When it comes to her studies, Jonathea had to live up to her parents’ expectation of achieving the highest of honors, because her two older brothers were able to do so. She wants to show her family that she can do it as well, and she can bring her parents great pride and joy, too.
She and her brothers’ world was too small, that is why she always gets comparison and judgment from others. She got remarks like, “slow” and “dumb,” even though she tries her best to achieve the highest honor. It was painful to hear, but she kept going.
As she keeps on going to prove herself and gets validation from others, little did she know, she was already suffering physically and mentally. She studied so hard, focused excessively just to get that honor, but she was getting too many sleepless nights and keeps on skipping meals. However, with all of those efforts and sacrifices, she still did not reach her goal of getting the highest honor upon High School graduation.
At that time, she doubted herself, questioning her worth and capacity to do things. But she knows deep in her heart that God has better plans for her, and He knows ultimately what is best—so she kept going.
She studied Social Work at the University of Mindanao at Davao City, which is quite far from her hometown in Compostela Valley. She chose to be away from her family because they have been struggling financially, and her aunt offered help to send her to this university. She told herself that this is going to be her last chance to prove herself, and strived for excellence at everything that she does by lifting to God everything. However, the journey was far from easy. She reached a point where she grew tired with struggles to the point of wanting to give up.
However, God heard her plea, because she became part of CFC ANCOP’s Educational Sponsorship Program. Her sponsors were the generous CFC Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) from Singapore. She considered this as one of the greatest blessings of her life, because it helped her not just financially, but importantly, emotionally and spiritually. She is always grateful for her Program Implementing Team (PIT) Ate Nyz, because she never failed to check and remind her to set God as her priority in life and never take health for granted. Jonathea realized then that there is no point in achieving high honors if she ends up being sick.
Everything went lighter after that Jesus encounter with CFC ANCOP and her PIT. After seeking help from their Guidance Counselor, God continuously reminded her to take extra care of herself and to be happy for everything that she has achieved, no matter how big or small. Ultimately, she finally understood that “I am good, better and enough in the way that I see myself for what I am.” She never stopped dreaming and believing in God’s promises that she will be able to achieve her dreams for herself and her family.
Lo and behold, in God’s grace, she finished strong by graduating as Magna Cum Laude for the school year 2018-2019. God’s providence did not stop there, as she ranked eighth (8th) in the August 2019 Social Workers Licensure Examination, out of 2,723 passers.
Jonathea has an inspiring story of faith and perseverance; that in everything that has to be done, God should be there and He should be our stronghold. When we keep in our hearts that God will never abandon us, there is no reason to give up, just like how Jonathea did even if she faced a lot of criticisms and doubts; but in God’s grace and perfect timing, everything bore a fruit that is more than what she could ask for. (Patria Balilla, ANCOP Communications)