Jonadith stands in the auditorium where she delivered her speech.
It was a day to remember when more than 1,300 Compassion-registered children gathered to rock the peaceful Philippine town of Puerto Princessa. Children from age six to 16 paraded and danced through the streets, chanting Jesus' name. Placards were raised bearing the Lord's name and Scripture passages. Everyone knew that these children belonged to Jesus.
The line of children led the way to the Abueg Sports Complex, where the celebration continued with worship, special performances and exhortations from God's Word, all delivered by the children. The auditorium was filled with specks of bright colors as participants from the seven student centers in Palawan displayed color-coded uniforms.
Inside the crowded 1,500-seat auditorium, nine-year-old Emmanuel (Jong-Jong) Rodulfo took a seat in front of an electric organ in the middle of the elevated platform. He paused to glance at the audience and then began to play Mozart, his fingers dancing over the keyboard. At the sports complex, Emmanuel played for his largest audience ever, but in his heart he was playing for only one - Jesus.
Following Jong-Jong's performance, a group of singers took the stage. After the first song, a young girl named Jonadith stepped up the microphone, not to sing a solo, but to simply share from her heart. Jonadith's simple oration hushed the crowd as the 1,300 Compassion-sponsored children each heard a version of their own story.
"It's my pleasure to tell you how God changed my life," Jonadith began. "When I was not yet a Compassion child, I thought life was meaningless. But when I entered the project I learned the true value of life: it is to live life for the glory of God, not for the glory of ourselves. When I entered the project, I learned to read the Bible, pray and sing praises to God. When I accepted God, it made my life more wonderful and happier than before.
"I thank God very much for I feel His great love and unending blessings, mercy and compassion, and for a very wonderful plan that God started in me. I feel so blessed for the love of my sponsors to me and for the personal improvements I have gone through. It makes my life complete."
When Jonadith finished, she rejoined her singing group and they launched into another round of music and praise that shook the sports center. The day the children of Compassion rocked Palawan is a day the people of the province and the children will never forget.
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