how the world sees america

McMinister: Playing the 'White' Card

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines - When Pentecostal missionary Darrell Blatchey brings dying kids to the public hospital here, local Filipino doctors immediately move him to the front of the line -- not because the children he brings are near death, but because Darrell is a white American.

This missionary tells me this over a 'Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese' at the local McDonald’s. He loves this American chain and eats at least six meals a week here. "Ah, McDonald’s," he sighs. For him it represents "consistent excellence, cleanliness, quality service, and kid-centered-fun."

These qualities are American, he says, and they inspire his missionary work. Twelve years ago Darrell founded "Family Circus" with his wife Sandy out of the back of a bright yellow truck in Davao City. The husband-and-wife team decided the best way to lure kids to the gospel was to reenact its dramatic scenes with clown costumes, live snakes, and music.

Darrell says his American looks made it easier for him to attract his initial audience. "When I enter a room, kids think Hollywood star -- the tall, white American -- and they pay attention right away." This extra attention has given him a leg up spreading the gospel here.

Despite this preferential treatment, the local parishioners I spoke to insist his skin color and nationality are irrelevant to them. Ruby and Grace, two members of Darrell's church, tell me: "We do not think of [Darrell] as American. He lives here and is one of us….We are thankful for him, for the good he does, for doing God's work."

But Darrell does stick out. Every Sunday, towering Darrell runs across stage smiling and waving his hands in front of 4000 kids crammed in underneath a blue and white circus tent that sits just twenty feet from a mosque in the predominately Islamic "Muslim Friendship Village," as the community has dubbed itself. Since Family Circus’s humble beginnings on a street corner of the impoverished Acacia Neighborhood, named after an old tree, Darrell has worked with locals and with U.S. funders from a network of Pentecostal churches to create a permanent structure for his work.

His first space was an old warehouse. Then the tent. Next, he's hoping to build a "Disney-Land-style castle" to house more performance space, a place to hang out, and a media center through which he can broadcast "Family Circus" performances around town. He's seeking an additional $225,000 from U.S. donors for a three-story building, replete with a donut shop for the regulars and a bookshelf that rotates to reveal a hidden passageway for the more adventurous.

American faithful have already helped him raise two-thirds of the money he needs. He recently returned from the U.S., where one collection service in Idaho brought in $150,000 for the project.

It's not all fun, games, and God, however. Darrell also has set up a medical clinic to treat youth who die of basic diseases and provides nourishment to those in dire need. He's also a lender of last resort for families on the brink.

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The people Darrell helps know that this American supports them. They like Americans, Darrell says, "because missionaries here are known as giving people, and strangers are called 'Hey Joe' because the Filipinos thank us for our role protecting them. But there are some radicals." Several missionaries living on the other side of Mindanao island were abducted by Islamic rebels a few years back. And Darrell's eldest son -- who tames alligators for a living -- was nearly taken hostage at gunpoint before a Muslim friend shooed the attackers away.

So when advantages come Darrell’s way that help him do good for others -- from perks in restaurants to express placement in lines -- he feels no guilt using his American-ness for the kids' benefit. I ask him if he thinks his willingness to leverage an American identity for special treatment perpetuates the problem of race here, and I wonder: What about the 'other dying kid' you might be pushing back in line?

Darrell gestures to the Filipina mom sitting beside us. "When her son was dying..." he begins before turning to the abstract, "When someone is dying, he's just grateful for help. It doesn't matter how it arrives," Darrell says. “The kids don’t think about me being American until being American helps me help them. Then they just say, 'Oh, Thank God!' And then they thank America.”

I ask the Filipino lady beside Darrell to comment. She nods and speaks softly, munching on fries. “Yes, I'm thankful.”

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Comments (83)

jb:

i worked with Darrell & Sandy for 7 years...im a Filipina,an RN and got married to a white skinned guy. Im in US now for 5 years. If you have white skin and never been out of the country youre in, you would never realize how "Blessed" this country is. Out of thier comfort zone to share thier life for God, worth for them to become one of those "unsong heroes". For so many years for them to be out of US and be in a 3rd world country is totally a great sacrifice and ive seen lives changed... kids'lives spared from the gates of hell...God bless you Darrell and Sandy...More power to you...and yes...you rock!

Genna:

nice site. . . i like it . . . is simple and with good navigation

Julia:

The Blatchleys have lived in difficult
areas for the past 23 years, and have exemplified the gospel message of loving others and caring for them, even to the point of taking AIDS victims in their home among their own children before the illness was known not to spread by casual contact. Mrs. Blatchley's health has been fragile for some time yet she lives to serve these poor. They may come home every four years to report on the work they do and did it occur to the detractors above in these posts, that during those years they lose contact with friends, and lose family members to death? The simple every day relationships we here in the States take for granted with family and friends they gave up. Jesus said, in Matthew 16:24 "If any man will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." Blatchley has certainly done that and I wonder are any of the detractors willing to give up their lives to live in such a place as this? I know Darrel and his wife and they don't have too many nickels to rub together, but, they have become rich through the love they give and receive from the people they serve.

Phil..... Anchorage, Alaska:

I met Darrel and Sandy Blatchley at South Anchorage Assembly about three years ago. The incredible number of children ministered to as a result of 'Family Circus' is truly inspirational. Having spent only about 15 minutes talking with Darrel, I came away with a better understanding of what a heart of compassion should look like. Watching these impoverished children receive the one thing they need most - Agape Love - is compelling! I have a small card with the Blatchleys Ministry depicted on it.....and I pray over them when reminded by seeing the card. May God reward them for their faithfulness!

Beth:

It's so inspiring to hear about people who are willing to give of themselves to serve others. Kudos to Darrell and Sandy for choosing to spend their lives serving the poor and bringing smiles where they are desperately needed.

Deborah:

We visited Family Circus in June of 07 before the tent as finished. Darrell and Sandy (D&S) held tent programs for the children in an old building they had lived in while renovating it. They had 3 Saturday programs 2 Sunday progams there and 1 outdoor program in another community. We were awe stuck as before each service S went around to the children and used first aide to fix their boo boos. After the service D&S shook hands, hugged and prayed for the children and their parents. During one service we visited the free dental clinic where the children have their teeth taken care of. It is all pretty amazing! D&S have left the life of comfort and their family to minister to the children of Davao.

You are wrong about one thing Darrell - you are not taken to the front of the line because you are white. It is because you are humble, known, loved and trusted by the people of Davao!

Keep up the good work! When we got home we purchased a fishing tackle box with first aide that we have fille with medical supplies in it and we use it to fix boo boos at every opportunity.

You are right D.D. they should be copied!

So lets all get out of our "SUV Castles" and let us help the poor children in our neighborhoods!

D.D.:

Mr Darrell Blatchley and his Family have lived in a third world country for over 23 years. They moved to Thailand in 1985 then moved to the Philippines 1995. His family has missed spend that many years with family losing Mr. Blatchleys Mom and most recently his older brother. Mrs. Blatchley lost her Dad. There lives are committed to serving there fellow man. They are to be admired but better yet copied. If more people took there example this world would be a better place. Thank you mom and Dad.
DD

Allan:

Are you all serious? Here is a man who has given up his life to help others in a country less fortunate than his own. He has spent 12 years in a third world country instead of on American soil. Voluntarily. During that time he has helped thousands of children. He has fed, ministered to and provided medical care for them. 4,000 right now, each week. And all you can do is complain? You have taken a country with problems and acted as is they were all Darrell Blatchley's to fix. You think he should fix a racism problem. And you think he should fix the poverty level. And he should fix the US tarriffs and he should fix the poor economy and he should fix...

But what have you done to help these people or any like them? Have you fixed any of these problems? Have you lobbied against the tarriffs? Yet you criticize a man who is over there making a difference. I will end this post by refering you to a famous speech given by president Roosevelt in 1910.


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.


Are you the critic or the man in the arena?

heidi:

I agree. spend a week at family circus heping and then talk. It changed my life.

laura:

how exciting for the children and their families. all those that read should consider offering a week to help darrell and the family circus

HV:

I wholeheartedly agree with Cheryl's comments above. Darrell and Sandy truly have unselfish hearts and are Jesus with skin on to all they meet. I am thankful that I have had the privilege to count them as friends these past 17 years.

Cheryl:

Although Darrell and I have walked different paths in life, I look up to him and marvel at the sacrifices he and his family have made for the people in the Philipines and Thailand. He has the most unselfish heart of any man I know. I miss you Darrell. Hugs, Cheryl

Patti:

I would encourage and challenge those who did this story to spend a week or more with Darrell & Sandy and see the work they are doing with the people of the Philippines. The Blatchley's have loved these "little ones" for years. The children call them Uncle Darrell & Aunt Sandy because they have accepted them into their families.
I don't see many of us who are doing here at home in the USA even a small percentage of what they are doing over there. Shame on us for that.
They practice what they preach. They have sacrificed seeing their families on a regular basis. Their boys didn't get to see their Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousin as often as most of us get to see our families.
And even though their boys didn't grow up here in America their two youngest boys are currently serving in the military. One in the US Air Force and the other in the US Navy.
Darrell & Sandy truly love these people and not only feed them physically but more importantly feed them spiritually.
Keep up the good work. I love you brother!

missionsgirl4God:

When I see the extravegant love and heart they have to help these children, I am brought to tears.

It's sad to see people's ignorance lead them to say such mean things about someone and a ministry they have never experienced first hand.

I pray that your eyes will be open and you begin to support this ministry, not attack it.

a.d.:

Honor should be given, instead of taken away from this couple who leaves the comforts of their American home, loved ones and gives up all they have to give their hearts to these children. For those of you who have never given up your family, your comforts and your life to minister in a foreign land, have no right to speak against these people. If you only knew how much it took to get where they are today.

The only reason you attack them is to cover up your own guilt of doing nothing to help meet the huge evident need.

Many great men of God experienced the same strong opposition that many of you are giving to this man who gives his life and heart to help the children of Philippines.

a.d.:

Honor should be given, instead of taken away from this couple who leaves the comforts of their American home, loved ones and gives up all they have to give their hearts to these children. For those of you who have never given up your family, your comforts and your life to minister in a foreign land, have no right to speak against these people. If you only knew how much it took to get where they are today.

The only reason you attack them is to cover up your own guilt of doing nothing to help meet the huge evident need.

Many great men of God experienced the same strong opposition that many of you are giving to this man who gives his life and heart to help the children of Philippines.

BK:

I read the article, watched the film clip and I personally know Darrell & Sandy. I know they have repeatedly given of their finances and their health, to help these people. My family & I took Darrell to dinner when he only had a couple of hours in Idaho recently. He is constantly trying to raise the funds to better the lives of those he serves. (These are people that others in their own city/country ignore or cast aside) Darrell & Sandy love them all. They deserve our HELP and our praise! I pray that many people come alongside them to do what they are doing!
GOD BLESS THEM!

Ed Valkanet:

I know Darrell and Sandy personally who have stayed at my home. They are very humble servants who have sacrificed to help the poor and unwanted children. I have been to the Philippines many times and have seen many children walking the streets with no direction hope or purpose. Darrell is treated the way he is not for Who he is but for What he does for the people. He is making a difference to thousands of people. He and Sandy are the Real Thing.
Thanks

Lori:

What an amazing impact the Blatchleys and Family Circus are having on poverty. It is amazing to see all of these dear children being helped on an ongoing basis. The Blatchleys are not just there for a one-time deal. They are there for the long-haul loving and helping these children and their families.

Race and imperialism are not what they are about no more than Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi. They see the needs and are responding.

Patrick:

I am not so sure why "skin" and "nationality" are so important.
What is most important is serving God and following His "Great Commission".
We are saved by Grace but we are judged by our works; not by our words !
Family Circus provides a ministry of bringing God's word to those who other wise might not hear.
Family Circus is a ministry of helps providing for the needs of the less fortunate.
That is what Darrell and Sandy are all about.
Their motto: "In for the King" ,that is with a capital "K", sums up their motivation.
Great people doing a great work !!!

Steve White, Sacramento:

I went to Davao to help level the ground and erect the tent that Darrell and Sandy now use for their ministry. Apparently some think it would be better to allow these children to go hungry and stay sick than to accept help from a "tall white man". Darrell and Sandy are marvelous people who are doing something that no one else is doing in that neighborhood. It is easy to sit back and carp about what someone else is or isn't doing. Why don't you get out your checkbook or pick up a shovel and make a difference yourself? You won't change the world, you can't help everyone but you might change one young life. And then another. It will make a difference to them. It's more than worth it.

Tom Lopac Boise, ID:

It sure sounds like this reported had a bias even before he began his interview with Darrell.
The fact is American Missionaries have helped people around the world with food, medical & dental care and shelter. They have also shared the good news of the gospel with people that can set them free from their sin.

In Contras: What are friends the Muslims doing in the name of God? Believe are way or die you unbeleiver!

This reporter is no better then the left wing American hate mongers that would choose to forget that American is a great country.

America was founded on Christian principles that have helped change the lives of people all over the world. Where did most of the hospitals come from? Buddist monks & Muslim cleriks? No!

Christianity is a message of peace and love not hate & greed like some reporters try to impune self-less missionaries like Darrel & Sandy Blatchley.

Darrel & Sandy keep up the good work and do not be discouraged God has been with you every step of the way.

Sincerely,
Tom Lopac

Traci:

I have been to Davao and witnessed what Darrell and his wife are doing. The favor that they find has absolutley nothing to do with the fact they are American and everything to do with the fact that they selflessly love the people most of us would not even want to touch much less hug. They have battled more sicknesses and bouts of lice then anyone I know because they look strait to the heart of the children and love on them. They give every penny they have to see to the huge needs of so many in that city and they are making a big difference! Thank God someone cares enough to love them!

Les:

To all of those positive comments about Darrell and Sandy - - Amen!

To Darrell and Sandy - - you guys ROCK!!!

I will continue to be a financial supporter. Money better spent than giving it to the government!

Sandy Wilks:

There was once a King who came down and helped poor people. But that's not Darrell. Darrell just works for Him as an Ambassador.

[cf Acts 10:38-43]

Anonymous:

It is so easy to write a pesonal comment that clearly reflects OUR views about what Darrell and Sandy are doing. And there is a lot of truth in what has been said that needs to be seriously considered. The greater challenge however, is to find the "Haves" that are truly helping the "Have nots" in a significant manner that is producing genuine results. Dwight

Anonymous:

It is so easy to write pesonal comment that clearly reflect OUR views about what Darrell and Sandy are doing. And there is a lot of truth in what has been said that needs to be seriously considered. The greater challenge however, is to find the "Haves" that are truly helping the "Have nots" in a significant manner that is producing genuine results. Dwight

Patti:

Thank you Darrell and Sandy for actually living out your world view. What kind of world would we have if all the people who lamented about the desperate need would actually pitch in and do something about it?

MZ:

I have known the Blatchleys for some time now and feel that a lot of the negative comments are unjust. Darrell and Sandy feed hungry children, they provide dental care for children that come to them in extreme pain, they encourage, they help families stay together, they get medical help for injured children. They are saving lives. If they were doing harm, they would not have 4000 attending their church. If they were using their whiteness, the community their church sits in would not welcome and protect them. They are loved because they have shown that they have integrity, they care and they follow through with the promises they make. They are good solid people that live out their faith in a real and tangable way. For the people who posted negative comments, I invite you to go and see for your selves exactly what the Blatchleys are doing for the people of the Philippines. If you come away unchanged then keep your negative thoughts. My guess is your life would be changed and your heart stirred to help these wonderful people.

Patti:

Thanks, Darrell and Sandy for actually living out your world view. What kind of world would we have if all the people that lamented about how desperate the need was actually pitched in and helped.?

Patti:

Thanks, Darrell and Sandy for actually living out your world view. What kind of world would we have if all the people that lamented about how desperate the need was actually pitched in and helped.?

Patti:

Thanks, Darrell and Sandy for actually living out your world view. What kind of world would we have if all the people that lamented about how desperate the need was actually pitched in and helped.?

Ken Chrisman:

All I know is that this man and his family feed, cloth, get medical attention for, and show love to thousands of street orphans that are daily abused on the street and get their meals at the city dump. If he is respected by the people at the emergency room and elsewhere for that, and I suspect that he is, then great.

If they get him through the ER quickly for what ever reason, then he will have more time to help others. He does not find just one person to help and say I am done for the day. He tries to help everyone that comes to him and others that he seeks out.

The sacrifices that he and his family are making daily to help those children tells me that his heart is in the right place.

In my mind, the children need help and this man and his family are meeting that need as best they can. Before someone criticizes him for what or how he helps others, they should personally field test their better ideas. I suspect that after the field test, seeing the living conditions and the enormity of the need, the criticism will go away and encouragement will be all that they are willing to give.

Raymond R.:

I have personally known Darrell and Sandy Blatchley for more than 10 years.They have been to my house to share of my table,they honorable and Godly people that God has called in His name by His Spirit.They are doing God's work among the poorest of the poor.Most Americans cannot begin to fathom the poverty of the Philippines;I lived there for 4 years.I'm glad that the Blatchley's are willing to give up so much to do what God has called them to do;I will continue to support them gladly!The Blatchley's are good for America,and good for the P.I.!God bless them!

Anise Brookelynde:

Though I have not personally been able to go to the Phillippines, I fully support the Family Circus's work. In my understanding this article is too short and painfully unfeeling of the 'agape', if you will, love for anyone that Darrell and his entire staff have for those they are around. From having recieved the newsletters over the years, from paper to email, it is completely undeniable for anyone to say that the Family Circus has accomplished nothing. They are in no way coercing young children, its completely and utterly up to the person to make the decision to be a Christian or not. That's what Christ's love does- you love them anyways.
When a child of your own does something that warrants discipline, are you angry at your child, oro their actions? How could you ever honestly look your 4 year old daughter in her big blue eyes and tell her she isn't a good girl? Your unconditonal love as a parent is what compels you to scoop her up in your arms when she cries and encourage her to keep trying to win.
I have been to Guatemala 3 times, and the unconditional love for the people there is the same. I know for a fact that God couldn't care less about your damned social class, and therefore neither do I. As a Christian still growing in faith and knowledge about who I am, it is not impossible for me to love someone because I don't see the flaws- thats not it.
It is Christ's love and grace in my life that was shown to me, and therefore I am thankful to give it back in someone else's life.
To be perfectly honest I think the only people who care about the fact that the Blatchley family is white are the people who don't know them. I myself would love to say that I have completely forgotten how to judge others by their outward appearance, but I know I can't be truthful about that. We will always put people into categories when we see them, but it takes wisdom and knowledge to put someone into the right one.

It's so funny how everyone claims to 'have gotten over' racism in the states, but when it comes to having a rational argument about something we immediatly play on the fact that we're lying to ourselves- we do still care. Or at the very least, we feel a need to prove someone else wrong.

www.freewebs.com/swimmingwithscissors

Tim:

Thanks Darrel and Sandy. The arm chair quarterbacks may scoff but we all know the positive eternal impact you are making in the lives of real people with real needs. Keep up the great work!!!

JW:

I don't know the Blatchleys--never met them. But I get a little put out when I hear people make sweeping statements and assumptions about missionaries serving in less than ideal conditions and supposedly destroying cultures and self-reliance.

I was in the Philippines when Marlon Brando came and made Apocalypse Now and learned how many of the Agta tribesmen who were "extras" were give an abundant supply of San Mguel beer. I also new the American linguists who lived among the Agtas for twenty years and helped reverse the mortality rate.

I was also there during the heyday of Olongapo City where $10,000 each day was spent on beer & prostitution by sailors. Yet eight miles north an American missionary used his own resources to build a local dormitory so 30 Ayta chilren could attend a local school and have a balanced diet.

I saw wells being dug by missionaries so people could have clean water. I also saw a town where dirt roads were paved with Korean government aid money THREE TIMES because of "cost overrides" yet the mayor's house seemed to just get bigger & bigger.

I new the missionary who helped aboriginal Agtas fight for their rights when logging companies came in and polluted their rivers and streams.

I was also there during the "People Power" revolution yet the world press never spoke about the "praying people power" that was orchestrated by Cardinal Sin and radio Varitas.

I also knew the missionary who buried their teenage daughter their because the Philippines was, after all, "home".

I also know a very humble Filipino family who opened their mud-floor home to me and shared their food after my bus was caught in a mudslide.

Thank you.

And last, but not least, I never did meet the young woman who left her newborn baby at a hospital in Quezon City, unable to care for her. We were blessed to have found her and were granted by the Philippine courts the opportunity to raise her as our own, for ten years in the Philippines and 15 in the US. We we destroying cultural traditions when, at the time, very few Filipinos would adopt?

Just my two cents worth...

Paul:

My wife and I know Darrell and have worked with the Family Circus in Davao City. We now live in Rhode Island.

I see misconceptions coming from both sides of the fence. My wife is a Filipina. We have been married for 5 1/2 years. I have spent time and continue to spend time in her culture and have learned her language. I feel like I understand Filipinos very well. And yet, she points out areas that I still get wrong about Filipinos, even after 7 years of knowing her culture. And I point out things that she gets wrong about American culture. I have met Filipinos in the U.S. who have lived here for over 20 years who still have misconceptions about the U.S.

Darrell just loves the people of Davao. He just tries to be Darrell and not to delve deep into a philisophical debate. He just wants to love the people. I thought what he said on the video was fine. I knew, though, there would almost definitely be critical responses to what he said. If you just listen to his words and his heart, you can easily see pure motives.

Also, Darrell is just another piece in the puzzle. There has to be someone there. Think about any basic structure: military, business, etc. For example, the military needs money to support operations. It needs strategy at the Pentagon. It needs organizational structure at the head of each branch. What it cannot do without is "boots on the ground". Darrell is another example of putting "boots on the ground". And as we saw with disasters like the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean and Hurricane Katrina, you can't just throw money at a problem. That's not effective. You have to have organization and people you can trust carrying out the mission. Otherwise, you might as well be throwing money out the window.


Capt. R:

I'm retired military and 90% disabled. I have lived all over the world, Asia, Europe, South America, and the Middle East. I've spent a lot of time in very poor countries. I have seen first hand the GOOD and BAD that Americans have done around the world. I also happen to know the Blatchleys and have been a finical supporter of theirs for over 15 years. I would be a physical help if able but WAR and injury will not allow that.

Celsus, if you had really been paying attention to Darrell's comment about "king coming down to help the peasants", you would understand that he was sayings that many of the children he helps, fell that way. Darrell is a man of modest means and lives to serve the people of Davao City. Helps the children of the DUMP, feeds many, cloths many, gets medical treatment for many, teaches many, but loves them all as Christ does. Darrell is truly a person that loves his fellow man. He reaches out often to help those around the city with out regard to their race, politics, or religion. He is truly a WOW.

ALL, get to know more about him and Sandy from http://www.familycircuscm.org. You will see that he does not promote himself but only seeks to serve God and the poor children of Davao City. If you really care about the poor of the world then get off your chair and go do something to help.

Dave:

Last year in Sept/Oct I got to witness this ministry first hand, be a part of it for few days, and experienced Philipino culture for the first time. It is such a different culture, and yes, being from the US does get you attention, especially in smaller cities where americans are rare to be seen. Imagine walking into a shopping mall with hundreds of people and EVERYONE is looking at you at the same time. made me a little uncomfortable LOL. I even saw a commercial for skin whitener. YES that's right, skin whitener! We want to be tan, they want to be lighter. It's just the way it is over there.

I will say this though, I 100% believe that the Blatchleys love Jesus with all their heart and because they do they pour out their heart and truly love on the people in their community. I saw it everyday in how he interracted with the kids and people. They ALWAYS take the time to tell a child that they love them and they listen to them. We forget how blessed we really are in this country and being in the Philipines reminded me that I need to pour out that love to those who need it.

Janice:

When I read the Post article about the work the Blatchleys are doing, I was surprised to see how things were twisted, omitted, and made to look like the Blatchleys are just wasting their time, talents, and money by staying over there helping individual people. I guess this is to be expected of people that don't understand the real need in this world. A lot of people seem to think that our government is the answer to all our problems; and we're just wasting our time and money if we do things from a Christian viewpoint.

I was encouraged to read all the comments from people that know the Blatchleys personally; and have seen firsthand the good they are doing. I have known the Blatchleys for many years; even before they ever left their homeland to go to Thailand to work with the poor people in that country. After serving in Thailand for several years, they felt called by God to go to the Philippines. I know that Darrell & Sandy both have a great love for children (and also for adults); and this love and compassion moved them to give up a "normal" life in this country to go and serve the poor and needy that would otherwise have no hope. They have sacrificed so much that most of us take for granted. And their reward is in knowing that they are giving hope to people that have no other source of hope. I thank God for the good that they are doing.

MARTY:

In a political year in a "Post Modern Society" I wonder what the USA would be like if we were to be suddenly pushed back into a "Third World" mentality by poverty, hopelessness, and great physical, moral and spiritual need. What people like Darrell and Sandy bring to a world like that is rare and appreciated. What are you bringing to your neighborhood and community? I close with a paraphrase of a famous Irishman of a previous century: "Those who can do. Those who can't (or won't) find it easy to criticise those who do."

anonymous:

I just want to say to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that I know the article and comments upset you because they are not portraying Darrell Blatchley in the right context of what his ministry is truly about. However you also must keep in mind that the comments and even the article are written from people who may not have the same Christian background that we have. So they see his work and the article in a different light Yes we should defend Darrell and help others see what his ministry is truly about and even what God is about but I feel we should do so in love and understanding. Know that those who post don't see the world as we see it but as the world sees it so lashing out will not help or cause them to see the way we do. But with soft words, non judgemental words. Its okay to question what they wrote and its okay to be upset when someone else doesn't understand and even to question their motives behind the comments but remember the only way they can understand is if we explain our heart instead using our frustrations to lash back.

Janet:

I feel angry that a strong man of God's works have been reduced to a column on his bing white in a phillipine country, not on the fact that these kids who are living by our standards in garbage dumps would be dying of numerous small things that Family Circus helps with. Never mind every child that comes to a sermon gets food, dental care, and other necessieities, as well as the word of God in their lives, the most important necessity of all. This is a man who raised his family in another country, raising his sons in the way of the Lord, and don't say that makes him un-American, since his children now serve in 2 different armed forces. That wasn't mentioned in the article either was it? Maybe you all who had negative comments should look back and re evaluate how you are judging him, remember the bible says you will be measured when you reach the heavenly gates with the same yardstick you used against others. How will you stand up against your own judgments??

anonymous:

I had to take time to think about all that was said and written before I knew what I wanted to write. Honestly, I am not sure what to say. I think some of the things that were said by Darrell was misrepresented and most definitely misunderstood. Having worked with him for a summer in the past I can say for sure that he does not come in with an attitude of being better then those he is trying to help. And he does not abuse the "white card". Yes it can be a tool to help those who need it. I wouldn't necessarily say that his entrance into the hospital pushes people back but gets those who would be overlooked until last the help they also deserve. Do you really think the hospital would put a person who lives in the slums on the proper waiting list? Maybe in America they would but not in a lot of other countries. What if someone of better social status came into that hospital, would they be put ahead of the man with the gun shot? I would venture to say most definitely.

I was wondering why is it acceptable to us to see all types of humanitarian work being done as long as it is not wrapped with the message that Jesus loves you? Why do Christians get negative press if they are truly trying to help people by being present and in the fight with them for a better life but if you build a school in Africa you are looked at as a hero?

Darrell is striving to help those who need it. He wants to not only help their spiritual life but he wants to help the people to get a step up, not necessarily a hand out.

He is obviously doing something right because his ministry is flourishing and when you look into the faces of the people, especially the children you see hope, happiness, and an understanding that someone out there really does care for them and that they are experiencing it in a tangible way. They don't understand lobbys they understand love.

anonymous:

I had to take time to think about all that was said and written before I knew what I wanted to write. Honestly, I am not sure what to say. I think some of the things that were said by Darrell was misrepresented and most definitely misunderstood. Having worked with him for a summer in the past I can say for sure that he does not come in with an attitude of being better then those he is trying to help. And he does not abuse the "white card". Yes it can be a tool to help those who need it. I wouldn't necessarily say that his entrance into the hospital pushes people back but gets those who would be overlooked until last the help they also deserve. Do you really think the hospital would put a person who lives in the slums on the proper waiting list? Maybe in America they would but not in a lot of other countries. What if someone of better social status came into that hospital, would they be put ahead of the man with the gun shot? I would venture to say most definitely.

I was wondering why is it acceptable to us to see all types of humanitarian work being done as long as it is not wrapped with the message that Jesus loves you? Why do Christians get negative press if they are truly trying to help people by being present and in the fight with them for a better life but if you build a school in Africa you are looked at as a hero?

Darrell is striving to help those who need it. He wants to not only help their spiritual life but he wants to help the people to get a step up, not necessarily a hand out.

He is obviously doing something right because his ministry is flourishing and when you look into the faces of the people, especially the children you see hope, happiness, and an understanding that someone out there really does care for them and that they are experiencing it in a tangible way. They don't understand lobbys they understand love.

HV:

I agree with Michael from Afghanistan.

Wow! I wonder what would happen if everyone in the U.S. (or elsewhere) were given the opportunity to serve others in a distant land where they no longer had the same comforts of life, encountered dangers and hardships almost daily (poisonous snakes, unsanitary conditions, challenging traveling conditions, etc.), and were required to learn another language and culture in order to survive? Maybe people's hearts and minds would change towards others as a result; there is so much one can learn from people in other countries if one is open.

I am not saying that everyone should be a missionary, because missionary work is definitely NOT for everyone. But living in another country (for longer that a 2 week vacation), alongside the beautiful people of that country, almost certainly will change a person's life for the good forever. Now that's a foreign policy I would like to see implemented in the U.S. - every citizen being afforded the opportunity to live in a foreign land for at least 1 year, where they have to learn a different language and culture, and where they have the privilege of living with and working beside the nationals of that country. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Lastly, for those who choose to give their lives as missionaries, well, you have my utmost love, respect, encouragement, and prayers. Keep up the great work! He sees your hearts and the work you are doing!

L.S.:

Typical American response- to obsess over our greatness as a country (as if there is something wrong with that) and to bring world politics into the discussion while missing the whole point. The bottom line is that there are many living today whose lives have been changed because there are those like the Blatchleys with such great passion that reaches out in compassion. I doubt many of us would-be philosophers or theologians would actually be willing to go through what Darrel and Sandy have in order to minister to a hurting world.

Michael:

Wow . . . interesting dialogue above.

It's pretty easy to sharp shoot, snipe and levy attacks on another individual doing altruistic work when you’re in the comfort of your lazyboy. Oh, and by the way, you've never lived in an austere/impoverished environment or been in harm's way.

Hmmmm . . . I think the critics need to unseat their gluteus, travel to the third or fourth world and make a difference.

Just my humble thoughts from Bagram, Afghanistan

david:

I read the article with tears. The fact that somebody is doing something for "the least of these" was moving and exceptional.

Only in this country, where we get whatever we want when we want, would we criticize this man and his work.

I remember a time when I worked with teens in a church. Near Thanksgiving, we advertised that we would do a dinner for $5 per person, with the money raised going to a world hunger group. However, when the attendees arrived, only a pre-selected group of 10 received a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, everybody else got a bowl of rice and a glass of milk. It was supposed to show the group how disproportionate things are in the world, with the US having so much and the rest of the world having so little. I must say, coming from "Christian" people, the crowd was ready to tar and feather me. In fact, the pastor had to move everybody into the sanctuary and try to quell the ill feelings!

Again - it's easy to criticize when we have so much!

Linda:

I am an American missionary who lived for 20 years in the Philippines and I know the Blatchleys. They are true servants of God who have literally given their all to teach the Philipino children the truth about Jesus - that He loves them. But, they not only teach that truth but show this love by their works. These children learn a new way of life - different from the poverty they go home to each night. They are given Hope! As for the comments about being white Americans - it is a hard thing to hide when walking around in the country. Philipinos are very gracious and greatful people and they will offer preference to white Americans because it is obvious you are a visitor to their country - and they treat the Japanese, the Australians, the Europeans, etc. the same way.

Laura:

Oh, and the comments about how he should be using his money for lobbying....there are people who are passionate about that and have the money to do that...because that is what is in THEIR hearts to do. Sounds like some of you may have that call on your life. You might want to go for it!
On the other hand, how many people would be dying right now while we're waiting for laws to be passed? What children today will grow up to be great leaders in the Phillippines because an American cared enough to leave the comforts of his own home to come to a place he wasn't familiar with....because he loved? Who can find fault in that? If we would all be as focused on doing our part as we are on criticizing the good that others are doing, this world would be a much better place to live in.

Laura:

It's easy to sit back and criticize and say how we think things should be done differently. Anyone can do that, but how many actually get off their dream couches and put feet to their ideas? I commend Darrell and his family for giving their lives to what they are passionate about. We all have gifts and talents that are birthed in our hearts, and OF COURSE there will be benefits and joys when they are fulfilled, especially when they involve helping the helpless. I don't see him doing what he's doing because he's egotistical. I see a heart that has given up a lot of American pleasures that we take for granted, to pour his life and love into these people. As far as his comment referring to himself as a king among peasants, he was merely making a point as to how they respond to him. Don't forget his comment that he doesn't feel like he deserves that attention. He knows who he is and he understands that he would never get this much attention in America. That's the point he was making, remember??? He's taking the advantages that he does have to help people that would never receive the help otherwise. For some reason, people have it in their heads that for someone to be a missionary, they aren't allowed to enjoy the fruit of their labor. For those of you who think this way, try helping someone out and find out for yourselves the true joy and fulfillment that comes with it. There's nothing like it in the world.

Anonymous:

It's easy to sit back and criticize and say how we think things should be done differently. Anyone can do that, but how many actually get off their dream couches and put feet to their ideas? I commend Darrell and his family for giving their lives to what they are passionate about. We all have gifts and talents that are birthed in our hearts, and OF COURSE there will be benefits and joys when they are fulfilled, especially when they involve helping the helpless. I don't see him doing what he's doing because he's egotistical. I see a heart that has given up a lot of American pleasures that we take for granted, to pour his life and love into these people. As far as his comment referring to himself as a king among peasants, he was merely making a point as to how they respond to him. Don't forget his comment that he doesn't feel like he deserves that attention. He knows who he is and he understands that he would never get this much attention in America. That's the point he was making, remember??? He's taking the advantages that he does have to help people that would never receive the help otherwise. For some reason, people have it in their heads that for someone to be a missionary, they aren't allowed to enjoy the fruit of their labor. For those of you who think this way, try helping someone out and find out for yourselves the true joy and fulfillment that comes with it. There's nothing like it in the world.

HV:

I think it is always easier to judge someone from a distance or after reading a news article (which we all know is always truthful and never biased). I would challenge all those who are quick to judge the Blatchleys to go to the Philippines and spend a week there helping them and SEE firsthand what they are all about. Then hopefully you will be in a better position to form an accurate conclusion about their character and the passion of their hearts.

I was fortunate to meet this family after just arriving as a missionary in Thailand 17 years ago, and there are few people I would ever say this about, but Darrell and Sandy are the real deal. While in Thailand, I needed to be admitted to a hospital for emergency purposes and I did not have the $200 deposit required by the Thai hospital. There wasn’t a line ahead of me, but I needed the medical care and didn’t have the money. The next thing I knew, the Blatchleys came through with the $200 (which doesn’t seem like much unless you are on a fixed missionary budget). Whether the person in need is a scared missionary in Thailand or a hungry child in the Philippines, the Blatchleys are still the same down to earth, genuine, caring people. They don't just care about children and their families in the Philippines; they care about whoever crosses their path and needs someone to care for them, love on them, and be a lifelong friend to them. It's easy to twist words and read between the lines to find fault with anyone - we do that all the time in the U.S. with our political leaders and even with those around us in our daily lives...but as hard as it may be to believe, there are good people doing good things to help others in this world…and I thank God for putting the Blatchleys in the Philippines.

Debbie:

Sometimes we tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive. Those of you who commented negatively obviously do not love these children the way Darrell and Sandy love them. They make a difference in thousands of lives every week, providing for the needs of these children and sharing the "Good News of Jesus Christ". We need to ask ourselves, what have we done to help the poor? What sacrifices have we made to help those who can't help themselves? Let us all be inspired by the lives of Darrell and Sandy Blatchley.

Debbie:

Sometimes we tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive. Those of you who commented negatively obviously do not love these children the way Darrell and Sandy love them. They make a difference in thousands of lives every week, providing for the needs of these children and sharing the "Good News of Jesus Christ". We need to ask ourselves, what have we done to help the poor? What sacrifices have we made to help those who can't help themselves? Let us all be inspired by the lives of Darrell and Sandy Blatchley.

C Marie W:

I met Sandy in Singapore. Didn't know Family Circus, just that Sandy was a missionary who was tired and needing encouragement and sisterly love. I prayed for and opportunity to go see her and do. I travelled to see her, but also 2 other missionary friends in Asia. Because I was a friendly person and an American many people responded to me and wanted to met and talk with me. When I gave out haircuts to the children they just wanted the free haircut because of their need. I agree with Darrell whatever we have let us use it to glorify the Lord :)

Matt:

I've been all over the world and seen many humanitarian works. I've helped with feeding programs in the inner city of Los Angeles, my family helped distribute water after hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and I helped build homes in Phang Nga, Thailand after the horrible South Asia Tsunami.

Of all the places I've been and seen, the greatest consistent help for people is at Family Circus in Davao City. They don't just do a quick fix and leave, but they have staying power. They help children through all the years of their lives.

I can only hope that I can be like Darrell someday.

The world needs more people like him.

Sherman:

Hello, friends.

Darrell Blatchley is doing a good work! Those of you who criticize--what are you doing to help the people of the Philippines? or anywhere else?

Are YOU lobbying Congress to remove unfair tariffs? other unfair practices? Are you giving bread to the starving? Are you teaching someone to fish?

I suspect Darrell and Sandy will look at your criticisms with an open mind and integrate what is true into what they do as much as is possible.

If you read the New Testament, especially the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; you will discover the religious leaders criticized Jesus in a similar fashion. Just shows what Jesus said about the servant receiving the same type of treatment as the Master ;-)

Perhaps you don't know that Jesus loves you, too!

Cherri:

I am amazed that when a family steps up to do something good and kind that there's always someone willing to criticize. Thank God there are families willing to go live among the poor and do what they can to help. Most often the governments of these countries are the ones who benefit from US aid - not the actual poor living in the country. Until you are willing to give of your time and money to help the poor, unfortunate, and dying - don't be so quick to criticize those who do. If you care so much about the child in the back of the line, what are YOU doing to help him?

Bob:

Amar,

I don't know where you got your facts, but you are way off base in your observations. It is almost as if you visited some other country. Until you have lived in another country for a length of time and have seen what this type of missionary work does long term you have no idea what the truth is. Your personal petty prejudistic observations aren't even worth being called journalism. You obviously have some kind of hidden agenda. Until you can get the facts straight, please keep your personal comments to yourslef (or at least off of a website like Washington Post that is supposed to be reporting factual news).

DD:

Celsus,
I have lived in the Philippines over ten years and have seen first hand what Mr. Blatchey does. How can one say stay in the States and send money to help the local Pilipino? Have you seen how there government operates? The Rich get Richer while the poor get poorer. With Gas costing the same as in US and a average person making 3$ a day how would one get ahead? At least Mr. Blatchey is giving these people hope in salvation, and in many cases a new look on life and even training for jobs. If only we could all get out of our "Castles- SUV'S" and help the least of these. Better to be caught doing, then wishing to have done.

Ken:

If you are going to tell people something... can you at least find all the truth? And spare your personal embellishments. For one thing there isn't a Double Quarter pounder with cheese even on the menu at that McDonalds. Family Circus wasn't founded in the Philippines at all. It was founded years before in Thailand with his whole family.
Even to say that it was a bright yellow truck would be downing the truth. Say it as it is: It was a converted semi with the side that folded down into a stage with A/C, cabinets, massive speakers, and hundreds of plastic chairs on top. At least you got the color right:P It was bright yellow with clowns painted on the sides.
Also, you only named live snakes... what about the puppies, iguanas, boas, monkeys, and other sorts of cool animals... I think there was a crocodile too once.
Anyways:) you article was interesting... but needs some work.

john:

Some of you are obviously predisposed to be hostile to Christian missionaries. Darrell doesn't push anyone to the back of the line. What's he supposed to do, say, "No, my dying friend can wait"?
I've been to the Philippines 3X, and I also am made to feel like "a king" by the friendliness of the American-loving people. What you interpret as haughtiness is actually wonder: "I'm just me--why are they treating me like a celebrity?"

Marie:

Of course Teaching people to help themselves is best. Lobbying for fairer laws is also a great idea. In the mean time,someone has to provide food and medical care for these peope. If it's the missionaries,so be it.

Ismelina:

I'm also Filipino currently living in the Philippines . My family owns a manufacturing business in Cavite, near the export processing zone. It would be interesting if someone would cover the consequences and effects of China's dominant manufacturing industry, in particular to my country, and USA's involvement with it. What can and should be done to level the playing field in manufacturing. Investigate also on what the government is doing to help shield manufacturers in the Philippines from countries like China.

I tend to agree with this particular comment by CELSUS:

"Notwithstanding all his "good" work, he could really go much further if he just stayed at home and used his money to empower Filipinos to help themselves, build more hospitals etc -- or even better yet, if he stayed at home and lobbied hard for the US government to reduce Tariffs on goods from the Philippines and places like it. That way, Filipinos would not even need his money."

I fully believe in the empowerment of Filipinos to improve their state. The saying goes, give a man fish he will have food for a day, TEACH a man to fish he will have food for a lifetime (or something like that) is much better. It saves the one helping a lot of heartache when their good deeds boomerang against them, and people they are helping take advantage of their kindness.

Giving us tools and teaching us Filipinos would be more useful. We are a smart and enterprising group of people and it would be an insult to our intelligence to just give us doleouts. Empowering us will be a faster and cheaper way to help the provinces in my country, especially in places where the government cannot fully reach.

Here's hoping that the next step of this American would be to help people help themselves. He can only do what he is doing now for so long.

peej:

This is a really interesting series of articles, and as a Filipino it's very interesting to see an American's interpretation of how we see Americans.
I just had to comment to this article because it really disturbs me to think that "white people" would take advantage of the special treatment that they get from ordinary Filipinos in order to evangelize. This is really coming from my own experience of foreign missionaries in the Philippines who sometimes end up damaging unique upland cultures because of evangelization.
And, just to add--another reason "white folks" get special treatment in the Philippines is because they're different. In Manila and a lot of metropolitan areas, it's fairly common to see people of all sorts of races, but in more rural parts of the Philippines, and even some cities distant from the capital, seeing a "white person" in the flesh is an event. Some people will even gawk at you openly.
Amar, just a suggestion--why don't you do an article on the guides that give walking tours of Old Manila/Intramuros (such as Carlos Celdran) and the reactions that they get from American tourists, especially when they learn about the US "liberation" of Manila in WWII. I don't think enough Americans know that Manila was the second most damaged city in the world after the war (next to Warsaw!) and yet the US gave more aid to help rebuild South Korea than they did to help rebuild Manila.

born in the PI:

interesting article and comments by all. i was born in the philippines and grew up here. in answer to westerner, my impression is that, unfortunately, the consequences of 300+ yrs of colonialism are still evident. i have been told that in order to maintain control over all the filipinos, the spanish encouraged regional prejudices (which still exist) to discourage the filipinos from uniting against them. as in some cultures of people of color (i discovered this talking to friends), shadism still exists among filipinos, i.e. people with lighter skin are favored and considered more attractive, as well as having other more european features (height, arched noses, etc.). i think amar's also correct though in the assumption of financial status.

all the history aside, i don't see what the big deal is w/his king/peasant comment. i agree w/pappy's comment. plus, mr. blachley says later on, that he doesn't feel that he deserves the special treatment he gets, but he's willing to use it to help someone and won't abuse it. sounds like if he knew there was another dying child further down the line, he'd get them bumped up too.

i am really touched by what the blachleys are doing to help the people in my homeland. he's not only telling them the good news about eternal life through Jesus Christ which addresses an individual's greatest need, he's helping them in practical, physical ways. while i agree that we should lobby government to reduce the negative impact policies have on people, unfortunately, the political process can be too slow.

Westerner:

I find this piece very disturbing. The filipinos seem to think white people should be given special treatment and expect white people to rescue them and they think this white guy will do things for them. Why should they think that way? Is it a colonial attitude? Shouldn't they have gotten over it by now? This kind of attitude is what keeps a country a third world country. They really ought to be doing stuff for themselves.

pappy:

-AMAR-
Disclaimer: I spent two years, 2000 & 2003 in South Korea as an active duty Soldier.
To simiplify, South Korea is a success for two reasons:
1. The US maintained a large military presence in SK after the war. This brought a lot of cash into SK, along with focused "mini-Marshal Plan" type economic programs. South Korea never questioned the need for the presence of US forces. (until AFTER they could stand on their own.) Note, of course, that the Philippines rejected a strong US military presence and lost that revenue stream.
2. Culture. The South Korean mercantilist economic attitudes, along with their cultural drive to improve their lot in life, resulted in a society that is vibrant and successful. I think also that religion could be included in this category. De-emphasis of the individual, high value placed on authoritative governance and ancestry. I believe these traits give rise to a very homogeneous culture that easily works toward the common good. I don't know much about the history of the culture and religion in the Philippines, but I suspect that it is very different in its origins and present day practice, to the detriment of the Filipino peoples.
Note to all of you out there that are outraged at my cultural snobbery: The sad fact is that some cultures succeed (pick any yardstick you like) and some don't do as well.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Pappy, I'm heading to South Korea at the start of next week, ahead of the Presidential elections. What do you think the major reason is SKorea emerged so much wealthier out of WWII than the Philippines? Glad you could watch the video at work.

The Celsus:

One can get a lot about how people perceive themselves via the kind of metaphors they give to analogize what they experience... Afterall -- I thought aid/service should be informed by the kind of humility (especially for a christian man) that comes from the recognition of 1) the kind of things I alude to above and 2) it is a privilege that, to the true serviceman/woman, should underscore their own fortune and so remove completely, "a king coming down to serve the peasants" as an acceptable mataphor...

It would be good to get the debate about missionary work and how to separate it from prior perceptions of the deliverer of the message going... I like the input Richard.. Its strikes me as completely unacceptable to so unabashedly play the white card to sell a faith....

Pappy again:
The presence of other factors (many) that account for different development outcomes in different countries and pointing out there there are some Filipino millionaires does not weaken the "unfair trade policies/post-colonial global power imbalances" argument. My point is, right now, for all the aid provided by these globe trotting "volunteers" who go out and do the "dirty" work, so much more could be achieved if they stayed at home and lobbied their government to be a better/fairer global citizen. Consider the following example:

"U.S. tariffs on imports from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand brought in $2.06 billion in 2005—twice what the U.S. committed to these countries for tsunami relief the same year." --[CGD-USA]

Then again, none would give it up because it feels great to be a "tall white man" in developing countries and that privileged comes partly from the global power imbalances that make the "tall white man" so much better of to begin with.

pappy:

-CELSUS- I finally found the referance to "king coming down to the peasants". (normally I don't play enbeded videos at work). I may be wrong, but it seems to me he was speaking of the total experience, the contrast of a very wealthy person delivering aid to very poor people. In my view he was not taking on the presumption of kingship but rather attempting to simply describe the gestalt of the event. Sorry, but I don't by that "mean old USA" argument. There are, after all, Filipino multi-millionares. And there is a local McD's for Gods sake. Futhermore, contrast the Philipines with South Korea. Both countries totally devastaed at the end of WWII. Why did one become a mini-economic superpower and the other not? Are the "unfair trade policies/post-colonial global power imbalances" only reasons countries fail? I don't think so.

Richard:

"Fairness" requires being able/willing to adopt (temporarily, at least) more than one point of view, so as to understand others and not see them as insane for having a world-view that differs from yours. For example, my parents' missionary agency made it a goal to leave a country (in this case, Peru) once its national churches developed a strong enough organization to run itself (mission accomplished). While I believe that my parents' motives were sufficiently pure and idealized that few--if any--are worthy of judging them, I also believe that the Greater Being ("God", "Allah", or whatever) they spent so much time second-guessing and describing transcends all that and, if anything, is reduced/hemmed-in by all the prattling and public display of religiosity. Lao Tzu said it well in his first line: "The Way that can be TOLD is not the eternal Way."

Individuals who simply live their lives helping others around them--without wearing their religion "on their sleeve"--are, I think, the most admirable of all. Those who do nothing but snipe at others (regardless of their targets' presumed motives)...well, what can one say?

The Celsus:

Pappy-- thats a fair point about the gratitude "extremely poor folk" may feel -- except that any good intentions informed by a self-perceptions of "kinghood" and "coming down to serve the peasants" strikes me as extremely bigoted from someone whose biggest fortune was the accident of birth location.

Realizing that most people in the world are poor because of unfair trade policies/post-colonial global power imbalances that make places like the US so wealthy at the expense of places like the Philippines is the first part to a clearer self-perception. The second is to realize the irony that Amar brings out in this article: who is benefiting the most here? Clearly those who volunteer to "do the dirty work"!!

About this guy's missionary work -- adding insult to injury -- by his own admission, he is leveraging prior perceptions of himself -- white, rich american -- to sell a message that can never be received purely on its own merits. The "leg-up" of being white and american...

If the point of missionary work is to sell a "true" message in such a way that those who receive it buy into it on its merits (and therefore become faithful, strong adherents and proponents) - you would think that people like this missionary guy would be a tad more careful and worried about contaminating the "message" with any priors and baggage associated with its source...

lmao:

anonymous 0905...ya think?.....my observation also...especially since I have been in the Phillipines and have seen exactly what you re talking about in principle....in action.

pappy:

It seems that some folks just can't accept good news if there is any kind of down side. A more rational view might be that extremely poor folks, not served by their own government, will demonstrate extreme gratitude to anyone who makes an effort to bring a little kindness and hope to their lives.
-Celsus- Some folks sit back and hope some government or ngo will fix problems. Others volunteer to do the hands on dirty work.

lmao:

mike...but thank God you're there helpng out!

Mike:

Yeah, what about those kids he's pushing back in line? I guess infidels/gentiles/heathens/members of the out group aren't worth.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hi JRLR and Celsus. Even spreading the Gospel here from the U.S. is very interesting because of the Protestant-Catholic divide. US missionaries are predominantly Protestant operating in a predominantly Catholic country. They have bound together in the Protestant Unions that give them reasonable clout in Davao City. I think an interesting study would look at the rates of migration to the U.S. of Protestant Filipinos and Catholic Filipinos, looking also at their incomes before and after migration. Just anecdotally people here were saying the network of Protestant churches that connect the Philippines to America can make integration easier for them in places where there aren't already large Filipino communities.

Also, JRLR, thanks for the advice. How is Shangai. I am meeting someone today who will have a very specific viewpoint on PEZAs (he's pro-US, pro-market, pro-even-the-US-bases when before they were closed in 1992). His name is Dick Gordon.
http://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/sen_bio/gordon_bio.asp
His brother is mayor of Olangapo, where I'm going tomorrow. This is where the bases were. I'll meet NGO heads and then try to work my way into the community there getting their stories before heading to S. Korea.

OK, now back to the ministries -- I notice that even with an American accent and brown skin, I notice I could receive many of these same perks, because it's perhaps more an assumption about financial status than anything else. But others argue it's more deeply rooted in race, colonial legacies, and the media. All I'll say for now is I look forward to the debate, and will keep jumping in.

The Celsus:

Did I hear this guy say "Its like a king coming down to help the peasants"! Wow.

This is the kind of misguided missionary work that is reducing the rest of the world to beggars and feeds various inferiority complexes tied to race, color and colonialism. I would bet you that this guy would have been a mediocre clown at best here in the US yet there, he "feels like a king"! Who is really benefiting more here?

Notwithstanding all his "good" work, he could really go much further if he just stayed at home and used his money to empower Filipinos to help themselves, build more hospitals etc -- or even better yet, if he stayed at home and lobbied hard for the US government to reduce Tariffs on goods from the Philippines and places like it. That way, Filipinos would not even need his money. But then again, him like so many "saviors of the world" would never give up the privilege that come with being a "tall white man"...

Oh, then again, there is that "spreading the gospel" part...

JRLR in Shanghai, China:

Hi Amar

I was just wondering: Will you visit Special Economic Zones (SEZs), in the Philippines, and let us know what garment industry workers there, for instance, think of their working conditions, of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and police, as well as of Jantro Security guards?

By the way, I would very much like to know how those garment industry workers see America and American involvement in the SEZs, and in their country generally.

No time to write more.

All the best.

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