Help us Bring relief to the typhoon survivors in the Philippines

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A report from our work in the Philippines

I want to thank each person, church and group for your support. Your generosity has touched many lives.

Our recent trip to Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines was done in conjunction with GPA Mobilization Ministries that is led by my good friend Dr. Gary Moore. They are responsible for organizing the trip and conducting the medical and evangelistic aspects. They do awesome work in several countries. Be sure to check out their website here. Pastor Todd Crusenberry from Community Baptist Church in Bristol, VA  did a great job leading the team. He has a huge burden for this country and this was his third trip.

Below, myself and Pastor Todd enjoyed serving rice soup to very hungry people. I am very grateful to Pastor Todd for introducing us to the Philippines and his missionaries there.

Travis and Todd

 

One of my highlights was meeting many of the fine pastors. Below is a picture with myself and  Pastor Jezer on the left and  Pastor Antonio on the right. These men are great servants that are making a real difference for Christ.

Travis, Antonio, Jezer

Below is myself and Pastor Joshua. He pastors Bantayan Christian Faith Bible Church which was our host church. We were treated wonderful during our stay.

Travis and Joshua

 

During our 15 days we held medical clinics and evangelistic meetings among many other tasks.

Here is an overview of some results:

460 people made professions of faith in Christ

1067 patients in the medical clinics

Over 2,500 hot meals served

158 care packages distributed

1 new roof for a pastors house

4 homes being built

I am still not sure how we accomplished all of this in such a short period of time. All of us on the trip have just resigned to the fact that it was God himself who blessed in such a supernatural way.

 

As you may know, we are in the process of building four brand new homes for families that lost theirs due to Typhoon Yolanda. In the picture below is April and some of our team  along with Family members that are receiving two of the new homes

April with Tina and Annie

April and I visited with Annie and Tina the day before we left. They are neighbors and their two homes are being built first. When we left, the rafters were already up on Tina’s house and they were getting ready to pour concrete.

house 4

Soon, the concrete blocks were laid and the roof was on.

house 3

Within a matter of about ten days, the first house was complete!

house 1

 

Each house will be 18×20, have 2 rooms, a concrete floor and a bathroom. Pastor Joshua Repique is helping to watch over the construction because three of the four families are members of his church. We have also partnered with Pastor Antonio Ner who will be our main supervisor over the home construction. Antonio is great with this. He will be checking on the houses and their progress and reporting back soon.

In the picture below, Pastor Ner, Pastor Jezer, the homeowner and carpenter are drawing out the plans.

Antonio draws plans

 

Below, on the left, is Pastor Bonifacio and Pastor Joshua Repique is on the right. Pastor Bonifacio pastors Bantayan Fundamental Christian Church. He lost both his church and home in the Typhoon. Thanks to a very generous donation from a former pastor in the United States, we are building him a new home.

Joshua and Boni

Below is April, Hunter and I with Divina and her youngest daughter. This family became dear to us and we are building them a new home as well.

Divina at house

 

We have made some lifelong friends here for sure. If you will, please be in prayer for our future involvement and ministry opportunities in the Philippines. The door is now open for us and we have many willing partners.

We can build many more of these homes as the funds come in. It takes only $1,500.00 to build a complete home and there are many more families in need.

Thanks again for being a part of this important project.

Click here to make a donation for a home today!

Below are some of the updates we did during the trip.

UPDATE 1-28-14 by Travis Sharpe

Day something !

Well our trip has been so God-filled and amazing that I don’t even know what day we are on. So. Any wonderful things have happened here it really is hard to keep up with them all.

Yesterday we went to Patao. This is a village here on Bantayan Island that is different from the others. Each time we go there, it is life changing….literally.

Yesterday was the day that we did medical clinic there and also served a meal to the entire elementary school. All 1054 of them! What a day it was! In all, we saw 90 people trust Christ as their Savior. And that’s not counting the service at the school. There were so many children who responded at that service it blew our minds.

So far for the entire time, 303 people have trusted Christ as Savior.

At one point, there were two ladies in the medical clinic that were still deeply troubled with thoughts of the typhoon. After some counseling, both of these ladies received Christ as their Savior.

We also saw a few wounds yesterday in the clinic. The doctor and nurses have worked non stop every day. They are absolutely selfless as they serve the people in need.

One of the high points from yesterday was being able to sit at the table with a pastor who lost his home and church in the Typhoon and tell him that we would be rebuilding his home. He was so very grateful. His home makes the fourth that we have committed to build. Construction has already started on the first one.

The most heartbreaking part of the day was leaving Patao. The little children chased after the trucks. I can still hear them as they yelled “bye,bye,bye”. I prayed that The Lord would never allow me to forget that sound. I think their voices are going to change my life.

As for the house construction, we have partnered with Pastor Antonio Ner and Pastor Joshua. These men will be doing the follow up work to make sure everything gets done how it is supposed to. Thank God for great men who are willing to serve.

We have today and tomorrow left. We will be both happy and sad to return home.

Here is the first few days of Travis’s journal. It took four days to get from the US to Bantayan Island, Philippines. So, this journal actually starts on day three of our journey. What I have seen thus far is both amazing and heart breaking. I wish I had all the money in the world to help but I have something much better……Jesus, the giver of life. I hope you enjoy following our travels.

Day 1

We slept good last night at a hotel in Cebu. Antonio and Jesur were with us. After breakfast at the hotel, we loaded the luggage onto Antonio’s truck and headed to the port so that we could take a ferry to Bantayan Island.

When we arrived at the port  in San Remegio only to find out that all the ferries had been cancelled due to bad weather. We made the decision to spend the night at a beachfront resort tonight. They use the word resort very lightly!

We did however get a very good night of rest once again. I think I slept 10 hours.

Day 2

Today I woke up at 5:30 am after I dreamed about seeing Ricardo (from Honduras) walking and praying. I got up and went outside while it was still dark and headed to the beach which was only a few yards away.

It was raining slightly but I walked the beach and spent some time in prayer. Sweet time. Soon the others started to stir. With us today are Pastor Antonio and his wife, April, Hunter, Todd, Pastor Jezur, Cherry, Noland, and the two others with them.

We left out for the port around 7:30 only to find that the ferries were not running again. There is talk of a low pressure system and a possible typhoon about three hours away. The story on the typhoon is not really clear to me.

Today it is rainy. It’s really a mess in and around the port and the markets at the port. But we are all in good spirits. We get word that the ferries were not running at all so we decided to pass out tracts to everyone we could. We passed out dozens and dozens of tract to very receptive people. I gave out all of the Know the Gospel tracts that I brought in jus a matter of minutes. I wish I had brought more now but I didn’t realize that English was so prevelant here.

I stopped and began witnessing to four young men. With me was one of the men with Cherries group so he was my interpreter. Three of these young me received The Lord.

We decided to hold a service right there at the port. We figured that God had us delayed for a reason and we might as well make use of it. Pastor Antonio introduced us to a crowd about 65 people. There were many more that were in earshot who I believe heard every word.

After Pastor Antonio led us in Amazing Grace, he introduced me and I began to preach. I preached a simple message about the character of God, the condition of man and the redemption of Christ.

There were many who didn’t seem interested but many more who certainly were. I preached for 15-20 minutes and then handed it over to Pastor Jezur for the invitation. He did a very good job with the invitation and about twenty people responded saying they trusted Christ.

The most amazing thing was that right after the service we held was over, the sky cleared up and they said that one ferry would be allowed to leave. There were so many people who were waiting to go that we still were not sure if we would be able to make it.

Thankfully, Pastor Antonio was able to speak to the right people and secure us a spot on the passenger ferry.

The seas were very, very rough. At first the trip was fun but not long into it April began to get really sick. She began to throw up and we got her to the side in the fresh air. Pretty soon Hunter woke up from sleeping and he immediately began to throw up. He was very sick. Noland and the other man took extra good care of Hunter and April.

Then, I got sick and began to throw up. I can remember while I was throwing up over the side of the boat that Matthew 10:39 came to my mind. I kept saying to myself “for my sake”. I resolved that as long as I was doing this for Christ’s sake then it was well worth being sick.

Now here is the exciting part. While April and I were throwing up, someone brought us a picture of hot water for us to drink. He said that the hot water would help the nausea. It was Eldi who brought the water. Eldi was the first young man to raise his hand after the service at the port and tell us that he trusted Christ as his savior. He had already pulled Pastor Jesur to the side and told him how much he appreciated us coming and sharing the gospel. Eldi is supposed to be coming to church with us on Sunday.

After a long car ride we arrived at Ms. Grace’s house. She is a widow whose husband died last year. She now lives next door to the church and just serves The Lord.

We enjoyed a nice dinner and turned into bed early.

Day 3

We woke up early today, right at daylight. We all enjoyed our private devotions right off the bat. I helped Antonio and Jezur wash the truck and as soon as we were done it was time for breakfast. We ate a great meal of rice, omlets, sweet fish, poached eggs, rolls, and sweet rice. It was great.

After breakfast we left and began to visit the churches where we will hold the clinics later in the week. Our first stop was at Bantayan Fundamental Christian Church. We met Pastor Bonifacio and his family. Their house is right beside the church and both were destroyed by the typhoon. We visited and took pictures and did our best to assess the needs they had.

Pastor Bonifacio got in the truck with us and we all headed to Sualangan. We visited the church there and Pastor Bonifacio is also the pastor at this church. Or maybe he oversees it, we are not sure. He said he preaches there two times a month. The clinic will be held here.

Our next stop was Bantayan Baptist Church. This is a larger church and it sustained a lot of damage in the typhoon as well. The Sunday school rooms were destroyed. We will not hold clinic here but we will hold it at one of their mission churches in a nearby town.

Next we went to the home of Annie. This is the lady that Antonio led to The Lord during his first trip to the island after the typhoon. She lives in a home where there is a sawmill. We visited for about a half hour or more and she served us Pepsi and cookies and crackers. She also gave me a package of pork skins. They were so good that I wound up buying the entire sack of them from her.

We came back to Ms. Grace’s house for lunch and enjoyed a great lunch of crabs, seaweed, snails and rice.

After lunch we rested for a little while. I worked on my journal and made some plans by reviewing my notes. Merliza began to make a shopping list for the rest of the week. She took suggestions from us and basically took charge of the menu for the team. She is a real blessing for this.

Cherry and her friend did our laundry today. They have been a real blessing and help to us already. They have interpreted for us, helped us in the market, did our laundry and even cared for us on the barge while we were sick. Thank you Jesus for them!

After resting for a while, we loaded up and headed for Patao. We first visited the Bantayan Christian Faith Bible Church of Patao. This is the church where Jacky is pastor. He is a very young and quiet little guy. The entire church was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda. There was nothing left at all. As we arrived, we noticed that work was well under way to rebuild. It will be a long process but I believe they will get the job done.

As we surveyed the church, April was immediately surrounded by children. She began to give away suckers and before long there were dozens and dozens of children. For more than an hour we all watched as April interacted with the children. They formed a line to get the suckers. Before long, all the suckers were gone so Todd gave her all of his candy. She divided it all up and somehow made it last.

She would ask each child their name. Joselito was right there by her side the entire time helping to interpret. The highlight was when she asked one little girl her name and the little girl replied “April Joy”. We could not believe it, a little girl with April’s name. It was so precious.

When It was time to leave, the children followed after the truck calling April’s name. She cried.

We left the church and went just a little ways down the road to the site where the medical clinic for Patao would be held. It was an empty field right across the street from the biggest elementary school on the island. A perfect place. Todd and Antonio and Pastor Jacky spent time plotting the layout for the clinic. There was a little homeade basketball goal there by the road and Hunter enjoyed playing.

As the day grew on, April and I began to talk about the big empty lot. We dreamed and talked about how neat it would be to build a house right there and minister to all of the children. As a matter of fact, I think April already has a plan!

Right across the road, by the entrance to the school, there is a house where Pastor Jacky lives. The lady who lives there also has a little store. She brought out cookies and coffee for our team and we all sat around and enjoyed a snack as day turned into night.

This was a wonderful day for sure.

Day 4

Today has without a doubt been the most amazing day of the trip. Because so much happened today, I guess I will just give the highlights. After a great breakfast, I spent a bout an hour talking to Ms. Grace about her family. It was a precious time for me to hear all that God has done in and through her family.

As Sunday School time arrived, we all made our way to the church. It was slam full of people. After Sunday School, of which I understood very little, it was time for church. They seated us on the front row but in no time at all, April moved into a section with a bunch of children. They sat in her lap the entire service.

I preached from 1st Thessalonians chapter 4 and when the invitation was given, about forty five people came forward for salvation and rededication’s. It is very unclear to me how many people trusted Christ for the first time but Pastor Joshua say a about thirty people. I was blessed by the response for sure.

The most amazing thing of all was that Eldi, the young man who got saved at the Port on day one, came to church today and brought his wife. She is pregnant and expecting in April. We enjoyed sweet fellowship after church as we sat around the table and ate a great meal along with over 250 other people! The meal was rice with a pork soup poured over the top.

After lunch we went back to the house and relaxed a little while. Then we had a snack. While we were at the table, Ms. Grace began to share with us pictures of her husbands funeral. While we were talking, she began to share the testimony of Tina. Tina is one of the ladies who helps in the house. She was doing laundry at the time. All week Tina had served us. She cooked, cleaned, and whatever else needed to be done.

Her testimony was a sad one. As a child she had been abused by her father. Her first husband also abused her. When she wanted to be baptized, her son told her that if she did, he would kill her. She waited. The next year, she decided that she wanted to follow Christ and be baptized no matter what. Before the baptism, by sea shore, Ms. Grace’s husband had a class for everyone who was to be baptized. Tina’s son came to the class and understood. He too was baptized that day!

Ms. Grace told us how Tina’s home had been destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda. She also had a neighbor named Annie who also helped in the house and was a member of the church. Her home was also destroyed. I asked if we could go visit these homes and before long, we headed out by foot to find the heavily damaged homes.

After a ten minute walk we were there. The homes were destroyed. Some walls remained but the roofs were gone. They now had tarps covering where the roofs used to be. We visited and heard their stories. As we talked, God laid it upon my heart to rebuild these two homes. We sat down on some benches and asked if they had a plan of how they wanted to rebuild.

They just wanted to be dry again. As we were all huddled up, I told them that we would like to be a part of the rebuilding of their homes. Tina and Annie began to cry. Come to find out, a Catholic group from Poland had come here a few weeks ago looking for homes to rebuild. They made a list of all the families they would help in this area but left out Tina and Annie because they were Baptist and Christian.

That really had hurt them. Ms. Grace told them weeks ago not to be bitter about that because God had a plan and He would provide. Since then, they had been praying for a way to rebuild their homes. They said we were the answer to their prayers. We all cried now.

Next, Tina’s husband, Marcelino, and Pastor Antonio and Pastor Jesur began to draw out plans. The houses would be 18×20. April suggested putting a bathroom between the houses so they could share. In just a half hour or so, they had the plans drawn and a material list made. Tomorrow we begin to purchase the materials. Pastor Jesur and Pastor Joshua said that they would go to several stores to price out the materials by themselves. If I went, they said the prices would be raised because I am American.

The plan is for them to get the prices and then I will go back with them to purchase. These men are very wise. Before we left, I told everyone that this was a first for our ministry. We had never built a house for anyone before. Now, here on Bantayan Island, we would build two!

UPDATE 12-09-13 by Travis Sharpe

Since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in early November, we have been in constant contact with Pastor Antonio Ner of Crossroad Community Baptist Church. Antonio is a Filipino national pastor and he along with several members of the church have been working tirelessly since then to feed, clothe, and assist as many families as possible. They are doing a great job.

In mid-January, April and I will be traveling to the Philippines to personally work with Antonio and his church family in these efforts. We are going as part of a group of Doctors, nurses, and aid workers. Pastor Todd Crusenberry from Bristol, VA and Dr. Gary Moore of Mobilization Ministries are heading up the medical aspect of this trip and we are heading up the disaster relief.

For the 14 days we are there, we will conduct medical clinics, distribute food and supplies and hold evangelistic meetings. However, our work will continue long after we leave. We plan to assist Pastor Antonio in setting up a resource center and equipping him with the necessary food, materials and money to continue working for months to come.

Below is a rundown of the financial needs to make this happen.

$5,000- Cost of two week trip for Travis and April. Includes airfare, lodging, etc.
$2,500- supplies and initial costs of setting up in the two weeks we are there
$700 per week to purchase and distribute food and supplies in the outlying islands of Cebu and near Talisay. Other areas may be added as the support comes in.

Here is a breakdown of what we can do with your support:donate now copy

$15,900 will allow us to work for 3 months.
$24,300 will allow us to work for 6 months.
$32,700 will allow us to work for 9 months.
$43,900 will allow us to work for 12 months.

As you may know, the people of the Philippines and very hard workers. This Typhoon not only destroyed homes and buildings, but also farming lands, crops, fishing villages and more. Therefore, we will work closely with Pastor Antonio and make the necessary adjustments as we go in order to ensure that the most immediate needs of the people are being met.

The greatest part of working through the local churches in these times is that all of the charity is carried out in Jesus’ name and God is glorified through all we do!

Support for this project can be sent to:

Unsheltered International
PO Box 2625
Cullman, AL 35056

Thank you for your prayers and support in this important project.

UPDATE 11-15-13 by Travis Sharpe

Because we understand the need in the Philippines will be great for many months, we are partnering with Mobilization Ministries to make a trip in Mid January or early February to boost relief efforts. We are assembling a team of doctors, nurses and aid workers for a two week trip. We will need about 14 workers to go so please let us know if you are interested.

Mobilization Ministries will head up the medical clinic and we will head up the disaster relief efforts to bring food and other necessities to those in need.

We will be working with Pastor Antonio Ner and other local churches in Cebu. This opportunity is great because we will be going at a crucial time. A time when the first responders will be weary and need additional help.

We are currently working to secure travel arrangements and dates. The most urgent need is prayer and financial gifts to make our trip as successful as possible.

Please give your best gift today and help us bring hope and help in the Philippines.

Click here to donate now.

UPDATE: 11-10-13

Today we were able to wire $700 to our ministry partners in Talisay City. They are already working to provide immediate assistance to many families in need. Please continue to pray.

Just one day after Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, relief work is underway. Thousands are displaced and in need of the basic necessities of life.

We are proud to partner with a local missionary and his team as they provide much needed relief to their community.

Pastor Todd Crusenberry of Community Baptist Church in Bristol, VA said this a couple hours ago:

“I have been in contact with our missionary Antonio Edgardo Garchitorena Ner in the Philippines. They are assisting approximately 100 families that are homeless and/or evacuees from the typhoon. These families are living under a bridge and along the river bank where the homeless reside. Our church is planning to send assistance. If any other churches or individuals would like to help please message me and let me know. Our church will be wiring the funds tomorrow. They need food and clean water ASAP.”

We have taken up this cause as well. This morning I spoke with Antonio from the Philippines about their plans. Immediate needs are food, water and shelter.

We, Unsheltered International, are sending $500 immediately to help them get started. We are looking for others to partner with us to send the much needed funds to help in the aftermath of one of the largest storms ever recorded.

You can donate right here on our website and we will place the money right in the hands of some great servants on the front lines of this relief effort.

Click here to donate now.

God bless you and thank you for your heart to give!

Travis Sharpe- President, Unsheltered International

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