Hello from the beautiful Philippines!
Life is in full swing here — I’m learning how to be flexible and how to trust the Lord in all the small things, here in the Philippines and back home in the States.
Right now, the doors of opportunity for Livelihood programs here at Wipe Every Tear are being opened like crazy. We are progressing with the Livelihood programs that are already in place as well as building up foundations for other programs to begin!
Three of our current Livelihood programs provide income for 19 out of the 60 girls in our care. These programs include Tayo jewelry making, Samaritana post card making, and Bella Goose Coffee training staff. These programs are amazing!! Seriously! But, currently they have the capacity to provide extra income for only 19 of our 60 girls. So, we are striving for excellence by looking to expand what we can offer our girls, as well as bargirls who have not yet come into WET’s care. So you might be thinking, uh okay what the heck why does this matter or what is Maleah even talking about…wellllllll, here goes!!
Over the past two and a half months, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to Angeles City about six times, each time spending two-three nights doing “outreach” on Walking Street. This is where the majority of the girls in our care come from, and it is a major hotspot in Southeast Asia for sex tourism. When in Angeles, most of my time is spent building relationships or nourishing existing relationships with bargirls/customers/management. Over the past two months of outreach, I cannot tell you the number of girls who have regretfully turned down the program Wipe Every Tear offers because they have financial responsibilities to their families back home that forced them to go to the bars in the first place. Some girls I’ve spoken with have ten siblings that they’re working to provide for back home, with neither parents working a steady job due to a lack of education. Yes, the offer of a free college education in a safe, loving environment sounds like a dream, but can only be a dream for a girl who needs a job NOW to provide for her family back home.
Over the past two and a half months, we have experienced a number of girls leaving our care to go back to the bars to work because the financial demands of their families rose and they felt like they had no other option. Many of our girls were taken out of school at a very young age due to poverty, financial stress, or the need to find a job — some as young as grade six. Because of this, many of our girls are in the ALS program, which is basically the equivalent of attaining your GED in the States. The girls attending ALS only have school two days a week, all in preparation to take one exam at the end of the year. Many of the girls who have left our care were ALS students who began to feel discouraged when they’ve taken the exam three or four times…and they’re 30 years old with a grade six level education, three kids, and parents and siblings to be providing for. Without Wipe Every Tear offering them an alternative income option while they continue to pursue their studies, of course they are going to return to the only job that they know they can provide for their children with.
I could go on and on with examples and passion filled stories of WHY the Livelihood program is so important (!!!), but I will stop here. I hope and pray you see the great need and let your heart break a little bit for the reality spoken about above. There’s nothing more discouraging than seeing hope leave from a young girl who believed for a minute that she was worth more. May we always been striving towards higher excellence in how we love the people God calls us to. It matters. The way you love today matters. The way you make yourself available with a listening ear today matters. The way you look someone in the eyes and make them feel seen today matters.
Alongside our current Livelihood programs mentioned above, the Livelihood staff here in the Philippines is working hard to come up with additional livelihood opportunities that will 1.) allow more women to say YES to coming into Wipe Every Tear’s care and experience healing and restoration 2.) put a stop to women leaving our care due to a lack of income.
We are praying hard into the opportunities that God has already placed in our paths and doing our best to simply ride the waves of His provision! With the Spirit’s leading, we are currently working on partnerships with a local beauty care social enterprise, a local essential oil company, a local start-up sewing social enterprise, a local soap and candle company, and many many more!! Seriously, God is just flooding us with opportunities and connections and we are just doing everything we can to stay on top of it!! Crazy — God is a God of abundance, that’s for sure!!
Alongside these partnerships, we have been training a number of our girls in water color. With the artwork that the girls are painting, the Livelihood team is producing mugs, calendars, and postcards. These items will be sold during the Christmas season (which starts in September in the Philippines!!), to supply our girls with the money they need to visit family for Christmas. We hope these products will be produced and sold in various local markets long term, but the short term goal of a Christmas pop-up has been a great place for our girls to start envisioning what this could look like for them!
HOW YOU CAN HELP!!
So…with all this being said, we need your prayers! And we need your support!
1.) Seriously. We need your prayers. The enemy is terrified of the GLORIOUS work of redemption that God is doing every single day at Wipe Every Tear. He hates it and he is working incredibly hard to stop it. We experience this in so many ways every single day. But guess what? HE HAS NOT WON THE WAR AND HE IS NOT WINNING THIS BATTLE. Pray for us, pray for our girls, pray that the schemes of the devil at work in livelihood would all fall away at the name of Jesus right now. Pray for doors to continue flying open. Pray for clarity for myself and the other Livelihood staff. The Livelihood coordinator here in the Philippines in an absolutely amazing woman, Jorelli — pray for her!! Pray that ultimately our focus would be one JESUS — the motivator of all of this.
2.) Consider giving towards the funding needed for these projects to become reality. The artwork is ready. We are simply waiting on God to provide the funding needed to make these visions reality. We trust! And He is already providing. A huge THANK YOU to those who have already given. The funding needed to produce the products we’re hoping to sell for Christmas is around $800. With the generous support of a few, we’re already at $150 of that!! Praise Jesus. Here is the link to a secure online giving page. Every dollar raised on this page will go straight towards the materials needed for the girls to produce their work!
I would not be able to be where I am today without the generous support of so many of you, and I cannot say thank you enough. I would not be who I am today without the love I’ve received from so many of you, so thank you. Thank you for the financial support I’ve received from so many of you. Thank you for the messages of encouragement during my time here. Thank you for the prayers that I’ve seen so strongly being answered here in my life.
You are all so loved.