KNOXVILLE – The Rescue Ministries (TRM), is a non-profit Christian orphanage saving children in the Philippines, with a local state-side base in Jefferson County.
The founder of TRM, Justin Gent, was originally a missionary in the Philippines. However, he decided when he went back in 2009 with a small group of believers that the most effective ministry they could engage in is saving children from destitution permanently. Their plan was to focus on the two largest cities in the Philippines: Manila and Cebu.
Tiffany Goodpasture, a Johnson University alumni, former worker in the Department of Children’s Services, and Development Committee Chairperson for TRM, pointed out that while there are dozens of resources for children in need in each area of Knoxville, there are no more than twelve orphanages in the vast metropolis of Cebu.
Goodpasture described the environment in Cebu as tragic, saying, “There are enormous trash sites. People build shelters in dump sites and the children in them are the focus of our ministry.”
The Rescue Ministries was created in response to the needs of the children living in trash with their helpless families. They knew that coming in and delivering resources to the Filipino people would be a “band aid” solution to the problem, but they wanted to make a lasting impact.
Thus, they began an orphanage in Cebu, accepting both boys and girls under the age of eighteen – though they eventually found it would be beneficial to partner with other Christian orphanages in the area in order to separate the girls and boys. TRM now nurtures as many as two dozen orphan girls at a time, depending on the funding they receive.
Goodpasture explained how their desire is to have the children reconnected to their families, if possible, but many cannot simply because their families do not have the resources to keep them alive. TRM seeks to remedy this by going beyond the mission of an orphanage and helping many families in Cebu with basic needs.
Cathi Armstrong, a Johnson University alumni and board member of TRM in the states, has visited the orphanage in Cebu three times. She described the situations of the families, explaining that because the schools in the Philippines have a tuition like that of a private school in the US, many families can’t afford to keep their children fed, much less in school.
With the help of TRM, these children will be given an education as well as receiving an even more important knowledge of Christ through attending a local church. All of the girls they have rescued attend school, some of them even going on to attend college with the help of TRM.
Whatever level of education they reach, the lives of the girls cared for by TRM are undoubtedly touched as they receive the emotional, physical, and spiritual care they so desperately need.
Individuals can get involved by donating online, volunteering for local fundraisers and events to raise awareness, or attending missions trips to the Philippines through TRM.
Contact Tiffany Goodpasture for more information: (931) 797-2705.