SAVE THE PAYATAS KIDS
I looked down and there was a sweet little girl, dirty and wearing ragged clothes. Her big brown eyes staring me down and her little hand stretched out as her life depended on it.
Then I looked around and saw children everywhere. Hopeless little children trying to raise money for perhaps their only meal of the day.
On another day I would see children sitting on a pile of garbage in a open back garbage truck. I would also see little children walking the roads with a sack in their hands looking for whatever it was they could collect and sell for a couple of pesos. These children were as young as four years old.
That was the time in 1999, when I first discovered Payatas and God told me that it would be my mission.
It took seven years to get back there but in July of 2006 our plane touched down in Manila to start our incredible journey.
There is so much to tell. For example, my desire to go burned within me for seven years. My wife, not so. We had just married. It took one year to get her to the U.S. And she was happy to be there. It would be about three years later when the Holy Spirit put it in her heart to return to her people to help.
I could tell you how the Devil tried to stop me from going. He used supposed men of God to do it. They were all shown to be out of the will of God but it was nerve wracking to go through that.
I could tell you of how we went on deputation, a system that I despise. Going from Church to Church to get support. I was told it was also to get prayer support but we got little of each. Some man mentioned we should make a date and not a dollar amount. He said if God was in it, He would make the way.
We had one miracle donation from a non-Christian across the world in Dubai who found us through a website (actually it was God) and sent us the money for our flight.
We left with $550 per month support although we were promised $750. Some who promised weren’t truthful.
I could tell you how $250 of that money was needed for my medications and that in two weeks I ran out and told God I would not take another pill until He told me what to do. I went for a medical checkup after one month and again in the second month and all my conditions were fine.
Most Missionaries are told not to go to the Philippines without at least $4000 per month but I am here to tell you that there have been many who left and went back home with more money than us because it wasn’t enough for them. It has been six years and we are only up to $1200 per month to support home and Church. That is with a 20% drop in the exchange rate as well as high fees to turn it into cash on this side.
I can tell you how we have no medical coverage but I received a Gall bladder operation for $200!
We have no retirement, medical, furlough…
I drive a 21 year old put together vehicle that breaks down weekly. My wife washed clothes on a scrub board for the first two years here until one of our supporters bought us a washing machine. It was also five years before we got a regular oven. Prior to that we cooked only on a two burner stove top.
We started preaching the Gospel in Payatas working out of two of the locals homes. These were squatter homes with little room but we saw hundreds pass through those doors and mouth their repentance to our Saviour. By the way, I never say anyone has gotten saved. There have been some I believed that were saved and later proved me wrong and others who I thought could not be possibly saved yet they were. We did not come to save anyone. Jesus did that. We are allowed, yea commanded, to tell that wonderful story to all we encounter.
We did that to tens of thousands. In three months we rented a two story house and turned it into our Church.
We had so many children come from the dump site families. I remember my wife and I having to wash their arms and legs as
( they were filthy from garbage picking) they arrived at Church.
Although we have adults that came and became good , loyal, lovers of Christ and servants along with us, we have had so many more children. This was the ministry God showed to me.
We fed them, clothed them, sent them to camp, had V.B.S., Christian movies, Christmas celebrations,
and most importantly taught them the word of God. They love it. Most of these little ones can present the Gospel of Christ as well as the adults and it is a sight to see when on Saturday 50-70 of us go door knocking throughout the community.
Recently, two college students, working on their thesis, asked to interview the kids. When they finished they were amazed. I asked why and they said these children stated they wanted to be doctors, nurses, police officers… when they grew up. I asked what was wrong with that? They said , no where in Payatas do children have this kind of hope. Their future is comprised only with the garbage. Our children also told them it was very important to obey their parents, to study and to serve God with all their heart. I am so proud of these kids and so thankful to God for allowing me this blessing.
Showing the world Jesus is not just a mouth thing and so we have many programs to show the love of God and ending with their decision making concerning following Christ.
One such program we have is music. We started off with one donated guitar and through a couple of knowledgeable guitar players and a part time teacher, we now have 26 musicians and will be making a DVD for Christmas. It is comprised of guitars, Ukeleles, Violins, Harmonicas, keyboard and a flutist along with recorders.
When they learn an instrument it instills confidence that they are able to accomplish their goals. They do better in school and at home and in Church. We have some great kids.
Additionally, we have a scholar program where we work with the kids in the subjects in which they are behind. We also help the kids who will be graduating High School to obtain their goal of a college and subsequently a career.
We also have three different types of visitation programs to bring the Gospel to the community which is our major concern.
We have only been here six years but the results so far have been very promising. We just saw two young men who started with us when they were ten, move up into the adult classes as they have turned sixteen so our plan for growing the Church from the youngest up is working.
Finally, the pitch.
As you probably have surmised, the Church does not run without funding. We have some Churches as well as individuals who support the work but for some reason, this year has been the worst as far as donations are concerned.
As mentioned, the exchange rate has dropped 20% since we came here so donations of $100 have gone down to $80. Then there is another $5 off for the International bank charge and another $2.60 for the local bank charge bringing the $100 donation down to $72.40.
To make matters more interesting, after six years of being in this building the landlord wants us to leave and use the building for himself.
We have searched high and low and have found one perfect place for us. From the beginning I have had a vision for this ministry (http://www.payatasmissionoutreach.org/vision.asp?page=proposedplan )
It is to have at least a 2000 seat sanctuary, a medical clinic, missionary quarters and perhaps a covered court in which to have huge evangelistic outreach meeting to the community each week.
Here is what it looks like: http://escobia225.multiply.com/photos/album/183 (Our vision)
The cost is $1.6 million U.S. dollars and it will also require $2.4 million to outfit the existing buildings and land to conform to the plan.
It is a great amount which we are sure, God can meet.
This message does not begin to tell you of the work done here in Payatas.
If you go here:http://escobia225.multiply.com/photos you will see over 14,000 photos documenting the work God has done here. BTW, this site has dropped the business and will be closing in December. We are presently working on a plan to host our photos.
Go here to see a complete diary from the time we stepped off the Airplane in Manila until the present. http://www.payatasbaptistchurch.org/update.asp
Of course you can go here to make a donation: http://www.payatasmissionoutreach.org/donation.asp
You can make a donation as low as $1 and all donations are sorely needed and appreciated.
While you are visiting those links feel free to backtrack around those sites to see our statement of faith, some of our history and other interesting things you might enjoy.
I want to appeal to your heart as to the urgency of the need here. For the first time we will not celebrate our Anniversary on the first Saturday of November due to lack of funds.
If we do not get donations, the children, (again for the first time) will not have a Christmas celebration.
My own two little girls did not attend school this year because we were $350 short of what was needed for the materials.
If you are led by God, please become a regular supporter or send a generous one time gift. It’s for the kids.
Rev John J Wilson aka “Pastor Jack”