Ministry Update 1/23/15

I can hardly believe that we have now been here in the Philippines for over two weeks. The time seems to be flying by but we are enjoying every single minute and trying to make the most of our time here.

Today I will give you an update about our ministry as well as our family.

Some ministry highlights from this week

We spent Saturday at several of the meal centers that Pastor Ner and Crossroad Community Baptist Church have. Currently there are 10 different locations but we are adding more.

Every Saturday they cook a meal and take it to the different centers. Before the meal, they sing some songs and have a Bible story. Last week April did the Bible story at two of the centers.

Visiting the dump

On Wednesday we visited the dump site in Bacolod. I was absolutely heartbroken at what we saw. The first two people we met were a couple of ladies who were resting after having been sifting through trash all morning.

As they rested under a very makeshift shelter that was made from plastic bags and sticks, they were covered head to toe in flies. I have never in my life seen so many flies on human beings before. They were getting ready to share a piece of fruit and it too was covered with the flies.

Our hearts were saddened as we carefully plowed on through the center of the trash dump wading through household waste. As we walked we passed families, children, huts where people rested and even a decaying dog that evidently couldn’t find enough food to eat.

 

Lynnseys dump pic

We met with the engineer of the dump site who was a very nice and courteous man. We expressed our desire to minister to the people who live and scavenge at the dump. He told us that most of the people who come to the dump each day are squatters who live nearby. They look for anything they can recycle and sell.

There was one man working on a bulldozer. As he pushed the trash, and backed up to push again, he was constantly surrounded with people eager to dig through the freshly sifted garbage. They earn about 100 pesos per day doing this (about $2.25).

Our plan at the dump

After speaking with the engineer and telling him our desire to minister there, he told us that no other church group was doing any ministry there and he welcomed us in.

Our plan, Lord willing, is to go there each Saturday. We will take a meal for everyone and also have a preaching time. Please help us pray that everything will work out for us to accomplish this each week. The biggest need will be workers to help us so pray that God would “send forth laborers into the harvest”.

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Handumanan

After our visit at the dump we went to a place called Handumanan. In this area there is a huge population of squatters. Many of the people who live here also work at the dump. One of the families that live here are members of the church that we are working in.

They are opening up their home and we will be starting a meal center there this Saturday. This will be a new addition to the church’s already 10 centers. In this location there are children everywhere. The need is great and we intend to have a weekly presence teaching the Bible and serving meals to the kids.

There is much more to tell you about but time and space does not permit it now. I should be (if this internet cooperates) posting a new ministry update each Friday.

 

Family things

We want to say a special thank you to each of you who have been asking about our family and how we are doing here in the Philippines. we appreciate your prayers and love for us so much. Here are some updates about each of us.

April

april serving at bridge

April is doing great. She has been tasked with teaching children’s church and Sunday School each week. She has also been learning to cook the meal that we serve to the children at the meal centers each Saturday. The meal is called rice soup and it is a soupy mixture of rice, chicken, ginger, garlic and onions. It is a great tasting meal and the kids love it.

Sarah

sarah and Charlie

Sarah is adjusting well and she has made a good friend now. I think all of this is a bit overwhelming for her and she really misses her friends back home. One of the hardest things on Sarah was leaving our dog, Shocker, behind. But she found a little puppy in the market and of course, I bought it for her. She has named the dog Charlie and I am confident that Charlie will be a big help to Sarah while we are here!

Hunter

Hunter serving at bridge

Hunter is having a good time. He started off by battling some flue like symptoms but he is doing much better now. Like Sarah, Hunter misses his friends a whole bunch. But he is adjusting well and participating in every aspect of ministry.

He is helping his mom in children’s church and he will be preaching this weekend at a youth fellowship so please pray for him as he prepares for that.

Moonpie (Lynnsey)

Lynnsey with girls

Most of you know that our niece, Moonpie, is here with us. This is her first time to be out of the country and away from her family and friends so please pray for her. She has a real heart for missionary work and feels like the Lord is calling her into a life of service on the mission field.

We visited a squatter village on Wednesday and several little girls immediately gravitated to her. It wasn’t long before the little girls were holding her hand and just “being” with her. I think that might be the highlight of her trip so far. She is very natural at loving the children and we are proud of her.

Myself

Travis and several "street" children

I am truly having the time of my life. The Lord has really put this ministry in my heart and I am fired up about it all. The above picture was taken at 5:00 am one morning while we were out visiting. All of these kids sleep in the streets each night.

I have been teaching in the small Bible College one day a week and doing my best to pour into these young men. There are four of them (and one young lady). These Bible College students are extremely poor and have made some great sacrifices to be students.

They rarely have enough money to buy their food each week so April has been cooking for them once or twice a week. Some of our best time is with them around the table just sharing Bible verses and talking about the Lord.

I have began to drive and I love that. It has always been a dream of mine to drive in a foreign country. Driving here is MUCH different than in the U.S. but it works out great for me because I never have been able to stay in my own lane anyhow.

My sciatica has hurt me severely most every day so that has been a real aggravation but I just sit down as needed and then press on.

Thanks so much for reading. Please tell your friends about our ministry and encourage them to sign up to receive these weekly ministry updates!

Travis Sharpe
Founder/President Unsheltered International

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Ministry Update 1/16/15

Hey Guys! Adrienne here, posting this update for Travis while he is working hard for the Lord in the Philippines. The internet is very spotty where they are, and he said to let you all know he would update you as often as possible!

Greetings from the Philippines!
We have been here for a little more than a week now and we are off to a great start. We have been extremely busy, but I want to share with you some of the highlights so far.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 We have a place to live now
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We rented a house in Talisay City which is about three miles from Bacolod City. It is a three bedroom duplex in town.  The house had no furniture or anything. Not even curtains! So we have purchased many of the necessary items such as beds, a stove, refrigerator, table and chairs, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have a long way to go, but slowly this house is becoming a home for us. Initially we planned to live in the ministry center that we are going to establish but that plan proved to be harder than we thought.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is just not an adequate facility to rent in Bacolod. Pastor Ner looked for several weeks before our arrival but couldn’t find anything available. However, we think now that living here in Talisay is actually going to be much better for us.
We are real close to the church we are working with and Pastor Ner lives there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   We are very close to a supermarket and we can ride a tricycle there and back (motorcycle with a sidecar).
This house is very safe and secure making it easy for me to leave and April and the kids to be home by themselves.This house will serve as a great “mission house” and we can use it to help house and care for mission teams from the U.S. and it will be used by the church for various purposes while we are in the U.S.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Once again, the Lord knew better than we did! I’m so glad that he is paving the way for us.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We are looking for a building
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Please help us pray that we will find a great building in Bacolod City that we can use for our ministry center. We are actively searching for a place that we can rent. Once we get that, we can set up some daily hours of operation and begin to consistently operate in one location.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the mean time, we are visiting the needy areas, the squatter’s villages and the city streets in order to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings and learn how to best serve the people here.
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I got to see them!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Since last September, with the help of our supporters, we have been funding the Saturday meal centers that Pastor Ner and the church have. They currently have 10 meal centers and serve upwards of 200 children each week.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   60% of these children are members of squatter families. Their living conditions are very poor and they rely upon the nutritious meals that are served each week. Before the meal, in each different center, they sing songs and share Bible stories.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My heart was overflowing with joy as I got to see the precious little kids that we have been investing in for five months now. Thank you to everyone who is supporting us in this!
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   We need a vehicle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   It has become very apparent that we will need a vehicle. Since we live three miles away from Bacolod City, we are going to have to invest in a good used vehicle. We are looking for a Nissan van because Pastor Ner feels like that would serve us the best. We will be able to transport 12-15 people at a time and shuttle people to and from church as well as the meal centers on Saturdays.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Please help us pray that the Lord will provide this need quickly for us. A decent used van will cost between 7-9 thousand dollars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A few other notes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I have preached twice in the church since my arrival and I have already begun to teach in the Bible College here. They have five students and they are eager to learn. Our house is very close to the dormitory so today, (Thursday), April cooked a big lunch for all the students. They loved it. They really struggle to have enough food to eat every week so I’m sure they will be here a lot!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Thank you for your continued prayers for us. Hunter was sick real bad for a couple of days but he is better now. Sarah has also been a little sick. I think our bodies will take a little while yet to become fully adjusted.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   We really appreciate your financial gifts to make this ministry possible. Please visit here for details on how you can donate today!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   God bless,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Travis Sharpe