“Jamar Got His Wish by Reva Lachica Moore

“Jamar Got His Wish” by Reva Lachica Moore

If there’s anything you could wish for, what would it be? For many people, wishing for something they’ve always wanted may never come true. But for one ten-year-old boy named Jamar, it did.

While in Romblon, Philippines many years ago, we spent the late afternoons walking on the beach. The gentle, cool breeze felt good—a respite from the scorching sun during the day. On one such early evening, my husband JR went to the beach with Pastor Jessie. As they sat on the seawall admiring the lovely sunset, a little boy came and sat a few feet away from them. Every now and then, the boy would glance at JR. On our visit there the year before, we had visited the boy’s one-room nipa hut on the beach. One of twelve children of a poor fisherman, ten-year-old Jamar was quiet and has a bashful smile.

“Jamar, do you remember this American sitting beside me?” Jessie started a conversation in Filipino with the boy and in English with JR.

“Yes,” Jamar timidly replied in Filipino. “He brought us a sack of rice last year.”

“Do you remember his name?” Jessie asked the boy again.
“Yes, he’s Sir JR.” Jamar replied, swinging his legs back and forth.

Then JR told Jessie to ask the boy a few more questions: “Do you go to school?” “What grade are you in?”

“No, I don’t go to school. We don’t have food and clothes for school,” Jamar, shaking his head, replied in Filipino.

Then JR told Jessie to ask Jamar this question: “If you could wish for anything in the world, what would it be?” Jessie asked Jamar the question, word for word. There was a pause. Jamar did not answer, so Jessie asked the same question again.

“Gusto ko po nang sapatos, Sir.”—which means, “I would like shoes, Sir.” With hopeful eyes, Jamar replied, quite surprised that someone would actually ask him what he wanted.

“Jessie, I think he misunderstood the question,” JR said. “Tell Jamar that I’m not talking only about clothes and shoes. Tell him he can ask for anything in the world!” JR thought a ten-year-old would ask for a bicycle, or an electronic toy, or even a television.

So, Jessie repeated and explained to Jamar that he could wish for anything in the world and not just shoes. But again, Jamar’s reply was: “Sapatos (shoes) po.”

Absolutely touched by Jamar’s simple wish and noticing his bare feet, JR instantly envisioned Jamar’s little world—a young boy with hardly anything and living in a crowded one-room hut. There’s no running water and no electricity. The roof leaks during a heavy downpour; Jamar and his family spend many cold, wet and sleepless nights. Often, the children go to bed hungry. They bathe in the ocean every day. The little ones run around barefoot and naked. Sometimes they wear shirts for adults.

Jessie stretched his hand across Jamar’s foot to get its measurement before they left. The following day, JR bought not only shoes, but also 3 shirts, 3 shorts and socks and headed to Jamar’s hut. JR could hardly wait to see the boy’s face when he saw his presents. Jamar and his siblings came running toward JR. Jamar’s eyes got big. His half-hidden smile turned into a big, big smile. “Salamat po! (Thank you, Sir!)” he said.

Realizing that the other children also needed clothes and shoes, JR got their measurements and bought each child 3 sets of new outfits and a pair of shoes.

But, without their knowledge, Jamar’s family was in for another big surprise besides the clothes and the shoes. Three months before we left for the Philippines, JR had sent a “balikbayan” box for Jamar’s family. The box was sent to Pastor Allan who had kept it until our arrival. On Sunday afternoon outside the hut, JR gave away toys, children’s books, chocolate, and many other things from the big box. The children couldn’t believe their eyes! They never had something so wonderful. Not even during their birthdays. It was like having so many Christmases at one time. Each time a child was handed an item, he took off with it and ran into the hut to hide it. Then he came back outside to get another item.

On Sabbath morning we saw Jamar’s family come to church in their new outfits with smiles on their faces. Jamar was beaming, proud to show off his new pair of shoes. I said, “God, thank You for giving me a husband who has compassion for the poor.”

JR’s dream is to build a nice house for Jamar’s family. And this dream came true. Jamar’s family moved to the newly-built cement house the following year. To God be the glory!

Proverbs 22:9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.