Jack is 13. He was previously using solvents but hasn't done so for a while. I met Jack when he came to my house with Charlotte(one of the girls that stays regularly)about two weeks ago. He ia always very dirty with holes in his clothes as he is sleeping on the street. Jack accompanies me (and Charlotte) to Sunday school at 9am and the main church service at 1030am. I hope that he would be allowed into our church if I wasn't there to accompany him but its difficult to know as an unaccompanied child without shoes and with dirty holey clothes may sadly be turned away at the door of any church these days.
church, he sits next to me mostly quietly and listens to my
instructions. He tries to sing the songs and looks at the words when we
are reading from the Bible (a tough task as it's in English!) He seems
to be listening to parts of the message which is a definite improvement
on the other children that sometimes accompany me, as documented before.
Sometimes he falls asleep but at least tries to stop himself by sharply
jerking his head backwards and forwards which tends to make me laugh.
Having him there is an unintentional test for the church as some are
moved with compassion as they hear his efforts to sing and others (i'm
sure) still see him as a dirty abusive street child who doesn't belong
Jack is always pleased to see me in the street and rushes
forward greeting me with a friendly smile and calling my name. He
appeared last week in his holey, dirty clothes with terrible grazing all
over his face. He said he had collided with a tricyle (motorised with
side cart.) Then I saw him sleeping on the edge of the pavement in the
central island of the main road in Cubao. He was just inches away from
the traffic and could easily have rolled into it. Later that day I again
saw him sleeping alone but in a safer place this time.
reason Jack's general appearance and friendly innocence tugs at my heart
(more so than normal :)and I hate to leave him on the street but there
is no alternative for him at the moment. He walks with a strange gait
which makes him stand out from the other children. Last week whilst
sitting next to him in his holey, dirty clothes at the end of the church
service I sensed his lostness and unhappiness although he tries to hide
it with a smile. I told him that Jesus loves him and cares about his
life and problems. He looked at me to see if it was true and I assured
him it was. I could see he took it to heart and hoped it was true.
is obviously some sort of problem with his family but he won't talk
about it and his friends say he doesn't have a house to go home to.
he attended the drop-in Christmas party, came rushing straight up to me
with a big smile and totally knocked me for six by saying "Ate (sister)
Natalie, can I please come to the church service with you on Sunday
because of my sin..."
Afterwards, I reflected that although he
is probably mistaken theologically as in his mind he thinks of church as
a place for confession due to Catholic teaching, maybe his childlike
understanding of the reasons for going to church (and needing a Saviour)
are more advanced than the masses who dutifully head that way every
week. Certainly by recognising his sinfulness and wanting to do
something about it he is making progress..Actually I was amazed that a
child wanted to attend the main service as I have to virtually drag
Charlotte in every week and the others are sporadic in their attendance.
Once inside it's often difficult to keep them there as they disappear
for 5 minutes here and there to chat with friends outside or take
extended breaks in the bathroom.
At the end of the party tonight
the children were all given a small gift bag and Jack was keen to show
me his as he tied the top closed carefully for later.
at that moment watching him that it was the gratitude factor that had
moved me again. Surely these are the helpless and hopeless that Jesus
spoke about. Most people we help are assuming and take things for
granted. But occasionally there is one that comes back to say thankyou
and this time it was a child.
Pray for Jack* I can't stand to see
him sleeping alone on the street every day and its only a matter of
time before he is drawn back into solvents.
I hope this hymn will
help us all to remember what a debt of gratitude we owe to God for
having mercy on us. I am blessed to hear great hymns like this at Cubao
Reformed Baptist Church week by week.
1. How sweet and aweful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores!
2. Here every bowel of our God
With soft compassion rolls;
Here peace and pardon bought with blood
Is food for dying souls.
3. While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?
4. Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
5. ’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.
6. Pity the nations, O our God!
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.
7. We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May with one voice, and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.