A Sneak Peek by Travis Sharpe

I don’t know about you, but I love to know what’s next. I like to hear about products before they come out. I like to see the trailers for new movies and I enjoy when our preacher let’s us know about the next building project or the newest ministry the church will be starting.

It’s just exciting.

With that thought in mind, today I want to share two things with you that we have been working on. These are near to my heart and I’m super excited that the Lord is allowing us to make plans and make a difference.

I am convinced now more than ever that our time on earth is short and we need to work “while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work”. So I want to give you a sneak peek into what’s coming down the pipe. I hope you will be as excited as I am about this and pray with us for good success.
 

Meal Center Sponsorship

One of the main activities we are doing each week in our Philippine ministry is what we call meal centers. A meal center is a place where we go each and every week to serve a hot meal to very hungry children, children who sometimes have to go without food because of poverty.

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Serving the meal at the Handumanan meal center.

We seek out communities where poverty is at its highest and children are in dire situations.  We currently have 13 different communities where we are doing this each week. A meal center may or may not have a building. In fact, in some of the communities we simply serve the meal under the shade of trees or at a basketball court. We have been able to construct a couple of buildings this year in places that didn’t have an adequate spot. Do you remember the building we built at the dump? That building houses our weekly meal program that we started at there!

But serving a meal is not all we do in these communities. Before the meal is served, our staff or volunteers sing several songs with the kids and then a Bible lesson is taught. Saturday after Saturday a solid foundation is being laid underneath these precious children with God’s Word. The workers also take first aid kits with them and spend time each week helping the kids with sores, scratches and sometimes much worse physical issues. When a serious health concern is identified the parents are contacted and we try to help as much as possible. We have taken dozens of children to the doctor and the hospital.

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Genevieve teaching the Bible lesson at the dump site meal center.

It costs us about $.80 per child to serve the meals. The first aid and other help we might give them throughout the year like the big Christmas gift giveaway is extra.

We already have one church that has helped us begin the most recent meal center in a place called Zone 16. They are sponsoring this center by giving $200 per month. We have been doing this for a while now and I have seen first hand how life-saving it is for these precious children. Therefore, we are going to forge ahead. We have a plan to start many more of these meal centers in other areas but the only way we can do this will be through sponsorships

Soon, we will be asking churches to take on a meal center and be their sponsor. Since every church may not be able to sponsor an entire meal center on their own, we will break them up however needed. For example, two churches could sponsor one meal center by giving $100 per month. Or four churches could sponsor a center by each giving $50 per month.

In the next few weeks I will be giving more information about this along with descriptions of each meal center and how to become a sponsor. Please pray for us as we work on this and deliver the gospel along with a nutritional meal and some fun each week to these underprivileged children.

Child sponsorship

Besides a lack of food, clothing and sanitary living conditions, the other big thing that the children in our meal centers struggle with is a lack of education. Many of them don’t even get a chance to attend school because their parents send them into the streets to beg or gather scrap that can be sold to a recycle shop so that food can be purchased.

It is a very sad situation.

My family has been personally involved in the lives and families of several children this year and I have to tell you there is no easy fix. There is no magic wand that we can wave. But I do know that we can deliver real hope and we can alleviate some of the pain and suffering.

We are currently very involved with eight specific children. Five of them are the first kids we ever met sleeping on the streets back in January. One of them is a younger brother of two of those and the other two are the two brothers who lived with us for a while, one of them had a severe injury on his foot. (Remember Michael and Eminem?)

We have been constantly involved in their lives since January and it has made a real difference. The youngest boy, a four year old named Democrito, was very sick with TB when we first met. He stole my heart and became my buddy. After putting him on medication for the TB, he is now a much happier, healthier little boy.

We made a difference.

All eight of these children were in and out of school when we first met. I think most of them missed last year altogether. In the Philippines school started back on June first and we couldn’t stand the thought of these kids not going to school so we decided to do something about that.

With the help of our Filipino staff, we purchased new school uniforms, shoes, and all the supplies they needed. We also picked up the tab for enrollment fees and we’re taking care of their snacks each week. It has now been a month and we have some very happy students because they can go to school and learn like all the other kids get to do.

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 This is Democrito near the time we first met him. He was struggling with his TB symptoms every day.

 

 
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This is Democrito today at school. Our involvement has made a significant change.

However, they still struggle to have food every day in their homes. Sometimes it is a mother only who is trying to provide for her children and she just cannot make ends meet. After lots of prayer and witnessing this struggle first hand, we are beginning a “pilot program” to sponsor children through our ministry.

These eight children will be the first to get a sponsor. My family is sponsoring Democrito ourselves and I am asking a few of our friends to jump on board and sponsor the other seven. I’m going to be honest and transparent here and tell you that we are a long way from having all of this figured out. I’m not going to advertise this just yet to anyone outside of our email list, in fact, it may be several months or even a year before we make child sponsorship a program that we open to everyone to get involved with.

But, like everything else we have done, we are going hands-on to figure it out. A small group of us will sponsor these eight children (and maybe a couple more) and by doing so we will ensure that they eat every single day and are enrolled in school. Once we feel confident that we have developed some good solid methods, we will ask all of our supporters to sponsor a child. And here’s the cool part, we will take children from our meal centers to be sponsored. That will also ensure that the children who are in our sponsorship program are getting a balance of the gospel, food, schooling and supervision.

Please pray for this as we work hard to figure it out and make a difference for these children and their families. I know that God is going to bless it and that our future preachers and godly mothers will come from these precious kids!

In conclusion

The meal center is an established program and all we need now are the sponsors to ensure that we can keep up the good work. The child sponsorship program will have to be developed and it will understandably take some time. I guess I like the fact that we are not just sitting around in offices somewhere coming up with plans. We are doing this stuff each week and it won’t be long until even more children have help and hope.

Thanks for making these two specific ministries a matter of prayer.

Question: Have you ever sponsored a child or a meal center before? Would you be willing to jump on board when we are up and running? Leave a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!