MISSIONS IN MANILA
by Maria Sumalinog
For six months last year, I participated in an internship organized by Canadian International Development Agency and Samaritan’s Purse Canada. I was fortunate to be assigned to the Philippines, my home country. About a decade before and a little after I came to Christ, I asked the Lord for an opportunity to serve “my people,” so to speak.
I worked for Samaritana Transformation Ministries, an NGO that aims to rescue women out of prostitution and poverty. Mine and my internship partner’s main thrust was to make available online a collection of anti-human trafficking articles so that like-minded agencies may benefit from it. The Lord was faithful and enabled us to finish the project halfway through the internship. This gave us more time to be with the women.
Romans 8:32 became the banner verse of my time in Manila. I learned that the Lord is pleased to give me everything I need, including faith, if only I ask Him. Even as I found myself angry over the injustices that the women went through, I rejoiced in knowing that the Lord is sovereign and was not indifferent to the abuse... Many of the women attest that had it not been for the darkness, their joy in Jesus’ light—the one True Light— would not be deep. Indeed, had it not been for the darkness, my conviction to help in the work against modern-day slavery would not be strong.
I was privileged to facilitate a class that prepared a number of the women to pass a GED-like exam. I got to know Karen who was forced into prostitution at age 18 because her daughter had gotten gravely ill. Like any woman with a similar history, she had very little confidence she could write the exam. With some encouragement over time, she grew to be one of my more competent students.
Through my time in the Philippines, God confirmed in me a calling for teaching. I now hope to finish a second degree in education and pay down my student loans so that I may return to the country and teach there for good. I thank McKernan, especially Pastors Sharon and Dan, for their prayers and support. Every time a prayer was said for me, I needed it.