Monthly Archives: January 2014

Most Street Kids Aren’t Orphans.

Here’s something you probably don’t realize about street kids- most of them aren’t orphans.

534352_10151784629163721_1994017749_n

Right now, I work with 16 kids and only one of them, the oldest, is a true orphan. It’s easy to assume that if kids are living on the street then they must not have a family, but thats not true. The majority of kids living on the street today actually have a home and one or both of their parents are still alive.

I already know your next question- so why are we helping these kids?

There’s a huge movement in churches today to help orphans. It’s a beautiful thing because God is so very clear about His heart for orphans and I think Christians are doing a really good job stepping up to help. But God has opened my eyes to a huge group of kids around the world who for one reason or another often get ignored or overlooked- street kids.

IMG_2038

Yes, most street kids have a family- but I use that word very loosely. Let me ask you this- if you had a family and a home to go to at night, would you choose to live on the street instead?

My kids have homes, and at least one parent, but none of them ever want to go home.

They have alcoholic dads who come home and beat them at night. Or moms who collect trash from the dumps all day and then use the money to gamble instead of buying them food. They have parents who send them out to the street in dirty clothes to beg for money and then beat them up if they don’t bring home enough. And moms who teach their 5 year old daughter to cry on the corner in her underwear so people passing by will feel bad and put some coins in her cup.

You see my kids have homes and families…but not really.

1470062_10101125337237362_182507270_n

These kids don’t need an orphanage, because they aren’t orphans. And most of them won’t be put up for adoption because I fully believe my God wants to heal and restore the families they already have.

So this is what we’re doing about it here at Streetlight-
Everyday Monday through Friday these kids come to our drop in center. They shower, brush their teeth, eat lunch, have school, and then eat a snack. We try to teach them basic hygiene, life skills, the importance of saying please and thank you, why you can’t just punch your friend because he made you mad-you know-basic stuff! We have two fabulous Filipino teachers teaching the kids to read and write. Every Sunday they get dressed up in their nice outfits and we load up the jeepney for church. Our social worker, along with the rest of the staff, have started building relationships with the parents of our kids, especially the moms, to learn more about each family situation.

And here’s where we’re headed-
We’re looking for land away from the city where we can build 3 small family style homes to start- each with 5 or 6 kids and 2 house parents. These kids desperately need to get off the street. They need help breaking their addiction to drugs. They need a special education (you can’t just put a 17 year old who can’t read back into regular school). They need to learn how to live in a home with a healthy family and basic responsibilities. They need counseling to heal from all they’ve been through.
At the same time, we want to help the parents. They need counseling too, job opportunities, rehab, and so on. Every situation is different. But our desire is to see God heal and restore the kids and their parents at the same time. Ideally, creating a healthy family to reunite back together when that time comes.

IMG_6878

So that’s the dream. And I thought it was only fair that you know exactly what you’re supporting.

These kids desperately need help. They need people to love them, believe in them, and hope for them when no one else will. And these parents need the same. Some of them will probably never change and their kids won’t ever go back to those horrible situations, I know that. But some of them will change. And the ones who will deserve that chance. They just need someone to come alongside and help them, instead of judging them. They need grace. But don’t we all…

And that’s what our ministry longs to be. A place of love, and hope, and lots of grace.

IMG_0885

When you help support a child, you’re not just supporting a child, but a family. You’re providing food, education, hygiene, and the love of Jesus to a kid who really needs it. And you’re also helping give these parents a second chance.

I know it’s different. These kids aren’t orphans…but the need is just as great. Will you believe in them with us? Will you help us make restoration a reality in the lives of these kids and their families?

If you’re interested in sponsoring a child, this is currently the BEST way to be a part of what God is doing here. You can email me at leahmalone07@gmail.com for more information.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I thought my house was destroyed.

Today marks 17 days straight of nonstop rain. Its unbelievable, really. I haven’t seen the sun in two weeks. And in the midst of all the rain, Monday there was a tropical depression here-basically a fancy name for a really big thunderstorm.

On Sunday, alert levels were raised and we were told to prepare for evacuation. My house here is very close to the main river. Its a huge river and 7 other rivers flow into it. We needed to evacuate because the river level was dangerously high and rising every hour. With the tropical depression headed our way, it was almost certain to overflow and flood our home.

798089

As we packed up our house, so many emotions overwhelmed me at once. I’ll be the first to admit, I have a long way to go when it comes to not clinging to things that are “of this world”. My home here is tiny  and we don’t even have very much stuff. After all, I moved with two suitcases to my name- how hard could it be to pack up and leave?

But it IS hard. Since moving here, I’ve worked so hard to make this house into a home. As I started to shove things into bags, I struggled inside with what to leave behind. There is only so much room in the car and not everything could come with us.

I was scared and sad and I had a really hard time letting things go.

546464

We finished packing up the car and waited until we were told to evacuate. In the hours that followed and even into the next day I beat myself up a little bit for how hard it was for me to leave my home behind. I thought I was living pretty simply here. Since coming back from a year around the world, it’s really been important to me to learn to how to live with less. And I have…

But I realized this week that I’ve missed the point.

I don’t think God cares so much about how much stuff we have or don’t have. Quantity isn’t really the important thing here. I think it’s actually way more important whether or not you’re willing to let it all go…

213412345

My life here is simple. My home is cozy and small. And I don’t have a whole lot of stuff. But when the storm came and threatened to take it all away, I was heartbroken and clinging to everything I could! I shoved and crammed and filled every little corner of my bags with my belongings. I closed the door and headed to a hotel, mourning the loss of everything I just had to leave behind.

And yet by the grace of God and some crazy miracle, my house didn’t flood in the storm. The river rose and the streets were flooded but the water never reached inside my house.

I woke up this morning in my bed and it all still doesn’t quite seem real. You had to be here to completely grasp how miraculous it really is that I still have a home.

4363

But God used this storm to teach me an invaluable lesson about my heart. Things are just things and no matter how much or how little you have- hold it oh so loosely. Because it can all be gone in an instant and your heart will be revealed.

Too much of me was invested in my things…in my home. My grip was too tight.

Today I’m thankful God spared my home. But I’m also so thankful He opened my eyes and my hands, reminding me to cling more to Him and less to this world. For only He can satisfy. He is the only sure and certain thing when the storm threatens and the waters rise.

photo (77)

If the past few days had turned out differently and my house had been destroyed…if all I had left today was Him- would it really be enough?

I sure hope so.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Beautiful Journey.

I’ve always been the kind of person who starts a project and wants to see it finished immediately. Over time, God has slowly been working on this quirk of mine and changing my heart- teaching me instead how to appreciate the journey.

When we first opened the drop-in center for the kids in October we had so many dreams- from what it would look like, to how we could best utilize the space, to what activities would happen inside.  I distinctly remember standing in the middle of the empty room that first day and thinking to myself- there is so much to do! Where do we even start?

hgkjl

I wanted it all done right away. We needed walls and tables and chairs and paint and doors and so much more. Where would the kids put their stuff? And who can build us some shelves? And where in the world will we find the money to make all these things happen?!

We had very little money and so I knew we needed to prioritize.
It wasn’t all going to happen at once and I had to be okay with that…

Slowly but surely the drop-in center started to come together. And I realized the other day as I was walking through, how incredibly thankful I am that it happened that way. Because now, when I look at everything we have there’s a story behind it all…

1422583_10152061147552962_290223906_n

When I see the walls, I think of the wonderful group of 13 guys who built them for us. They lived in the midst of sawdust and cramped corners for days but never complained once. I smile and thank God for how much they blessed us that month.

My eyes wander from the walls down to the new tables and chairs we just bought and I’m overwhelmed with thanks. I laugh, thinking back to even just a few weeks ago when 16 kids were cramped on two benches trying to do their schoolwork and crawling over each other’s shoulders just to get out and go to the bathroom. I think about the strangers from California who we never even met, who heard of our need and donated the money for us to purchase the furniture. School runs SO much smoother now thanks to them.

asfa

I wander into the hallway and cant help but stop in front of the kid’s cubbies. The money for these came from a friend back home just looking to be a blessing to our kids from far away this Christmas. For months the kids were storing their few precious items in random corners of the center- causing absolute chaos for this girl who LOVES to have things organized! Now the kids take so much pride and joy in a small 4 x 4 space they get to call their own.  I praise Him for such a precious gift.

safljakls

The painted walls and splashes of color around the center bring me back to the sweet missionary family of 5 who wanted to teach their kids to think outside themselves this Christmas. So they drove 2 hours down the mountain with paint and their tiny hands brought so much life to this place!

The whiteboard came the first day of school when a visitor saw we were starting school without one and decided that was nonsense- you cant do school without a board!  When I notice it now, I remember to stop and thank God for even the little things.

IMG_1094

Over the last 4 months I’ve watched the drop-in center transform from a big empty space into a place of miracles and blessings. It’s not the center itself that amazes me, but the journey that brought us here that brings me to my knees.

If I would’ve had my way back in October, the center would have come together overnight. We would’ve had enough money to buy all the things ourselves instead of having to wait and do without sometimes. I wasn’t interested in a journey or a process. I just wanted the results.

photo-5

But praise God He knows better than me and He’s ultimately the One in charge here. Because now, the center is of infinite value to me. Behind those walls, beneath the beautiful coats of paint, and inside each of the cubbies, lies a story of blessing and gratitude.

A gratitude that’s birthed from waiting. And blessings made up of all the times we simply make do with what we have until someone special comes along to help…
————-

*There are still TONS of ways for you to help us if you’re looking to be a special blessing this year. You can sponsor a child, a teacher, or our social worker. OR you can contact me to find out more about some of our other needs- leahmalone07@gmail.com

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A love I don’t understand..

One of my girls here in the Philippines absolutely wrecks me.

She is my favorite of them all, though I would never tell the other kids that. She has the smile of an angel. She’s usually the first kid to hug me when I come in and the last face I want to see before I leave every day.

She washes my lunch plate and guards my keys and I help her organize her cubby and learn to read. She tells me how beautiful my hair is and we laugh and laugh as I throw my hair over her head to see what it looks like. 

Image

She’s my girl.

Half the time when I’m with her I don’t even recognize my own thoughts. I’ve always said I’m not sure I want to have kids of my own and yet I find myself yearning to take her home with me instead of sending her back to the street. Or there’s the fact that I was always the kid who did just enough to make it through school. But now every afternoon suddenly school becomes my new passion! I make her read all her words out loud a few extra times because I know that being educated will give her a better future. 

Every single day she teaches me more about a love I don’t understand…

Image

When she’s happy, I’m so glad. And when she’s upset, my heart hurts with her. When I go out to Divisoria and find her high on rugby and angry at the world, I hate it. The days when she picks a fight with the other girls I just want to shake her. But then, when she chooses to spend her money on a mango or new shoes instead of buying rugby I am SO proud of her.

Sometimes, she drives me crazy.
Occasionally, she makes me mad.
Sometimes, she makes me belly laugh.
But every single day she makes me smile.
I could never stop loving her.

Image

And this afternoon I got to thinking- God what is so special about this love you’ve given me for her? And I realized, that its not MY love for her at all. Its HIS. The way I love this girl is a tiny picture of God’s love for me and for you. 

My love at it’s very best is ordinary. But God’s- His is limitless and deep.  It’s patient and kind. It keeps no record of my wrongs. It always hopes and endures. Ya know..the good stuff. 

And I’m so thankful today for the way He loves me. I’m thankful that He fights for me and pursues me with grace. He lights up when He sees my face. And I get that…because I know what that’s like. 

I’m His favorite too…but just like me, He’d never tell His other kids that 🙂 I’m the first thing He wants to see in the morning and He’s the last one vying for my attention before I go to sleep every night.

I’m HIS girl.

And you are too. I don’t know who your person is who teaches you about love. Mine is a sassy 12 year old with the smile of an angel. Maybe yours are your kids. Or your mom. A student. Or a friend. But I’d like to guess that everyone has at least someone. So when you find yourself loving them with a love you don’t completely recognize or understand, stop for a second and think about how much MORE God loves you. And then thank Him for such a special gift…

Image

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.