It’s now been over three months since first landing in Southeast Asia, meaning I’m already a quarter of the way into my experience here! It’s been just about what I’ve expected – ie. not having any expectations and constantly being blown away by it all. It’s easy to let myself not feel time the same way as I do in the States and be radio silent until the next time I decide to let my parents know I’m alive via an article about Hot World Leaders, but in the spirit of authenticity…here’s how Three Month Maggie is doing.
In terms of my life just living in and adjusting to a new culture, it’s been pretty textbook. The first few months flew and then right as I felt I was doing great, it was like a time-warp stretch and the hours now seem to drag. I know I’ll wake up one day and suddenly be closer to leaving than arriving but for now, it’s like the Philippines and I are a couple coming out of the honeymoon and going into the “maybe my mom was right about you” phase of our relationship. We’ll pull through but we’re much more familiar now.
My city is voted one of the most stressful places to live in the world and I’m not necessarily going to refute that. I now laugh at anytime I complained about traffic anywhere in the States and cringe thinking about how I’ve taken clean air for granted my whole life. I’m convinced I’ve taught myself to breathe more shallow here and I am more than convinced I’d actually consider giving my left eyebrow right now for some sweet Indiana corn and Chik-fil-a. But despite the overwhelming amount of crowds, stares, and smog, I’ve been shown such heartwarming hospitality and friendliness here that has definitely helped build my idea of this “home”. From attending a decked-out baby’s birthday party to joining a grunge-y boxing gym to going on my first visa run, I’ve for sure had some great moments!
My internship with IJM continues to be one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Every day is a new opportunity to serve the team, witness miracles, and cry out to God in the midst of this evil. Doors have been opening all over to join in the fight against child cybersex trafficking- from the churches who took part in global Freedom Sunday to politicians willing to advocate on an unprecedented scale to landmark convictions on both sides of the world; it’s certainly been a historic time to be in this region. Every day I am blown away by the relentless commitment of this team to keep up the fight until all are free.
An amazing experience I recently had the honor of attending was a fellowship event held for survivors of sexual exploitation. These brave women are taking leadership courses to become advocates for victims of abuse and taking charge of the movement against sex trafficking themselves. Witnessing their empowerment, holding their hands, and laughing alongside them was a memory I will treasure. It reminded me of my dear friends at Mana Deschisa, how God is moving through the lives of those women too, who are ready to change generations through their testimonies. The future is female, y’all.
As I move into my next three months, I’m looking forward to new challenges at work and balancing that whole “work-life” thing. I’ll be co-leading a small group soon at church (cool!), fostering deeper friendships here (cool!), and in November, I’ll have a visitor, SPECIFICALLY MY SUPER RAD AUNT (super cool!). Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas ((which according to malls here, started early September))!
Thanks for keeping up with me!