Written by:
Charli Chitambo

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Scarfs and Such

Prior to my two-year mission service here in the Philippines, I had to undergo language training for about two and a half months. Not only was I learning the words and the grammar of the local Bisaya dialect, but I was also getting to know the culture and values of the Philippines as a whole. One of the aspects of the Filipino culture that I got to learn is the aspect of keepsakes.

One of my companions took a scarf they had been wearing and handed it to me, saying that it was something “to remember me by.”

Several of my language lessons took place in another city, about a 9 hour bus ride from where I was actually assigned to serve. On my last night there a few friends and I went to various places that I hadn’t gotten to before that day. We had a good time and I was knew I was sure to remember the experiences and my companions. However, one of my companions took a scarf they had been wearing and handed it to me, saying that it was something “to remember me by.” At first I thought that it was not necessary because, certainly, I was going to remember them. Even if I did somehow forget, I was going to be reminded of them and the time we spent together in the pictures that we took during our time in the city.

That is when it dawned on me why she would give me that scarf: none of those things were tangible. Memories can fade. Photos are something that can be taken with complete strangers and can never capture the full meaning of the moment. However that scarf, albeit a small gift, means a lot to me. Every time I wear it, I am always reminded of my friend and our time together.

As another gift, God sent us his only begotten Son, that whoever receives and believes in Him, would not perish, but have eternal life. Of course, people knew that God loves them, but as humans, we tend to forget. That is why Jesus had to come here to earth as a gesture from God and as a demonstration of his love. I wear my scarf whenever I can, and each time I do, I am reminded of my friend. I would not dream of just stashing it away as that would express disrespect and lack of appreciation of such a gift. The same applies to the gifts that God gave us the gift of the word. The truth, as found in the bible, is as much as it was then and as much as it will be tomorrow and forever and should never be hidden by us.

I remember to leave a souvenir so they can remember not only me, but also the love God has for each of them

I have received (and learned to give also), different souvenirs from different people, at the different places that I go to, be it church events or work events. When my work takes me to various communities to work on different livelihood development projects a missionary, I remember to leave a souvenir so they can remember not only me, but also the love God has for each of them.

Discussion Questions: How do we demonstrate our gratitude to God? How do we show our love for God an others in tangible, memorable, ways?