The Empanada Lady was one such surprise in Mindanao. She came by my house selling empanadas (vegetables and chicken wrapped in a thin crust and fried) soon after we arrived in Mindanao. I bought a few empanadas from her, and she came back.
The Empanada Lady has two small children and her husband drives a motorella. They live with her in-laws, which doesn't always sound like it's the best situation. Nearly every afternoon she walks around town, selling the empanadas her mother-in-law makes.
Over Christmas I gave The Empanada Lady a small bag of food, ingredients for a spaghetti dinner, some fruit, and some drink mixes. When I gave her this small token of my friendship, she cried. I wondered why. Months later she explained to me that they had nothing in the house for their Christmas Dinner. They planned to go to her sister-in-law's house, but weren't so sure they would be welcome or fed there either. Then she came to my house, and the small gift allowed them to stay home as a family and enjoy a special dinner together. I never would have guessed!
Just before we left The Empanada Lady brought her kids. They brought me a beautiful little wall hanging, a reminder of them. Precious children, living in less than ideal circumstances. Yet loved by God. Pray with me that His love reaches out to this family in days, weeks, months, and years to come.