Planting a new church and seeing God work

I’ve got something great to share with you! We started a new ministry a few weeks ago and the testimonies are pouring in. It’s like living out a portion from the book of Acts!

I’m sure you are familiar with our meal center ministry where we serve hot meals to hungry children and also care for their medical needs and teach the Bible to them. It’s one of the greatest ministries that we have and God is really blessing the efforts. As of now, we have about fourteen different meal centers and we are reaching almost 1,000 children per week.

Now, God has given us the opportunity to start two more of these centers. This time, however, the goal is to plant new churches. We have already begun in two different areas. One is in the southern Island of Mindanao and the other is in a remote village called Canubgan. We partnered with a young preacher named Raffy and he started three weeks ago in this remote village. Raffy is 22 years old and really on fire for God. Here are a couple pictures of Raffy and his team in action.

We gave Raffy medicine to use for the poor children in the village and in only two weeks they have had amazing results. In fact, the man in charge of the village was amazed because the triple antibiotic ointment we gave them completely cleared several children’s sores in one weeks time. All the people were grateful and called it a miracle.

Above: Pastor Jezer (Raffy’s pastor) gives the mothers in the village medicine and explains how to use it.

Below: Medicine being applied to children in the village.

We also received an inspiring report about the Bible teaching. Raffy teaches a Bible story before they serve the meal on Sunday afternoons. A couple weeks ago the lesson was about forgiveness. The next week, some of the teachers in the local school came to the village captain and asked what that young man was teaching the children on Sundays. It seems as though there was a fight between two students and several of the kids who attend the meal center stepped in and announced that their friends were commanded to forgive each other! They said they learned that from the Bible teacher!

Now what?

Now that we have started the meal center, Raffy will get to know the families better and soon, begin an adult Bible study. The Bible study, Lord willing, will evolve into a new church. Please pray for this new ministry opportunity.

We are seeking sponsors to help. This meal center can be fully sponsored for $200 per month. That amount can come from one sponsor or several who pool together to make up the entire amount. If you feel led to get involved, you can email me (Travis) at travis@unsheltered.org and I would be happy to tell you how you can become a sponsor.

Thanks so much for reading and supporting God’s work!

Bristol Resource Clinic Report

What a great day in Bristol at the resource clinic!

Special Dedication to Eddie Crusenberry

The lot we used was dedicated in memory of our great friend and champion in the faith Eddie Crusenberry.

Many in the community had needs met and heard the Gospel as well as saw it acted out through our many volunteers. We were blessed to have so much help in this event. Thank you to every one of those who came out from different churches and ministry organizations such as Soup for the Soul and Exit 0 for this great day of doing God’s work.

Results from day:

  • 3 saved!
  • 289 guests 
  • 149 volunteers 
  • 1 resume 
  • 40 birth certificates 
  • 85 reading glasses 
  • 3 ECC 
  • 145 clothes 
  • 43 Bibles 
  • 59 haircuts 
  • 25 medical 
  • 159 giveaways 
  • 22 churches involved

God sure is good!

To see more pictures you can click this link and find them on our Facebook page.

 

Beyond the Wall by Travis Sharpe

The rusty barbed wire sat loosely atop the crumbling, graffiti covered, hollow block wall. Taking care not to step in the urine, human feces, or trash, Lovely leaned through the broken bamboo gate and called for the children.

I watched patiently, but wondered if it was an exercise in vanity. Who in the world would be in the dirty, nasty, empty lot behind this wall? From the street, on this side of the wall, there were dozens of people walking by, most of them coming from the eatery at the end of the block. There were also college students coming and going, still in their uniforms even though it was after nine pm.

The street side of the wall was bad enough, in fact, as we pulled up, I noticed a young lady squatting beside a power pole with her shorts around her ankles. Like the other young people who call the streets their home, the base of the wall was her default bathroom. Thinking to myself, I said,  “If it is this dirty here in the open, what must it be like beyond that wall? Could there really be people living there? Are kids living there?”

But to my surprise, after Lovely called out once or twice more, the children began to emerge. One older boy walked through the bamboo opening. Some of the thin, energetic, younger boys bounder over the top of the wall with what seemed like no effort at all. The teenage girl that had been squatting when we first arrived suddenly re-appeared, wanting to shake hands- which I did.

All-in-all, about thirteen kids crossed the wall.  From eight years old all the way to late teens, these street children live part-time in the empty lot behind the wall. There, hidden from sight, they sleep, hang out, eat, and do whatever else they do. Some are runaways, some have parents that know where they are, others go home in the early hours of the morning.

Why we were there

This “wall” area, is one of the newer stops on our street ministry route. Each week, the Unsheltered Philippines ministry team takes food, prayers and lots of love to the children living on the streets. On this night we were gathering kids to bring to our rescue center for a Bible study, baths, a good meal and new clothes.

We have discovered that it takes effort to uncover the hidden people in the city. We can’t simply open our doors and wait for them to come to us, we must be pro-active and go to them. Our team is learning how to do this in a gracious and loving manner.

Are the kids dirty? of course they are. Some of them are also sniffing glue which causes their minds to not function correctly which causes them to neglect their bodies. Yes, they are often extremely dirty and extremely hard to handle. They are also extremely precious in God’s sight and extremely loved.

The bigger question is, are we willing to go “beyond the wall” to bring hope to people who are the most needy? One nine-year-old little girl who came to our rescue center with her mother last week was wearing soiled shorts and she drools constantly because of some type of disability. We love all kinds.

Do you want to make a difference?

If you want to make a difference, you’ve got to be willing to go beyond the wall. I don’t know what that wall looks like for you, but generally, they are all the same. Going beyond the wall will be uncomfortable, a little scary at times, and it won’t win any popularity contests. You will find yourself going alone at times because your friends aren’t willing to go to those kinds of places.

But in order to help people, we must go beyond the wall where others don’t want to go. It will be dirty and messy. Some of the dirt will get on you and you’ll have to learn to live with that. But when you do, you will find joy in serving Jesus through serving others. I hope you will forge ahead and find the courage to love the people who are hidden beyond the wall near you!

Here are some beyond the wall pictures from our ministry

A Little Boy Who Needed Help by Travis Sharpe

Tonight, while visiting Children and families on the streets here in Bacolod city, we came across a mother and father who were sleeping on a bed made from cardboard underneath the protection of an extended roof in front of a closed business. I want to share part of their story with you because it is very typical of many families that we meet and minister to.

The first thing that our team noticed as we approached was the large amount of “scrap” that this family had collected. Like many poor families, they make their living by collecting plastic, aluminum, and cardboard that they can sell at the junk shop the next morning. They will work in the evening hours, sometimes all night long, looking for and collecting these recyclable items they refer to as scrap.

To the untrained eye, this family might seem like they are homeless and living on the streets with no ambition whatsoever. But nothing could be further from the truth. The father, who is twenty four years old, works hard to collect the scrap that he will sell on a per-kilo basis. I was told that plastic brings about five pesos per kilo. At that rate, he would have to collect ten kilos to earn one dollar.

This family does have a home. But the money to be made as a scrapper is on the streets. If they try to return home each night like a normal working family, they will more than likely lose their bounty to the many other scrappers who are also roaming the streets at night. So, as strange at it might seem, this is a hard working family.

Consequences

One of the very sad aspects of this type of lifestyle is that it puts the mother and children out on the streets where they spend most nights in a very unsecured and unclean environment. This takes a toll on the children the most. Their little boy’s name is Dino and, as you can see in the pictures below, he is suffering from bacteria infections in his scalp. He is only six years old and yet a hard life has already negatively affected his little body. These sores are caused by the constant dirt and filth that he is forced to sleep in day after day.

His mother washes him each morning but when the sores begin, they are hard to stop. Dino’s scalp was covered with about a dozen of these sores. Some of the sores are scabbed over while some of them are open and oozing mucus and blood. Noticing his condition, our team sprang into action. Lovely retrieved a tube of triple antibiotic ointment from her bag and instructed the mother in how to use it. The mom is only twenty years old and there is a good chance she doesn’t have a good education.

Patiently, Lovely and Lola showed her exactly how to use the ointment. He became restless a few times but for the most part, slept through the treatment. We left them with some ointment and our phone number and the mother was instructed to call us if Dino begins to run a fever. If needed, we will assist them with doctors care.

Every week

Three nights per week, the Unsheltered Philippines team lovingly seeks out families who are in need of care. They minister to children, some of whom are runaways. They minister to adults, many of whom are mentally ill. Everyone they encounter is loved and cared for in Jesus name. Please keep our team in your prayers and especially little six-year-old Dino. Pray that the sores on his head will heal and that his parents will be able to climb from poverty into a better position for their family.

Also, this Friday is going to be special because we will be opening our rescue center and inviting many families to come for a good meal, and a worship service. We will also be providing showers and clothing to anyone in need. Please pray for success and that God would bless these efforts.

One more thing

Have you got your copy of our new book yet? 50 Practical Ways You Can Help The Homeless is full of simple, yet effective ways that you can use to help someone today. You can get your copy at Amazon by clicking here.

New Book Released by Travis Sharpe

After much anticipation, I am happy to say that my new book, 50 Practical Ways You Can Help The Homeless, has finally hit Amazon and is available for purchase!

This is a BIG day for me because it’s my very first book to be published. I sure did learn a lot in this process too! I learned that there’s way more to the process than just having a good idea or even putting those ideas into a written format. So, this is an accomplishment that I’m proud of and I hope it will be the first of many more books to come.

Some of you received my first Ebook draft of 50 Practical Ways You Can Help The Homeless a year or so ago. Your input helped me to improve and expand this new published edition, and I really appreciate that help.

The book is now divided into four helpful sections for easy reading and reference. The sections are:

  • Acts of kindness
  • A hand up
  • Sharing your faith
  • Going the extra mile

The new book also has an introduction, an author bio and helpful tips as you put the suggestions into practice (those tips are extremely valuable and can save you lots of heartache and even disappointment.)

All of the ideas in this book are things that I have done to help people throughout the last twenty years. There are also a few ideas that were given to me by others who have lots of experience helping people who are homeless.

This book will be helpful for someone who is looking for ways to reach out for the first time as well as a handy resource guide for ministers with plenty of experience. (You may want to buy a copy for someone you know that has a big heart for the down and out.)

The book is published by WestBow Press which is a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. It is available in soft cover as well as Ebook format.

Purchase your copy from Amazon by clicking here.

Here is an excerpt from the back cover:

Have you driven past someone standing at an intersection with a sign that reads “homeless, anything helps”? Did you want to help but just didn’t know what to do or where to start?

 In Fifty Practical Ways You Can Help the Homeless, author Travis Sharpe answers those questions. Click here to continue reading the back cover

I am praying that God will use this book to empower many people to get out and help somebody! I hope you will order your copy today!

You will also be doing me a huge favor if you will leave a review on Amazon after you read the book. Reviews help others who are considering purchasing (especially people who have never heard of the author.)

I really appreciate your time and I hope you will add my new book to your library today!

Thank you so much,

Travis Sharpe

An Unforeseen Outcome of the Sunday School Lessons

Within these past two weeks after our return, we have had the opportunity to go to six of the fourteen meal centers established here on the island of Negros. While visiting the meal centers we were able to experience the impact that has already been made with the Sunday School curriculum we developed this past year.

The children now know many of the basic teachings of the Bible, such as Creation, the love and promises of God, Salvation and prayer, which has been the lesson topic of this month. The memory verse that they have learned to go with July’s lessons is 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

As amazing as it has been to see the children’s growth through the lesson plan, it has been even more amazing to see the growth that it has caused in our meal center teachers. The majority of the church members who volunteer at the meal centers are between 13 and 20 years old. The teacher whose meal centers I went to Saturday morning is 16 year old Jenny. Jenny teaches and serves at three separate meal centers every Saturday.

I started to ask her some questions concerning the Lesson Plan. “Is it easy when translating from English to Ilonggo?” “Do the children enjoy the illustrations with the lessons?” etc. She had only great things to say about it, but what stuck out to me was her reaction after answering the questions. Jenny told me, “I really like teaching the children about prayer, but I am just so excited about the lessons for August! We will learn about the first sin with Lucifer and also about the fall of man and I cannot wait!” This showed me that she has been reading ahead, studying and preparing before she brings it to the children and that she has truly been blessed by this new way for her to share the Gospel.

We are praising God for the incredible results, both expected and unexpected, of this new curriculum. It continues to be more of a success than we could have imagined!

Not only do our meal center children and teachers in the Philippines have access to this great resource, but so do you. Click the link here to download a free copy of Children’s Sunday School Lessons.

Ministry Update 7-21-17

As you probably already know, we landed down here in the Philippines last Friday. We were greeted with a warm welcome from our friends and church family. They always go out of their way to make us feel comfortable, loved and wanted. We appreciate them so much for that!

 

With our first week now under our belt, we are once again re-oriented and hard at work. I preached last Sunday morning at our partner church, Crossroad Community Baptist, and Sarah sang a special beforehand. There was a good crowd and it was really good to join them again.

April has been working to get our home up and running and also getting the kids school things in order so they will be ready to start in a couple more weeks. Alyssa has been working in the meal centers and helping in children’s church.

I was very blessed to find that our street ministry team has been working hard and consistently to help the street children and homeless families who live on the streets. They are continuing to visit three nights per week bringing meals and hope to so many people. On Tuesday, I was with them and we stopped to visit with some adults that were sleeping on the sidewalk. I struck up a conversation with one of the men and he wound up trusting the Lord as his personal Savior. He is 53 years old and has said that he will attend church with us this coming Sunday.
 
A few months ago, we started a new meal center about two hours away from our house in a place called Toboso. It is operated by Pastor Jezer and Graceway Community Baptist Church. Pastor Ner and I went to visit them on Saturday and had lunch with them before they headed out for the meal center program. They are doing a fantastic job and ministering to several dozen kids each week. Please pray that God would provide sponsors for this meal center so that we can continue to help the kids in Toboso. You can find out more about this meal center by clicking here. 
 
This week we mailed out three more of our children’s Sunday School lesson books to local pastors. These one year lesson books are extremely valuable to children’s ministries and we are happy to provide them free of charge to pastors here in the Philippines. We have also made this available as a free resource to download from our website so if you know of a church that could benefit from them please share our website with them. The link to download the lessons is http://www.unsheltered.org/blog-post/free-resources/
 

Thank you very much for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We are honored to be your missionaries serving those in need. We can receive phone calls and text messages through our Magic Jack phone number as long as we have internet signal. Our number is 256-620-7561. We would love to hear from you! But remember, we are 12 hours ahead of EST so the best time to call or text would be early morning or late evening.

Prayer requests:
Please pray for sponsors for the meal center at Toboso
Pray for the gentleman who got saved on Tuesday
Pray for the children who sleep on the streets. They need a permanent loving home.
Pray for our family that we would accomplish our goals and make a difference here every day

Pray for April to remain strong and healthy

Sharpe family heads to Philippines

I hope you are doing great today and that the Lord blesses you abundantly. I wanted to take a quick moment to let you know that today (Tuesday July 11) is the day that our family is heading back to the Philippines. Our flight leaves Alabama at 9:31 central time and we would appreciate your prayers for traveling safety over the next 30 hours or so that we will be in transit.

We will be joining our Filipino ministry team and going right back to work in the ministry that we have been focusing on for the past 2 1/2 years. Unsheltered International Philippines has really grown and we are now reaching almost 1000 children each week plus adults.

Would you please help us pray about a few things while we are gone?

  • Pray that we can get registered with the Philippines government so our rescue center can open full time
  • Pray for wisdom and direction
  • Pray that God would allow us to expand our base of operations in Cullman, AL. We would like to be able to do more in our hometown.
  • Pray for our family that we would all stay healthy while overseas.

We will be coming home in mid-October and we have a pretty full schedule of meetings and ministry when we get back.  I think we have a couple open dates in December if you would like an update at your church. Just shoot us a message if so.

Well, I’ve got a plane to catch so I’m signing off for now! Thanks so much for your faithful support and prayers!

Blessings,
Travis Sharpe

Cincinnati Resource Clinic Report

The Lord blessed in a big way today here in Cincinnati, OH at our 3rd resource clinic this year. It was a privilege to partner again with Pastor Kirk Kirkland and Revive City Church. Pastor Kirkland and the church family were wonderful hosts and they worked extremely well with our leadership team to help the 394 guest that came to today’s event.

Our day began at 7:30 this morning when the set up crew arrived and began the careful work of putting everything into place. Tim Barbee, Jesse Mickle, Hunter Sharpe, Rob Hom, and a host of others worked hard to ensure that everything went smoothly and that we were ready to begin at noon. That’s no small task considering they set up about 15 tents, 200, chairs, 50 tables, a kitchen, and all the resources. I am extremely grateful for everyone who makes it happen.

Today we helped people who had lost their birth certificate, people who needed new clothes, people who needed medical care, and many more services that are all geared toward a hand up. We realize that people need more than free stuff, they need help rebuilding their lives. Our caring and compassionate volunteers spend lots of time counseling and praying with people for their needs and problems.

The very best part of our resource clinics is the emphasis on the spiritual side of things. All is vain unless we communicate the truth of the gospel to those whom we are helping. Ultimately, only Christ is able to meet our deepest needs and that is a big part of what we try to convey to each guest who comes to our events. Only Christ can save and only Christ can satisfy!

That’s why we put so much emphasis on preaching God’s Word and soul-winning. We are convinced that Jesus is the answer for every person in need.

We are thrilled that eight people trusted Christ as their savior today. There was also one gentleman who re-dedicated his life to the Lord. This will be the beginning of a brand new life for them. One reason we do the resource clinics in partnership with a local church is because getting saved is only the beginning. They will need lots of love and discipleship over the next few months. Please be in prayer for these brand new babes in Christ!

We were blessed to have Paul Stensrud with us again from Exit 0 homeless outreach ministry in Jeffersonville, IN. Paul came to town early and spent many hours on the streets meeting people and informing them of the resource clinic. Without this valuable outreach effort, many people would not have known about the event. Paul also brought over 200 care packages to give away as well as many other helpful items for those who were unsheltered.

We were also blessed to have a big group with us from Porters Grove Baptist Church in Rising Sun, MD and from Community Baptist Church in Bristol, TN. What a help they were throughout the day serving those in need.

Thanks so much to everyone for praying today and helping to make this a life-changing day for so many people. I have listed all the totals from the day below.

Totals
Guests- 402
Volunteers- 102
Salvations- 8
Re-dedications- 3
Resumes- 1
Birth certificates- 45
Clothing- 121
Bibles- 63
Haircuts- 50
Medical care- 25
Hygiene kits- 228
Meals- 600
Snack bags- 100

Running Toward the Terror by Travis Sharpe


I, like everyone else, am appalled and disgusted with the horrible acts of terror that are prevalent in our world today. It is a sad reality that we are living in a time when people who kill God’s children truly believe that they “do God a service.” I am disgusted by these acts, but I am not amazed. I am appalled, but I am not impressed.

What does amaze me? What does impress me? The actions of God’s people who run into the face of terror to bring aid in Jesus name to those who are displaced and marginalized because of the terror. I am amazed at the faith these heroes possess. I am impressed with their bravery and their courage.

All over the world there are churches, mission agencies, organizations and individuals who are rushing to help in times of need. They disregard their own safety as they are full of compassion and concern for their fellow man. Many times, the very people they minister to are not even their brothers and sisters in Christ; not yet anyway.

As you may already know, ISIS terrorists attempted to take over a town in the Southern Philippines on May 23. Many have been killed but the battle rages on. This attack and ongoing battle has caused many citizens of Marawi to be displaced. That means they have been driven from their homes, their work, and everything normal. They are in a situation of dire need.

Soon after the attack, one of my Filipino pastor friends went to this area and took food, snacks and juice to many of the victims. He didn’t have much money to use but he went with what he had. He made a difference.

 

Here are pictures from the first trip.

Now, this pastor, along with our Unsheltered International Philippines President, are going back on Tuesday to provide more aid. Their main goal is to share Christ with these mostly Muslim evacuees. We have sent $500 for their travel and for their supplies. They have already bought several sacks of rice, lots of juice and lots of snacks. There are hundreds of children and those are the ones they will provide the juice and snacks to primarily. These pastors will sacrifice their own comfort and use most of that $500 for the needs of the children and families.

Here are some of the supplies they bought today

 

I ask that you pray for their protection as they go on Tuesday (it will be Monday here in the West), and that you give them boldness to be a witness for Christ in the midst of the hurt, pain and confusion of this tumultuous region. I am glad to know that our ministry team is running into the face of danger in order to bring help and hope to people in need.