MariaLita: Sharing What She Has Learned
Although MariaLita’s poor family couldn’t afford to send her to school, her heart’s desire was to get an education. Determined, MariaLita would work a year and save her money, then go to school for a year. But one “job” she was tricked into taking turned out to be as a prostitute at a bar. Her new employers beat her, forced her to stay, and threatened to kill her and her family if she tried to run away.
Finally rescued by police, MariaLita found a new home at Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch (HHCR) at the age of 16. Because she was so far behind in school, MariaLita was placed in the high-school equivalency program to earn her diploma. It was quickly apparent that the compliant, soft-spoken girl was highly intelligent. She expressed a strong desire to become a missionary and teacher. After just one year, she passed her equivalency test and was ready to take her next steps away from HHCR.
At the same time, HHCR was searching for a coordinator for one of their sponsorship programs in Boracay, a nearby island. MariaLita seemed a perfect fit for the job. The local pastor accepted her and soon gave a glowing report of how MariaLita had won the hearts of the Ati tribal people she was working with. In fact, he said he had never seen the Ati invite a stranger into their hearts as they had MariaLita.
He was so impressed with her skills that he put her through a training program for the Ati’s local school. MariaLita is now a teacher and missionary there, the very thing she had longed to be.