New Developments, Ministry Update 9/4/15

I want to share this special update with you today and tell you in some detail about how our ministry in the Philippines has grown in the last few weeks. Pastor Antonio Ner, His wife Merliza, and the staff and volunteers of Unsheltered International Philippines have been working around the clock to rescue children from the streets. The good news is that their efforts are paying off.

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I am extremely thankful for our Filipino partners. Their hard work and dedication is unmatched. They have expressed to me that God has touched their hearts in a very special way here lately. They have become more focused and determined to help as many of the street children as they possibly can. So without further ado, here are some developments of the past few weeks.

The visits have become better

When we first started visiting the children (and adults) who live on the streets in Bacolod City, we were visiting in the wee early hours of the morning. We went in the mornings because it was easier to find the people who had slept on the sidewalks the night before. The problem though, was that most of the people we met were asleep or just waking up. It was a little difficult to have meaningful conversations because they were very groggy from staying up so late the night before.

One thing that really made the morning visits hard was when we visited people who had used drugs or alcohol the night before. (If you have ever had a hangover then you know first thing the next morning is not the time to chat.)

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Not long ago, while Pastor Ner was downtown at the hospital late one night, he visited some children that he saw on the streets. Soon after that he went back again to visit them late at night. He discovered that late in the evening was actually a better time to visit because that’s the time that the children are awake and active. It’s a little more dangerous at these times but the children are wide awake and that makes for an easier time of engagement.

More volunteers have joined

Sister Merliza, (Pastor Ner’s wife), began to go with him during these late night visits. God quickly broke her heart for these children in a new and fresh way. She told me that she has witnessed some of the children using drugs. One of the most common is to sniff solvent out of plastic bottles. Many of the children are so hungry and have no food to eat so they resort to getting high to ease the hunger pains.

When she witnessed this happening first hand, it completely changed her outlook. Her mother instincts took over and now she is doing everything she can to protect and rescue these children. Most of the drug abusers are older teenagers but runaway kids as young as 7 years old quickly gravitate to these older kids who introduce them to drugs. We want to keep that from happening.

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Our two staff members, Kinly and Genevieve, have been making the visits on the streets all along. Now they are joined by Sister Merliza and several other adult volunteers who have become burdened for the children. In the last few weeks there has been a big group of them going two to three times a week to minister on the streets. They are taking food and serving meals each time they go. They are also singing with the kids, praying with them and sharing the gospel with them.

With more people getting involved, everything is growing! I am praising the Lord that he is blessing the way he is. Please pray for even more volunteers and more opportunities.

There is a possible building in the near future

One of the most interesting developments is that Pastor Antonio found out that some of the local police officers had been mistreating some of the children who live on the streets. After he became aware of this, he went to the police chief to discuss it. (This was one of the big prayer request we put out last week.)

That meeting turned out to have a very positive result and now the same police officers are actually assisting in the outreach late at night. He also met with the head of the DSWD (child welfare) and explained how that our ministry had grown and what all was happening. Long story short, the government wants to provide a building for us to use as a shelter for the most at-risk children.  As of now, the government is looking to see what they have available for our use and everyone is praying about the details.

This is a real interesting development because we looked for a usable building that we could rent for months. We found nothing. Wouldn’t it be just like the Lord to now provide something for free?

But even if we do get the building, there will of course be additional expenses that we would incur. I would just ask that you saturate this part in prayer. We really need the Lord’s direction and provision in this area.

 
They aren’t waiting for a building

In the last couple of weeks they have discovered that a couple of the children were being physically abused. One girl was being sexually abused by a family member. They have brought at least two teenagers into their home in an attempt to rescue them for the immediate danger. These kids want help!

Also, for the past two weekends, they have brought van loads of the kids to the church on Friday nights to eat, get clean clothes, shower and have church. They are stretching themselves to have as big of an impact that they can without a having permanent facility for the children.

As you can see in the pictures below, these kids are longing for love, attention and instruction. Our staff is providing that the best they can.

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Donate now to help us rescue these children by clicking here.

 

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A summary and your opportunity to help

I’m going to be honest here. We already have a lot going on each week in our Philippines ministry. There are 13 different meal centers, the weekly outreach and the van route. The ministry is growing at an alarming rate. I say alarming because at times it can be a little overwhelming.

Please remember all of our staff and volunteers in your prayers. But most of all pray for the little children who are victims of abuse and falling prey to the snares of sin. They desperately need to hear the gospel and be discipled. I realize that the only true answer is the grace of God and new life in Jesus along with a loving family.

If you are wanting to know how you can help, I will share with you the two best ways.

First, we need people to join with us to become sponsors of our meal centers. The meal centers are designed to reach these children BEFORE they wind up as runaways living on the streets. We need sponsors who will commit to giving on a monthly basis to underwrite all or part of a meal center. We have 13 of these centers and you can find out the details by clicking here.

Secondly, you can help by giving an offering to be used as needed. We need to provide more clothes, shoes and food for the kids we are visiting each week and your gift of any amount will go a long way to make that happen. You can do that by clicking here.

Thank you for your prayers, support and gifts. Without you, we cannot have the impact that we do.

God bless,

Travis