Edward’s Story, by Pastor Steve Dixon

Note: this is a guest post by Pastor Steve Dixon. Steve is pastor at Porters Grove Baptist Church in Conowingo, MD and he is also a Board of Director for Unsheltered International. He and his family just returned from a trip to the Philippines where they worked alongside our ministry team. You can contact Steve atSteven Dixon sdixonjr@me.com

I have found that it is imperative to always pay attention to the one the Lord reveals who needs you to go the extra mile. We see the Good Shepherd leaving the ninety-nine for the one lost sheep and Jesus taking Peter away from the multitude to go out into the deep. And although it always seems to surprise me it never fails to happen. Last year, when we were here, it was the children of Zone 16 that we knew we had to help and have a continued ministry there. This time it was a nineteen year old young man named Edward Tio. I first noticed him when we were in the river and I was able to baptize him. He does not talk much and there were seven others to baptize so unfortunately I didn’t know much about him…yet.

image image image

 

Monday night we went out for our last night of street ministry to the area of Libertad. This was supposed to be the only place we went to that night. But as we were leaving we decided to go to the plaza in the downtown area of Bacolod City. This is known to be the roughest area of the places we minister.

When we arrived we saw immediately children using rugby (a glue used for inhaling to get high) and very young teenage girls in makeup who were waiting for the men to come later in the night. As I was processing all of this and talking to our team I was surprised to see Edward. He was not high or involved in anything bad but he lived on the street because of a bad situation in his home. I found out that he was saved as a direct result of our street ministry in that area! I asked him what he did for work to earn money and he said he did not have anything steady. Pastor Ricky started talking to him and I began to understand the situation. The church was trying to help him process all of his papers so he can “go abroad” to work. This is an opportunity for people who have not graduated school to go overseas and work on a fishing boat. They are contracted for five years and come home for a week every six months. This is a very good opportunity for someone who in all reality has no other options. The church had taken up an offering to help but they still had a lot more to raise. It was then the Lord laid on my heart that my family needed to sponsor him so he could have the assurance that God would take care of his needs and get him off of the dangerous streets of Bacolod. Edward does not show much emotion but as we told him our plan it was apparent he was shocked and over joyed. We stood in silence for a few minutes (which is very normal for Edward) when he blurted out, “I prayed every day for someone to come who could change my life. Then he sent Pastor Ricky and now you.”

It became very real to me at that moment that he was a big reason why God brought us to the Philippines. As we continued to talk he said he prays every night that God would forgive him of all the sins he committed while living on the street. I asked him if he knew if he was saved and he assured me he was. At that point I was able to explain to him that God has already forgiven him but that he needed to forgive himself and allow the Lord to use him to his fullest potential. It was then he gave me the biggest smile as it appeared like the weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders. I asked him if he had a Bible and he said no so we arranged to get him a Tagalog/English Bible.

 

image image

There’s nothing like watching someone’s outlook on life change right before your eyes. It’s been said, “we might not be able to change the world for everyone but we are able to change the world for someone.” We encouraged Edward to go home and get off the street and to pray for his family. And even though the situation is difficult he had the opportunity now to witness to his family and see them saved. I shared with him my prayer for him to finish his work agreement then to come and work for Unsheltered International Philippines so through his testimony he will reach other street children like him.