October 20, 2011

When good is really, really Good

We walked in and there were between 25 and 30 Filipino ladies.  Most were sitting on the floor because seating was sparse.  They were working on new sewing skills they had just been taught and were taking great pride in their work.

10 of us stood in the middle of the room where the clash in cultures and economic status was palpable.  There is an awkwardness that comes where two groups of women measure each other up wondering how they are going to relate.

I plopped myself down in the middle of a group of women and asked them to show me what they were working on.  I asked for a pair of scissors and offered to help.  They timidly showed me how to cut paper patterns they would later sew fabric onto to form a sort of patchwork.  I got to work thankful for something to do with my hands and my eyes to help make the moment more comfortable for all of us.

As I worked, the ladies started to warm up and quietly began asking me questions.

Ma'am?  May I ask you a question?  Are you married?  Do you have children?  

I answered and asked the same in return.  I had learned quickly during previous visits that their presence in a rescue home for women did not mean they were without family.  Many have children in their native country and many have not seen their children in years.  They have pictures and phone calls and they are excited to tell you all about their babies.

Because that's what they are no matter how old they get.  They are our babies.

I listened and laughed as their wit and humor crept out from behind shy demeanors.  Those not as skilled in English would falter and others would help to translate.

I looked around at my friends who were with me and saw that I was not the only one breaking down some barriers.  Laughter and conversation rang out in that tiny room where over 30 woman would roll out mattresses to sleep on a barren floor at night.  We told them we had brought them new underwear and they giggled.  Many had not put on new underwear in a very long time.

As time passed and conversation flowed, we found out that these women very much liked to sing.  I asked them to sing for us and after much conversation and some debate, they settled on a song.

Diyos ay mabuti

Several began to sing and as conversation ceased around the room so all could join in the song, music poured out in a language I didn't understand.

Diyos ay mabuti

There was joy on their faces in spite of incredible adversity and the music they made was beautiful.  When they finished we applauded and quickly asked what they were singing.

God is good!

I fought hard to control the emotion that was bubbling to the surface as I looked into the faces of women whose lives are nothing like my own.  Women who are currently living behind locked gates for their own protection.  Women who knew that no matter the circumstances, God is good.

With our encouragement they quickly handed out Filipino song books and picked out songs in English that we could sing with them.  There was lots of smiling and complete joy as the music rang out in the room.  We even sang Joy to the World and there was Joy.

Our time too quickly came to an end and we stood and held hands in a circle with these ladies and we prayed.  We prayed to a God that loves each one of us.  A God that knows each circumstance.  A God that sees no racial or economic boundaries.

I went around the room grabbing and hugging as many of the ladies as I could.  They were completely fascinated with how tall I am so there were many giggles when the hugs were awkward.  I wrapped my arms around them all and told them that they were loved.

There was a silence among the ten of us as we walked to our cars.  How humbling it is to be reminded that God is good by a group of women who are living lives we would characterize as anything but.  To see that circumstances did not dictate how they felt about their Creator.  That in place of anticipated sorrow, I saw hope and I saw joy.

Diyos ay mabuti


  1. And you bless the King again, Keri. Thank you for sharing this experience. How precious....

  2. What a blessing for all involved.

  3. God is Good for sure. I'm so glad you got to do this. Love you.

  4. Girlfriend, I will always shed buckets of tears when talking about this Home of Safety. I enjoyed reading your blog, and I'm crying again - tears of joy because I know our God is God yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thanks for spreading God's love around.

  5. I love your heart so much. And CAN'T WAIT to hug your tall little self!!! Diyos ay mabuti!!!!!!

  6. Hello Keri. I got to know of your blog (which is very recent) thru Marla Taviano. She will be a our guest when they come to Cambodia on December 12.

    I am a Filipino and I would like to know more about those 25-30 Filipino ladies in your blog.

    Please email me: narin_chey@yahoo.com

    Thank you and God bless you.



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