Tim Tebow has never shied away from talking about his charity work. “Everyone should find something greater than themselves,” he told PEOPLE from Haiti earlier this year. “You need to find a place to serve others, and then you do it.”
And Tebow, 29, seems to be practicing what he preaches.
The former NFL quarterback has been busy working on his baseball skills since last fall. (Teams will begin scouting him next week – and some major leaguers have said that they were impressed with his skills.
But despite his all-encompassing training, Tebow still found time to visit the Philippines on a missions trip in July. He shares exclusive photos and video of the trip with PEOPLE.
It’s ‘A Dream come True’
“I was born here,” Tebow says. “I grew up here in the early stages of my life. I love the Filipino people – they’re some of the friendliest, warmest, nicest people in the world. And, to be able to come back here and care for them and love them, well it’s truly a dream come true.”
“Thirteen years ago, I was in a village in the Philippines and I met a boy named Sherwin whose feet were on backwards,” Tebow continues. “His story really gave me the dream to fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves – to give kids like Sherwin a chance at hope, and the feeling of love that they so deserve,”
While in the Philippines, Tebow visited an orphanage, spoke to people in schools and prisons, and also stopped at the Tebow CURE Hospital, a facility that his team opened in 2014.
Since opening its doors, the Tebow CURE Hospital has treated 3,300 patients who might not otherwise have access to healthcare. (And yes, the Tebow CURE Hospital has one of “Timmy’s Playrooms,” a children’s area for seriously ill children.)
“Kids are being carried in and they’re walking out,” he says. “They’re coming in with their heads down and walking out with their heads held high.”
More Work To Do
Also on Tebow’s agenda: meeting with an on-the-ground team about Night to Shine, his annual worldwide prom for people with special needs.
Tebow says that there’s still a lot of work to be done in the Philippines – and that he’s committed to working with the less fortunate, no matter what happens in his sports career.
“We’re just getting started because there is so much to do and there are so many people who need our help,” he says. “We want to continue giving people hope, giving them love they’ve never had their entire life and introducing them to a God who loves them and has a plan for their life. I just think that when you’re in a place like the Philippines, you realize it and it hits you just how important this is.”