Action missionary Rafael Sison worked the streets of Manila, trolling for street children and orphans.  Streets and alleys were his beat.  

One night as he was sharing a story of Jesus healing a man born blind, one of the street kids named Avatar interrupted him, “Pastor, we have met a lot of missionaries over the years and we’ve heard stories about Jesus so many times already. All you missionaries do the same things – feed us, sing with us, pray for us, share stories of Jesus, take us to camps and take pictures of us. Then you show up less frequently, then stop showing up at all. We are tired of hearing about Jesus. We want to see Jesus. 

Feeling their disappointment, Raffy answered, “I’m sorry to hear that. The Jesus these missionaries are sharing with us is the same Jesus that am sharing with you.” 

Dissatisfied, they repeated, “Show us Jesus.” 

Raffy felt pushed and pinned against an emotional, spiritual wall, knowing his reply had not satisfied them. The teens laughed at him, perhaps proud that they had stumped him.  They continued to speak of the many missionaries who had come to the streets of Manila, and then departed out of their lives. 

For months, Raffy interacted with them admitting that he also spoke of Jesus and had little more to offer than the others. At each meeting they said, “Show us this Jesus.”

One year went my, and a second followed with little penetration of the Gospel into this group of hardened street youths.  They had not seen Jesus to their satisfaction. Into his third year of contact with this group, Raffy was not making progress. 

One night he was in the streets. It was raining hard, making it difficult to find those he planned to serve.  As the rain and thunder increased, Raffy called it a night. He packed up. 

Walking away, he heard a kid’s voice calling him from a dark alley. “Pastor, over here.” Raffy walked in the direction of the sound and saw quite a number of kids keeping dry under a tarp tied above their heads between two buildings. 

He paused, thought and the proceeded cautiously into the dark alley. As his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he recognized Reynolds, Avatar and others who ran together. 

Reynolds, the oldest in the group said, “Pastor, tonight we are providing dinner for you.” While speaking, he pulled out a large, black garbage bag from the KFC nearby, sat it down in the middle of the circle and tore it open. 

Raffy, a Filipino-America, had enjoyed normal food – clean, healthy food. But now he was being “served” the leftovers, the food thrown away by others, all mixed together – some of it “fresh,” some of it semi-rotted, some of it slimy, all mixed together in a nauseating brew.

Reynolds led the group in prayer, giving thanks for the food. As soon as the Amen was said, the boys were like wild dogs, grabbing at the garbage. Reynolds scolded them saying, “Leave the meaty parts for pastor!” He was protective of Raffy’s honored position. 

Raffy swallowed hard, realizing what he was being challenged to be and do. Could he come down nutritionally to their level?  Could he sit where they sat? Eat what they ate? Become one of them as Christ had become one of us? 

Raffy began eating, trying to make conversation with his young friends as he pretended that the majority of his focus was on them. 

Raffy explains what happened: “Gradually my comfort level increased. I started blindly picking meat and eating. I was enjoying myself and the fellowship. While we were eating, they shared personal secrets, hurts, pains and struggles they were going through.  The experience was priceless. 

Fifty minutes later, as I got up and washed my hands at the rainwater pouring down the side of the tarp, Avatar stood next to me. He looked into my eyes, smiled, and said, “Pastor, now we have seen Jesus.”