I keep thinking about a sweet young woman in the shelter who is filled with light and unbelievable strength! When she talks about her years of abuse, her focus is on the fact that her prayers were answered and she is safe now and will find purpose in her trials. The younger girls at the shelter look up to her and lean on her for support.
She has a newborn baby as a result of the abuse she suffered and is naturally a sweet and responsible mother. Her own mother died when she was still quite young leaving an enormous void! When this young woman told me (in perfect English) that she was finishing high school soon and wanted to go to college to become a lawyer to fight for children’s rights, all I could say was “I believe you!” And I do.
As I listened to her dreams I could see that she was chosen in her affliction to be a leader for those who cannot escape the same torment. There are altogether too many victims of sexual abuse, and in the Philippines the children are oftentimes blamed for the abuse or not believed. Even when they are believed, they are taught to just move on, forgive and forget. Justice is rarely sought and healing is rarely obtained. These facts lead to more abuse and more broken souls.
I believe it will take an insider who has healed and knows the way to truly lead. Lighthouse Sanctuary was created as a place of safety and healing. A place where future leaders come to understand that we have a Savior with healing power, who loves us and wants us to be happy. They can then take that message to their families, friends and communities to spread that light and hope of healing to the many broken souls.
We are already seeing this truth in action. One child lived at the shelter for 6 months and has been home for 6 months. I stopped by her school to ask her principal if he had noticed a change in her since returning from the shelter. He smiled a big smile and told us he felt like she was a whole new child. He explained that before she moved to the shelter she missed many days of school. She would not look at anyone or interact, even if she was posed a question. He told us that now she almost never misses a day. She participates in class and is surrounded by friends. He said that not only has she changed so dramatically but her family has also changed for the better.
Another teenager who stayed at the shelter after being trafficked was only home for a short while when she was asked to be a leader in her community and in her church. She has been assigned to teach the youth and has been a light to help protect them and guide them to the healIng powers of Jesus Christ.
If in just one year we are seeing these kind of miracles, I can only imagine what is in store a generation from now. There is a great work to be done, light to be spread and souls to be healed! Now is the time to “Let your light so shine…”
The journal entry below was written by the young mother previously mentioned. She has given permission to share. Please note that Parola Santuwaryo means Lighthouse Sanctuary in Tagalog.
A shelter of hope. A shelter of love. A shelter of family; and a shelter for a new beginnings. A place for children with different struggles and stories. A place where you can find peace of mind and a place where you will be committed to God.
Parola Santuwaryo is a happy place to live in. Especially to the innocent ones who had been abused. The pains, struggles and heartaches will vanished with the air. You will be healed through love and devotion to our Dear God. You won’t feel unloved because in this shelter, you will find unending happiness.
Sooner or later, you will be at ease. Why? because “everything happens for a reason.” Someday, that pain and heartache you’ve been feeling right now will be healed. They may say, “You’re life has no direction.” Don’t stop. Show the world and prove them wrong. It was just a challenge you must overcome. Yes! It is really hard but trust God and he will bless you with all your might. Be positive no matter what happens. Parola Santuwaryo, a shelter, may be temporary but the memories will be forever.
Everything happens for a reason
With out hearts and hands, we will serve.
Never Give Up! Fight for the truth, justice and peace!