As emotional beings we love stories that makes our heart flutter and our hands jitter. It’s what makes movies sell these days. This story that’s about to unfold is a story of second chances. Not all of us get to have a second take on life that’s why the few who are lucky enough, surely are worth writing about.
Melanie is a 24 year old mom who settled down at an early age. She was only 16 when she eloped with her partner who is 11 years her senior. They got along well for the first two years and had 3 kids. But like all the other love stories, there has to be a tragic part somewhere. Her’s happened when her partner started to drink more, hangout with friends more, and eventually started to physically abuse her. It came to a point where it was too much for her to bear and so she decided to move out and try to make a living here in Cebu.
She worked for a bakery and was able to send money back home to her mother-in-law to continue to provide for the needs of her children. But of course, one tragedy is not enough when a beautiful story is in the making. After a year of stable income, the bakery went bankrupt and she was left wondering how to even make a living for herself.
Her friend from the bakery having known her plight, introduced her to the life of prostitution. She was only 22 then. When I asked her what was going inside her head at that time, she said she was desperate. Since she only finished high school it was very difficult to get a job. There was no where else to go. She said that for some, it’s an easy way to get money, but for me, I was only trying to survive. During good days where I’d earn more than the usual, I’d take a day off and just rest, unlike the others who would constantly be working only to spend it on drugs. She continued this work and kept it a secret from her parents while continually sending them money.
Her friends however, didn’t like how she would take breaks and be distant from them. They would ask her to treat them drugs, but she would decline so they became envious. They stole her cellphone and texted her family and informed them that she’s been lying to them and was no longer working in a bakery.
It broke her heart. She could not wrap her head around the idea that her family found out what she has been doing. Overwhelmed with the feeling of betrayal and guilt she cut off all communication with her family. She was ashamed. Not long after that, she got pregnant. Even while she was pregnant her friend who she was staying with would force her to wear skimpy clothes and send her out to the streets. She would comply only because she had no place of her own.
She eventually got exhausted with what she was doing. According to her, she felt her life was meaningless and without direction. She was constantly asking God to give her a second chance, a clean slate. After having heard of an organization who took in prostitutes and trafficked women, she walked all the way to where it was and asked to be taken in at whatever cost. She kept bargaining with God telling Him that if He gives her a second chance she would never go back. The moment she got in, there was no turning back for her. She gave up her cellphone and her old ways. When I asked her why she seems to be really determined to change, she said, “Not everyone gets a second chance in life. Not everyone is as blessed as I am. I don’t intend to waste this chance to start anew. There are still a lot of people out there who are like me, still wandering about, directionless and I don’t want to be like that again. I still have to make something out of life so I can have the dignity to face my family again.”
Melanie is presently making bead crafts for 4 pesos ($.04) each. She says the meager income she earns goes a longer way compared to when she earned more in prostitution. She also intends to study midwifery this coming school year.
A beautiful ending took place because of a sincere desire to change and the availability of organizations who openly accept the rejected and neglected people of this society.
“I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10
To all the people who’ve supported these kinds of organizations, a BIG thank you from all of us. You have helped keep our doors open to people like Melanie. To the rest who want to touch more lives, you can send in donations through www.gloryreborn.org.