5 Ways We Turn Donations Into Blessings by Travis Sharpe

We are blessed to have some of the most generous and compassionate supporters that there are. The people who donate to Unsheltered International come from a wide background: churches, families, single mothers, businessmen (and women), missionaries, grandparents, and the list goes on and on.

Many times, the donations we receive do not come from an abundance, they come from generous people who had to sacrifice something in order to give. I am extremely humbled by each and every gift that comes our way and I feel a real obligation to put them to the best use as possible.

With that in mind, I thought I would share a few ways that we are putting your donations to work! This is certainly not an all-inclusive list, but I thought it would be a great start!

1. Sharing the gospel in dark places

Whether it is across the seas, or here in the states, one of the greatest things we accomplish is sharing the gospel in places that, for the most part, others are not going to. There are always exceptions, but remember, everyone who helps the downtrodden is not necessarily sharing Christ with them as part of their help.

We strive to make soul winning and lifting up Christ the main thing we do, not just one of the things we do. That’s not always easy and sometimes we fail, but it is always at the forefront of our intentions and we realize that the gospel is the one and only life changing thing we can give.

Here’s a great example. Five years ago, while in Asheville, NC, we were visiting homeless camps along the banks of the French Broad River.

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That’s where we met Charlie and Jessie (pictured above). They were living in a small tent underneath a bridge along with a few other people. Everyone under that bridge was struggling with some sort of addiction and or mental illness. As a veteran, Charlie was suffering from PTSD. Charlie and Jessie received Christ as their Savior and things began to change for them. He entered a VA sponsored program and moved into a house when that was over. I spoke to him on the phone last week and they are doing great.

They have been off the streets since they got saved five years ago. God did a great work in their hearts and it all started when our team went into the dark place that they called home. After we spoke on the phone last week, I had to wonder what their lives would be like today if we had only given them physical help but not shared the gospel? It is the gifts of our supporters that enable us to go into these places and win people to Christ!

2. Providing medical care for the extreme poor

One of the most rewarding things we do is to provide medical care for the extreme poor in the Philippines. Because we have some Filipino doctors who help at little to no charge, we can make a real difference in sick people’s lives. Sometimes it is basic first aid, other times it is surgery or hospitalization that is needed.

We have a fund that is designated for medical needs and that fund has already saved several lives. Here are some examples.

Ronel- 20-year-old boy who has internal injuries

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As of today, Ronel is in critical condition. He has internal injuries and he needs a surgery but his body is too weak for the procedure. Our team has had him in the hospital twice and we have provided his medication. It is an extremely sad situation and we are not sure what the outcome will be. Our team continues to monitor his situation and do all they can to help

Princess- A precious little girl who became dehydrated

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Princess suffered from dehydration and dysentery. When she finally arrived at the emergency room, it was almost too late. Thankfully, God blessed and the doctors did a great job. She was in the hospital for several days and then released. Below is a picture taken at church a couple days after she was released from the hospital. (See picture below). The best part is that this incident opened up the door for me to lead her father to Christ.

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So far we have helped people with diseases, malnutrition, dysentery, bacterial infections, accidents, and the list goes on and on. For as little as $15, we can provide basic first aid to many children.

3. Weekly Meal Centers

Each weekend we partner with Crossroad Community Baptist Church to bring help and hope to more than 300 needy children through our meal center program. Currently, there are 13 meal centers that we operate each weekend. The children receive a nutritious meal, first aid treatment, Bible story, and songs.

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We have developed a great way for supporters to sponsor these meal centers. For only $50 per week, all of the weekend activities can be taken care of. That $50 covers the meal, first aid, and transportation for our staff. You can learn more about opportunities to help here.

4. Resource Clinics

One of our longest running and most successful programs we have has been our Resource Clinics. These are events where we help the homeless with everything from a meal to obtaining lost documents.

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We hold these events in conjunction with local churches and, once again, the gospel is at center stage. We always have a special evangelistic service, a hot meal, resume writing, haircuts, birth certificates, health screenings, and much more. A good example of your donations at work during a resource clinic would be the birth certificates: for $15, we can get someone a certified copy of this important document which will help them get other lost documents. Learn more here.

5. Weekly street ministry

In Bacolod City, Philippines, our staff and ministry partners go to the city streets three times each week. They take a simple meal, their first aid backpacks, and lots of compassion.

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Each trip out to the streets they encounter new and challenging situations. Sometimes they encounter completely helpless children who are abandoned. Sometimes they interact with older kids who are gang members and hooked on cheap, homemade drugs. Other times, they minister to entire families who are destitute and everything they own is in a few little boxes or bags.

There is, however, one thing that remains consistent: they minister with compassion and mercy in the name of Jesus. Through this late night outreach, we have rescued young girls from prostitution, helped families survive and rescued children from abandonment. It only takes a little gas money and a little food money to make this vital part of our ministry happen. Fifty or one hundred dollars can be turned into several evenings worth of meals for the hungry people who call the streets home.

In conclusion

This is only a small sample of the great things that our supporters empower us to do on a regular basis. We also bring people to church each week, hold Bible study in squatter villages, help churches start new homeless ministries, train missionaries, and more.

The bottom line is this: every donation makes a difference. Every donation is converted into practical compassion and touches the lives of real people with real problems. As we grow, we will be able to reach more and more souls with good works, but most importantly, the transforming message of the gospel.

I speak on behalf of all of our staff and clients when I say thank you for being a generous supporter! You are changing lives through your generosity!