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Tonight You Sleep

Tonite You Sleep
“Life is not what I thought it was Twenty-four hours ago” Switchfoot
By Ernesto Cullari – Recently Published in the Tri-City News

Itʼs a long flight from JFK Airport to Manila. It takes nearly a full straight 24-hours
in the air just to get to Japan, where a two-hour layover awaits you before your
brief final flight into the Philippines. Once you land in Manila, you realize that you
truly are a world away from home. The air in the city is heavy with smog and
travelers wear masks to ease the burden on their lungs. I took three showers a
day when I was in Manila, just to try and wash the smell of the smog off my skin,
but to no avail. The smell permeated my nostrils like a sour melody long after I
returned home to the US.
The Philippines is a land of contradictions. On the one hand you can enjoy some
of the most beautiful beaches in the world and on the other hand the archipelago
nation is riddled with shantytowns constructed of discarded sheetrock, rows of un
evenly cut aluminum and bound cardboard. Wealthy gated communities run right
up to these swaths of squatters and drifters. These depraved outskirts are
shrouded in plumes of billowing grey smoke and black dust, but yet you are
twenty-minutes drive from the most breathtaking ocean sunsets imaginable.
Few cars if any have catalytic converters, so the highways and the side streets
send toxic clouds into the faces of pedestrians and those that sleep on the
sidewalk. Many sleep on the streets and most are children under the age of 15.
Although you are so close to paradise, even by day there is more darkness than
light. There is no hope and there seemingly is no plan or grand destiny for the
street kids that call such a place home. They are truly destitute.

The nights for those that sleep on the streets or in the ghettos are loud and
dangerous. Between the wild dogs promiscuously barking and the fear that
young thieves might steal what little that they have, a peaceful nights rest is as
precious as gold and just as elusive. Moreover itʼs even harder to sleep when the
pains of hunger are constantly present. Hunger is one of the most degrading
pains imaginable. During college I briefly went through periods of foodlessness.
The pain and reality of hunger mocks you, it taunts you and it leaves you feeling
alone and helpless. To ease their pain street kids turn to sniffing industrial glue
for a quick high that will numb their senses and dull their hunger. Nonetheless,
the hunger remains long after the high is gone and the vicious cycle of drug
abuse begins.
This is the bleak reality for so many children. And it was Dennisʼ reality until he
finally made it (filthy, half naked and starved) to a small Christian orphanage in
the Philippine city of Cebu. Dennis is a 15-year-old Filipino boy who bares the
marks of life on the streets. He has thick scars on both sides of his neck that
indicate that someone once tried to slit his throat. It is here among these lost and
broken children that my 57-year-old mother Dalisay and my stepfather Matthew
(at their own expense) have begun to imagine and build new lives for as many
children as they can possibly save. Fresh from the Rancho 3M orphanage in the
heart of the killing fields of Guadalupe and Juarez Mexico they have begun a new
endeavor called Street Kids Philippine Missions, located in Cebu City,
Philippines.
Until Dalisay and Matthew arrived in Cebu City the six boys that were living at the
mission actually slept in a fifth floor office building. Currently Dalisay and Matt are
renting a house, for the children, in a suburb of Cebu until they can raise enough
money to buy land in Cebu and build a new orphanage and school on it. In the
meantime, the financial goal is to simply feed and to clothe the kids that they
have and keep the door open to other children that might make their way to the
orphanage looking for a peaceful place to sleep and a wholesome meal to eat
and a place that they can call home. Tonight [ten] children who never knew peace
at all will finally sleep without fear. For forty dollars a month you can share in the
privilege of feeding and sheltering one of these six children and guarantee that
they will never wander the streets hungry and alone again. For more info go to
www.streetkidspm.com. To be continued:

Tony Walsh of Sovereign Grace Ministries concerning Street Kids PM<a href=”View streetkidspm-mp3“> (The link will take you to drop.io)

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