Hearts and Minds
Personal journal and camera found in vest pocket of deceased male.
Body discovered in Tondo, Manila 13 April 1983.
Preliminary cause of death: Multiple gunshot wounds to the head.
Film evidence developed: one photo as noted above.
My Dear Maribeth,
Manila is beautiful, but so crowded! Getting around here is worse than Hong Kong and Bangkok.
The scams started right at the airport, with people vying for my dollars:
Need ride, Joe?
Change money, Joe?
Want girls, Joe?
It was all a bit of a whirlwind. No one from the mission came to pick me up so I had to cab it into the compound.
The sights and sounds remain imprinted on my brain: the diesel exhaust everywhere, the salty, fishy open markets with a million flies, the endless honking of horns from the Jeepneys.
I made it to the compound- Lord be praised – and immediately sought out Reverend Bailey, who apologized effusively for the oversight in not sending a car for me.
God has his ways, I told him. To let him off the hook.
Of course, now that I am here to assume administrative control of the mission, things like this little mishap will not recur.
I’m sure you’ll agree that my organizational skills at home have been a boon and a blessing to our family life.
At any rate, I must unpack and get settled. There is much work to be done and I feel that the Lord has chosen wisely in sending someone with my skills to this mission which is in total disarray.
It has been five days since I last wrote.
Reverend Bailey and I have had some harsh words, I’m afraid.
As you know, despite my superlative efficiency, I have an unfortunate lack of patience in the face of tasks set before me. And, my dear, as you know, I feel it is more important to state one’s opinion clearly without resorting to the obfuscation of diplomacy.
Reverend Bailey has reminded me time and again that it is essential to get to know everyone before attempting to institute any far-reaching changes in how things are done here in the compound.
I fail to see the utility in this.
For instance, the good Reverend allows the street urchins full run of the compound. I am sure they are stealing some of the equipment sent out here by the hardworking and good-hearted people of the parish.
I have taken it upon myself, despite protestations from Bailey, to inform these urchins they are no longer welcome in the compound.
My air of authority, my size, and, yes, my dear, my whiteness should be enough to win them over to my way of thinking.
I believe Reverend Bailey has it all wrong: Get to know them?
When in God’s name would we find time to help them?
Ten days later now, my pet.
I have confronted the cretins running wild in the compound and, not only that, I have had their ‘handler’ arrested. A man clearly using these innocents for less than Godly deeds.
Now that these unfortunate boys have seen the light and accepted Jesus as their savior (and me as their taskmaster), I think that the compound will be safer, more efficiently run, and the lives of these former miscreants will have turned a corner onto a new life, lit and warmed by the grace of our Merciful Redeemer.
I am going out right now to meet the boys down in the barrio. They have invited me to the feast of a local saint. Old Bailey should see me now. All these people need is a firm hand. I am going to bring my camera so you can see how their faces, once shadowed by the darkness of ignorance, now shine with the love of the one true God.
Yours in Christ,
Devlin S. Periore
United Baptist Church