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  • Writer's pictureJeff Kaldahl

Up Close and Personal with Jennie - A Model of Inspiration

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6


Poverty has the potential to shatter dreams, but only if we let it. However, there is a silver lining: experiencing hardships at a young age can impart valuable lessons that those who are more privileged often overlook. In this particular story, we will witness how Jennie, a determined scholar, finds the courage bestowed upon her by the Lord, enabling her to overcome the pervasive poverty that has plagued her village for generations.



Life in the village for Jennie was simple. She grew up with her family, and having three meals a day was already considered a blessing. Like the other villagers, there were days when they struggled to find enough food. After they had harvested all their crops for sustenance, Jennie's parents would take on low-paying jobs from others just to make ends meet. Jennie became familiar with sacrifice as she accompanied her mother, Prime, in juggling various jobs during those challenging times.


"Despite those hardships, we found joy in life," she shared.


Recognizing the value of education as a means to break free from poverty, Jennie's mother emphasized the importance of completing school to her children on a daily basis.


To Be A Bearer of Hope

Taking her mother's advice to heart, Jennie developed a strong desire to pursue her education. She discovered her childhood dream at an early age, inspired by the unwavering passion of her former elementary school teachers who overcame obstacles to provide education in the village. One of her influential mentors, Cha, a former teacher and a member of The Rising Board of Directors, introduced Jennie to the ministry and guided her on her spiritual journey.


“My dream didn’t change. The Rising strengthened my desire to pursue teaching because it provides opportunities to teach kids. It gives me pure joy,” she explained.


This month, Jennie is set to graduate from high school and embark on her journey to become an educator. We eagerly anticipate witnessing her move closer to her dreams, especially since she envisions herself as a beacon of hope for her community. Jennie aspires to succeed so that she can return to her village and pay forward the blessings she has received.


"As someone who hails from this place, I want to inspire my community and demonstrate that poverty does not hinder success. I want them to dare to dream big. I want them to realize that the city offers numerous opportunities and scholarships, and with perseverance, they too can achieve success," she expressed with hopeful eyes gleaming.


In a proud moment, RJ (on the left) and Jennie (on the right) are pictured receiving their certificates of recognition as high achievers for their outstanding performance last semester.


Finding Her Confidence In The Lord

However, Jennie's confidence didn't develop overnight. The prospect of studying in a city far from home can be intimidating, and she often finds herself plagued by intrusive thoughts of failure. Yet, during such moments, she finds solace in recalling how the Lord's unconditional love embraced her despite her flaws and how His empowering grace enabled her to leave her past behind.


“My life wasn’t pleasing to His eyes,” she confessed, recounting how she used to deceive her parents in order to spend time with friends indulging in alcoholic drinks.


"There was even an occasion when I got drunk in the evening and then led the morning prayer at our local church... I deeply regretted it. It was not good. Looking back. . . I know I could have made better choices," she reflected.


The recollection of her past evokes strong emotions in Jennie, as it serves as a testament to God's goodness. Her assurance stems from the understanding that if God could rescue her from such darkness, His grace will continue to carry her forward.


"Whenever I feel discouraged, I sense God's reassurance that He is always by my side and will never abandon me, even when things don't unfold according to my plans," she added, her voice filled with conviction.

Jennie’s family celebrated her milestone with us in House of Hope.


What Matters Most For Her

For Jennie, her family serves as her greatest motivation. Once she attains financial stability, her primary plan is to ensure her parents undergo a comprehensive health check-up to address their existing health issues.


Jennie's father, Hermilo, has been admitted to the city hospital multiple times due to hypertension. Given the daily challenges they face in the village, he finds it difficult to resist consuming whatever food is available on the table, even those that are prohibited for his condition, thus exacerbating his health problems.


Jennie's aspirations for her family may differ from those of her friends, as many of them prioritize building houses for their families. While Jennie acknowledges the importance of housing, she firmly believes that the well-being of her loved ones takes precedence, particularly their health.


“Every time I come home to the village, I am reminded of the reason why I must succeed in life. They give me a reason to continue,” she declared


The Rising As A Compass

Jennie recognizes that not everyone has the privilege of starting their education with all the necessary resources readily available. She considers herself highly favored in this regard. What makes her journey even more remarkable is the support system she has in the form of her friends and the dedicated staff who stand by her side.


“TRIM greatly helps in guiding me where to go. They serve as a compass to keep my path straight. I have people I can share my problems with and they encourage me with godly wisdom,” she described.

Jennie (last person to the right) together with other scholars and staff


A Message To The Rising Partners:

Jennie longs to express her gratitude to each and every one of you face to face. Although it may not be possible at this time, she hopes this brief message will suffice:


“THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HEARTS! I can’t fathom your generosity. Thank you for supporting us in our studies and for supporting the community. You are leaving an impact on us here! It’s always my prayer that what you give, God will double what you will receive.”

Her father, Hermilo, also joins in prayer, asking God to bless each one of you with a long and fulfilling life, and may your sphere of influence continue to expand, enabling you to bless even more people.


Jennie stands as a living testimony to God's transformative power. He has cleansed and changed her, and now she is a young woman with lofty aspirations and a profound love for her family. Though her journey may still have many challenges ahead, we are confident that she will overcome every obstacle with her unwavering determination to succeed and her strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.


May her story serve as an inspiration, reminding you of God's goodness in your own life. May her deep devotion to her family encourage you to embrace and cherish your loved ones today. And may her resolute determination ignite a fire within you to pursue the dreams that the Lord has placed in your heart.





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