Halelujah! A new coffee shop has been opened near the hotel so we could start the day with a proper Latte and a great conversation with pastor Berwyn and pastor Julius about building God's Kingdom in Butuan and in the Philippines. It was a great opportunity to hear what God has placed on their hearts and for us to share our passion for God's Kingdom with them.
We then made our way to the landfill (rubbish dump) where many people live. It is unimaginable that people actually live amongst the garbage and in the stench of refuse. These are the poorest of the poor but everywhere we went we were greeted with curiosity and joy! God has a passion for the poor and it was a joy to bless them. As we made our way back to the car we were asked by a local school teacher whether we perhaps had any paper and pencils for their little school right next to the rubbish dump. We told them we didn't but went straight to the supermarket to buy the items needed for 50 children and will give it to them tomorrow. I felt it important to reveal the Father's promise of "when you ask, you will receive!" What a privilege to reveal Abba's love!
After lunch in Butuan's only shopping mall, we had some time with Berwyn and Julius before going to the middle of Butuan to feed the street children. Sadly the government has recently issued a new law that does not permit street children to beg in public places so we only found a few that we then took with us (great fun for the kids to be in the car with us) to the orphanage - one tiny building for the whole region! We were shocked. We were shown into the building and saw the pitiful state of the interior. We met a dozen kids that had been brought in because of abadonment, sexual abuse and the like. We ministered to a little 10 year old girl that had been raped by her step-father and a 16 year old girl who had a 1 month old baby (she too had been raped). We spent some time with these broken kids and I spoke to them about how Jesus loves them and will never reject them. We prayed for them, sang with them, danced with them and fed them. I felt the Lord's compassion as I ministered to these children. Our God is the God of all comfort and a Father to the fatherless!
After our visit to the orphanage, we still had plenty food left so we made our way to the main bus terminal near the town centre where we gathered around 15 children to share God's love with them and feed them. It was another precious time as they listened intently to the message of the Father's love and how Jesus came to give them a hug from the Father. After the message I invited the children for a big hug and went round to each of them to impart the Father's love. It was wonderful to see how these little ones received Abba's love.
After feeding the little group we made our way to see the youth football teams pastor Julius coaches and ministers too. About 25 kids gathered as I spoke to them about how God has created them for a purpose and to be part of His team! We had a lot of fun and the kids really listened. After the message and prayer they too tucked into the meals Aaron and Rose had prepared earlier today for the various kids we would be ministering to today.
It really has been a day of contrasts and a day of experiencing the Father's compassion for the poor, the fatherless, the broken and the children. There is so much need here but at least we could make a difference to a few precious souls today. Thank you Jesus!
"People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16