There are so many good things I am excited to tell you about this month. God’s favor in the midst of a devastating natural disaster (be sure to read the previous blog about the earthquake!), a new partnership with a University, construction updates, miracles in finances.

But first… can I get a little bit personal with you today? I’m turning 32 this month, and I’m in no way excited about it. For some reason, 32 seems very… (don’t say it)… old. I know, I know, for those of you under 25, 32 is old. And for those of you over 35, 32 is really young. It’s all relative, but for me, this year, it’s taken a bit of getting over myself to embrace this year’s birthday.

This past year has been tough for me in many ways. I’ve been getting used to my new role as Executive Director and what that means: the new duties here in the US, being in the Philippines less, communicating our work to new supporters, advocating for funds to build more homes, it’s been stretching to say the least.

But it would seem, true to character, God has chosen this month to remind me just how faithful he is—in ways that are honestly, nothing short of miraculous.

When I moved to the states last April to begin my role as Executive Director, I set out with a couple of goals in mind: Find partnerships that could help our staff and local partners work more effectively with survivors of trauma, and raise more funds for construction to increase our capacity to serve survivors.

In those first few months, I reached out to a number of Universities, seeking partnerships. I only seemed to reach dead ends. Then, when I had just about given up,  Dr. Donald Walker from the Child Trauma Institute at Regent University in Virginia contacted me. “We are conducting a study to measure the effectiveness of addressing spiritual issues (anger towards God) in Trauma Therapy (TF-CBT)” He said, “Would you like to be involved?”

Training with Dr. Walker

So, last week, Dr. Walker and 6 of his Ph.D. students came out to the Philippines. They lead training for over 130 of the counselors, psychologists, social workers, house parents and educators in Cebu on working with challenging children and doing trauma counseling. Then they came out and provided some valuable consulting for some of the girls at My Refuge House who have experienced the most devastating trauma. That was miracle number one.

The team from Regent University, with our girls

Our financial intake in the last year has increased a lot. But so have our expenses. At the end of September, I was getting very worried about finances. We had enough money in the bank for October… and that was it. October was approaching, faster and faster, and the thought of cleaning out our bank account had me in knots. And then, out of nowhere, we received a donation that will take care of all of our needs until the end of 2013. And once again I was reminded– God loves these girls much more than I do. That was miracle number two.

Miracle number three… our second cottage is over halfway completed! Have you seen the pictures? Check them out here.

And then the earthquake. Devastating in so many ways. Over 144 causalities. But not a single one of our girls, staff, or families related to My Refuge House was hurt.  Even more amazingly… I left a building ten minutes before it all but crumbled. Check out the full details here.

My birthday flowers, at My Refuge House

We celebrated my Birthday on Monday at My Refuge House. It was a couple of weeks early, but I think, so appropriate. Because even though these miracles really have nothing to do with me, this month, through My Refuge House, through the girls and staff there, and all the ways God is providing for them, I truly feel blessed to be turning one year older.




3 replies
  1. Tiesha
    Tiesha says:

    Happy Birthday, Crystal! Also, thank you for the work you’re doing whether you’re stateside or in the Phillipines. It’s amazing to see what God is doing with your willing heart and life.

  2. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I pray you the rest of your year is blessed. Full of God’s strength, love and peace! I pray the same for the girls!
    Psalms 112:6-9 NIV
    6Surely the righteous
    will never be shaken, they will be remembered forever. 7They will
    have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
    8Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end
    they will look in triumph on their foes.9They
    have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness
    endures forever; their horn[c] will be lifted high in honor.

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