Archive for the ‘homeless children’ Category

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Soles for Shoes is going on right now.  Here is a link for students to get involved.

Here also is a link that is under development:

Help us in its development.  Please feel free to make suggestions, leave comments, and oh yes, please invite your friends to participate.  This is a great opportunity for students to become involved in the shaping of tomorrow, a place where their voice can make a difference.


mother and child

You cannot walk the streets of Cebu without noticing them.  If perhaps your focus is so narrow as not to see them, they will make their presence known.  Hands outstretched, these half naked creatures survive on the compassion of people like you and me.  Thumbs pressed against their ring fingers, they motion, lifting their hands to their mouth.  It is universally understood.  They are pleading for food.  Oftentimes it is a homeless woman with a baby held close to her side.  Sometimes, small children are abandoned on the street with their infant sibling(s).  The mentality is that one will have more compassion on them if left to fend for themselves.  We pass the same pair of siblings often after church.  I want to snatch them up, find the parents and beat them to a pulp every time I see the infant for the second or third time round scraping the food from the street she has dropped once more.

Days pass into weeks and weeks into months then years. Whatever innocence they once beheld, it fully escapes these children now young teens.  Their faces are hardened after many years of malnutrition and exposure to harsh weather conditions, their faces marked by violence and now at the age of 13 or 14, these rouges rarely rouse one to compassion for now they are mostly criminals and drug addicts. They are scarred for life with the scars of poverty; compassion no longer their friend.  Rarely is their presence acknowledged and when they are, it is with disgust or the strong arm of the law. Decades later at 38, their appearance is 20 to 40 years beyond their age.

I offer up a prayer every time I pass by the foot of the Tabunok Bridge by trike.  She is there:  a small, frail image of a woman, skin and bones.  Filthy. Her hands are covered with soot down her forearms, extending over every inch of her body.  She looks to be in her late 60’s but mostly likely she is only 40 something. Recently my trike passed within five feet of her and she reeked of urine. Crouched among the dogs she has befriended, together, they have literally become one with the garbage that surrounds them.  As she shoves the remnants of a mango someone discarded in her mouth like a femoral dog.  Perhaps today she is unwilling to share her winnings with her canine friends.

My heart aches.  She must have been somebody’s baby.  I can picture her as an infant in my mind.  Her mother’s warm embrace, soft kisses.  When was it that she was first abandoned and made to fend for herself on the streets of the city.  Perhaps her mother had abandoned her to the streets daily to beg at the age of 12 months  along with her elder siblings, collecting her at the end of day while she herself scavenged the junkyard for metal cans, plastic coke bottles and food.

But now my mind shifts to the children we have at home here in Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines.  These domesticated street kids look pretty much like our own children. Clean, fully clothed, donning smiles, their eyes glow with satisfaction.  They are loved and their stomachs full.  One of their favorite pastimes is singing songs of praise.  Together we declare the mighty deeds of a good and faithful God through the goodness of people like you and me.

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Until recently, the three girls on the far left lived on the street nearby the government housing you see here. Originally, we mistook the smallest of the girls, Elgin as a boy. You may have noticed in earlier posts that Jasmine, Jesalyn and Jesabel all have their hair cut close to the neck as well. It is a meager attempt at controlling the head lice.

When they first showed up at our door we had turned Margie’s family away. We are in violation of our lease because there are 22 of us living in a 3 bedroom house. By God’s grace, we were able to do some creative management to bring the girls after all. When we visited them we learned that their neighbor, the man that slept next to them on the street, was molesting them sexually and that their father was too drunk to defend them. Their mother also lives on the street.

Please pray for Margie’s twin brother, Noel. He prefers his independence. He works all day in the junkyard collecting plastic and iron for a living at the tender age of 13.

Please also keep in touch with us through our blog, email, twitter and facebook. And, pray, if you will, how God might use you. God bless.


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Dissonant pitches cry out from the darkness like a modern day Pied Piper to the child of the street. In large part, these wild, grease covered, hungry, and half-stoned children answer the call of the wild.

Andy is a child of the street. Mere skin and bones, his smile stretches from ear to ear and he is covered with pimply bumps. His hunger is insatiable. He is cocky, confident and without a care in the world or so it seems.

I sit with a few of the young ladies from the church as Andy proudly counts, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 35, 51, 52, 53. Unknown to him he has miscounted.

“Try the alphabets, Andy, one of the girls suggest.”

“a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, l, m, u, r, s, t, v….”

We all laugh, including Andy. Twelve years of age; his ears are one-third the size of his head and he is missing one of his front teeth.

“Again, again. Start over and try again,” the girls plead.

But each time he miscounts and recites the alphabet out of order unashamed and without frustration. Such was the case when we took him swimming. Time after time he dropped his shorts and dove into the water stark naked. Clothing was a laborious and unnecessary duty. Modesty? Non-existent. Such behaviors are the result of living on the street. There is no privacy. One lives in a bubble. It is a survival tactic I hardly understand.

Eight deep, the crowd presses around street families and vendors. For them, privacy is an intangible idea, a commodity afforded the rich. Yet this breed of survivors live within the comfort of their anonymity, unashamed and unmoved by the world around them. I liken it to a game of peek and boo. If the child can’t see you, he believes he is unseen. This ever growing people group, in large part, live their lives unaffected by their surroundings. Rugby, the drug of the day, makes it that much more feasible to live out this disconnect. It is said to be comparable to “ecstasy” but apparently, its damaging effects are much more destructive to the mind than any of its victims could anticipate.

Joseph, everyone says, was a very good salesman. He is a hard worker and has raised the most money in recent fund raisers. His boss claimed to have lost a prized salesman when he left his job selling newspapers to return to school last year. But the mind of this ex-rugby user is yet deteriorating from the effects of Rugby use in times past. 17 years of age and he tests at pre-kinder level. Until recently corrected, he claimed he was 14 years of age. Emotionally, he is closer to 9. Today he cannot complete first grade math without assistance. He speaks one word sentences and lacks the ability to enunciate his words. Recently, he waited an hour for water at a store that had already closed for the day and would probably still be there if we had not gone after him. Now our greatest hope for him is that of a domestic servant.

12 year old Renal desperately wants to go to school. One second he is smiling and chimes, “Good morning.” The next, he is crying for no valid reason. For Renal, the call of the street is so over powering that he answers its every whim though his entire future may hang in the balance. Three times in two days he has disappeared without notice. He vanished during worship service on Sunday in answer to a sudden urge for candy. He showed up at the church office looking for us on Monday. He cannot understand why we left without him and explains his friends had called him away.

But now, I divert my attention heavenward as an eight year old drops his shorts in the middle of the street in broad daylight. I marvel at his consideration for others for he has chosen to relieve himself over a drainage grate to no avail. Recognizing he is a child of the street I reconcile the experience and convince myself he has little other alternatives. Still I am embarrassed. I remind him his pants are still at his knees only to watch him take a piece of cardboard from the garbage, wipe himself and discard the implement. Now I find myself developing a most needed street sign: “Parents kindly curb your children.”

At home, Anthony is 11 years of age and was taken into the orphanage approximately six months ago. He lived on the street with his sister Christine. He currently is rebuilding a relationship with his Mom and two younger siblings. He speaks English fairly well for his age, especially in light of his lack of education and, he can read and write in Cebuano. And though he is intelligent and possesses a keen observation to detail and physics, emotionally he is equivalent to a seven year old.

We received five new girls last week. Four of them are sisters between the ages of 8 and 12. Jasmine is both the youngest and sweetest. Wiry and small boned, their hair lay close on each of the girl’s necks. We have de-bugged and de-wormed them. In addition, we spent $134.00 dollars on a few sets of clothing and bedding because, like every other child we receive, they have nothing but the clothes they arrive in and all lack under garments. The girls went through four sets of clothing on their first day because of an almost uncontrollable urge to wash everything. By 10:30 in the morning I had threatened spankings should they wet their clothes once more.

When one contrasts the unpleasant experiences of reaching out to such a complicated and precarious people group, love trumps everything.

Our house if filled with music, singing, dancing and laughter. This morning the children sing video Karaoke with Don Moen and dance to songs of praise by “Trading Places.” Our children never go hungry. We currently care for 15 children between the ages of 7 and 16. And though the challenges we face are many and often, we are not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair.

Love and discipline are coupled with grace and the message of the gospel. Our house is a constant reminder that God is the Emmanuel, God with us and of his great compassion for His people.