Today my visits took me to Asia Theological Seminary, Mission Ministry Philippines, the Payatas community, to a community development project (hydroponic farm) and to several churches and schools. My guides were Stewart and Corrie De Boer -- an amazing couple who were instrumental in helping us get the UCPP started...
At the age of ten a young girl is sent by her mom to Manila to work. Once she gets there she discovers that she is employed in a brothel, so she runs away and begins living on the street. At the age of 15 she meets her husband who also is a "street kid". They eventually have eight children and continue to live on the street as a "family". Their belongings are kept in a cart. The kids beg, dad collects recyclable trash and sells it, and mom works with the kids. They are all illiterate. Of their eight children, one dies shortly after childbirth. One is lost. They sell another one for $1000P ($20 U.S.).
Stewart and Corrie have "taken in" this family. The youngest one (4 years old) is doing well in pre-school. Dad is working as a casual labor carpenter. The older kids are struggling to stay in school -- they don't understand how it works, are bored, and are looked down on by the other students.
This is just part of one story. There are many more to tell here in Manila. It's a life and death struggle where a little bit of effort can save a life.
That's why Eastside Church is helping here. That's why the UCPP exists (http://www.ucpp.org/).
Thanks for your prayers and support!
Tomorrow I am going to watch Carina Forras play in her first rugby game before going out to visit the UCPP churches.