Beyond the Wall by Travis Sharpe

The rusty barbed wire sat loosely atop the crumbling, graffiti covered, hollow block wall. Taking care not to step in the urine, human feces, or trash, Lovely leaned through the broken bamboo gate and called for the children.

I watched patiently, but wondered if it was an exercise in vanity. Who in the world would be in the dirty, nasty, empty lot behind this wall? From the street, on this side of the wall, there were dozens of people walking by, most of them coming from the eatery at the end of the block. There were also college students coming and going, still in their uniforms even though it was after nine pm.

The street side of the wall was bad enough, in fact, as we pulled up, I noticed a young lady squatting beside a power pole with her shorts around her ankles. Like the other young people who call the streets their home, the base of the wall was her default bathroom. Thinking to myself, I said,  “If it is this dirty here in the open, what must it be like beyond that wall? Could there really be people living there? Are kids living there?”

But to my surprise, after Lovely called out once or twice more, the children began to emerge. One older boy walked through the bamboo opening. Some of the thin, energetic, younger boys bounder over the top of the wall with what seemed like no effort at all. The teenage girl that had been squatting when we first arrived suddenly re-appeared, wanting to shake hands- which I did.

All-in-all, about thirteen kids crossed the wall.  From eight years old all the way to late teens, these street children live part-time in the empty lot behind the wall. There, hidden from sight, they sleep, hang out, eat, and do whatever else they do. Some are runaways, some have parents that know where they are, others go home in the early hours of the morning.

Why we were there

This “wall” area, is one of the newer stops on our street ministry route. Each week, the Unsheltered Philippines ministry team takes food, prayers and lots of love to the children living on the streets. On this night we were gathering kids to bring to our rescue center for a Bible study, baths, a good meal and new clothes.

We have discovered that it takes effort to uncover the hidden people in the city. We can’t simply open our doors and wait for them to come to us, we must be pro-active and go to them. Our team is learning how to do this in a gracious and loving manner.

Are the kids dirty? of course they are. Some of them are also sniffing glue which causes their minds to not function correctly which causes them to neglect their bodies. Yes, they are often extremely dirty and extremely hard to handle. They are also extremely precious in God’s sight and extremely loved.

The bigger question is, are we willing to go “beyond the wall” to bring hope to people who are the most needy? One nine-year-old little girl who came to our rescue center with her mother last week was wearing soiled shorts and she drools constantly because of some type of disability. We love all kinds.

Do you want to make a difference?

If you want to make a difference, you’ve got to be willing to go beyond the wall. I don’t know what that wall looks like for you, but generally, they are all the same. Going beyond the wall will be uncomfortable, a little scary at times, and it won’t win any popularity contests. You will find yourself going alone at times because your friends aren’t willing to go to those kinds of places.

But in order to help people, we must go beyond the wall where others don’t want to go. It will be dirty and messy. Some of the dirt will get on you and you’ll have to learn to live with that. But when you do, you will find joy in serving Jesus through serving others. I hope you will forge ahead and find the courage to love the people who are hidden beyond the wall near you!

Here are some beyond the wall pictures from our ministry