From a young age, “M” has known the heartache of separation from those she loved. Her story begins in the Philippines where she lived with her mother and siblings. At the age of eight, she and two younger siblings were placed in an orphanage in Manilla. And that’s where she found Jesus and began her walk with Him.
In 2008 she and her sisters left the orphanage and their home country to be adopted by a family in California. But just three years later at the age of 18, while still learning the language and becoming familiar with American ways, she was out on the street, no longer welcome in the home where her two siblings remained. She recalls the very minute her adoptive parents completely broke ties with her in 2019, stating that she was no longer their daughter. Losing their support and the connection to her siblings hurt “M” deeply.
In 2020, circumstances found her living with a friend who insisted she become involved with illegal drugs and other behaviors that she knew were not pleasing to the Lord. She desperately wanted to separate herself from this way of life. An organization in California gave her the telephone number for Refuge for Women. Her face beams as she recalls the initial call that introduced her to the ministry some twenty-three hundred miles away. “They accepted me right away, thank God! I love that it’s Christian based. God blessed me with the Refuge.”
Joy radiates from her smile and her eyes when she talks about her experiences at the Refuge. It means so much to her that Ked and Michelle and everyone at the Refuge put their Christianity into action “by loving us, by loving people even though we are strangers to them.” These genuine expressions of Christlikeness are, unfortunately, very different from much of what she experienced after leaving the orphanage in the Philippines.
The many hardships “M” endured growing up have not dimmed her hope for the future. “I love knowing God, working with God through the struggle. He has helped me deal with the hurt, and I thank God for helping me and healing me little by little.”
After graduating from the Refuge for Women program in 2021, she moved into the transition arm of the ministry. She enjoys working at Survivor Made where she makes candles, journals, and purses. She also assists with shipping. But she longs to return to the Philippines to share her testimony.
“That’s my big dream. I want to be a missionary. Because I want everyone to know God.” Her face lights up again as she details her goals and plans for the future, all inspired by her growing faith and the life-changing experiences and people she’s encountered at Kentucky Refuge for Women.
The words flow faster as she talks about her deep desire to share her faith with her birth mother and mend their relationship by extending forgiveness for all that happened in the past. “I want to tell my mom that I love her and that God loves her.”
She yearns to return to the Philippines to help her mother, siblings, and nephew secure safe housing and find opportunities for education as they cannot read or write. She would love to offer hope for a better life for her family and others by building a free school for people of all ages. She envisions training people to work at a store she would build where parents can earn wages to provide for their families while their children are in school. But her greatest desire is to introduce them to the God who has done so much for her.
The first step toward these big dreams is for “M” to complete training and be licensed as a medical assistant, so that she can earn money to fund her return to her homeland. There, she would continue working as a medical assistant, earning money that she could use to assist her family.
“M’s” dreams are big. But so is her God. Her heart for others is enormous. The passion for her God unwavering. Her determination to reconnect with the loved ones she’s been separated from for so long is steadfast. “M’s” plans can be summed up in one sentence. “My goal is to help people.”