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Connecting through Storytelling

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We have many stakeholders in My Refuge House (MRH). Some of you share your time. Some of you share your talents. Some of you share your prayers. Some of you share your friends. For all of this, we are thankful. Each of you plays a significant role in supporting the mission of My Refuge House.

Many of you have shared stories about your own lives and how they have been impacted by the MRH story of resilience and joy amidst tragedy and trauma. Over the next few months, our newsletter will share some of your words, perspectives, and stories. Through this storytelling, I hope you will feel greater connection to each other, to our girls, and to the ongoing work of My Refuge House.

If you are interested in sharing your story and connection to My Refuge House, please email me (heather@myrefugehouse.org).

 

 


To kick off our stakeholder storytelling, I asked some of our staff to share. Below are the stories from four of our staff…four more stories will follow later. Without our team, My Refuge House would not be the incredible, restorative, and life-giving place it is.  Their stories offer a deeper glimpse into the daily life of MRH and the impact our girls are making in their own homes and communities.

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Mama Gaga, Rose Ann, Sab, Rems, Bebs, Megs, Jedz, Mama Pat (our staff who shared their stakeholder stories of impact)

UNSPEAKABLE JOY

Two years of working in the MRH Education Program has been an honor and an opportunity to value forever. Unspeakable joy overflows every time I see a learner diligently trying her best, exerting more and more effort, and showing hope in her academic pursuits. Unspeakable joy overflows every time I see myself learning something from the girls that enhances my skills and strategies in teaching. Unspeakable joy overflows every time I see that MRH, as a family, celebrates every accomplished goal; be it big or small. Every little thing we make for the glory of God through this ministry produces a great reward of UNSPEAKABLE JOY.

Bebs, Education Team Leader


The most joyful day I have experience working in MRH will always be the days I am working with the families, when families I am working with give their heartfelt thanks when we accomplished something in our family service plan…which is very important to them no matter how small it is. I always look to anyone’s strength because I believe we all have that ability. Some are just hidden, and some just ignored. Working with the families is not a piece-of-cake career; it needs patience, commitment, endurance, love and passion for you to last. I never had all of those mentioned, but along the way, I realized it cannot just be seen by the naked eye. It always comes out unexpectedly and naturally if your pure heart desires to lend a helping hand. The smile and the sincerity they show me in those times are priceless.  No money or any material things could ever buy that happiness in my heart.

Joyful days are those you know you have done something good every day. The impact will not be that fast in influencing a life, but a decade or just some years later, it will. It’s hard to deal with different people, but they are not just learning from me- instead I am learning from them so much more than studying four years in college in the four corners of our class room.  This time I am not graded, not judged by my mistake. I am getting real life experience that will surely cast my present today into a better version of me, tomorrow.     #joyful #bless #soul

Rems, MRH, Family and Community Development Worker


I feel the joy in my heart in serving the LORD and by using me as an instrument to be a mother of our girls. I continually feel the love and care of the girls to me as their real mother. Sometimes I’m confused with their behavior, especially during crisis, but after that I am always ready to be there for these girls in guiding, nurturing and loving them daily. The joy is contagious everyday, seeing these girls with joy in their heart as well, sharing the love and care that they have and their smiles inspires me to continue with life whatever challenges I am facing in this world.

Mama Gaga, Lead Housemother


Nearly a year into my work here at My Refuge House, and I can’t say that I can pinpoint just a single instance that brought me joy. To pick one would downplay what I felt when I experienced the others. To pick one would disregard the fact that this job has torn my heart into different directions and made me realize that emotions aren’t felt individually – they are not situated in their respective holders, never to mix. They are, in fact, always swirling around to create combinations hard to handle sometimes. While I talked to a sixteen-year old girl in the Red Light district of Colon [a neighborhood in Cebu], I had to struggle between the feeling of heartbreak over her tale of working in South Korean bars at the age of thirteen and joy over the fact that her acknowledgment of how difficult work in the sex trade. This goes hand in hand with confessions filled with optimism. While I delivered a fervent spiel about the danger of rape-jokes and how they enrich the rape culture, I had to set my anger aside and give a sigh of relief when my acquaintances told me they’re sorry for laughing at the rape joke we heard in a lecture and that they have been enlightened. While I played with some of the girls in the shelter and listened to them as they shared to me their favorite academic subjects, I had to carry both sadness upon remembering what they went through and wondrous elation at how these kids are so, so beautiful; how they dream so marvelously, and how they are meant to leave a mark.

Instead of highlighting one event, I will talk about what makes me happy about my job: it makes me happy that the knowledge I gained and the values that were further cemented into existence bleed into my personal life and push me to become a more responsible citizen. I refute those who think that catcalling women is not a big deal and rebut those who think that downgrading men who don’t live up to gender roles is necessary to build these men up. I do these things not out of self-righteousness but to push for a violence-free society. I do these things not just because I work for a cause but to be a cause why one, two, or fifty people understand what it means to take an active role in violence-prevention.

Jedz, Community Outreach Worker