Working, Not Waiting

Two students coordinate all of our Spring Break Service Trips–18 teams at both domestic and international locations for a week.  A few days before the trips leave, we bring them together for a Send-Off event.

Last year I had the pleasure of working with Michael Miguel, who was the coordinator for two years in a row. For Send Off, he wrote and performed as spoken word this original piece, and was kind enough to let me borrow and post it here.

4 years running being involved with Project Serve
and I’ve learned a few things here and there

I’ve learned how easy it is for complete strangers to become friends
Finding ways to fundraise and getting letters ready to send
I learned how to walk through toxic swamps and survive on an abandoned island
And how to make a perfect square with a string of rope with closed eyelids

I’ve learned that compassion is real, Around campus, on the streets,
its got more appeal, Than you might believe
Within us is the potential for transformation
Not just for ourselves but for others it goes without explanation

I’ve learned to see life through a completely new lens
A new perspective created with humble intent

I’ve learned to pour my soul out to a crowd
grab their attention speaking words from my mouth
Like rebelution this is my version of a sermon
straight from my heart I will spill every word and
hope to God your eyes will open
because the devil’s on our doorsteps and he wants his words to be spoken

Because after 3 years working at the PVC
it hurts sometimes with all pain I see
on the streets downtown, hopes thrown to the wind
but I’m working not waiting for change to begin

It’s easy to forget, allow motivation to fade
break down from the strength of the hate that hate made
break down till the sin of complacency hits
and allow you to lose track of the injustices that exists

Break down till you question the intent of your actions
Unsure if its what they need, what they want, what they’re askin’
Break down till you wonder its it worth the time and the effort
“agh there’s no point, nothing’s changed, we might as well divert
our energies to something different
its useless really, too much has been spent…for nothing”

But understand, this fight, this struggle to repair this despair
Is ongoing, we need to be persistent and consistent and keep those doubts of ours ensnared
Or we fail
We need to remember, we’re part of something bigger than ourselves
And through Project Serve, you’ll dive into other people’s stories prepared or unprepared
You’ll feel broken and empowered at the same time
Because, you’ll not want to leave but know from then on where your passions lie

Its been two years now coordinating this program and I love it
it helped me find me and understand what defines me
who would have thought that words and actions, though tiny,
could impact other peoples lives and have the effect on them to be inclining
to pay it forward? Is that not what we want more of?

Yes it is a struggle. Yes it is a fight.
But understand we have our brothers and sisters out there fighting as hard,
we’ve heard their stories, we know they’re scared
And whether or not you accept it, you don’t have to go that far, to see it
Their voices ring loud like trumpets, their cries vibrating through the streets
Scream as loud as they can but reality sets in and they don’t know whose even listening

“I’m working not waiting! I asking not begging!
I’m faithfully praying and not passively letting
Circumstance to win, even those days when I lie down and pretend
I’m not homeless. I have healthcare.
Clean water I love it, can’t imagine it not there
I can read and write. My kids have an education
But then I wake up from this dream to see a broken nation

“But still I’m working not waiting, I’m constantly praying
because my kids deserve more than this dump they play in
deserve to eat full meals and keep their fat from shavin’
deserve to be free from the pain of slavin’
under the heat of a home without ventilation
free from judgements of others who sayin’
look at these dirty street kids, where are their parents
don’t they care at all about their appearance
they crying so loud their about to bust out their layrnx

Man I’m working not waiting, but when society lends our a deaf ear to things you have to say, the things you feel in your heat, the things you desperately want changed
Sometimes, you just get sick and tired of being sick and tired and you don’t wanna get up in the morning

Understand though that, compassion and hope exists even in the bleakest of situations
Last year here, and I’ve experienced first hand the absolute beauty of Project Serve and I’ve embraced it
Because that story I just mentioned, is my own
Stories from my past Project Serve trips and stories from home

From Honduras to Chicago, to my father’s old ghetto
Buo aking loob, may agimat ang dugo ko
I am who I am, because I’ve seen the darkest of days
but despite hardships endured the fact still remains
They’re not perpetual, there can be change

To whom much is given, much is required
Well, God’s given us all much, a strength that never retires
Though sometimes it grows weak, when the world seems to turn its back
All you need is someone to step in with hope intact
And it reignites that flame to keep working not waiting

And the same for yourself, its not a race keep pacing
And though the experience may change the essence of the message stays the same
The essence of the experience same changes be made
Because the actions you do and the things that are said
Will forever and ever be embedded in your brain
Lets pull our efforts all together, no man’s an island

Don’t take my word from it, Isaiah 41: verse 10
So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed
For I am your God…uphold you with my righteous right hand

So let met ask you this question, can you change the world
Can you make an impact
Can you bring something good to all those boys and girls
Can you uplift their hearts, take some of their burden
Can you put a smile on their faces
Can you show them they haven’t been deserted
Can you remind them theyre loved
Can you remind them we’re equal
Yeah, you can. And you will.

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