Even when those who should have loved her the most abandoned her, God did not. His plans for her were much more than a housemaid.

This article is part of a series on the Blessed in Christ Church neighbourhood in Metro Manila, the Philippines. You can also read The Miracle Child: Joy’s Story and Blessed in Christ by Grace: David’s Story.

Content warning: This story includes mention of child abuse and domestic violence.

In 2005, Vicky became the first project director at Blessed in Christ Child Development Centre in Metro Manila, the Philippines, when the church started partnering with Compassion. Her life has been one of amazing service to God and dedication to the children of her community—but it has never been easy.

Vicky’s journey to know Jesus as her Saviour was a long one, filled with serious hardship and trials that started in childhood. From a young age, her father and eldest sibling abused her. Later, her mother abandoned her, leaving her in the care of her grandmother.

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“That’s why I got married at a young age,” she says. Though the marriage did not improve her circumstances, and the early years with her husband were filled with the same adversity.

“My husband had many vices. He’s flirting with many girls, he’s drunk everywhere. I was a battered wife back then.”

Determined that these challenges would not stop her, Vicky managed to graduate from the Philippine College of Commerce as a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in stenography. “I worked as a housekeeper. That supported my study,” she says. In fact, Vicky worked three jobs at once. “Just to earn a living and to support my children. I work hard because I have nothing. I have to support my children. My husband does not give me anything.”

In that dark time, God intervened. “I cried a lot, and I was so thin at that time,” Vicky says. “My office mate asked me to give my life and all my burdens to God. And she prayed for me, and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I felt so safe, even when I was not.”

Yet God did not rescue her from her troubles immediately. “I asked God, ‘Lord, what have I done? Why are you allowing me to experience these very bad things?’”

When Compassion first partnered with Blessed in Christ by Grace Church, Vicky was asked to become the Compassion centre’s first project director. She resigned from her former position, though her boss was reluctant to let her go, offering to have her back if she ever changed her mind.

“I am loyal to my boss,” Vicky says. “But my desire is to serve the Lord. That’s why I declined his offer. But my former boss supported me and my children to finish their studies.” As a result, her daughter is now a teacher, her son a sailor. She is forever grateful to him and to God.

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“That’s how God is good to me. And because of that, I offer myself to God, that as long as I can, as long as I live, I will serve Him.”

As Vicky began to serve God and the children in her community in her new role, she discovered a new perspective on her life. “I understand and I know the purpose of those bad experiences, because I use it as a testimony. I use my own experience to tell them [the children] to be strong, to have courage, because God is there.”

Compassion centre staff are trained in counselling, and when Vicky is helping children who have suffered in similar ways to her, she says she has deep empathy and understanding. “I have experienced a lot of pain. I have experienced a lot of sufferings. And I use that experience for counselling,” she says.

Her life also gives her an opportunity to tell the children to make the most of what they have. “I always tell these children that, before, I used to be a housemaid, just to finish my study. So you are so blessed that there is Compassion that helps you and supports you. Grab the opportunity to study well and finish well.”

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She gives all her time and energy to her work because she loves and cares for the children at the centre as if they were her own. “All the children in the project are my children,” she says. “I feel hurt when people hurt them, when they get sick or when they have problems with their mothers or fathers or in school. I defend them from bullies. That’s how much I love them. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them.”

Her role as project director also brought about change in her husband. “When I got employment with Compassion, he changed,” Vicky says. “He changed a lot. He is a worker of the church now. He leads the parents; he is leading prison worship.”

God’s goodness transformed Vicky’s life and the lives of her family members. “After all this storm in my life, it’s now heaven, even if it’s on the earth,” she says.

“Even in the midst of everything, I have peace in my heart and my mind because God is with me. I know God is with me. I know God loves me. God is always with us. God never fails us, never leaves us, never forsakes us.”

Vicky’s dedication to God has also come through time spent in His Word and in prayer. "That’s why I always ask, in the morning, Lord, good morning. Please help me to do what you want me to do today and please help me to become a good Christian, to be a blessing to them. Whoever I talk to, please help me to become a blessing in every way in how I speak, how I walk."

Her favourite passages of Scripture are Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”, and Galatians 6:9–10: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

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Vicky is quick to give glory to God for anything she has done or achieved, and it is His glory that has motivated her in her 18 years as project director. “God is so good to me. That's why, in return, I'll do my best to serve these children,” she says. “And to help these children to be released from poverty. I’m not the project director, I’m a servant of God.”

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You can donate or sponsor a child today to help support the work of project directors like Vicky as they towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. If you would like to give to help children who are especially vulnerable and have faced hardships like Vicky, you can make a tax-deductible donation to our Highly Vulnerable Children fund.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Vicky and her conviction to serve You and the children of her community. Thank You for walking with her in those dark times and bringing restoration to her life. Please help us to serve you faithfully as Vicky has and to give glory to You in everything we do. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Written and reported by Andrew Barker, Compassion Australia.