Jesus said the poor will always be on the earth with us. There are so many of them today- so many lost souls wandering the streets pushing their carts with their belongings, some fortunate to live in shelters and to receive help from social agencies, but others sleep on or along sidewalks or in store fronts. Many live in cars or tents in public parks or out on the beaches and are forced to move every time the city officials decide to wash down and clean up the areas. Many homeless even live on my sister’s island.
Some are not able to work; many who are able to work, cannot find jobs. Many have jobs, but cannot afford high rental costs; many have emotional or social challenges that make it difficult to assume personal responsibility for their lives. There are those who are unable to follow rules or schedules of shelters, much less seek help from social agencies. Briefly, that describes the plight of the homeless and houseless where I live.
Over 10 years ago, when we first began going to the Philippines, there were over 70,000 children living in and working off the sidewalks and streets of Manila. We met some former street children who were rescued from lives of crime and sex exploitation. They live in a Christian children’s shelter where we visited on our mission trips. It was appalling to hear the stories of their wretched lives of survival. Some were runaways, but most of these children were turned out of their homes or dumped in the city by parents who could no longer feed them. There were even sets of siblings; they were from 3 years old to early teens. Here at this shelter, God’s servants extended love and care to these children, and helped them to become rehabilitated, restoring their self worth as children of God’s family!