United through the Gift of Music

13th August 2012 - by Jonah Jane Enterina

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A Filipina Columban lay missionary based in Birmingham writes about helping out at a holiday scheme with refugees and immigrants at St. Chad’s Sanctuary. JayjayEnterina writes:

Summer time is here once again! And I have been delighted to take part in the Summer Holiday Scheme at St. Chad’s Sanctuary here in Birmingham. This project offers a place of welcome and hospitality to our brothers and sisters who are seeking asylum in UK as well as to refugees and immigrants. I have been involved in this voluntary project since I first arrived in Britain in 2010. It has been very humbling, inspiring and rewarding to be of service, together with other volunteers, in the project. We helped in the areas of hygiene and providing food and clothes, but the scheme offered more than this.

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The initiative ran for a week from 30 July – 3 August 3. It began with ‘How to make cards’. The session aimed to introduce basic ways and techniques in making cards for various occasions. It also encouraged participants to make use of materials to recycle such as magazines, beads, ribbons to come up with unique and colourful cards. As the event progressed, I was surprised to see how talented and creative they were. They were able to express themselves through card-making and as they were making them, they were thinking of their loved-ones. One father even remarked and made a card with a “Spiderman“ theme and said: “Look! This is for my son!”. I was deeply touched by how he made it with passion, as he also said to me that his son is in Iran, very distant from him.

Other activities offered during the week included: a tour to St. Chad’s Cathedral, ‘How to grow your own Food’ session, and a trip to Tamworth Castle. The week ended with ‘Guitar Lessons’. I was very happy to share my knowledge and talent in guitar playing. With only 4 guitars in the room, we were able to sing songs and learn together the basic chords and how to strum the guitar. They were very happy to learn and looking forward to our next sessions, hoping that people will donate guitars for them. I believe that though we come from different countries, cultures and creed, we can be united through the gift of music.

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As I look back, I have been blessed to build friendships with them for they too have been there in my journey through life as a lay missionary. Journeying with them has been both joyous and sad, but with the grace of our Lord we were able to journey together with laughter and hope.

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”