Waskasoo Bible Fellowship has supported Sharon Agnew for a number of years. She was commended from Shoreacres Bible Chapel in Burlington Ontario, and presently runs a small mission in the Philippines for single mothers called Shepherd’s Home. Here is what Sharon says about her mission …
The Shepherd’s Home in Manila, Philippines, started in 1998 as a result of concern for single single mothers who do not have the resources or family help and support to care adequately for their children. The name comes from a verse in Isaiah.. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Our mission is to show God’s love in a practical way, offering these women temporary support and shelter while discipling them for Christ, until they are able to become independent once again.
We are able to accommodate four mothers along with their children at one time. The average stay is for one year, more or less depending on their individual situations and needs. For example, two of the mothers presently in the home have been here for over two years as one is completing her education and the other has a unique situation with a very handicapped child. Another mother was recently here for 7 months until she was able to get work and re-connect with her family who are now helping to look after her child. We’ve been able to offer this help to 17 mothers since the home began. Many of them have come from very difficult and often abusive backgrounds and often express appreciation for the love and care they receive here, even though living “in community” is not always easy.
While caring for their physical needs, we have the opportunity to present Christ as the ultimate “Good Shepherd”. Some come already knowing him as Savior, and we’ve had the joy of seeing others come to know and accept him while here. Then we have the on-going responsibility to help them grow in their faith and deepen their relationship with the Lord. We also seek to offer practical ways of helping themselves and developing personal responsibility for their lives. This involves the areas of personal needs, interpersonal relationships, parenting and homemaking skills, as well as livelihood, employment and budgeting skills. Another important goal is to work towards reconciliation as needed and possible with family members.
We keep in touch with many who have left the home, providing on-going encouragement and support. Life is particularly hard for those who still do not have family support and are seeking to raise their children on their own. Most of them receive salaries that are very inadequate to meet their needs, and so a sponsorship program has been developed to offer these mothers some financial assistance which helps with the cost of babysitting or schooling needs for the children. We have also initiated a small housing project which will povide low rental housing for some as they move out on their own.
We are grateful for all those who have offered help and support in many ways. This past year a couple from the assembly we attend moved into the small apartment which is attached to the house. Marcelena offers valuable skills in helping to manage the home, as well as working with both the children and mothers helping to guide and disciple them. An advisory board offers much appreciated advice and direction, and others have contributed their time to help with individual counseling and group Bible studies.
The need for prayer is very evident as we carry on this ministry. It’s been a joy to see God at work, being faithful to provide for their needs in various ways as they seek to know and follow him in their lives. We often experience discouragements though as we see the struggles that many have and some not willing to recognize and make needed changes in their lives. It is also a big burden to see how this affects their children. Our own failures and weaknesses in “shepherding” are evident at times as well. And so, we seek to become more and more dependent on God, trusting him to continue his work in our own lives and those he entrusts to us for a time at Shepherd’s Home.