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Where Passion and Skills Intersect to do Justice in the Philippines

From Canada to the Philippines, Tryphena's passion for justice and desire to grow closer to God's work drew her to move to Cebu to complete a year long fellowship.


How did you learn about IJM?

I first heard about IJM in 2015 at Urbana, a missions conference for university students. I was interested in integrating my field of study (criminal justice) into my faith, and when I came across the IJM booth, I was really interested in the organization and what they did, and have been learning about the organization and following them ever since.


Why did you choose to do a fellowship with IJM in the Philippines?

Working in the criminal justice field, I was interested in learning about the work that IJM Field Offices were doing and I felt that spending a year in the field would be a good experience for me both in my professional and spiritual life. I really believed in IJM’s mission and vision, and I wanted to learn more about the reality of modern slavery and human trafficking in a more tangible way. I also felt very convicted that God was calling me to learn and experience about his justice, mercy and grace in ways that I’ve never experienced before, and that through this fellowship, it would allow me to draw closer to him, the God of justice.

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I was particularly interested in the Philippines because I was interested in learning more about Online Sexual Exploitation of Children. I had some experience working with sex offenders from my professional background, so I wanted to learn more about this type of crime from “the other side”, and how the IJM Philippines Field Office has been able to support government agencies, from investigation, prosecution, to aftercare to rescue and restore victims, and keep perpetrators accountable.


What have you learned so far through this fellowship?

God is a God of justice. He cares about the lost and broken so much more than we ever will. This is His work, and we are invited to be a part of it. All we have to do is show up in every opportunity we’re given. We show up when our police partners get ready for a rescue operation. We show up when we assist prosecutors in preparing for trial. We show up when victims are being interviewed by lawyers and social workers. We show up by standing beside survivors as they share their stories of restoration, against all odds. If we keep showing up when God calls us to in all that we do, God will honour it and great things will happen.

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The work of justice is not meant to be done alone. Day by day, we are called to be united to fight this fight so that children will be rescued from OSEC. Sometimes, in the pursuit of unity there can be moments of discouragement. Perhaps it’s in the form of lack of funding, a difficult relationship with a government partner, or cases in court can be dismissed. But we are called to not lose hope, because God is on our side. And everyday, we are called to cling on to that hope, with the utmost trust and confidence that God is still in control, and we let that be our source of strength and perseverance.


What would you say to someone who is considering doing an internship or fellowship with IJM?

I would say that if you are interested in learning about how God works in the world of criminal justice, and you feel ready to “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)” in a very tangible and life-changing way, sign up for an internship with IJM with open hands and an open heart. Ask God to use you in ways beyond your expectations, and I can assure you He will answer that call.


Do you want to build a safer, more just world with us?

Bring your passion, skills and experiences with you around the world as an intern or fellow. Join the mission today.

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