*This story first appeared in The Budget’s June 13, 2018, Local Edition.
By Beverly Keller
When it comes to the children of the Philippines, Baltic resident Bick Miller has a heart because she was a child who grew up there.
“I know what it is like to live there,” she said. “See those children in the pictures, I used to be like them. We had nothing.”
Miller’s sister was sponsored through a ministry by a couple in Chicago. They sent the family much-needed items when she was growing up. After coming to America, Miller has kept in touch with members of her family that still call the island nation home.
After listening to God’s words to her, a ministry, Arise Children Outreach International, was born. The name came simply. “It is from scripture when Jesus told the little girl that everyone thought was dead to ‘arise’ and she did,” Miller explained. “Then Jesus told those people to feed her. That is exactly what we are doing.”
A donation of $25 per month supports one child so that he/she can go to school, have supplies and food each day. “Right now, we have 105 children sponsored and have more on a waiting list,” Miller explained. “Many of these children have nothing. I was down in April and a sponsor gave me extra money and asked me to take their child shopping. We went and got some new shirts, and I showed him some shorts and asked him to try them on but he wouldn’t do so. It was because he didn’t have any underwear, so we bought some. That is the thing, people here have next to nothing.”
Miller went on to explain that for many children the only food they get each day is at the public school. It is often just steamed rice wrapped in a banana leaf. “Once in a while, they might throw in some dried fish in with it,” she shared.
Each grade level at the public school contains 50 – 60 children with just one teacher. “Many of the children walk miles and miles just to get there,” she shared.
While in the Philippines in April, Miller said she noticed a young boy. “He was watching me eat so I invited him in to eat with us,” she said. “He was homeless, and his father begged daily in the market and his mother didn’t even know his birthday. They asked us to take care of him. Now he is living at the pastor’s house and has one chore – to fetch water. Osay has a birthday now, December 25. He doesn’t know how to read or write but enjoys the music in church.”
After sharing that story with a friend of her son’s, Braden Yoder, the boy was sponsored by Yoder and is now going to school.
Miller is currently making dresses for girls and dolls that match to take to the Philippines.
To get involved, contact Miller at 330-897-0159. Donations can be mailed to 4476 Troendly Road SW, Baltic, OH 43804. Make checks payable to Arise.