Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"You have pen-pal for me?"

Greetings! This week I have been catching up with some patients I haven't seen in a while...their babies are well and they seem to be doing great. Trying to get some homework done (it's on STDs! YUCK!) in between Promise's lonely cries, hungry cries, and "Mommy, I soiled myself" cries. She's had a bit of a cold, so saline drops have become my friend...though I think Promise would share a different opinion. Still sorting through my leaky faucet boobs and the sleepless nights....

Speaking of catching up with patients....you mind if I go on a rant? There seems to be a pattern with many of my patients...I hear this a lot, "Ma'am, do you have a pen-pal for me in your country?" Translation: "Do you have a guy who will marry me in your country so I can move there?" I am not joking ...I have grown very suspicious of almost every Filipino I know...they always want "something from my country" whether it be money, a man, or my white skin. I hate feeling like I am always being used or scouted out for something.

Last night I had an hour-long conversation via text message from the cousin of one of my patients. The COUSIN! She was determined to get a pen-pal from the USA or Canada....when I asked her if she wanted a boy or a girl, she exuberantly asked for a "lalake" (boy). I figured. I asked her why and she shared that she wanted to marry a foreigner and work abroad. Now, while I understand the draw and the desire to marry someone from a different country (I did it when I married Tim, but for different reasons) and I can appreciate the desire to work overseas, but I tell you, almost every woman I meet desires or is pressured by their family to marry a foreigner, get wealthy and send the money back here so that the rest of the family can live wealthy.

Sure enough, my text-message patient wanted to work overseas so that she could send money to her brother who was trying to finish college....and yet, she has no job here in the Philippines and after careful questioning, I found out the root of her "pen-pal" desire. She had been brokenhearted by a Filipino boyfriend and decided that all Filipino men were rotten. To be honest, I hear this almost everyday. Filipino men are considered to be lazy, cheating, stealing, lying and womanizing rotten men and the role models of how to live righteously are left to be desired. However, what gets me riled up is that this particular girl (and all the others I have spoken to) have Filipino boyfriends that they claim they love and are quite willing to "hold on" to as they fraternize with a male "pen-pal" overseas. Mmmm. Two wrongs seldom make a right.

Another patient of mine was convinced she was going to work in a hotel in Toronto, so she was going to leave her new baby with her boyfriend and take off to "earn money and send it back to her baby", but that seldom happens. What happens is they meet a well-off foreigner there while working, marry them, and leave the family behind. In this patient's case, she ended up getting pregnant one month before her flight was to leave. She still has the desire to leave her now husband and almost two children to live the "better life" overseas.

Their children grow up with only one parent, their spouse becomes lonely and repeats the cycle of adultery (and who can blame them!?) and another family is split apart because of the desire to have money all under a false sense of what the Western world is like.

Last night ended with a positive outcome, though. I asked my patient if she believed all foreign men were perfect...she said, "of course not, but they are better than Filipinos!"....I asked her if she believed all "white men" were wealthy...she replied, "yes". From that point, it was very clear... she had Western society all wrong...I told her about the divorce rates among Westerners, the transmission of STDs, and the abuse that is just as rampant in the US and Canada as it is in the Phils and how really what it all comes down to is "who does God desire for you and where does He want you to be?"...Content in the Phils, or ambitious in the West? Neither are wrong by themselves, however, the spirit and the motivation behind them is what makes the decision one of selfish pursuit or one of wise and careful planning. My patient conceded that perhaps she should look to all the good things she has here in her own country.....that's a start, eh?

I know, I am blessed. I have the best husband in the world, so how can I begin to encourage these women to respect their Filipino counterparts and be faithful to them even if they are not faithful. And yet, it is not me who is asking this of them...how can they make a positive change in their marriages and impact their children to change the cycle of abuse and adultery if they leave them.....or if they try hitting on MY husband!?

I am glad that I don't set the standard...God is faithful to give grace in even the most awful situations....and He can empower these women to positively impact their families by being present in their lives.

I cannot imagine leaving Promise to seek a "better life"....and I understand that sacrifices must be made in order to "better one's situation", but God always provides a way.

This is just one of my grievances that doesn't seem to go away. This rant was a year in the making and is my biggest challenge and greatest point of prayer here.

Thanks for reading and here are some of the latest pics of our precious little one...she REALLY loves her daddy's chest. :)
Be blessed.


Anonymous said...

It's official; I have the cutest grandbabies in the world! Thanks for keeping the pictures coming.
Bethany I really appreciated what you said. I just returned from the International Christian Conference on Prostitution. I heard numerous stories of women (and men) who were seeking for a "better life", but looking in the wrong places and ended up in a very different destination. Many of them were simply trafficked at a vulnerable time in their life. So you can add that to the reality of what you are sharing as another sobering reality. Thanks for being willing to speak the truth in love.
I think you're wonderful.
Love, Mum

Anonymous said...

NO...I have the cutest grand babies in the world! :) Very good input, Kristina. I imagine that conference was very heart wrenching. Bethany, you have the answer for those looking for a better life. That's why you're there. The picture with Tim and Promise is very precious! Another new one for my screen saver!
Love you all,
Mom Mc

Heidi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi said...

ok I'm glad I don't have to jump into the whose grandbabies are the cutest competition!

Bethany I so appreciate the challenge that you speak of. In many of the countries we go to I feel challenged by the assumptions made about white people, me because I am white and the country that I come from.

Unfortunately our twisted culture has contributed to this to some extent - with our world travelers and their disturbing/ignorant behaviour. But what your mom said is so true - you are there because you know the better way. You are and will continue to be a gift to many, shedding light on their misunderstandings and helping them to find THE better way. The Lord has given you his heart for these families - He will carry the burden, and give you His compassion. I pray that you He will give you more opportunities to share His love, by bringing revelation to some of their mistaken assumptions.
I will also pray that He will keep your heart soft - I too have experienced feeling jaded and suspicious - but God has abundant grace and even a deeper understanding to show you - I will pray for that for you.

Missing you guys...
kissing and squeezing Promise from afar :)
lots of love

Anonymous said...

Your daughter is a perfect Angel! What a cutie pie...Promise, I mean! Thanks for ranting, I have recently met a Filipino lady who is in BC and left her two children in the care of relatives in the Philippines so she can pursue a better life and relocate them. Her husband has also left to work in Korea to make extra money. It is very sad because she now realizes how hard it really is here and is regretting the move. I pray the Holy Spirit guides you as you speak truth into the lives of these precious ladies.
Love Nicole

heather said...

I love the two red heads together! AAAHHH! So darling, and she's already getting SO BIG!

Good post, B. My heart goes out to those Filipino ladies who think that they want money but really just have hearts that are longing to be filled. Your mom IS right. You have what they are looking for - and it's not money.

Plus, you can tell those ladies that I, living in the West, struggle with the same frustrations they do when it comes to finding a mate who is righteous and morally upright. The sterotypes about men around the world may be different, but in looking for a partner that meets my "requirements" (or the criteria God has laid on my heart), the guys around me come up short. And, even if there are decent guys around me (and there are some of those too), it doesn't mean that they're right for ME.

Kiss the baby,

~Tiffany Kyer ~ said...

I know exactly how you feel B...I used to get so frustrated at it too. You just want to shake those girls and tell them our bukid is not what they think it is!!