Wayward, says Jovita Obrial. “They’re wayward and they need to know Jesus.” She’s describing the children she taught right up until the COVID-19 pandemic halted all face-to-ace activities seniors were involved with.

When she was much younger, Jovita, ‘Nang Beth’ and her husband were rural pastors. They ministered to agricultural families on the outskirts of Davao City. She started serving with CEF in 1998 when she was nearing 60. She did much of her teaching at the Baracatan Elementary School where she taught six classes, one class for each grade level.

She was already 75 when she finished TCE 1 in 2015, perhaps setting a Philippine record for oldest TCE 1 trainee. (Interestingly, her husband started teaching at Baracatan National High School in about 2017 using some CEF materials, also late in life.)

At one point, Nang Beth was ready to give up teaching the kids, most of them children of banana farmers. Being in her 70s, this was understandable. But she dreamt about them, “fighting, saying bad words.” In her dream, the Lord challenged her with a promise and a reminder, “I will give you another 10 years to teach. Because if not, they will all go to hell.” And so, she kept teaching.

Which of all truths in the Bible is her favorite one to teach? Without a moment’s hesitation, she replies, “The truth that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Because wayward children need to know about Jesus.”

Victoria Suclan
CEF Davao City 3

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