Jopai slept along a street in the slums of Cebu City, the Philippines, each night. Her home consisted of an old tarp draped over a discarded metal frame. She shared that space with her mother and siblings—Joy, her sister, and 2 younger brothers.
Her mother did all she could to provide for the 5 of them, but although she worked hard all day cleaning fish, she earned only about a dollar a day—barely enough to buy the rice and soup they needed to survive each day. All else was a luxury they couldn’t afford, including the children’s education.
Recently Hope House, our ministry partner in that city, was conducting one of their weekly outreaches to Jopai’s neighborhood, a ministry made possible through contributions to the Human Trafficking/Slavery Fund. As they met the poorest of the poor in that slum, passing out food and making connections they hope will lead to opportunities to share the gospel, they came along Jopai and one of her brothers in their “home.” Horrified by their living conditions and their extreme vulnerability, our partner asked Jopai to introduce him to her mother, who he soon found out was a few blocks away at work.
Children are extremely vulnerable because that slum is frequented by traffickers and sex tourists, foreigners who travel to destinations like this to have sex with underage children by offering money to the parent, if one is around—or directly to the child. For mothers earning so little, $30—the equivalent of a month’s wages—can be irresistible, especially if they are feeding an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
After learning more of their situation, Jopai and her family began receiving regular food assistance with the help of Heaven’s Family’s Food Fund. Hope House then rented a very inexpensive apartment nearby and moved the family off the street. “The girls were so happy and excited to have a place to live,” our partner exclaimed. They also arranged for the girls to attend school, and provided them with the needed uniforms and supplies. The plan is to eventually equip the mother with better skills so that she can pay her own rent, feed the children, and keep them in school.
And in addition to the help they are receiving for their physical needs, Jopai and her family are regularly hearing the gospel as they attend weekly Bible studies.
“Isn’t this really the love and mercy of God in action?” our partner wrote. “We have many more children that we can help,” he went on to say, and “I pray to God that people will respond to His call for mercy for these children….”
Thanks for your part in bringing Jesus’ love and mercy to this little family that once lived on the edge of disaster. I know I keep saying it, but it’s true: You are making a difference!
Because of Him,
Director, Human Trafficking/Slavery Fund