Stories from our field
“Life to me is Christ”
Stories from our field
“Life to me is Christ”
It is so wonderful to personally guide students on their journey of faith. Sometimes, mentor and student can be especially valuable to each other because they are both dealing with the same issues in their lives. That happened to Betty (mentor) and Nocel (student). “The contact encourages me at least as much as it encourages her,” says Betty.
Our Bible mentors can control how many students they mentor by adjusting their settings. Betty had her number set to 0, but was still assigned Nocel from the Philippines. “It seems as if someone manually linked her to me. It’s very special,” says Betty. And it is special. Like no other, Betty recognizes what Nocel is struggling with.
Nocel is the ninth child in a family of ten and grows up in a slum. When her mother dies, Nocel stays behind with her father. They live among substance abusers, thieves and murderers. Not a favorable environment for children, but Nocel says: “Thank God we grew up in the church, so the environment had no influence on us. We were respected. Nevertheless, we eventually decided to leave the slum and move to Palawan (an island).”
During her high school years, Nocel becomes a devoted Christian. Bible studies are held at a center near her school. She participates in those studies, grows in her faith and becomes one of the leaders. Nocel: “I learned how to share the Gospel with my classmates. I invited them to join Bible studies, Bible camps, prayer retreats, and so on.”
Nocel proceeds to study theology and then becomes a missionary in her own country. She also joins Yael’s Kids Mission Philippines. Yael has had connections with GlobalRize for many years! Nocel is also involved in a new church plant in her own hometown. She says about this: “I do this to keep my family close to the Lord Jesus. I also tell Bible stories to the children here on the island and give them emotional and social education.”
Nocel has also become an active member of the Philippine’s GlobalRize team and translates the Bible courses into Tagalog. It took a long time for the internet connection on the island where she lives to be good enough, but it is now fairly reliable.
You might think: why would someone like Nocel, who studied theology and works as a missionary, take a basic course like Bible Basics? Betty: “She indicated that she benefited a lot from the course even though (I think) she didn’t learn many new things. Apparently our basic courses also lend themselves to a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and encouragement.”
There’s another reason why Nocel benefits so much from the course. Betty notices that there are similarities between her and Nocels life. Betty: “We both have to deal with illness, and we are both single. I am so glad that I could share how God is with us under all our circumstances from my own situation. I think this encourages me at least as much as it does her.”
Betty shares an encouragement from Isaiah 54:1-8, a beautiful song about how God blesses the barren woman and makes her fertile. Betty writes to Nocel: “I want to encourage you with this text because it helps me to believe and trust that everything we do for God has value. When we share and teach His Word, we give birth to spiritual children, to His glory!”
To which Nocel responds, “What a wonderful truth from the Word you have shared with me! I thought infertility is seen as a curse in the Bible. But now that I’ve read this… I’m so happy! Barrenness is impossible for us women, because God makes us spiritually fruitful and gives us more through His grace! Thank You, Jesus! Amen!”
Betty has been chronically ill for almost two decades, which has put her through a lot. Like Betty, Nocel struggles with her health. She has a heart condition and in an unfortunate incident, receives a hard blow to the head with a heavy object. Betty encourages Nocel with these words: “During the first years of my illness, especially, I worried a lot. I thought, how will things be in the future? I am single and used to my independence. Now, almost 19 years later, I must say that God provides for everything. Again and again. Sometimes I still worry about the future (that’s my biggest temptation). But by always taking it to God and trusting Him, I get through it. He pulls me through, every day. Great is His faithfulness.”
Nocel, too, entrusts her life to God completely : “Life begins and ends suddenly, but for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Meaning of life
When asked during the course which two aspects give meaning to life, Nocel replies: “That I am born again [as a Christian]. People live and die, but being born again gives me the overwhelming hope that one day I will be with God forever. Second, that I am forgiven. I live for God’s glory, yet sometimes I still sin. Forgiveness gives me hope. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have peace in my heart.”
She also writes, “I am beyond blessed that God is using me and giving me His love and grace. And it is my prayer that whatever I do, I will glorify His Name.”