Matching Funds Request

You may have already heard about our fundraiser that is fast approaching on July 18th. It’s going to be a fun get together with some of our local supporters and a few out of town guests as well. We will be having a BBQ dinner with delicious BBQ provided by Johnny’s BBQ here in Cullman and a cake auction to follow.

Last year we had a TON of fun. The auction is always exciting and everyone goes NUTS for the delicious home-made desserts. Lana is bringing her delicious carrot cake, April will be bringing her famous cream cheese rolls, and hopefully, Ms. Jane will make a Hershey cake again this year!

Prayerfully, there will be lots of people here this time and they will fight for the cakes again!

Here’s where we need a boost. We are asking the Lord to provide a business, a church, or even a couple families who would make some matching funds available to us for this fundraiser. Maybe you are the answer to our prayer?

We are seeking someone who would lets say, match dollar-for-dollar the first $1000 that is given at the fundraiser. With a generous matching funds challenge or two, the money we raise on the 18th could be easily doubled.

So far this year, we have provided over $10,000 worth of help to needy people right here in Cullman, AL. We have also provided for over 600 individual (extremely needy) children through our Philippines ministry. The more we help, the more God seems to give through us!

If you are interested in becoming a matching funds donor for this event, please reply to this email or call our office at 256-737-0112 ext 180. Just ask for Tara and she can give you all the details. Most of all, please pray with us that God will bless all our ministries and that He will get the glory.

P.S. This year, the BBQ and cake auction will be in the gym at Temple Baptist Church. The address is 30 County Rd. 1184 Cullman, AL 35057. The meal will begin at 5 pm and the auction is after that.

 

Ministry Update 7-1-20

For most of us, a hotel room is a resource we use while traveling for work  or vacation. It’s an extra, something we only need once in a while. Our real residence is back home where our family and all of our stuff is.

Sadly, that’s not the case for some. There are people like Marina, a lady we are currently ministering to. She has called a motel room home since May. She is in her late forties and has two teenage children. Her $8 per hour job is only enough to buy food and a few nights per month at the hotel.

We were called a few weeks ago by a concerned employee at the hotel to see if we could step in and help. When Tara met Marina she found a lady who was genuinely struggling to make ends meet. She doesn’t use drugs or alcohol. She isn’t wasting away her paycheck. She found herself in a bad relationship last year and had to move for her and her kids protection.

We have helped to fill the gap for her by paying for the hotel room over the last few weeks as well as providing some food and other items. Tara has also been counseling with her and guiding her through the process of finding a new home. That however, is not an easy chore. Many of the apartment complexes are not taking in new residents due to Covid-19. Many others are simply out of her price range. Another factor is that she needs to be in town within walking distance of where she works.

Adding all of these challenges up can be very discouraging for someone who is fighting for their life and family. That’s why our ministry is so important. We fill in the gaps when there is no one else to help. Often times we are the only thing standing between utter hopelessness and a ray of light.

We need you to help us pray that God will move in Marina’s situation. It’s going to take him opening a few new doors of opportunity for things to work out in her favor. Pray for a better job, an affordable place to live, and most of all for her spiritual needs to be met.

There are many others like Marina that we assist every week. People who are on their last leg of hope and are reaching out for something, anything that can make a difference. We understand the only real and lasting difference is the gospel. However, a hotel room and a whole lot of compassion can go a long way in bridging the gap and showing that the Lord really does care for them and love them.

Thanks for reading and praying!

If you would like to help Marina, and others like her, you can make a contribution here.

SAVE THE DATE!!

Plans have been made for our annual BBQ fundraiser and cake auction. Make sure to save the date for this fun event.

Here are the details:

What: BBQ Fundraiser & Cake Auction

When: Saturday July 18, 2020 beginning at 5pm

Where: Temple Baptist Cullman Gym

How to give: We will have a bucket that you can drop in your donation of any amount (you don’t have to give to come). If you write a check, make it to Unsheltered International. There will also be a fun “live” auction of desserts like cakes and pies. (We’ve done this every year and it is the highlight of the whole thing!) If you are out of town and want to contribute, you can use this link to do so online, or you can mail in your gift to: Unsheltered International PO Box 2625 Cullman, AL 35056.

Above all, please pray for our family, the ministry that God has entrusted to us, and those to who we preach and help.

 

Ministry Update 6-5-20

I wanted to touch base with you today and give a brief update with a few praises and prayer requests. Let’s start off with the praises!

We are very thankful that, through the recent pandemic and quarantine, the giving to Unsheltered has remained steady. This is a real testament to our regular supporters, to the churches, and to the Lord’s people in general. Thank you so much for helping us to be able to continue our very important work during times like these.

Also, our volunteer crew here in Cullman who help us keep the warehouse organized by processing all of the donations that come in each week has been able to continue week after week. We get lots of clothing and other items each week so their volunteer efforts are vital. If they are not working, we simply get overrun with everything.

Another praise to report is that the Philippines team has had a total of 241 people who made decisions for Christ since March. God has shown himself mighty in that!

As far as prayer requests go, we have been helping a few people here in Cullman who have very tough situations. A husband and wife, Mark and Cagney, are in need of a real miracle. They are homeless, both of them battling serious illnesses, and cannot work. Mark has been rushed to the hospital three times in the last couple weeks due to seizures. Please pray for a breakthrough on their behalf.

Another gentleman, Carlton, is battling mental illness and currently homeless. He is sweet and gentle, yet his illness causes the help we provide to be a challenge. Please pray for stability of mind so that he can have some rest and be sheltered on a permanent basis. 

Dakota and Makaliah are a young couple who I have been helping some. They are sleeping in their car and she has some very serious health concerns. He is working a steady job and I think the biggest need there is salvation and education. Please pray for God to do a work in their hearts. I wish I could share the pictures of all these folks so that you could have a face with the names but sometimes it’s just not the appropriate thing to do.

Thank you again for your generosity towards us and your prayers for the above mentioned needs and of course, all of our ongoing ministry.

Ministry Update 5-7-20

In today’s update, I want to tell you what’s going on in our Philippines ministry. As you know, the community quarantine has been in effect there for several weeks now. Only one family member is permitted to go outside the home on certain days for essential items.

Thankfully though, our ministry team has been granted special permission due to the fact that they are caring for people in need. Not only have they taken care of many poor families who don’t have enough to make ends meet, they are also feeding workers who are on the front lines in the Cover-19 battle. Basically, the love of God has been spread generously by pastor Ner and his team during these troubling weeks. In the picture below, pastor Ner is feeding one of those workers.

In the last week, the team has been caring for the poor on the streets. In Bacolod City where their work is concentrated, there are many people who are suffering with mental illness. Thankfully, the team sees them no differently than anyone else they serve. With love and compassion, they share God’s blessings with the hope that His Word will also be received.

One of our Philippines ministry board members lives on the island of Mindanao. We were able to send them support for relief efforts and they have also been doing a terrific job. At one point, after distributing relief goods to a group of people, pastor Remada took the opportunity to preach and there were several decisions made for Christ.

As of today, we have sent the Philippines team $5,485 for relief efforts. They have served over 465 front line workers, distributed more than 500 relief packages, given away Bibles, gospel tracts, and N95 masks. I also instructed the team to care for many of the poorer church members who are in need and they have seen to that generously. The best news is that through all of this, more than 110 people have made decisions for Christ.

On behalf of each person in need, I want to thank you, our donor, for the support you have given in the recent weeks. We began this quarantine with many uncertainties, but God has blessed with souls saved and many others helped in various ways.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Ministry Update 04-22-2020

I hope everyone is making it through your time of quarantine as well as possible. Today I’d like to give you an update on our local ministry here in the Cullman, AL area. We will have another Philippines update toward the end of the week.

We have seen a slight uptick in the amount of requests for help in the recent weeks with over twenty-one people calling upon us for help and most of them are right here in Cullman County. Last week alone, we assisted seven people with lodging in motel rooms and one gentleman with lodging at a local park. One of these is a mother with two teenage children.

There is another family that we have been working with for over a month who has an eight year old boy. They are searching for housing but having a very hard time because they are a one income family and their only vehicle has a bad transmission. Getting back and forth to work each day is a challenge in itself and they are currently living in a tent. The child is being well cared for and is their top priority but there are so many challenges they are facing.

Homelessness is always complicated. This family has limited income, the father has a debilitating physical condition, the mother has over $3000 in fines because she was caught driving (to work) a couple times with no license or insurance. On top of all that, there are other real family issues and also depression. Tara has been working diligently with this family and we are committed to helping them climb out of this deep, dark hole. Please help us pray for God to open the right doors for them and to give us wisdom as we are walking alongside of them and assisting the best we can.

We had some sad news last week as we learned that one of the men who Tim had been helping since last November died in a fire inside a hotel room. The details are yet to be known in full, but we do know that he was suffering and fighting many battles at the time of his death. Tim had spent a lot of time counseling with him and trying to convince him to get the right help. Please pray for his family as they are now grieving his tragic death.

The young man that I led to the Lord a few weeks ago, Nathaniel, called on Sunday and reported that he landed a job. He is excited to start work again and hopefully, work his way back into a good place.

Please remember all of these as you pray this week. Also, please continue to pray for our Philippines team as they are still busy feeding people who cannot get out and work because of their quarantine. Thank you so much for following along with us each week.

SPECIAL UPDATE!!

This update was written early Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, God had answered prayers for two of the clients we have been helping. Tim was able to take the gentleman that we assisted last week with lodging at the park to a home in Mississippi and he is now off of the streets. See the picture below of Tim transporting him, safely! The family that was staying in a tent with an eight year old boy that we have been working with for over a month is moving into their new place today. The mom was diligent in searching until she found an affordable place to rent. We will continue to assist them with housing items, food, etc. to get them a good start in their new home. If you would like to donate, email Tara at tara@unsheltered.org for more information or donate on our website by following this link.

 

Ministry Update 4-15-20

We are giving God the glory today for his goodness and mercy during this global pandemic that we are experiencing. Last week we put out a call to action for our Philippines ministry and many of our supporters responded generously.

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting

Because of that response, we were able to send $1,600 to our Philippines team to purchase relief food. They began to purchase the food as soon as they received the funds. Although it was difficult because of limited travel and shopping abilities, they were able to secure several bags of rice and other food items.

As soon as the team was able to prepare individual food bags that contained a few kilos of rice and the other canned goods, they began distribution. The primary areas of focus were the meal centers where we normally have our weekly feeding ministries. Those ministries have been disrupted for the last couple weeks due to the stay-at-home orders which are in place.

Because of those orders, many of these families are really suffering and don’t have adequate food. Some are only able to eat one time per day. That’s where the relief foods come in! Sister Merliza reported to me that they have already delivered more than 318 bags of food in several of the villages where our meal centers are located.

Our team has worked tirelessly to package these goods and get them distributed to the most vulnerable people. Please continue to pray with us for their protection and for God’s provision. This first round of relief was a blessing, but they will need more.

We are planning on sending another offering at the end of this week so if you wanted to give before but couldn’t, this is your opportunity. You can use this link to give now with your card, or, mail in your gift using the address below. If you are planning to mail your gift, please reply to this email and let me know so that we can count your gift in the total and get it sent ASAP.

I don’t know of anything much better than feeding hungry children in Jesus’ name. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly how God has opened the door in the last few years to enable us to share the gospel and see hundreds of people come to Christ for salvation!

Thank you for giving and being a part of this critical time. It does me good to know that together, we are making a difference! To God be the glory.

 

COVID-19 and our Philippines Ministry

The island in the Philippines where our ministry is headquartered has been on lock down since about March 30th due to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

As you can see in the above pictures, a gate has been constructed at the main road entering the subdivision where our rescue center is located. No one can enter, or leave, without valid ID and an acceptable reason. Much of the work has come to a halt and a city that is usually bustling with hundreds and hundreds of people is now mostly quiet.

The real issue that this quarantine causes for poor families in this area is hunger. Most of the people live in homes that don’t have refrigerator’s or other places to store food for long periods of time. Even if they did have those conveniences, they don’t have enough money to stock up, even during normal times. Now, with no work, they are really struggling.

Pastor Ner has told me that some families in our meal centers are only eating once a day so that they can ration food. We cannot prepare the meals and go serve at this time, however, pastor Ner can deliver bags of food to families. He has already made food available to the church members and they will be buying especially for the families in the meal centers in the next day or so.

 

They will be using the meal center money for this month to buy the food, but it’s not enough to meet the demand. With that in mind, we are going to send a special offering tomorrow that will be used to buy rice and other staple foods to make up these much needed food bags for the suffering families.

If you want to contribute to this special need, you can use this link to donate online now. Or, you can mail your gift using the address at the bottom of this email. (Due to the time-sensitive nature, if you plan to mail a check, please respond to this email and let us know. We will go ahead and send it tomorrow if we know the check is on the way.)

I know there are a lot of needs right now. I know many of you are also in need. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for prayer or help if you need us.

Blessings,
Travis

Results and schedule changes

We are all excited because of the outpouring of generosity during our share-a-thon style live fundraiser last Thursday. This was our annual fundraiser that we count on to fund about 52% of our annual operating budget. In other words, it was a critical day for us! It took a lot of preparation on our part and a lot of generosity on your part. I am beyond thankful for our board of directors who worked hard to help raise the funds and for those of you who made it happen.

 

 

After all was said and done, the total amount given during this effort was $69,412

Because we fell a little short of our goal, we had to re-visit our annual budget to make some adjustments. But life is full of those kind of adjustments so we have made them and we have a balanced budget for this fiscal year (March 1st-February 28th.)

Here is the really great news. Through your generosity, our giving for this fundraiser increased this year by 121% over last year! To us, that is such great news. It means that we are growing and the Lord is blessing abundantly. For that, we are extremely grateful.

So one more time, Thank you to everyone who gave and helped in this success.

Last week was also our annual board of directors meeting. We had a very productive meeting and I am truly grateful for each of their sacrifices and commitment to this ministry.

Schedule changes

As expected, we have had to make some schedule changes due to new restrictions set forth by the CDC and state governments. We have postponed the Cullman, AL resource clinic that was scheduled for March 28th. We have also been forced to cancel the Elkton, MD resource clinic which is scheduled for April 25th. We will keep you posted on any future updates.

Please be sure to keep the unsheltered population in your prayers as they are one of the most vulnerable segments of our society on a daily basis, not to mention during a crisis such as the one we are currently with the Cover-19 outbreak.

Once again, thank you for your generosity and prayers.

Year-To-Date in Cullman, AL by Travis Sharpe

Every week we receive calls at our office here in Cullman, Alabama from people who are desperate for help. Some of them have housing and are looking for assistance with food or clothing or utilities. Others are homeless and seeking a safe place to lay their head. The needs are many.

So far this year, we have been contacted by twenty seven people who were actually homeless right here in Cullman County Alabama. Most of those are residents of Cullman or have some sort of history or family here in town. Others have called who are not homeless but are in need.

Here’s how we have helped some of the people who were unsheltered.

  • A single lady was placed in a motel for two nights.
  • A single mom with three children was placed in a motel for two nights and given food.
  • A single male was given food, shower, clothing and a ride to the mission in Huntsville. He also got saved.
  • A deaf man who had spent the night in some bushes was bought a bus ticket and reunited with family.
  • A homeless couple was given a camper trailer so that they would have a safe place to live.
  • A single male was given clothes, a shower, food, and we helped him get his birth certificate and state ID.
  • An older male was given a bus ticket to a shelter where a bed was waiting.
  • $1,055 worth of goods and services were given to the others not mentioned above.

Our dream to have a tiny-home village here in Cullman is a real need. The young man who got saved in my office on a Friday, wanted to come to church with me that Sunday and make a public profession of his faith. The problem is that he had already spent two nights outside and it was rainy and cold, making it an extremely unsafe situation for him. The tiny-home village would have been a real answer.

The homeless couple who we gave the camper to could also benefit from the village. It would be safer for them and they could be surrounded by people and learn how to interact again. I could go on and on about the possibilities but you get he point.

That’s why we are praying for God’s provision and asking him to supply us with the land needed to build this village. I know that the village we dream of will not be an answer for everyone we encounter because homelessness is a very complex issue. It will however, be the answer for some, and we are concerned about them!

Read all about our tiny-home dream here.

As you probably already know, we are having our annual share-a-thon style fundraiser this Thursday evening from 6-10pm EST. It will be broadcast live on the Unsheltered International Facebook page and our goal is to raise $100,000. I wish all of that could go toward the tiny-home project, but the fact is that we have to maintain the other great programs of Unsheltered also. But if we meet, or even exceed the goal, we will be able to put some toward this dream!

Please pray with us, watch Thursday evening, and recruit others to watch and donate as well. Let’s find out together what God will do as we are faithful to serve him and serve those in need.