Last February/March, five of us left Dallas/Fort Worth for the Philippines. One thing that made it special this time was the fact that my sister, Lucia, was going with me. What a joy to be able to share this part of my life with her. Lucia and her husband Bill sponsor 4 of our children in the Philippines but neither had ever been there. This is an article she wrote after a visit to see children who live under a bridge and along a riverside.
First Visit Under the Bridge
I recently returned from my first missions trip, going with a group from Fullness in Christ Ministries. Early in the trip visited children in a squatter community under a bridge.
Pastor Tata drove us through the usual heavy traffic. We stopped on the side of a busy highway, just before a large bridge over a small valley and shallow rocky river.
From the road, we could see into the valley below where there were huts and well worn paths leading to each dwelling. We walked down on a narrow concrete stairway. I commented about how nice it was to have the rail to hold as we descended. I was told the rail as well as the concrete steps had been put there by the pastor, and that the first time they had come, the descent was steep and difficult.
As we continued down, we could see the area under the bridge was full of small dwellings built with narrow boards. Each dwelling seemed to be one or two rooms. There were clothes hanging on lines outside many homes. The large stepping stones had been worn smooth by many bare feet that walked along each narrow path every day.
Surprisingly there was no unpleasant odor that one would expect with such primitive conditions and no indoor plumbing. As we rounded a corner of a hut, Pastor Tata showed us a water trough that had been installed, and which contained fresh water. There were water hoses bringing the water to the center of the community for use by the residents. Some young people were doing laundry in large buckets in front of the water trough. It gave us a new idea of what it means to “do the laundry.” Then Tata showed us a four-stall community restroom (they call it “comfort rooms”), complete with plumbing, that had been built by caring Christians in the area. It is a firm, concrete, structure that should endure for many years. We were impressed with the cleanliness surrounding it.
We continued to the riverside where we could hear children singing. Carefully crossing the river on large smooth stones, we saw about 100 children and a few mothers with babies. The children sang a song with great joy. After the music Ras and Bev Robinson greeted the children and Kathy Bohlin told the story of Gideon. Then the children came with their bowls, cups and spoons for the rice and chicken that had been prepared for them. We also had candy to give the children, a gift from our local Walmart.
It was a new experience for me and one I will never forget.
Notes from Kathy…
This school year, with the help of ministry partners, Fullness in Christ Ministries sponsors 44 children and teenagers who live under this bridge and along this riverside. One of them is in college, a dream that was unthinkable for her just a few years ago. Life for the residents of this squatter community has changed dramatically since we began sponsoring the children. Hundreds of people, mostly family members of sponsored children, have been saved and are being discipled by a local pastor and his church members. A church has more than tripled in size as they minister to the poor. Without the sponsors, the children would not be in school and would have no hope for the future.
Some of the children still wait for sponsors. One little girl who was finally sponsored last year, prayed every day for 2 years that someone would sponsor her so she could go to school. She went to every feeding, every Bible study, went to church and any other gathering with the hope that “this would be the day” she would hear those words, “You have been sponsored.” A few months ago she heard those words and was so overjoyed she jumped up and down and cried.
The children we sponsor with your help live under bridges like this, at garbage dumps, on the streets and in other very poor conditions. You can give hope to a child in one of these places. You could be God’s answer to the prayer of a child. For only $30 a month you can sponsor a child and make an eternal impact on a life. Interested? Go to Sponsor A Child