Christian Compassion Ministries (Cubao, Philippines)
In 1994, Cubao Reformed Baptist Church, situated in Quezon City — part of the Manila complex of towns and cities with a population of about 24 million people — received a gift.
The gift was US$3,700 from a church in the USA, with the stated aim of ‘helping the poor and needy’. For us, this was a large gift and we were a little flummoxed as to how we should use the money.
Some of us in the church were concerned with how we could help the street people who slept on the pavement less than 100 yards from our chapel building.
We used to give them food packets at Christmas, when we sang carols and gave out gospel tracts. However how could we help such people? As we began to pray about it as a church, we invited a lady whom we knew and who was involved in reaching out to street children to come to our prayer meeting to inform us of their needs.
That evening I doubt if there was a dry eye among those who attended. She particularly told us of the need for a home for girls. In the providence of God, we had a small flat at the back of our chapel which was currently empty and also two of our lady members who were unemployed. They were sent for two months training and, on the completion of that, we began to gather some children in need.
Rowena used to sleep in the back of a jeepney (public transport in the Philippines) with her grandmother who had TB, and who soon after died. Rowena was our first girl. We also found a brother and sister sleeping in a shop doorway; both had run away from a cruel drunken father and did not know their mother.
We never intended to take a boy, but we did. His sister today is married and lives on an island to the south of Manila. The young boy was eventually passed on to an agency catering for boys. However he ran away from there and was back on the street.
‘G-Boy’, as he is called, came into contact with us again about 6-7 years ago and is now, by the grace of God, a member of the church, studying in college. He lives again in the flats at the chapel.
Girls’ and boys’ homes
In 2000 we were able to purchase land and build a purpose-built home for street girls. The four terraced houses which make up the home can accommodate up to 48 girls. Since then a boys’ home has also been established.
A dedicated staff of social workers, house parents and a tutor care for the children. All the staff are members of the church and the children attend Sunday school and worship services on the Lord’s Day. They also have daily devotions in their homes.
They are now growing up in a Christian environment, away from many of the horrific things that have happened to them in their past. Sadly, many of our children have been extremely abused in one way or another. May it please the Lord to save them and bring them to know God’s wonderful love.
One of the earliest admittants into the girls’ home was Joy Putal back in 1996. Joy used to sleep with her grandmother on the pavement near our chapel. Her grandmother, who has since died, could not look after her or feed her properly. The only income she made was selling sweets to passers-by.
Joy has grown up then in Christian Compassion Ministries (CCM). She is bright and was eventually able to study nursing, from which she graduated late last year. In January 2011, Joy followed the Lord in baptism and is now a member of the church. It is expected that she will soon begin working with CCM.
Being involved with children on the street soon led us to consider the many slum areas in our vicinity. The people there are referred to as squatters. People have moved on to vacant land, usually owned by the government, and built shanties.
These are often extremely crowded, as the areas are small, so the folk build upwards to at least three stories. Whole families crowd into rooms about the size of a normal bathroom in the UK, and often having no window. Families frequently have to take it in turns to sleep.
There are desperate needs, and particularly among the children. How can they break the cycle of poverty without an education? With that in mind, the Educational Assistance Program was established, where foreign sponsors can sponsor a child by paying for their education.
CCM social workers, who are members of the Cubao Reformed Baptist Church, monitor the homes and program. This is now well established and has given the church opportunities to begin Bible studies in many of the small squatter communities in the Cubao area.
A few people among these very poor are now in membership with the church. We have always said, ‘How can you tell people about the love of Christ, without showing them something of that love?’
If you wish to know more, please write to Miss Rebecca Goodman (firstname.lastname@example.org).