Drop-in Centre (DnC) is the name that has been given to our “Feeding Program” for the homeless.
The Cubao area is one of the major shopping complexes for the whole of Metro-Manila, with hundreds of shops, restaurants, large stores and three malls as well as being the main hub for provincial buses in Manila.
It is in this prosperous and bustling area, just a few hundred yards from Cubao Reformed Baptist Church(CRBC), that many homeless people can be found, attracted by the countless people and the opportunities to eke out a living. They can be found sleeping in alcoves, store doorways and under bridges at night. There are many families with small children as well as individuals. They are there for a multitude of reasons. Some of course due to drugs, alcohol, mental problems, sickness or even laziness. Many live by their wits, collecting garbage or act as barkers for the ubiquitous jeepnies which are one of the main means of transport in Manila. Some are covered with tattoos evidence that they have been in prison.
In 2003 Matthew Gamston a young missionary from England who had begun working with Cubao Reformed Baptist Church, began to have a burden to reach out to this neglected and despised group of people. He used to go out on the streets at night and even though just learning Tagalog he built up a rapport with many of these marginalized people. He suggested that a meeting be held at the CRBC premises for these people. They should be invited for a meal, to use the toilet facilities, wash their clothes and above all be given the opportunity to hear the proclamation of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church got behind the project and the Drop-in Centre every Thursday night was born in November of that year. Volunteers from the church continue to give themselves every Thursday night to cook a good meal and serve those who come. There are certain conditions on those who can attend, such as no one high on drugs or alcohol can enter. Men from the Church preach the Word of God and the amazing thing is there is real quiet and the approximately 100 who gather listen intently. One of the ladies takes the children into one of our Sunday School rooms and a children’s meeting is held simultaneously.
A Monday night Bible Study has also been now continuing for a number of years to which about 20 attend. This again is taught by several of the men in CRBC. In the goodness of the Lord we have seen 5 people from the streets added to the church membership. The most recent just baptized in December 2011.
Matthew Gamston has now moved from Cubao and is helping a sister Reformed Baptist Church in the southern area of Greater Manila, a place called San Pedro. The Drop-in work is therefore headed up by one of the CRBC Deacons Virgo Ablao and continues each Thursday except for a break during the Philippines “summer” and a short break at Christmas and New Year.
Drop-in Centre Camp
Each October through the kindness of sponsors abroad a camp is held for the homeless outside of Manila, usually at a Christian camp site. About 80 of the regular attendees at the meetings are able to go on this camp which has proved very profitable in getting to know folk well and many opportunities to make known personally the gospel of sovereign grace.
Homeless Ministry of Christian Compassion Ministries
An outcome of the Drop-in Ministry is that we are also helping individuals and families through our main benevolent work the Christian Compassion Ministries Foundation. Most children of the street people do not go to school. CCM however is now making it possible for a number of children to have an education by supporting them in school and helping them with their assignments and homework. The CCM has set aside one of its Social Workers, Alexander Maniwang (Xander) to work with these families and the contacts we have on the streets.
In the past we have tried helping with livelihood projects but everything we have tried has eventually had to stop due to a lack of market for products which were being produced. Currently we are concentrating on the children whom we want to get off the street and for them to be able to have an education.
Please see the how CCM is helping in this ministry.