Growing Up With Unsheltered

Twin-Twin is a happy young boy whose life has been impacted by the Remada family who operate the Unsheltered International Philippines meal center in Dapitan City. In spite of the poverty he lives in, he attends the activities each week wearing a big smile.

Like far too many young children in the Philippines, Twin-Twin lives in poverty and food can so often be difficult to come by for his family. The reality is, many parents daily work only provides for food, and sometimes a very meager living. “Getting ahead” can be such a far away dream for families living in severe poverty that it’s simply not thought of much, or at all. Daily survival consumes the thoughts of mothers and fathers and becomes the driving force behind every decision.

Most of the children that we help in the street ministry and rescue center have come from families who are so desperate, they wind up making very poor choices. The parents can’t earn enough money for the family, so when the children are old enough, (sometimes as young as 7 or 8) they are sent into the streets to collect scrap that they can sell at the recycle shop. This effort earns enough money to purchase rice.

As if young kids being forced to work and miss school wasn’t bad enough, most of these vulnerable children will eventually be sucked into the darkness of street life. Older teenagers and sometimes adults, who have ill intentions, become their main influences on a daily basis. This leads to drug abuse, petty crimes, running away, and in some cases, prostitution and human trafficking.

The darkness that can come from severe poverty is truly heartbreaking. But even more heartbreaking is the spiritual darkness. It’s one thing to be poor and not see hope for a better life here on earth, but an entirely different thing to have no spiritual hope that Heaven is your true home. Most children that our team ministers to are being raised in this heart-breaking environmental of no hope.

That’s where we are making a difference.

Since 2017, Twin-Twin, and over 500 other children that out UIP family ministers to each week, is receiving hope. Our teachers not only serve a good meal and provide first aid, but most importantly, they teach the Bible and demonstrate how to know and love God. They give hope to the hopeless.

In 2018, our UIP team served 25, 293 meals in the meal centers and reported that 141 children trusted Christ as their Savior. The best part is that they strive to include the children and their families in their weekly church services. On Saturdays we go to them, and on Sundays we bring them to us. In other words, we are making disciples.

We are told in the scriptures that God’s Word will not return void, and we know that children, like little sponges, soak up everything they hear. Thankfully, they are hearing about the Lord and growing up with Unsheltered!

I certainly appreciate every one of our meal center sponsors and ministry partners and supporters. Together, we are making a difference, an eternal difference.