I’m now getting back in the hang of things since I don’t have that chronic fever and cold anymore. I now go to once a week dental checkup on my jaw plus 2 times a week for physical therapy to massage out the kinks in my facial, neck and shoulder muscles that are connected to the TMJ issue.
This month we coordinated a long awaited evangelism event with the Logos Hope Ship which took place on board. Our aim was to invite 100 bar girls to it. An amazing 70 girls showed up from all around Olongapo for a lunch on board the ship with a show of cultural dancing, testimonies, and mingling with Ywammers and Logos people. A girl I invited named Geraldine even came with her 5 kids. The YWAM base girls were also invited including all the staff and volunteer workers. Cathy shared her powerful testimony, one of the fruit of the ministry who is now a staff member of YWAM. She was rejected by her family and got caught up taking drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. She worked in Angeles city as a bar girl and when she was about to abort her first baby along with the other girls who got the procedure paid for by the mamasan, she felt the Holy Spirit stop her and cause a sickness where she couldnt even get up to go. She was afraid after seeing the girls return with dead fetuses in a gatorade bottle and buckets. After that shocking scene she went downstairs and was invited by a missionary to attend a bible study in the next room so she went down and listened to one of the missionaries’ testimony and the story of the prodigal son in the bible and how it truly reflected her own story of rebellion but how the Father welcomed him back with unconditional love still. Cathy instantly decided to repent and give her life to the Lord and leave the bar to come to YWAM. Last year she graduated DTS and now she is a staff ministering to girls just like her in the red light.
As she finished her story you could see so many girls were deeply touched and crying. At the table I hosted, a girl named Princess was in tears because her mother didn’t know she was working in the bars and has another child from her live in boyfriend. She will be seeing her in January and desires reconciliation so I prayed for her.
Marelene , who was another former disciple of YWAM shared how she was living on the streets and how God had answered her prayer when she cried out to Him to take her away from that place. She was didn’t have family to take care of her but when she stumbled on the missionaries God used them to speak into her life. She is now graduated in the program as well as college and working as a midwife in a Christian organization.
Then one of the Logos Hope members shared his story of redemption of how the enemy tried to rob his identity through sexuality and brokenness. How molestation from an old man at a young age tried to destroy his future through condemnation and a cycle of sexual abuse and confusion. I truly admired his boldness to open up his life to us.. it was especially good for the “lady boys” (men who posed as girls) and lesbians to hear this. He was now serving the Lord and standing true of who he was in Christ. A new creation that experienced complete redemption.
After the sharing, many girls raised their hands in response to receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. It was so inspiring to witness how His love has ministered to them all. We all prayed, comforted and rejoiced with them.. May God help us follow up on their spiritual progress that will eventually give them strength to live a life of holiness and freedom.
Princess texted me about a week after the event, telling me she was at the hospital with her 2 sons and so I went with a worker to go meet with her. She told me how her boyfriend found out she went to the Logos Event and he threw the bible they gave her at her. He was physically abusive to her and they always fought. She fears that if she joined YWAM that he would take one of her sons away. She expressed how her heart was ministered to during Cathy’s sharing and she asked if she could be a member of YWAM without living or working there.. I asked her what she meant and joked if she wanted a badge. she looked very excited and then it dawned on me that she meant she wanted to be a Christian. haha it sounded like she wanted to join a cult but then we understood. I asked her if she accepted Jesus in her heart and she reminded me that she cried in the sharing of the testimony as a response. God bless her heart.. she wanted to be a Christian so bad. We led her in a prayer and she received Jesus right then and there. She didn’t have any money for even diarrhea medicine for her baby that was equivalent to 4 bucks. so we both chipped in and went from pharmacy to pharmacy asking for it but it was rare to find the kind for babies. Finallywe found it and she wept for joy. Princess desires to attend church and leave the bars one day and even join YWAM with her 3 children. The issue is.. we can only accept at maximum 1 child and we are lacking in space already with just 8 girls. We just had a new girl come in the ministry after just meeting her at the bars during evangelism.
Our prayer for the ministry is to see the building expand to house more girls and their children because so many girls are interestedbut the requirement is limited to single girls without children because of the lack of space.
The Logos Hope ship after about 10 long months has finally set sail to Hong Kong and they had a farewell dinner with us. Geraldine, the bar girl with the 5 children didnt even have a cell phone but heard of them leaving so she was invited by the team and she came with her daughter and friend. Her mamasan was upset that she left early from work and she paid the 500 pesos to leave and even paid for a taxi to get her for 300 pesos. Most bar girls are paid only 200 pesos a day without going out with customers. So that was a huge sacrifice.. it really showed her heart to say goodbye to the Logos team. She wept every time we came to see her. We offered her a job so hopefully she will pay off her debt that she owes to the bar and come work in the paper making livelihood that’s expanding in the ministry. Her son especially wanted her to leave the bars when the Logos team member gave us a topic to discuss. “If you could do anything in the world.. what would you do with unlimited resources.. what is your dream?” Her son’s answer was for her to leave the bars.. He was just 8 years old.
One of the bar girls named Michelle, who worked with Geraldine is now working in Malaysia as a maid in a hotel. She isn’t getting paid anything for a month but has enough to eat. Michelle would call Geraldine and tell her how shes emotionally struggling from loneliness cause she is not allowed to even chat to her coworkers. Hopefullyif it is God’s will I would like to visit her if I can figure out where she lives.. In late January, I will be attending a A Southeast Asia Consultation titled, “The Heart that Waits” to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hosted by ICAP. http://www.icapglobal.org It stands for “The International Christian Alliance on Prostitution”. It unites, equips and empowers practitioners and advocates who compassionately challenge injustice and offer freedom to people exploited by prostitution, including sex trafficking. After the conference I will be staying with a good friend of mine, one of those divinely-appointed-into-your-life-for-a-brief-time. In Sydney, she has helped me get to the next stage of my faith journey by offering me her place to stay and encouraging me to step out in confidence that I would find work and accommodation within one week. God did a miracle and did come through for me at the 11th hour, during that desperate time of my life and it catapulted me to be able to be here in the Philippines. I will also be meeting up with another friend in Malaysia whom I co-led a connect group with while in Hillsong Church.
It’s my prayer to come back full of vision for the new year, be refreshed to take on the tasks ahead and be anticipating the possibilities of what God has for us in 2013.
I got an interesting story to tell that deals with my street cat ministry. I had a desire in my heart to own a cat and so I stumbled on a kitten whostail had been chopped off or run over by a vehicle. I remembered seeing a kitten before barely getting run over by a motorcyclebut I had to run an errand and was discouraged from someone to not do anything about it. I had to rewrite the past and so I nursed it back to health and now its very playful and healthy.
Then my coworker had a surprise for me where I kept my kitten in the laundry room. It was 2 baby kittens perhaps only a week old! The neighbors had trashed it in the bushes without its mother to take care of them. Then after the encounter with Princess we came back to the base at night hearing meows coming out of the same bushes.. we discovered a whole litter of kittens and took them out, counting 4 more to add to the bunch! They were the cutest thing since sliced bread and plenty hungry and making tons of noise.. I snuck them in and so begins the kitty cat orphanage.
It was quite overwhelming to make sure they were well fed and clean up after each one of them.. perhaps God’s showing me how motherhood needs to know how to prioritize ones time. I felt that all I could think about was feeding them and making sure they were okay.
I left for Angeles to follow up with a bar girl and entrusted the care of my 7 kittens to my coworker. In Angeles the girl I wanted to meet is named Giselle who is 23 years old and still a virgin. She had recently had her heart broken by her first boyfriend and was so hurt that she wanted to give up her virginity already cause she lost all hopebut I encouraged her that that wasn’t the answer to her broken heart. I gave her a Christian magazine to read and will get her a tagalog bible the next time I visit.
I came back to see that the kittens were having some sort of virus and it was infecting the whole litter.. they were skin and bones and having diarrhea. They didn’t have the antibodies from their mother’s milk that would protect them from this sort of thing. I’ve never seen anything suffer and slowly die until then.. it broke my heart to see each one of them fall ill and pass away.. I knew the Lord wanted to teach me something through this hardship. I couldn’t believe I was able to go through it all.. It felt like I needed to give up the very thing I loved.
If I had all 7 kittens to take care of, all my time would be (has been lately) invested into them and competing with my time with Him and the mission. Plus there is a team about to come stay in our apartment tomorrow.. it would be chaos for all of us with all the meowing and feeding.. It’s time to let go of everything because He knows whats best for me in His timing. God’s blessed me by granting my wishbut He knows my heart’s desire better than all I could ever imagine. It’s all about surrendering my will for his.. cause His ways are higher.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
Thankfully, I still have the first healthy kitten that I rescued and he’s grown so big.. Every trial has its reason and its to draw closer to Him no matter what the season. ♥