2013 has been an incredible year for us at My Refuge House.
We started off January with the Slavery No More Freedom Walk and along with many other people and organizations advocating for an end to slavery!
In February, we redefined love with these great pictures that our girls made and Sheila* told us this about her relationship with God.
“I can’t always trust people to be my friend. All my friends before left me. But every time I read verses in my bible, I know I’m not alone. Ate (sister), you know what, if you want to have that one true friend in your life, pray to God because He is also my best friend. I always talk to him even if I am not hearing His voice when I pray”.
Also in February, we saw this beautiful sculpture displayed at the Freedom Summit in Northern California that Jonathan Huang created after he met some of the girls at My Refuge House a few years ago.
Also in March, we had our Annual Southern California Banquet where all our friends wrote prayer requests on floating lotus flowers.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/MyRefugeHouse and Instagram @myrefugehouse to get updates like these throughout the year!
Then in April, we took those floating lotus flowers to our girls in the Philippines and sent them out to sea with their prayers and your prayers written side by side. That day, Jocelyn* taught us what it means to be a survivor and we were blown away by her resilient spirit.
In May, June, and July we were focused on constructing cottage #2 and starting Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the girls who needed healing from the trauma they had experienced from trafficking and sometimes prior family abuse. We heard Hope’s* amazing story, and we welcomed her poetry debut!
In August, we defined what Restoration means for us, and for the girls we serve at My Refuge House, and Hope* made an incredibly brave testimony against her mother and stepfather who trafficked her– leaving the court room speechless.
On the day of her court hearing, Hope* has shown courage and bravery while sitting at the witness stand.
Judge: “Why are you not calling your mother “Mama”?
Hope: “Because she’s not worth it. How could a mother sell her own daughter?”.
And there was total silence inside the court room.
In September, My Refuge House celebrated it’s 5th anniversary and one of our volunteers, Nannette Ricaforte told us why she continues her fight as an abolitionist. Nannette has been a volunteer from the very beginning of My Refuge House’s conception, so her insight was especially meaningful for us.
Can you help us make sure that 2014 is just as full of activity as 2013 was? Please don’t forget to make your year end gifts by going to www.myrefugehouse.org/online-giving today!
In October, tragedy struck. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Bohol, an island about 100 miles from Cebu causing lives to be lost and damage to many homes. This earthquake hit My Refuge House, but thankfully our home was well constructed and suffered only slight damage.
In November, tragedy struck again. This time, with the largest storm to ever touch ground in recorded history. Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, causing thousands to lose their lives, and displacing millions.
Our supporters responded in fervor, allowing us to create care packages to feed 100’s of displaced families. Here are some pictures of our girls staying up all night to pack up the relief goods, and then distributing them the following day:
We also supplied building materials to the families of two of the girls in our home– both family’s homes had been destroyed in the Typhoon. And they wrote the sweetest thank you notes ever.
And in December, we saw the completion of our second cottage’s construction (Again– a huge thanks to Irving Bible Church for making that happen!) The doors of this cottage will in early 2014!! Did you see all the pictures of the construction? (Click here for the rest of the pictures) It’s a pretty intense process!
Last, but not least, we leave you with a picture of all our staff in Cebu, wishing you a Very, Very, Merry Christmas:
*Names changed for the protection of our clients