Life as it happens. Time as it passes.

Atet: A True Story (part 1)

I would like to tell you a true story, about a mentor, who up to this very day teaches and imparts life’s greatest lessons. But unlike lessons that are outlined in notebooks, her lessons are written, and are still being written, in her heart. She unselfishly gives herself as a living blackboard into which these precious nuggets of wisdom that you are about to hear, are being sketched day after day.

The accounts that I am about to tell you are a result of my recalling to memory the very few but valuable moments, we have spent and continue to spend as mentor and student. From my earliest memories of having her for my Sunday School teacher, up to this very moment that I have grown to become a minister of the gospel, and she, still the ever-loving adviser-friend that continues to faithfully pray for me, even if I know fully well that she needs more of it than me. In between these two points in time, I shall try my best to vividly recall the frames and pictures that my feeble mind had captured in the past, and continues to capture today.

Let me begin by introducing her to you, by simply calling her, Atet.

It was way back 1994. I was a grade four Sunday School attendee in our church. She walked into our small room, unrolled her guidebook, and started imparting to us, her students, the Bible lesson of the week. But long before that encounter in the classroom, Atet has been a very special part of the family. She and mom are very good friends. Incidentally, they also carry the same nicknames–Tess. And they both were into the same academic subject I really felt was the biggest burden of all time–math. Be that as it may, Atet at that time, as my Sunday School Teacher, first began imprinting her life’s influence upon me. And I will forever be grateful for that.

I went on to be a high schooler in our church, while she went ahead with another ministry responsibility in church. I knew for a fact she was watching me from a distance, still with the prayer for me always. As her student, I surely felt that. Time passed on and I entered college life.

Several changes brought our paths together, although they were never really severed. She happened to be the wife of one of our church’s faithful men, whom everybody called Kuya Jojo. In 2003, our pastor tapped Kuya Jojo to take the lead of the youth ministry of our church, of which I was the student president. Atet took an active part in helping the youth program of the church together with her husband. In just a little over a year, the group was back on its tracks with a strong sense of direction.

The youth officers would often meet at their house, just a few blocks from our house. Often, we would go home so late because we would spend a good deal of time just fellowshipping together. My college life was highlighted by the influence of my senior pastor, Kuya Jojo and Atet, as far as my involvement in our church’s youth ministry was concerned.

I graduated from college, and went on to be a full-time staff of the church. Kuya Jojo and Atet still showed their support for me, even after my stay with our youth. I eventually went on to also lead the youth group as its coordinator, a very rare privilege accorded only by our senior pastor. Our working relationship grew even stronger and better as the years passed. I really thought it would be nice if this kind of set-up just went on.

But God had other plans for all of us.

(to be continued…)

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