“Promised Land” for Former Street Dwellers


Article by entrepreneur and Creative Point International managing director Vanessa Velasco. An active youth leader since her years at the University of the Philippines, Vanessa supports various Christian church organizations and missions.

Here I am at one of the properties of Center for Community Transformation (CCT) in Kalikid, Cabanatuan City, one of the ministries I have been helping as part of my social advocacy. It is home to former street dwellers from Manila’s urban poor, and yet their lives were transformed when they have encountered God through CCT’s Kaibigan (“Friend”) ministry. Now they are living as farmers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and skilled workers in a 32-hectare property which started off as donations from individuals who were touched by CCT’s ministry. They named the place “Lupang Pangako” (or Promised Land in English) and very aptly so.

A worship hall stands at the center of the land where the God who provided for all these is praised and worshiped. A memorial wall was built near it where names of those who have gone before us are honored. Houses were constructed, designed by Australian and Hong Kong consultants, for families to grow and thrive. The people have begun planting gardens, and tilling the soil for crops, and raising poultry. A training center is being built and will soon be opened to offer technical-vocational courses to their children and the surrounding community.

Indeed, this is a land that is full of promise. Particularly for these people who once lived through the dirt and mire of Manila’s streets, and yet they have been given a chance at a new and better life.

This may be far from the “Promised Land” that God promised in Heaven to those who put their trust in Him. Heaven has been described as having streets of gold and walls of precious stones. But the story of these people is a glimpse of how we ourselves have been in the mire of our sin, and unless we let God redeem us, only then can we enter heaven, that eternal Promised Land, that Kingdom that never ends, where we will live in heavenly mansions and forever worship and praise Him who is at the center of all things.

If you want to know more about what I wrote there, feel free to send me a message at nechie@ymail.com.

For whom the bell tolls. This bell rings out loud calling people to worship!
The worship hall at the center of Kalikid. Our Philippine flag waves because this is a country whose God is the Lord.
The training center would soon offer classes and tech-voch programs to the surrounding communities.
 Posing in one of the newer houses of the Kaibigan partners. 
Duplex houses made even more beautiful by colorful flowers planted by the community residents themselves.

(Main photo from cct.org.ph.)