Tears, Teddy Bears And Trust by Travis Sharpe

When we left the house at 4:30 am Thursday morning to go downtown and visit, we expected just another typical day of early morning ministry.

But never in a million years did we expect to find what we found bundled up on a dirty sidewalk in the quiet morning hours of the soon to be bustling city of Bacolod.

What we found

Within just a few minutes we found two groups of kids who were sleeping on the streets. We spent some time talking with each group and when we were done we just began riding up and down some other streets to see what we could find.

I Don’t even know how we wound up on the street we did because I still don’t know my way around the city very well.

But as we drove I spotted a cluster of bodies all snuggled up together underneath a stairwell on the sidewalk.

There were five of us in the van but only Kinly and Genevieve got out and approached the group of sleeping kids.

We have found that it’s much better for only two people to approach a group of kids so that we don’t scare them. Since Genevieve and Kinly speak Ilonggo, they were the obvious ones to go.

They found five people. A mother with two young kids, and two other boys that were with them. The two boys were age 8 and 11 and were  filthy dirty like most kids on the streets are.

As Sarah, Lynnsey and I waited in the van a few yards away, Genevieve came running back and said that I needed to come look at something.

That’s when I met Eminem, the 8 year old boy who had a severe wound on his right foot.


I will be honest here and tell you that when I leaned down to see the wound, my stomach turned and I felt like throwing up.

It was that bad.


He had no shoes, not even flip flops. He had no clean clothes. No food. Nothing except his older brother. He told us that he cut his foot on a clam shell while he was at the ocean taking a bath.

We have since found out that the boy’s mother is dead and their father left a couple years ago.

They are orphans.

I immediately knew that we had to get him to the hospital right away. That’s when things got interesting.

Genevieve tried to get the boys to come with us but they were both scared. I don’t blame them because they had no clue who we were or why we were there.

I can only imagine what was going through their young minds. Would we hurt them? What did we really want? Could they trust us?

As Eminem refused to go with us, he just curled up into a little ball there on the sidewalk. I knew the wound was so severe that there was no choice but to get him to the hospital right away but I was worried about forcing him.

Soon a small crowd gathered around to see the commotion and the whole scene was nerve-racking for me.

Thankfully, a security guard from the business across the street came over and tried to help. When he saw what was going on, he simply scooped Eminem up in his arms and put him in our van.


Eminem and his brother Michael were scared to death as we drove to the hospital. The look of fear on their faces was heartbreaking to say the least.

Once we were in the emergency room the tears began to flow. They gave him a tetanus shot and began to clean his foot but he was so scared.

Emenim in bed

The doctor ordered blood work to determine the level of infection in his body and we took him in a wheelchair over to the lab. But when the lab technician tried to draw the blood he began to cry uncontrollably and fight.

They couldn’t get it done so he went back to the ER for plan B. We all prayed and finally several nurses held him down in the bed and drew the blood as he screamed, fought and cried.

After that traumatic experience, we waited for about two hours for the results and a doctor to read them.

Because he barely knew us, our efforts to comfort him were not real successful. He needed a mother but we were all strangers.

Michael, his brother, was also scared and very standoffish to us. They didn’t want to talk to us much and it was just very difficult.

Teddy Bears

After the doctor looked over the blood work and did a good exam it was determined that he needed to be admitted to the hospital. He needed to have IV antibiotics and surgery on his foot.

Thankfully we called the doctor who has helped us with several other children and she agreed to be his doctor as well.

She recommended a different hospital that would be a little more cost effective for us and within an hour he was admitted and we signed our names as his legal guardians giving the hospital consent to treat him.

After Eminem and Michael were settled into the room we left Kinly there to watch them while Genevieve, April and I went shopping.

They needed clothes, shoes, food, and everything for the hospital stay. Here, at this hospital you have to bring your own towels, wash cloths, soap and everything else.

April insisted that we also get him a teddy bear to hold.

I thought that was a silly thing to worry about at a time like this but she said it was important and to just trust her on this one.

When we returned to the hospital it became very apparent that we needed to go back and buy another teddy bear for Michael! They didn’t fight over it but they both held it tight.

boys in bed

I guess mamma’s just know what little boys need!

bous with April and Gen


As the day wore on Eminem and Michael began to talk more and more to Genevieve and April.

They were beginning to trust us.

I can only imagine what it might be like to live as a little boy on the streets of a big city and not be able to trust anyone.

Trust is earned and trust takes time but we prayed that God would speed the process up for us with these two boys.

Genevieve and Kinly spent the night with them at the hospital, April and Genevieve gave them baths and the new clothes and they were both tucked into the bed with their teddy bears.

Now we are going on day two and they are like two completely different boys. They are holding our hands and snuggling with April.

When I came back with lunch, Michael greeted me with a big hug.

Today they are playing games on our iPads, singing songs and laughing a lot.

Trust is a powerful thing. Please pray with us that the trust they have for us continues to grow.


The doctor tried to clean the wound at the bedside today but it was just too scary and traumatic for Eminem. In an effort to cause as little stress as possible, the doctors decided to put him under anesthesia and do the procedure in the operating room.


Once he was under, they were able to cut away all of the dead and decaying skin and dig out all the puss and dirt. Everything went really well and he is now resting back in the room. They have sent a specimen to the lab to try and determine the exact type of bacteria so they can give the best antibiotics.

We asked the surgeon what would have happened had he not got help for his foot and he quickly replied that within a few days he would have lost his entire foot and he could have died without treatment.

The unknown

So here we are in a hospital room in Southeast Asia with two little boys who are looking to us and our helpers for their very lives.

Nothing is familiar to us. We don’t even speak the boy’s language so that complicates things a good bit. Thankfully, love is not a word that you pronounce as much as it is actions that you perform.

We can do that no matter where we are or how foreign things are to us.

Unfortunately, we simply don’t know what tomorrow holds for these precious little boys.

They have no parents and we don’t have a facility as of yet to keep them in. We have already contacted the DSWD about them and when Eminem is released from the hospital we will contact them about the next move.

If it were up to us we would just take them home with us and they would have Hunter and Sarah as their brother and sister and they could sleep in a real bed every night and not have to worry about food or danger.

But it’s way more complicated than that.

We don’t know if we will even be able to see them again after this. We are just unsure of everything in this situation right now.

Well, unsure about almost everything. We are sure about the tears, the teddy bears and the trust.

Now I guess it’s time for us to trust God for these little boy’s future like these little boys are trusting us.

It’s scary and we want to cry but we’ll take it one day at a time and trust the one who holds us when we are scared.


How to help


If you would like to join us and help these boys, and others like them, you can make a donation. Just click here to donate online or get information for mailing your donation.



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