I’m Marilou, a single mother from Zamboanga City in the Philippines. I have one son, Andre, who is 19 years old. I used to work at an insurance company but when I became pregnant I lost my job. Then my father got an early retirement because the company went bankrupt. When my son was 14 months old I went to Kuwait to support my son and my family. That was in 2003. My son stayed with my parents and siblings. In Kuwait I worked as a Domestic Helper for a man who had a 6 year old boy and a 5 year old girl. I worked for him for 9 years. One day he came home and told me he was getting married and his wife did not want me in the house. So he put my things in the street. My friends Josefa (Sofia) and Anita and some others helped me find a place to stay and I found a job working in a restaurant. This was a very hard time in my life. They never paid on time. Once they sent me to Bahrain to help open a new restaurant and didn’t pay me for 3 months. They knew I wouldn’t complain because I needed the job and they could send me home.
My family depended on me. In 2012 Sofia, Anita and I began learning about the Lutheran Church from an American friend. We would get together and watch DVDs of the services at St. Luke’s. It was nice to get together and have dinner then watch church. It reminded me of my church at home but it was different too. In 2017 our friend, the one who used to get the DVDs, said he was going back to the U.S. He said he would talk to his pastor about getting us a job at Lutheran Haven. I thought it was very nice to say that but I knew it was impossible.
Then my life changed. Lutheran Haven said they would hire us and in October 2019 I came to the U.S. I work with Pastor Elliott. I visit people at Lutheran Haven. I read devotions to them, I pray with them. They tell me about their lives and families and I tell them about mine. Sometimes they laugh at my accent but it is ok because I know my English is not so good. But it is getting better! I love these people. When I am working at the Lodge and they see me coming they calm down and smile. At the nursing home I help them come to the services in the chapel on Sunday and visit them during the week. Sometimes they are very sick. Sometimes I am with them when they pass and I try to comfort them but it is very sad because they are special to me.
Last year my son Andre started his first year at University, and I put a new roof on my parent’s house. They are proud and tell their friends that I am working for the Church. “She is in Amriki” they say. God has been good to me.