You’d never guess these men – well-groomed and fervently worshipping God together at a meeting of Cross International ministry partners in the Philippines – had once been homeless. You’d never guess some had spent their whole lives on the streets, begging and picking pockets. But now here they were, standing before us as living examples of how God can take the worst circumstances and turn them upside down.
These men and their families have been rescued from hopelessness by Kaibigan Ministry, a Cross-supported outreach that provides temporary shelter to street-dwellers, teaches them employable skills and reintegrates them into society, all while helping them develop a personal relationship with Christ.
Here’s a powerful testimony by a former street-dweller named John Rollo:
When I was still out in the streets, I stole food from grocery stores. I ate some and sold the rest. I used to hurt others. Fellow street-dwellers feared me… Then I met Kaibigan Ministry and became a Christian, not because I searched for God but because God never gave up on me. I took courage and surrendered all my transgressions to God. I cried because of sins I had committed that were bigger than myself. Christ changed my attitude toward others and showed me that I, too, was capable of loving.
Kaibigan gave me a job that now provides for my daily needs. God gave me a beautiful wife and a comfortable home. Before, I did not know how to read. Through the Bible studies I can now memorize verses.
John’s life is a perfect example of what we mean when we say we’re in the business of giving a “hand-up,” not a hand-out, to the poor. Our goal is to transform lives – physically, mentally and spiritually.