Below Me, But Not Beneath Me by Travis Sharpe

After a short stay in Korea, my daughter Sarah and I made it safely to the Philippines a couple days ago. Typically, when here in our second home, we have a rented house that is off the beaten path. Unfortunately, that house was recently sold and we had to find other accommodations for this trip. After an intensive search, our friends found us a 320 square foot condo on the eleventh floor of a downtown building.

 

My wife and son will be joining us next week and although extremely small for a family of four, the condo is quite nice and has a terrific view of the South China Sea. Directly across from us is the provincial capitol building and a beautiful lagoon where people spend the early morning hours exercising while it is still somewhat cool. Right behind the capitol building is the brand new, state of the art, Ayala Mall.

 

There is a nice coffee shop beside us and other businesses and homes behind us. Here we are in the heart of Bacolod City, nicknamed the City of Smiles. There is a tiny balcony on our condo that is just big enough for the air conditioner unit and one small chair. From this vantage point, eleven stories above it all, you can see for miles and get some fresh air. I like to see all the sights from here, especially early, before everything awakens for the day, and late, when the city is finally winding down.

This morning however, it was not what was in front of me, beside me, or behind me that grabbed my attention.

I was drawn to what was below me.

Directly below our condo unit, behind a bustling fast food restaurant, I saw two boys sleeping on a trash pile on one side of the parking lot, while another cluster of boys slept quietly under a large tree on the other side.

These children are well known to our UIP street ministry team because they feed and clothe them each and every week. Every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the team makes their regular stop to check on this group of “street children”. On Tuesdays and Thursdays our team brings the children to our rescue center where they can shower, get new clothes, and enjoy a sit-down meal and Bible study.

Most of these children are extremely dirty, under educated, and sick. The truly sad thing is they have become part of the landscape. They seem to “fit in” with the dirt and the garbage and the surroundings.  For the most part, they go unnoticed. And all too often, they are unwanted and unloved.

Today, what God seemed to be impressing upon my heart was, “while these children are below you, they are not beneath you.” Or to put it another way, they are equally valuable to God as anyone else.

My prayer is that God would open our eyes and our hearts to the suffering of the world. I pray that He would help us to see as He sees and love as He loves. I also pray that God would help us to realize that although many are living right below us, none are beneath us.

Note: Our homeless ministries in the Philippines have two parts. One is called the Rescue Center and the other is called the Street Ministry. The two are inner connected and they reach the same people. The part we call the Street Ministry is when our team goes out on the streets to serve meals and share the gospel. This is where we first meet people who need our help.

After we meet them on the street, we try to get them to come with us to our Rescue Center that is located a few miles away. This happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we also refer to this ministry as “TGIT” which stands for thank God it’s Tuesday or Thursday! Here, we can offer showers, a good meal, clean clothes and Bible study.

These ministries are currently under-funded and we need new sponsors. You can visit this page to find out how to help.