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  • Writer's pictureJeff Kaldahl

Up Close and Personal With Raque - An Unbreakable Spirit Defying The Odds

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” Romans 5:3-4

Raque has been an important part of The Rising for five years. She joined us during her senior high school years and is now entering her third year of college. As a junior staff member, Raque takes care of the scholars like an older sister. Despite facing challenges, her life journey showcases the unwavering resilience often seen in Filipinos.

Raque with her dog “Medjas” which means socks in English

Raque describes life in the village as tough. From a young age, she helped her mother and siblings sell fiddlehead ferns at the local market. They would sell two bundles for a small amount, just 5.00 pesos (less than 10 cents in USD), to buy basic necessities like bread, and if they were lucky, rice and a side dish to share among the family.

At just 13 years old, Raque learned a heartbreaking lesson that would leave a lasting impact. When her mother was not around, a stranger approached them, promising free clothes if they followed her. Trusting and kind-hearted, Raque and her siblings gave the woman the 150 pesos they had saved for what was supposed to be an emergency. Unfortunately, they realized too late that they had been tricked, as the woman disappeared into the crowd, leaving them with empty stomachs and no money.

Raque successfully completed a performance task in her online class during the pandemic.

Overcoming Obstacles in Education

In their secluded village, education comes with unique challenges compared to city life. Many students commonly drop out to work on the farm or find jobs.

But Raque had her sister, Rochilyn, as her biggest support. Every week, they faced numerous obstacles, waking up at 3 AM on Mondays with only a small flashlight to attend their 7 AM classes, braving the risk of encountering rebels along the way. Despite almost drowning in a river during heavy rains, they found shelter in a shanty owned by a relative, sharing three kilos of rice with noodles or sardines to survive each week.

Facing life's difficulties, Raque's strategic thinking was honed. Drawing inspiration from her hardworking parents, she took up work as a cook and laundry woman for her teachers, earning 1,000.00 pesos per week to support her family.

Leah and Raque strike a pose while preparing to grill fish at the beach.

Everything Works Together For Good

Unbeknownst to Raque, a greater plan awaited her. Initially, it was her sister Rochilyn who was recruited by teacher Cha for The Rising's scholarship program. However, when Rochilyn declined the offer, Raque courageously stepped in to take her place.

Reflecting on her decision in 2018, Raque discovered that her dreams had evolved. Instead of envisioning herself as a policewoman or teacher, she chose to pursue her passion as a Hotel and Restaurant student.

“My dream has evolved because I discovered a lot about myself while studying in high school, and “ate” (a Filipino term for older sister) Leah and Jeni guided me to see my strengths,” she explained.

With unwavering support from everyone at The Rising, she describes the ministry as a "great supporter."

Raque, wearing white shirt, enjoying a day at the beach with The Rising staff and scholars.

Experiencing God’s Intimacy

Before, Raque viewed God as distant, merely controlling the universe. However, Through The Rising, Raque's relationship with God deepened, and she experienced His intimate and intentional love. She learned valuable lessons, finding peace even in challenging circumstances.

“Through The Rising, I felt God close to me. I’ve seen how He cared for me, especially in helping me overcome every struggle I face as a student,” she described.

Raque preparing snacks for the kids in our village lifegroups.

Raque's journey from humble beginnings to becoming an inspiring member of The Rising highlights the power of perseverance and the transformative impact of unwavering support. It reminds us of the importance of helping those facing difficult circumstances and offering hope for a future filled with possibilities.

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