The GMA Church of the Nazarene ministers to almost 200 children each week in the impoverished barangay (village) where the church is located. More than 10 percent of the children have been abandoned by their parents, including Marvin (age 10), Princess (age 9), Joshua (age 7), and their cousin, Althea (age 11).
These four children live with an elderly grandmother who is no longer able to work. In order to buy food and needed items, the children beg on the street and give the money they receive to their grandmother.
"You can imagine the life that these children had on the street every day," said Stephen Gualberto, field strategy coordinator for Philippines-Micronesia. "They were rude, filthy, and malnourished. But that all changed when the GMA church started to minister to them in January 2016. That’s when they began to come by the church after service on Sunday mornings to beg."
When church members learned their story, they stepped in to help by donating clothes and feeding the children twice a day. The church even provided a place for them to take a shower every day. Beyond physical needs, they invited them to join a Sunday school class and an after-school tutorial program along with other children’s ministries. Church members have also stepped in to help with medical expenses. The children do still beg from time to time, but their major needs are taken care of by the church and they are learning about Jesus.
In January, the church began to promote the upcoming Alabaster Offering by educating the children about the purpose of the offering and what the money goes toward. They encouraged all the children at the church to participate, and one church member bought dinosaur coin containers for the four children to collect their Alabaster Offerings in.
Alabaster Sunday came and these four children put on their best clothes to place their offering in the basket.
"This is truly a story of transformation," Gualberto said. "Over the course of just one year, their lives have been radically changed by the love of Jesus, shown to them by a compassionate church. And now they are learning the joys of giving and not just receiving."
The church praises God for the doors He has opened for them to make a Kingdom impact in their barangay, and they continue to pray for the needed resources to be able to help even more children and families in their area.
--Church of the Nazarene Asia-Pacific