It was Wednesday night and we were all packed around the long table eating dried fish with tomatoes for dinner (I promise, it tastes better than it sounds). The girls excited voices echoed loudly off the walls as they made up a hilarious imaginary scene together from a future TRIM reunion they were creating in their minds on the spot…
“Feby can birth all our babies!”
“Raque will cook the food!”
“Cristy can plant our rice!”
“RJ can write about us when win an award!”
“…..And Geah will arrest our husbands if they’re mean to us!”
At that last one, the girls were all absolutely rolling in laughter.
For me it was an Ebenezer kind of night, a special moment I wanted to mark in my memory and thank God for forever. Here were 11 amazing girls from a village no one even knows about, with heavy life stories, and every odd stacked up against them constantly telling them they should fail. And yet here they are, dreaming together about a day in the not so far off future where they would potentially all get back together to celebrate the success in each other’s lives.
I just sat there and marveled at what I saw in front of me- a table full of women with the kind of hope and resilience that only God could give. Long gone are those timid girls who first walked through the doors at House of Hope and would laugh nervously then stare at their feet when I asked what they hoped for in their future. They are completely different women now. Each of them are walking with Jesus and persevering in school. And really, the change happened so subtly in ordinary moments over the years…
(“Ate” is the Filipino word used for respect to mean older sister. It’s what all the girls at TRIM use for the staff or any older woman).
Ate, will you teach me how to pray?
Ate, what kind of jobs do you think I would be good at?
Ate, how do I create an email account?
Ate, can you help me understand my research topic?
Ate, will I see God under the water when I’m baptized?
Their questions, spiritual and otherwise, reflect to me such a beautiful and childlike way of being in the world. I really believe one reason why God has been able to do so much in their lives is because they are humble. It’s been a thousand simple days of learning and opportunities, and then all the sudden I looked up at dinner and realized God had done a WHOLE THING right there in the ordinary faithfulness of so many…
These girls are now incredible women headed into college, so full of new life and confidently laughing about their future together. It had me quietly in awe that night and just so grateful for what God can do in a person. He has really started a good work in them and I know He will keep it going.
Police. Midwife. Teachers. Chef. Agriculturist. Reporter… All living boldly for Jesus. Can you believe it? THEY can see it now as a real possibility. And I just praise God for that. It brings me so much joy to consider what could be ahead for each of them.
…The chatter that night eventually died down around the table and it was time to start cleaning up from dinner. Everyone stood up and started grabbing plates to clear the table when the House Mentor who was with me that night whispered out loud the sweetest one-line prayer over their lives and so I end here simply echoing her same words…
If the Lord wills girls, then let it be as you have said.
Amen and amen.