I’m in Manila right now just itching to update you on Princess, the girl I met at the Logos Hope evangelism event on the ship. Just to recall, she was the one who accepted Christ after we prayed for her 2 sons in the hospital. She texts me after a couple of weeks to say that she had to leave her 3 sons behind with her live-in boyfriend to take care of. He was not amused since only one of them was his own. They don’t want to be together anymore since he does not approve of her faith and he would punch her during heated arguments. Princess went to Manila to find work and her friend told her about a restaurant that she works at so Princess thought she’d give it a go. When she told me her long hours that went until 4am I was already suspicious. God put it on my heart to really pray for her and where she was living and working was just a walk away from the Pasay YWAM Drop in Center. They focus more on the paper making livelihood and delivery to the place where they use it for making cards. I told her to meet with my base director and so she got hired for paper making for the meantime in Pasay.. She didn’t tell me the details until I met with her yesterday. I was so excited to see her there.. Princess told me that when she arrived at the “so-called restaurant” it turned out that she had to sit next to the customers and drink alcohol as a ladies drink, which gives them the right to do whatever they wanted with her in the bar. A bar fine would mean that they got to take them outside of the bar. They even have cameras everywhere to watch everything that they are doing. She found it much worse than when she was working in Barretto, Olongapo as a dancer cause at least she didn’t need to drink hard liquor and get felt up by customers. She felt so out of her element and was a lightweight with just one drink so she hated the work. I was so happy that it took only 4 shifts before she was out of there and living her new life in Christ! When I saw her she looked so happy and thankful for the Lord rescuing her from that place.
I forgot to mention the tragic news that occurred last Friday. We were bar evangelizing that night and at 4AM I got a text from a bar girl saying that the Dryden Hotel that was above the 2 bars YWAM has gone into was burning down. After the details unfolded within a couple of days we learned that the fire could have been prevented. They could not work the fire extinguishers, the water hose wasn’t working and the fire exit door was locked.. the fire lasted for 3 hours spreading to other hotels. The bars below didn’t suffer much damage and it’s still under investigation how it started. 7 people died in the fire and it made international news. 3 of them were American, 1 Korean and 3 Filipinas. Princess said one of the Filipino girls was her friend. I believe they were all from 2 different bars who were with their customers at the time.
A couple of days ago I felt such a pull to pray for all the bar girls that I had a strong connection with and who have left the bar either to find a decent job, go to school, or just left by faith trusting in a better future. This was the start of the miracles that happened that night.
Before we even went to evangelism, I called a former bar girl named Joy. She was the one I mentioned before that worked in Barretto, whom I bumped into in Angeles and now she has just given birth 2 weeks ago to a baby boy. She desired to go to school by coming to YWAM Olongapo after the birth of her sonbut her mother wanted her close by in their province. Joy told me that she wanted me to name her child and I was so honored! I suggested the great leaders of the bible like: Moses or Daniel and she liked Daniel.. So his name shall be Daniel and middle name Resco. So cute.
Then there was a former bartender named Geri, whom I’ve known for over a year and a half ever since I became a staff. I remember talking until past midnight at Mcdonalds trying to empower her to think about her future to have a better life and leave the bar. Her weakness was that she was so desperate to provide for her family so I prayed for them. After coming back from my first visit to Canada she texts me saying she’s left the bar and gone back to her family’s town (about an hour drive away) and enrolled in college and she thanked me for taking the time to talk through the desires she had to live for God and live out the best that He had for her. We still keep in touch here and there through texting. A few weeks ago she was desperately texting me to help her financially to enroll in school since the application deadline was within a couple days and that her salary would be coming soon to pay me back. Geri was already working 2 jobs and could barely make the payment. I couldn’t help at the time since I was also behind in finances and in the past I had bad experiences of helping people out and having money come in between our friendship. so I told her that I could pray for her but that God would be the one to ultimately provide. She had been asking her friends and feeling betrayed that they couldn’t help either. After that I didn’t hear from her for weeks and so a couple of days ago it led me to intercede for restoration of our friendship.
That night we went to one of the bars and suddenly I saw her face and called out to her and we both couldn’t believe our eyes! Instantly we were reunited again and I told her that just a couple hours ago I was praying for her! I happened to have just one Tagalog bible with me and gave it to her. Geri apologized for not texting me back because she was in the hospital for a few weeks because of her skin condition.. some sort of acid on her skin that produced white spots on her arms and chest. And she was sorry for asking for money from me and I said it was okay. She ended up enrolling with the help of her boyfriend, who was also giving her money for her and her family every 15 days. I met her boyfriend who of course was a westerner. She wanted to meet up the next day back to the place where on that fateful day, God spoke to her in Mcdonalds. But when the day came she was admitted to the hospital cause her skin reacted again. Please keep her in prayer.. I plan to meet her and her family in the town of Bataan one day.
Another encouraging thing that occurred that night when I bumped into Geri was when I was just about to leave and a bar girl that I have known for a long time and has worked in other bars came up to me.. This was a first cause before I used to always talk to her and she would look so miserable like she didn’t want to be there but still very hesitant on coming to church or attending bible study. This time was different cause she was the one initiating and asking for prayer and apologized for not coming to our events since she worked every day to provide for her child. Her baby always has a fever so she wrote me the name of her daughter. I prayed for her right then and was inspired how the Lord softened her heart after so long.
We invited a couple of girls to the sewing program located under the church on the bar strip. The program is only 18 days of training for all sorts of sewing. There is a high chance of getting hired in a factory and they can even work overseas. It has a waiting list and the next one starts in April. This is a great chance for girls to obtain skills that they can take where ever they want to live! They earn while they learn with transportation fare included. It would be 10 bags for 500 pesos (about 12 USD) depending if they can sell it themselves. The bags are also sold in popular grocery stores locally in Olongapo.
Please pray for my safe journey to Malaysia to attend the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution. It’ll be a great opportunity for me to see what other ministries are doing globally. Who knows that God wants to open up doors for me to step into in the near future. I feel like its my time to get a fresh perspective on what is happening around the world and not just in YWAM.. This will be specifically for the cause against prostitution. I am so blessed to be able to attend this conference and meet my friends who were with me during the most trying and joyful times in Australia. May God open my eyes and ears to hear His heart for the mission He’s called me on.