Cindy sat in the church service, weeping. She is only ten years old and life, it seems, has been very hard on her. Her father and mother were separated when she was only about six or seven, and she then lived with her father and younger brother in the streets. Her father made a living by selling cigarettes to customers in their cars at the nearby traffic lights. Cindy and her brother just fended for themselves. Their father would get drunk and then he would often beat them. Sometimes they stayed with their mother for a few days, but she is out much of the night, as she works in a bar, and is also involved in a live-in lesbian relationship. The live-in partner does not want the children around.
Two years ago a worker of the Department of Social Welfare took custody of the children, for the father could not care for them and they did not go to school. They were brought to the residential home of the Christian Compassion Ministries, a work run by the Cubao Reformed Baptist Church in the Philippines. They seek to help the poor and needy, and to reach them with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. But we cannot tell such people of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for sinners, without showing them something of that love.
On one occasion Cindy’s father came and took her away from the home, without permission from the Department of Social Welfare. But after a few weeks he came to realize he couldn’t care for her. He does not have the money to buy food for himself and for his children. A few weeks ago he was shot dead in an illegal gun-running operation. His customer did not like the price he was trying to charge for the revolver he was selling on the underground market. Cindy now has no father. She attended the funeral, where relatives made all sorts of promises to take her in, but then thought better of it. One more mouth to feed is often one too many.
She then ran away to her mother. Her mother returned her to CCM on Sunday morning, not wanting her and not able to keep her. She would be in the way of her lifestyle. (That is why Cindy was crying that Sunday morning.) Who wants Cindy? She is back here, where we try and show her love and concern. No institution can make up for parents, but how do you feel, as a child, when you know your only remaining parent does not want you?
Cindy is one of many children from the streets of Manila who, when left alone, fend for themselves as best they can. Girls usually turn to prostitution to make a living. The CCM is now caring for twenty-five street children, who are all at risk. We cannot really make up for loving parents, but we can try. Above all, we want the children to come to know that, even though their experience with parents has been extremely sad, there is a God who can become their truly loving Father through Jesus Christ.
Cindy is in the church service every Sunday and is learning about Jesus from the Bible, along with the other girls. They are learning that life can take on new meaning and become very different through knowing and loving Jesus Christ, who came into this world to save men, women, boys and girls from sin. Cindy now goes to school, has a clean bed, and plenty of food on the table. She also has people around her who love her for Jesus’ sake. May it please God to bring Cindy to know his love for herself, and that she may know true joy in fellowship with him.