In the shadows of Manila's glitz and glamour, pastor Expedito P. Macarine is preaching the gospel. Macarine, 40, established his church in the garbage slums of Tondo, despite the area's bad reputation. Other pastors who tried starting evangelical ministries in the slums were killed or run out by violence.
Tondo was the capital of a kingdom hundreds of years ago. In the late 1500s, it was conquered by Spanish Manila and is now a district of the capital city. It has about half a million people and one of the highest population densities in the world. It is also known for having some of the most violent slums in the Philippines.
Every Sunday, about 20 locals come to worship where Pastor Macarine is preaching. Outsiders are often shocked by the impoverished surroundings of the church, which looks more like a one-car garage than a place of worship. The church doesn't have enough chairs, Bibles, or floor space for all who come to the fellowship.
During the week, Macarine is a tricycle rickshaw driver, where he earns 6000 pesos a month. His earnings go first to support his family of five children and then to his ministry. Out of his own pocket, Macarine pays 1500 Philippine pesos, about $40, to rent the church building, as only 120 pesos come from the offerings. The area is so poor that Macarine says it is hard to find Christians who can help support the church's operations.
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