My mother can walk into her bathroom anytime, turn the faucet on and water will come out into the sink. That is a miracle. It was never possible before for my family to live in a house with running water. When I was 22 my father became disabled and the responsibility of providing for my family came to me. My sister is 9 years younger than me and my two brothers are younger than her. So I signed up for the Overseas Foreign Worker program and went from the Philippines to Kuwait.
My employer was a widower with 4 sons. I worked as a Domestic Helper, 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week. When his children were old enough to care for themselves, he gave me permission to work for a British family with two children. I raised them as well. On my day off I worked part time cleaning apartments, I worked as a sales lady in a jewelry shop, a clothing store, and as a manager for a dress designer. But it was never enough. There was always something that came up. Someone needed medicine, school books, clothes. Just putting food on my family’s table with $600 a month was a challenge. I worked for 15 years in Kuwait. I traveled home more or less every two years when I could afford it.
One of my jobs was with a member of St. Luke’s who was also working in Kuwait. In 2017, the Lutheran Haven offered me a job assisting the Pastor as a Christian Companion Caregiver. It took two years but in October 2019 I was granted permission to come work in the US. My friend was hired as well and we came together. We studied and took a test and became Certified Nursing Assistants too. When the pandemic hit only staff members could go inside the nursing home and the Lodge. Many of the residents have children and grandchildren at St. Luke’s that could not visit them. We were the only ones allowed inside. I sat with many of them and prayed. We told each other stories. I read books to them. We held hands. With some, I was with them when they passed.
I cared for others who became ill with COVID. I would put on my protective gear and go and care for them, praying for their health. At the end of the day I would strip off my gear and destroy it, then wash myself and my shoes with bleach. I knew their families were outside wanting to visit just as much as I wanted to be home with my family. So they became my family. These were my people. God put me here to care for them when their families could not. The Lutheran Haven hired me and brought me here to do this, that my life changed so completely, is a miracle. That is my story.