It all started when I signed up wholeheartedly to Night to Shine booth at our Church, CCF. I signed up for anything (security, wardrobe, make up and buddy) that the team would place me. I was somewhat excited, though I had little idea on how it was going to be. I felt like there was something in my heart that moved me to do so.
Night to Shine, in partnership with CCF, is one of Tim Tebow Foundation’s program to value and support people with special needs. It aims to bring hope and love to those people and to their families.
I came to the church at about 11AM. After getting my badge and meal stub, I took my lunch. Right after that, we had our last volunteer orientation; they assigned me as a buddy (date) to a particular person.
After the orientation, I waited expectantly for my buddy and his guardian to arrive, and I was sort of excited and curious because that would be our first meeting. They finally came after a couple of minutes, and I assisted them for registration.
I used to chat with him, so that way, he would be more comfortable with me. He told me that he wants to be a model someday, then I asked him why. He said “I use to see it on TV”. He showed me some moves while saying that. (bachelor bash) Just in time, we met the very famous model and beauty queen, Venus Raj. I asked her to pose with my buddy for photo opp. (She was the host of the event)
The event started at 3PM, and everyone was so euphoric. People were cheering and frenzied, specially my buddy. He was wiggling his shoulders in excitement while waiting for his turn to take the red carpet walk. He couldn’t contain his joy.
We took some photos as soon as we got inside the hall, as we wait for the program to begin. The set-up was so extravagant, and it seemed like a fairy tale came to life. Children felt special and valued; all of them looked like a prince and princesses. Truly, God is amazing.
The program began at about 4PM, and the kids were all excited. We took our scrumptious dinner while being entertained by performances from various artists. My buddy used to sing along when he knows the lyrics. He was so happy at that moment, and I am also elated to see him like that.
Soon after, Ptr. Peter (CCF’s Senior Pastor) took the stage to say a Biblical encouragement to the parents. He encouraged them to stand firm and seek the Lord in all trials and circumstances. He also initiated the crowning ceremony to symbolize that these kids are God’s reward and treasure. This was a heartfelt moment for the parents and guardians; tears were falling, and mine too in appreciation to thm.
After the ceremony was the dance in your place wherein everybody including volunteers could dance to the beat. This was an amazing moment for everyone. They had lots of energy to party and jam with no hesitation. The whole time was filled with genuine joy and freedom.
The event concluded at about 7PM. Everyone enjoyed the night, most especially the parents. I escorted my buddy to claim his loot bag, and bade farewell to him. I’m gonna miss him, though, because was like a little brother to me.
I know that soon they will forget the event itself, but not the joy, love and acceptance they experienced the entire night. It will perpetualy mark their hearts, and will absolutely impact their lives.
Indeed, it was a noble way of celebrating love month (specially for single like me hehe). I’m so blessed to get an opportunity to minister with these children with special needs. Their smiles and laughs were heart-melting. The world welcomes them with arms open wide, and with the genuine love of God. Now, it’s short-listed in my awesome experiences. This event helped me to understand them more; their needs and behavior. They deserve to be loved and reckoned because Jesus loves them for who they are.
I thank God for using Tim Tebow Foundation for making this global event possible in Manila, and for granting us a time to spend with them, because people with special needs deserve a night to shine.
“Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life”.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”.