by Neil Wilson
Every tree begins with a seed, which in turn needs the right conditions for growth - good soil, water and light. At the moment Shekinah Cerebral Palsy Support Centre is a seed planted in our hearts. Some of the conditions for growth are there - our availability, a strong connection to the Philippines and a lifetime of experience in education. Most importantly, we believe it is very much in the heart of God. We know that He cares so much for the needy and we know many would come to our support centre, given the opportunity.
Where did the idea come from?
A passing comment from a former work colleague! When I told her that my wife and I had bought some land in the Philippines she suggested we start a school there. At the time I took the comment extremely lightly!
How did the idea take root?
My home church is St Stephens in Haslemere, Surrey, UK. During a service in April 2013 we were all given one pound. This took the place of the offering and we were challenged to ask God what to do with it. During sung worship after taking communion I sensed God telling me to open a savings account with it. This would be the beginning of the journey to starting a support centre. As we continued to sing, the word 'Shekinah' popped into my head. When I arrived home I looked it up and discovered it has to do with the presence of God. I was convinced this should be the name of the place that God had in mind.
Only two days later with all the children from Y3 of my school I visited a school in the east end of London as part of an exchange. Children from both schools were mixed together into small groups. One little girl in my group was from the Philippines. And her name? ... Shekinah!
God had confirmed His word. We believe we are now to go ahead and establish a support centre for children with Cerebral Palsy and for their families.
Why Cerebral Palsy?
During our visit to Bohol in March/April 2014 we discussed our ideas with some social workers at an orphanage. They shared that there is little or no government provision for these children in the area and neither are there any NGO's doing likewise. How could we say no?