What a Difference a Year Makes by Travis Sharpe

Last year we traveled down to Biloxi, MS to spend some time helping pastor Brad Newsome of Lighthouse Baptist Church. The Lord had been impressing upon pastor Brad’s heart that he needed to be helping the many homeless individuals that frequented the neighborhoods around his church.

He knew that God wanted him to do something, but he wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it. That’s where we came in. He called us asking for help, so myself, Tim Barbee, and Steve Battles answered the call. We spent three days with pastor Brad and brother Wynn teaching them how to discover where unsheltered people live and how to interact with them.

That Saturday, we drove behind a Winn-Dixie grocery store where there was a very small patch of woods just beyond the chain link fence that ran the distance of the back alley. Noticing a well-worn trail leading into the woods, we stopped the truck to investigate.

We followed the trail a few yards and that’s where we saw an old mattress that was being used for a makeshift lean-to type structure. It didn’t appear that anyone was there, but we called out “is anyone home?” We were surprised when the lean-to moved and a bearded man crawled out to meet us.

 

His name was Richard. We talked for a long while and invited him to come to church with us on Sunday. Arrangements were made and brother Wynn picked him up the following morning and brought him to Sunday school and church. Here’s a picture we took after church that Sunday.

 

That was one year ago. This past weekend, Tim and I went back to Biloxi to assist the church again and we were thrilled to find out that Richard was still there! In fact, Richard has lived at the church this entire time. They made him a room and the pastor has become his guardian. He has been caring for him and discipling him. This year of receiving care has made a tremendous difference in Richard’s life that is evident to everyone.

 

We found out that Richard is a veteran who was suffering from PTSD and CTE. These conditions have caused him to have great mental challenges such as remembering things and keeping his right train of thought. He was living in the woods and trying his best to survive on his own while fighting his illnesses all by himself.

Richard got saved and has learned so much about following the Lord and trusting others. He has developed meaningful friendships and those have proven to pay off. He told us that he was suicidal the day we found him a year ago. He had a gun and a plan to end his life. He thanked us for finding him and pastor Brad and brother Wynn for not giving up on him over the past year.

This year hasn’t been easy for Richard or for pastor Brad. There have been ups and downs as Richard is fighting his demons and trying to live for the Lord. But he has hung in there and God has blessed. It was great to see him again!

Richard’s story begs the question, what about you? is there someone waiting on you to find them? Could God have someone out there who needs your love and care over the next year? Are you available if the Lord leads you to disciple someone so that their life can be put back together one step at a time? I hope so!

Please pray for Richard and the men who are discipling him and don’t forget to ask the Lord what he wants you to do.

Ministry Update 2-25-20

Today’s update is all about our Philippines ministry.Special thanks to Pastor and Mrs. Ner for their hard work and dedication.

In spite of all the things they don’t have, and even in the face of sickness and persecution, the Filipino people are resilient. I believe that our team is extra resilient. They continue to work hard to help the mentally ill homeless, the street children, and the many vulnerable children in our meal centers.

Sister Merliza told me that one of the young men who they have been helping is getting ready to go to Manila for training in a new job on a fishing boat. This will be hard work but it is an opportunity for a good income. James has lived on the streets for a while and worked very low-paying jobs but he is a very smart young man with great potential.

A couple years ago there was another young man named Peter who did the same thing and he still stays in contact with the team and is doing very well. He’s not on the streets anymore!

There is another client from the street ministry who has begun to sell vegetables to better their life and a few more who have recently gained employment as construction workers on a nearby island.

Meal centers

The meal centers are doing well and some of them have even increased in number over the past couple of months. One of the centers is operated by Pastor Ricky and Crossroad Community Baptist Mission In LaCastellana. He sent me this picture of a man named Edgardo. Edgardo was homeless and has no family so Pastor Ricky has been allowing him to stay at their church.

As always, the UIP team is compassionate and loving as they try to win every soul to Christ as they can and help as many people as they can with tangible needs such as food and shelter and clothing.

Please continue to pray for Pastor and Mrs. Ner, Pastor Ricky, and all of the UIP family as they serve the Lord with all their might. Please pray for good health and for God’s hand of protection and provision. As of now, Pastor’s Ricky’s meal center at LaCastellana is one that does not have a sponsor. Please help us pray for a sponsor for them.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Don’t forget about our BIG Facebook Live fundraiser that a is approaching quickly! Click here for all the details.

Full report from New Orleans revival

The 2020 winter revival for the unsheltered is in the books and we are thrilled at what God accomplished this week. From the day we arrived, all the way until the last amen yesterday, our team worked tirelessly and the Lord added his rich blessing each day.

The above picture pretty much sums up the attitude of the week and the heart of our ministry. It’s all about loving God and taking his love to the broken. I’m thankful for Christians who will sit down and put their arm around a hurting soul and simply love them in Jesus name!

Results

Here are the results from the week, at least the ones we know about. I’m inclined to believe there are always decisions we never know about and lasting effects we will not see until Heaven. Nonetheless, here’s what we know!

6 People made decisions for Christ
227 Guests were in attendance
873 Meals were served
45 People received Bibles
151 People received clothing
130 People received hygiene products
32 People received haircuts

The Mayor visits

It was an encouragement to us to have New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell visit with us on Monday. She was gracious and let us know that she was thankful for our investments in her city.

Fighting the weather

I’m thankful for everyone who made this week possible and especially the ones who participated by working so hard each and every day. Each day brought new challenges. One day there was a sudden hail storm that destroyed our tents, followed by heavy rain and flooding in the church the next day. Several of our team members worked right through the rain, getting soaking wet, only to continue serving our guests for the rest of the day. They are extremely committed!

Visiting on the streets

One of the highlights of this week was visiting people out on the streets where they live. Our teams bravely and graciously fought the elements each day to pass out flyers and invite people to come to the revival. They prayed with people, gave away needed snack bags, and simply loved on everyone the best they could.

A mother gave up her Marijuana

During the invitation on Wednesday, a lady who is mother to several young children came to the altar broken hearted. God had convicted her about her drug use and she literally placed it on the altar and asked one of our team members to throw it away. She was sick and tired of that lifestyle and the problems that it was bringing.

A lady joined the church

Another lady, named Benita, came forward during the invitation on Wednesday saying she wanted to join the church. She was so sweet and so sincere. The pastor counseled with hear and they will be receiving her into their fellowship. This is so important because if she will stick with them, she will have a great network of new family to help her overcome homelessness.

Lots of children were here

As usual, there were lots of children who attended each day. While our hearts break for their plight, we are grateful for the opportunity to minister to these precious little ones.

Much more!

Of course, there was much more that took place throughout the week. If I tried to report it all there wouldn’t be enough room! Thank you so very much for praying with us and for following the updates. We appreciate all of your involvement.

Our live fundraiser is coming up soon!

Please be much in prayer about our Facebook live fundraiser that is coming up on Thursday March, 12th from 6pm-10pm. This is our largest fundraising effort of the year and our goal is $100,000.

To be completely honest, we need your help to reach our goal that evening. We have been blessed with one headline sponsor who will be sponsoring the 6-7 pm hour. This gracious sponsor has given $2,500 and we are so very thankful for them. We are looking for three more headline sponsors who will jump on board before March 12th to help us get started off right!

Please help us pray for the Lord’s provision.

Thank you again, and many blessings.

We’re off to a great start!

The Lord has been blessing here in New Orleans and our Winter revival for the unsheltered is off to a great start. Our team arrived on Saturday and the orientation meeting was that evening. Then, Sunday morning was church at Terrytown Family Baptist Church with pastor Terry Rodgers.

Brother Mark Thrift from Houston, TX preached the first message and I (Travis) preached the second message. We were blessed to have Rusty Nail Crossing singing for us. The best part of the day was the two people who got saved during the invitation.

When Monday rolled around, our team worked hard to set everything up at the church and get us ready for the week. We spent the afternoon out on the streets visiting and passing out snack bags and flyers inviting everyone to the revival.

We finished up Monday with dinner and chapel service at Grace Baptist Church where pastor Shannon Foote encouraged us to trust in the Lord with a great message from Psalms 37. I sure appreciate the help that Grace Baptist has been to us each time we come to New Orleans.

Tuesday started before 6 am for the kitchen crew as they began to prepare breakfast and lunch for the day. Then, after breakfast we started our first revival service. Once again, Rusty Nail Crossing sang and brother Mark Thrift and pastor Clemon Chappell did the preaching.

When the service was over, or team provided a great lunch for all the guests along with access to haircuts, clothing, hygiene items and brand new Bibles. I’m so thankful for the hard work of our team this year and the fervent prayers of our friends and supporters.

You can watch this week!

We are live-streaming the services on the Unsheltered International Facebook page so that you can get a taste of what the Lord is doing here this week. Look for the broadcast today and tomorrow beginning somewhere around 10 am.

Thanks so much for following as we invest in the lives of hundreds of broken people this week.

2019 Annual Report

We are extremely thankful for the goodness of God in our ministry during 2019. The Lord has blessed in tremendous ways and we are looking forward to what the future holds.

We have prepared our annual ministry report that highlights the major accomplishments of 2019 and it is now available for you right here.

We also appreciate all our supporters who made such a successful year possible. Special thanks also goes to Adrienne Barbee for a wonderful design job!

To view the report, click here.

Thanks again for reading and giving to the Lord!

3rd Annual Live Fundraiser Details

Preparations for our 3rd annual live fundraiser are coming along great and our team is getting excited (not to mention a little nervous also).

Today, I have some details to share with you about the fundraiser.

  • The date and time is- Thursday, March 12th, from 6-10 (eastern time).
  • It will be a Facebook live video broadcast from our board of directors meeting in Gatlinburg, TN.
  • It will be on the Unsheltered International Facebook page.
  • Travis and April will be the hosts. Several of our team will be contributing with some “on-air” time.
  • We plan to tell some exciting stories from the mission field, give lots of updates and answer questions from viewers.
  • Our goal is to raise $100,000.

Of course, since we are a 501(c)3 faith based organization, we depend upon donations for our operations. This event will be critical to our first two quarters success in 2020 and I hope you will partner with us in that success.

Here is how you can help us meet, and even exceed the goal

  • Pray with us for open doors and God’s provision as we talk to potential donors.
  • Pray that the Lord would give us a large and engaged viewership on the evening of the broadcast.
  • During the broadcast on March 12th, like and share it to your own Facebook timeline. This will help others to see it.
  • Call in during the broadcast with your special gift to the ministry.
  • You can download the flyer and print it and share with your friends. Click FBF ’20 to download it.

There is a way to help BEFORE the broadcast also

We are calling on our faithful partners to make their donation or pledge BEFORE March 12th. This will help us to go into the night of the broadcast with part of the $100,000 already raised. Last year, about $9000 came in during the broadcast but more than $20,000 was given beforehand.

With that history in mind, we are asking God to provide about $75,000 BEFORE March 12th. We had several very generous gifts last year from churches and families and business that really helped. Please consider how the Lord would use you to help us go into that night with all of the $75,000 raised!

How to give before March 12th

  • I (Travis) would love to speak with you personally about your gift. I know that giving is very personal and for that reason, I want to give you my cell number. You can call me to let me know what you want to donate, or for more details. 256-385-1679
  • Go to unsheltered.org and give with your credit or debit card. There is a large banner on our homepage that is for the fundraiser so click on that.
  • Mail check to Unsheltered International PO Box 2625 Cullman, AL 35056. Just mark fundraiser in the memo section.

Thank you very much for reading, praying and giving!

2020 Facebook Live Fundraiser

 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW!

 

We are excited about our upcoming fundraiser that will be broadcast live via Facebook. This special four-hour event is going to be a time where we share about our ministry and ministry needs. We are asking God for $100,000 on that day which will help us feed, clothe and preach to many people who are in need. Travis and April Sharpe will be the hosts along with pastor Steve Dixon and they are looking forward to sharing all about the ministry.

Also joining in on the broadcast will be some of our board of directors and the Sharpe children, Hunter and Sarah. It will be broadcast on the Unsheltered International Facebook page so if you’re not following our page yet, please find us and hit the “like” button. Please be in prayer about how you can help us reach our goal.

How to Watch

This event will be broadcast via Facebook live video on the Unsheltered International Facebook Page.

  • Go to the Unsheltered International Facebook page and Click “like” and “follow”.
  • The date and time is Thursday, March 12th from 6pm-10pm EST.

How to Donate

There are three easy ways to give during the live broadcast:

  • Call in with your credit or debit card- phone numbers will be on the screen during the broadcast.
  • Make your donation right here on our website by clicking here.
  • You can donate anytime before the live broadcast and your gift will count toward the goal.

How to Spread the Word

  • Share our Facebook posts during the weeks leading up to the broadcast.
  • Forward our emails to your friends. Not our our email list? Click here to sign up.
  • During the event, like and share the video, comment to let others know you are watching, participate in the question and answer times.

Other details about the broadcast

  • Travis and April will be the hosts along with pastor Steve Dixon. Several of our team will be contributing with some “on-air” time.
  • We plan to tell some exciting stories from the mission field, give lots of updates and answer questions from viewers.
  • Our goal is to raise $100,000 during the four-hour live broadcast.
  • We will be broadcasting from our annual board of directors meeting in Gatlinburg, TN.
  • The money raised during the broadcast will go directly into our budget and benefit all of our ministries.
  • Hunter and Sarah Sharpe will be appearing to talk about missions from a teenagers perspective.

Click here to donate now 

Don’t Forget

LIKE! COMMENT! SHARE!

During the live broadcast on Thursday, March 12th from 6-10 pm eastern time.

A few examples of how your donations are being used to help people in need

Your gift will help us continue to bring God glory through preaching the gospel and helping people in need.

Click here to donate now.

Ministry Update 1-10-20

Now that the holidays are behind us, we are back hard at work doing our best to make a difference each day. Speaking of making a difference, I thought I would share a very special Christmas card that we received. Back in November, our local police department called us about a lady that had just arrived in town. She was in her 60’s, and very sweet. Suffering from mental illness, she had been homeless for a while and came here from Texas.

When we first met her she was not in a good place mentally. Confusion abounded and she was very vulnerable as she wandered alone on the streets. We knew we had to help somehow so Tara took her to a local hotel where we paid for several nights of lodging. Tara also worked with her and convinced her to go to our mental health department. We did as much as we could but she finally vanished. She was not at the hotel and no one had seen or heard from her. This happens all too often. Right in the middle of trying to get help to someone they simply disappear.

All we could do was pray that she was alright. Then, right after Christmas, our prayers were answered when we received this sweet card from her. Take a moment to read what she wrote below.

Tara said that receiving this card and knowing that she was okay was her best Christmas present ever. We were all blessed to know that things were okay and she was getting off the streets and into housing. What a mighty God we serve!

Preparing for NOLA

This week we are preparing for our mission trip and revival week in New Orleans. We will be there from Feb. 1-6 with pastor Terry Rodgers and pastor Michael Raymond to hold our third winter revival for the homeless. Please pray for our team and those who are coming for this meaningful week of preaching, singing and ministry to the unsheltered of New Orleans.

Live Fundraiser

Our annual live fundraiser is scheduled for March 12, 2020. That evening from 6-10 pm, we will be broadcasting live on our Facebook page and there will be all kinds of great information, stories, testimonies and more. We will be sharing some future plans and letting you know what all God has done through our ministry.

Most of all, this is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we are asking the Lord to provide $100,000 that evening. I hope you will make plans to join us for this exciting event!

Thank you

We appreciate you following our updates and staying connected with us. Please remember us as well as those we serve in your prayers each day.

The Gospel is Still Our Main Thing

Everyone has an opinion about ministering to the homeless. Some are very good, some are not so good.

Some consider the most important thing food. For many it is housing. Still for some, the most important thing is to let people be, so that they can find their own way and make sense of life on their own terms.

As for me, I try to stay away from too many opinions. That’s right, I try to keep most of my opinions to myself. After more than twenty years of ministering to the unsheltered, I have learned one HUGE lesson.

People who are experiencing homelessness need the same things in life that we all need. And the biggest need is to hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and learn to obey his commands. Every single person on earth needs the gospel.

The fact is, everything else we give or do is temporary. We will get hungry again, homes can be destroyed by disasters and even the best ones will eventually deteriorate. New clothes will have to be replaced soon. Everything here on earth is temporary.

The fact that everything down here is temporary doesn’t mean that we ignore them. In fact, we go to great lengths to feed and clothe hundreds of needy people each year. We try to do all those things with compassion and love. We are even working on a new project to bring housing to people who have nowhere else to go. Click here to read about the plan that has been developed.

But the greatest thing we can ever do for anyone, homeless or not, is to share the story of redemption with them.

Here are the facts according to the Bible.

You can have a fine home, a wonderful family, and everything that this life affords, and still die and spend eternity separated from God in Hell.

On the other hand, you can be a poor beggar with no earthly goods, yet have Christ in your life, and spend eternity in his presence in Heaven.

It is those facts that inform my opinions and actions. Putting the gospel first is the only real way to help someone for all of eternity. That’s what we do.

How you can help

Your one last gift to our ministry for 2019 will help us continue putting the souls of men and women first. Thank you for all you have done this year, and I would ask you to consider one more gift to help us finish strong.

Please click here to give today and make an eternal difference!

Many blessings,

Travis Sharpe
President, Unsheltered International

Save the Date!

Hey there,

I am so excited to send you this “save the date” information because our live fundraiser is the biggest and best fundraiser that we do each year. Plus, it’s awesome to see God provide through the generosity of our ministry partners year after year.

Our ministry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year. We have expanded the Philippines ministry, doubled our warehouse operation in Cullman, and increased our local outreach efforts in Cullman. We have also put together plans for a new tiny-home village that is going to be a real help to people in need of housing here in our hometown.

With all of these increases in our ministry, we have set a 2020 live fundraising goal of $100,000. I know that we have a BIG God and generous partners who give because they want to make a difference in the hearts and lives of people in need. So we are stepping out by faith and aiming for our largest single day fundraiser to date.

I hope that you will begin to pray about how you can get involved with us not only in giving yourself, but also helping our team in prayer and recruiting other to give with you.

Thanks for saving the date and praying with us!