Bing-bing was a girl of nine years. Neither she nor her younger brother, G-Boy, had ever been to school. They would visit the doors of the small rooms in the shanty community where she lived, offering to throw away the occupants’ rubbish for them. There are no dustbins, and the rubbish needs to be disposed of every day due to the heat and over-crowded conditions. By this they would earn a few coins, which they could spend on food and then await the arrival of their father.
Perhaps he would come home that night, and, if he had earned some money, they might have a good meal. They also hoped he would be in a good mood and not drunk. Recently, when he was drunk, he had given Bing-bing two black eyes. They were also afraid of the ‘auntie’ who owned the room, because of her temper. One day they used her plastic container to wash their dishes, and she shouted and raved at them and told them to leave. In fear they fled from the room. Using the coins earned that day, they rode on a jeepney and got off when their fare ran out. That night they had nothing to eat and G-Boy was sick. They huddled together in a shop doorway and tried to sleep.
Maria (not her real name) was six years old when she was first sexually abused by relatives and then gang-raped by drunken neighbours. Her mother, who had a new live-in partner and a baby on the way, had no time for her. She gave Maria to her grandmother to look after. Maria no longer huddled in with the rest of the family to sleep on the floor of their crowded room. Her grandmother had no home at all, and slept on the pavement at night in a shop alcove. She made her living by selling candies and cigarettes to passers-by. Maria, now seven, did not go to school, and, when they had food, she would eat voraciously, because they never knew when they would have enough money for the next meal. She often went to sleep with hunger pains, because there had been no food that night.
Angie (not her real name) left home at fourteen after being repeatedly raped by her father. Her mother knew, but could not stop it. Angie was now on the streets, trying to get money as best she could by begging or selling flowers to motorists at traffic lights. She and other children would wait for the fast-food shops to close as they watched the people inside eating. Perhaps they would be lucky that night and get some food when the shop closed. Sometimes people would give leftovers to the street children. One way to forget hunger, of course, was to sniff glue out of a plastic bag.
Bing-bing and her brother were found by Madeline, of the Cubao Reformed Baptist Church, Manila. She is a worker with the Christian Compassion Ministries (CCM), working among street children. She took them home, where they could eat and have a bath. G-Boy is now in a Christian Boys’ Home and Bing-bing is under the care of the CCM. She is in school and, being a bright pupil, hopes to graduate in March to go to High School at thirteen years of age. She now reads her Bible regularly and is very sensitive about sin, wanting to please the Lord Jesus Christ.
Maria’s grandmother could not provide for her and asked the CCM to look after her. It has taken over two years for her to learn not to eat voraciously, thinking that every meal may be her last for days. Maria is also bright, doing very well in school, and is second in her class. Every Sunday she takes notes during the service at the church she attends with the other children of CCM, hearing about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. She is also beginning to experience that love through those who care for her. Angie was befriended by a street-education worker, who asked if she wanted to go to school. She is now in the CCM Residential Home for teenagers and has resumed her schooling, with prospects for an altogether different life.
One who loves them
The Christian Compassion Ministries of Cubao Reformed Baptist Church is ministering to such children, not only physically but also spiritually. Realising that many of these children have experienced great evil in their lives, the church longs that they may come to know One who is good, kind and truly loving – the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been the victims of much evil. The same root of evil and capacity for wickedness is in all of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), and these girls also, like us, need forgiveness for their sins. That can only be found through salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.