in life. What’s with the name? If there is one word that would catch your attention even if it is spoken by someone from afar – it is your name. Sometimes you cannot help yourself but turn your back if your name was called and just realized that it is somebody else’s.
When the students started to include me in their playtime, I can say that they are enjoying calling my name. Just imagine that many students keep on calling your name many times aloud. Mo Rui Na Lao Shi! That is my Chinese name. Yes, so loud that even the people inside the center’s office could hear. One time, our directress was so curious about the students’ game. She asked me if it is alright that the students are bullying me. I explained to her that they are not bullying me. We are playing and we are having fun.
I just realized that it is true – I go to the center not to work but to play. The students are teaching me to be more simple and humble…a beautiful understanding why I have deep joy here in my heart as a missionary.
“…And as we grow with age, may we never lose that child-like simplicity and humility which draws us ever deeper into your loving presence.”