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A couple of months ago, almost 1200 volunteers, children, families, and neighbors from our church packed over 318,000 meals for starving children around the world. This outpouring was motivated by the grace of God to minister to Christ Himself because He said, “Whatever you’ve done unto the least of these, you’ve done unto Me.”  One of the countries these meals go to is the Philippines.

This motivation of grace combined with the wisdom of God for economics is liberating others from poverty throughout the world. Free market capitalism is the most ethical, others-focused, and moral economic system in the world. It hinges on three Biblical concepts outlined by Moses: property rights, incentive, and liberty.

A woman at our church shared a story, her story. To my shock and joy, she told me that she was one of those starving children in the Philippines. She shared with me how the grace of God and generosity of both industry and the church combined to liberate her from poverty. Here is her story:

God’s blessing had started before I was even born. My family was thinking about aborting me, but with God’s miracle, I popped into the world. Amazingly, I was born with voice and hearing despite both my parents are mute and deaf.

My parents separated when I was barely 3 years old. I never felt the love of Parents, how it feels to be hugged by mom or dad, how it feels to have a family and maybe I could say that there was not a single happy moment in my childhood life…

I lived with my grandmother, my uncles and aunts in a dilapidated house that they rented starting at 7 dollars a month. I attended public elementary school with just one uniform, one pair of socks, and shoes with holes in them.

When I was in 3rd grade, I started to work to earn, so I can buy lunch at school, or things I need for school. Our class ends during lunch time. I would arrive home alone everyday. I would eat my lunch (normally rice with a unique sauce- rice and soybean, rice with fishsauce, or with sale, or rice with coffee) After Lunch, I went to my neighbors house from 1 pm to 6 pm and make flower laces. I am paid 5 cents for every 25 flower laces I make. I am so happy if I make 25 cents. It already meant a fortune to me.  After 6 pm, I then start to get a basketball betting card and ask each neighbor to bet on the numbers. If I am lucky and able to complete all 100 numbers in the card, I would get 50 cents commission for my allowance. That was my childhood life.

This experience fueled me to dream at a young age, to hope that someday I would not be in this situation any longer. I didn’t know how to pray. I had not learned about God or Jesus. I didn’t go to church nor did I know what a church had on the inside. I only knew that I had to live… That I had to fight for my life to survive.  I finally had the chance to know and accept the Lord Jesus as my forgiver and leader in high school  But even then, because of my life situation, I didn’t know how He’d been guiding me throughout my life.

Fast Forward, I was granted a scholarship in high school by a priest who helps poor children who want to study. I graduated high school and was granted a full scholarship by a major bank in the Philippians to be one of their Pioneer Scholars. During college, I also worked to earn money to live on. I worked at McDonalds-at the counter, as party assistant, and as a dancing mascot (inside Grimace or Birdie).

I also checked test papers per class at University so I could earn 50 cents per class. I sold undergarments from Avon and other brands to my classmates… at that time, everything I could do, I would… just to survive and finish school.

I graduated when I was 19 years old without a penny spent on tuition. When I became a CPA, I was hired by a fortune 500 company In America at age 20. Now I have been with them for 11 years at 31 years old. I met my husband at work and our family was brought to Cincinnati for three years ending this November. Initially we thought the company brought us here, but we realized it was God who was behind the scenes.  He used the job as His way to bring us closer to Him. It changed our lives, we are closer as a family, we are closer to the church and know God personally through Jesus.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. After all that happened in my life, I realize that God has blessed me so much and has been with me from the time He decided to give me my life. As I look back, I thank God for all these difficulties I had to go through. It transformed me to be resilient, hard working, and a grateful server of God who never stopped loving me through His many ways.  It allowed me to feel a greater level of happiness coming from all these sufferings I had to go through.

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