As many of you know, one of our own, Maleah Weir, is spending her fall semester in the Philippines working with the wonderful organization, Wipe Every Tear. Maleah is an intern for their Livelihood program, which is their avenue to teach women a new lifestyle and trade they can live off of, without having to sell their own bodies.
Maleah wrote about her first month in the Philippines and we wanted to share her story here. Listen to her heart:
Well, here goes nothing – my attempt at blogging for the first time ever!
I’ve been living here in the Philippines for one month and one day now, and I’m left feeling speechless when I try to encapsulate my experiences and the journey that it’s been thus far! Highs and lows, every moment has been used by God to refine me and teach me more about His characteristics. Every day is new and I’m learning so much about ministry and what living in a foreign country as a missionary looks like. It’s hard, and it’s confusing, and most days I lay down sweaty and exhausted and I think about the day and I feel like most of my energy was spent fighting the heat and Manila traffic rather than sex trafficking! But this is the Truth I keep hearing from my Father, over and over again…
You can do nothing apart from Christ.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
Over the last month, I have experienced my weakness as a human in more ways than ever before. I have felt so weak — like I’m facing a sea of impossibilities everyday…I wake up everyday with this feeling of being overwhelmed with the tasks before us. And everyday (or, on the good days…), I have to fall on my face before the Lord declaring how weak and insufficient I feel to accomplish the task He’s set before us. And guess what, He always comes. He always shows up with His perfect provision. He shows up and whispers, “Maleah, I didn’t call you to this because you’re sufficient for the task…I called you here to show you just how insufficient you are when you try to do it without Me. Don’t you understand, this is so much bigger than you, My child. This is so much bigger than anything you can handle. This work is nothing that you can do on your own…in fact, this life is nothing you can do on your own. You need me, and I’m so proud of you for finally realizing your need for Me. Now, trust Me — abide in Me. In this task, and in every corner of your heart — I know it so much better than you do.” What a relief…finally the rest we’ve been looking for, right?
Abiding in Jesus looks like following His commandments. And what are His commandments? To love the Lord, to abide in His love, and to love our neighbors. It’s like a continual circle. Abiding in Christ causes us to follow His commandments, which causes us to reach out in love to our neighbors, which causes us to need to abide in Christ more for strength — and it just keeps going. I’ve understood this more in the last month than ever before…and I’m so thankful and humbled. We can do nothing apart from Christ — I believe it!
This ministry God has called us to here in the Philippines is not easy, in fact it’s incredibly challenging and requires daily surrender and abiding with Christ to sustain us! But, it has been the most beautifully messy journey of my life thus far. God is working in incredible ways on Walking Street, where thousands of girls sell their bodies every day just to put food on the table for their families. God is working in incredible ways through the homes of Wipe Every Tear, where over 70 women are experiencing freedom and the chance to pursue their dreams! And God is working in my heart – to root out the things that aren’t of Him, and create in me new springs of living water!
Thank you to all of you who have loved and supported me thus far, I am eternally grateful.