What Happens When We Go Home by Travis Sharpe

When we arrived here in the Philippines the first week of January, this time seemed so distant. The last few months have flown by and we will be boarding an airplane to come home next Saturday, May 23rd.

Our original return date was June 1st, but we have chosen to move it up by a few days so that April can get to the doctor as quickly as possible and begin treatments for her newly developed health issues as soon as possible.

We can hardly believe the time is upon us. We are sad, yet excited. Scared, yet hopeful.

Several people have asked what will happen when we leave? What’s next? Will the ministry here continue?

Those are all great questions that deserve an answer and I hope this post will fill in the details and connect the dots for you.

Success

First of all, by the grace of God, we have been very successful in our mission here this year. Our main goal was to establish a new ministry to reach the street children and other marginalized groups. We wanted to give them the gospel and minister to their physical needs as well.

With the help of Pastor Antonio Ner and Crossroad Community Baptist Church of Talisay City, my expectations were greatly exceeded. He and the people we worked with are very eager to work for the Lord and minister to those in need.

I am extremely grateful for their partnership, I believe it will last a lifetime.

Unsheltered International Philippines, Inc.

We were able to plant a ministry here that has a board of directors and is registered in the Philippines. We called it Unsheltered International Philippines, Inc. The board of directors consists of three Filipinos and two Americans. It is a great partnership and we couldn’t be more pleased.

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Because we incorporated here in the Philippines, we were able to open a bank account and we can also legally own property and other items such as vehicles. Doing the hard work of setting all this up has put us in a position to continue to add to the ministry here for years to come.

Pastor Antonio Ner is the Vice President and Head of Operations. We felt strongly that it would be important to have him in charge of the day to day operations since he understands Filipino culture and can communicate very well with those we minister to as well as the people who work with us.

My plan was to start a ministry that was led by Filipino national Christians and that is exactly how it has worked out.

Pastor Ner actually spent time sleeping on the streets when he was a young boy. He has a heart for the children who have been pushed aside and put into these tough situations. We are praising the Lord for his compassion and willingness to be a part of our ministry.

Staff and volunteers

We are blessed to have two full-time staff members who have been working with us since January. Genevieve and Mar Kinly Sinadjan are a young married couple who love God and have servants hearts. They have been to Bible College and are happy to be serving with Unsheltered International Philippines.

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I have done my best to pour into them over the past few months and teach them about ministry to the homeless. Also, they recently found out that they are expecting their first child! We are excited for them and what God has planned for them.

There are many others who have become great volunteers, helping in various areas such as visiting on the streets, serving meals and helping with Bible studies. I am grateful for each and every person who has and will participate.

Hands on

I guess we could have sent lots of money and simply “coached” everyone and hoped that it went well. But that’s not what we did. We have spent the last five months “hands on”, working each and every day planting this new ministry.

I was a van driver, a sunday school teacher, a leader, a meal server, a preacher, a doctor and much more. April was a mother, a nurse, a mentor, a children’s church teacher and much more.

Our children quite possibly worked harder than we did. They spent every Saturday working in four different meal centers where they led singing, taught Bible lessons and served meals. The worked every Sunday in children’s church and did lots of other exciting stuff.

My point is that we have experienced almost every aspect of what we are asking our new staff to continue. Because we labored every week, living here, we now know what to expect in most cases. I know what things cost and what would be appropriate or not in different situations.

Of course we have tons more to learn but at least we are not clueless! We have a solid, working understanding and I believe that will prove to be valuable as I am in the states and things continue to operate here.

What will I do?

When I get back to the U.S., I will have a lot to do. I am now the President of two organizations (Unsheltered International and Unsheltered International Philippines) and that’s no walk in the park!

There is a ton of management that comes with that role. I have to be out front, leading the way. That means some of my time must be spent doing office work such as meetings, planning, writing newsletters and the like.

We also have our U.S. based ministry. Already this year we have had a very successful resource clinic for the homeless in PA and we have another three day resource clinic in Bristol, VA in the third week of June.

I have one Good Samaritan class already on the calendar in MD and I will more than likely teach another one this year. I also have some appointments lined up where I will be helping churches and missionaries with their ministries.

Shew, I’m getting tired typing all of this! We will need a few vacation days as well.

Lastly, one of the most important things I will do is spend time visiting our supporting churches reporting on our ministry and raising support for our ongoing projects and needs. As you know, there are enormous expenses when you help the amount of people we are helping each week. But I am praising God for his provision that has never failed.

Most important

Most importantly, We have doctor appointments lined up for my wife April who was pre-diagnosed with a neuro-muscular disorder only one month ago. My priority is to get her the best health care I can. With that in mind, I will be working all of my other appointments and responsibilities around the needs we encounter as we seek treatment for her.

Please continue to pray for her healing. She needs a lot of rest and I plan on doing everything I can to see that she gets it!

Please stay with us!

I hope you can see by this article how much responsibility we have and how that our ministry will continue here in the Philippines and in the U.S. I want to ask you, frankly, to please stay with us on this journey. Just because we will be spending time away from the ministry here in the Philippines doesn’t mean that the needs are less or that the life-saving care stops.

As a matter of fact, your support is more vital now than ever before. I don’t want to only start something great, I want to finish as well. Your support will help us continue until our Lord’s return and then we can say we have “fought a good fight and finished our course”.

Thank you for all you are doing to help us rescue children and preach the gospel to those who have not yet heard.