I Am an Ezer: Liw Agbayani, Philippines
Hello, my name is Liw Agbayani. I am an advocate for loosening “the bonds of wickedness” (Isaiah 58:66). I am an ezer.
Liw Agbayani loves movies and sports, drinks too much coﬀee, and proﬁles herself on Facebook as “wanderlust, foodie, and book worm.”
“In law school, God changed my worldview and gave me a desire to serve in a missions-legal career,” says the youthful-looking 30-something single woman.
“Today I am a Special Counsel for Intervention in the Manila Field Oﬃce of International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression, founded on the biblical call to justice in Isaiah 1:17: ‘Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.’”
As an IJM lawyer, Liw represents young victims of traﬃcking and sexual abuse in local courts as a private prosecutor, seeking accountability for their perpetrators. “When perpetrators, who proﬁt from their sexual exploitation by recruiting or maintaining young girls and boys for prostitution, or those who abuse children sexually, are held accountable,” she says, “their victims will no longer fear them.”
Liw also engages the local community, other NGO's and government partners and churches by providing them with child protection training and participating in ongoing discussions against child traﬃcking and sexual abuse through advocacy work, among others.
“Tim Keller said that ‘doing justice’ is ‘going to places where the fabric of shalom has broken down, where the weaker members of societies are falling through the fabric, and to repair it,’” she says. “I’m grateful to be doing justice work in a way that honors and pleases God.”
But, reweaving shalom is neither easy nor comfortable, she learned over the last seven years with the agency. “God has showed me ﬁrsthand that we really do live in a fallen world,” she says. “Hearing story after story of young girls in their teens, forced into commercial sexual exploitation or abused sexually by people they trust or know, breaks my heart every time.
“But I also experience in these moments a God of awesome grace who meets His children in moments of darkness and diﬃculty. He is worth running to. He is worth waiting for.”
Lau Ying Kheng, the author of this story, is from Singapore, where she lives with her husband, Roland Tan. They both teach at the East Asia School of Theology. Their daughther, Julienne Tan, will be married soon.
What about you? Where has God's call on you taken you?
Liw is now using her legal skills as an ezer with another NGO, since this article was written