We were a group of returned missionaries that served in the Philippines Quezon City Mission from President Wagstaff to President Dela Mar. It was our love and gratitude for Ate Jopay that brought us together to visit her at Manila Boys Town last Saturday, July 20.
We were waiting in the receiving area when a tiny woman was brought in, in a wheelchair. For some time we couldn’t believe it was her. She looked very different.
We huddled around her and tried to get to connect with the Ate Jopay we once knew. There was talk about her delicious cookies. She was asked if she remembers President and Sister Labrum and that they are sending their love.
Dementia is evident in her responses. She would respond affirmatively to questions but would go back to stories of her ‘papa’ and being hit and getting wounded. We were trying to understand her stories and helping each other understand what she was trying to communicate.
She was happy to munch on the biscuits we brought while she talked. We were told she likes to keep on munching. One instance during our conversation with her, she took a bite at the tissue paper lying nearby. We were told she does that with things she could get her hands on.
Ate Jopay was brought to Manila Boys Town, a compound of orphanages, shelters and an elderly home in 2015. She has no family members. She shares a room with 30 other women who are differently abled, 9 of whom are blind. Because of the individual unique conditions, this group that Ate Jopay is with do not participate in regular activities in the Home. They spend their time mostly in the room, with the television on.
The head of the Home, which happens to be a member of the church, commented that Ate Jopay seemed exceptionally energetic during our visit. We turned over to her the stuff that we bought from the donations of fellow returned missionaries. We brought lotion, body wash, diapers, vitamins and biscuits.
We intend to visit her again on August 24 and bring whatever we could to bless, not only Ate Jopay but her community there at Manila Boys Town. "We invite you to join us or help in whatever way you can on our next visit."