80 graduating Real LIFE scholars from Metro Manila, Central, and South Luzon joined the first leg of our National Scholars’ Conference (NSC) last week.
Our annual National Scholar’s Conference is one of the many ways we celebrate and equip our graduating Real LIFE scholars, providing them with guidance and support as they start off their careers. This transition is critical to continually empower dreams and allow their hope in Christ to shape their future.
Inspired by Ephesians 6:10-17, this year’s theme is “MATATAG,” encouraging our scholars to stand firm on God’s unwavering word, remain steadfast in their convictions, and stand alongside others.
In the first session,“MATATAG SA SALITA,” Pastor Janssen Morados encouraged our scholars to remain rooted in God’s word.
Pastor Jon Dolor talked about the importance of resilient faith to face the challenges ahead during his session, “MATATAG SA PANANAMPALATAYA.”
Our Real LIFE Chairman, Bishop Ferdie Cabiling, inspired our scholars to be “MATATAG PARA SA KAPWA,”fostering unity and building community among families and friends.
On Day 2, the dawn worship allowed our scholars to cultivate a habit of morning devotion.
The conference also provides practical insights on career and professional development. Bea Marquez shared tips on work wear, which helped scholars present themselves with confidence. Lastly, Agnes Mondoñedo offered valuable wisdom on resume writing, acing interviews, and helpful tools to support their job search.
These scholars are ready to leave a lasting impact on today’s society.
If you would like to partner with us and support more Real Life scholars this year, click here.
In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Real LIFE Foundation, a Christian NGO that provides scholarships for underprivileged but bright and deserving students, invites everyone to support its scholarship program by participating in Run for LIFE Cebu.
Run for LIFE Cebu features running pastor Ferdie Cabiling, who, in 2015, ran more than 2,000 kilometers across the Philippines in support of Real LIFE’s scholars. More than 330 high school and college scholars across the Philippines stand to benefit from this 2017 run, which takes place November 18 through 30.
To support our Real LIFE scholars, you can give online, securely and directly, at http://reallife.ph. Together, we can continue to change a life, and change the nation!
This year, we celebrate 10 years of bringing hope to poor but bright and deserving students and their families through the Real LIFE Foundation. The initiative that started with the desire of one leader to help fulfill the dream of a student to get a college degree is now an organization that helps hundreds of scholars in more than 30 locations across the Philippines.
To thank God for His faithfulness and the people who brought the Real LIFE Foundation to where it is today, an intimate celebration was held with previous and current directors, board members, staff, and partner universities last June 19 in the Every Nation building. For a recap of the event, you may visit the website of Real LIFE Foundation.
We believe that this is just the beginning of hope not only for the youth, but also for our nation. By providing education and investing in the character of the next generation, we are changing a life and changing a nation.
You can also take part in this mission of giving hope through education for the next 10 years! One of the ways to support Real LIFE is through Run for LIFE, which is set to happen this November in Cebu. For more information on the run, you may visit reallife.ph.
The Real LIFE Foundation believes that a scholar is a future world changer. This is why, since its foundation in 2007, Real LIFE has not only provided financial assistance to its scholars, but also character development sessions to teach scholars about leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence.
Real LIFE desires to bring hope and inspire scholars to be an influence in different spheres of society. Elaine Quidato, a 22-year old teacher, shared her story about the hope that was sparked in her through Real LIFE.
Elaine had a challenging, but fun childhood. She grew up without her parents and was raised by her grandparents. Eventually, she found out that the people she recognized as her mother and father were not her biological parents. This discovery did not affect her much at first, but as she went through high school, it led her to question her worth and identity.
“What’s wrong with me?” she thought to herself, “Why did (my parents) have to abandon me or give me away? Was I unlovable as a child?”
Her understanding of her value began to affect her relationships at this point as well. She was a person who did not like working with others and preferred to be left alone because she found it hard to trust others. She felt that nobody liked her and wanted to be her friend.
In 2008, Elaine was granted a scholarship by the Real LIFE Foundation. She was introduced to a LIFE coach who helped her grow in her character and relational skills. Her LIFE coach listened to her issues and encouraged her with God’s Word. Through their time together, she was able to have an understanding of her real identity, purpose, and value. More importantly, her LIFE coach led her to a relationship with God, and that made all the difference. She found a loving community and appreciated the God-given relationships in her life.
Because of the hope Elaine experienced through Real LIFE, she discovered a passion in teaching. She made a commitment to pay it forward by reaching out to students who are also looking for hope. She desires to encourage the kids in her classes through the testimony of God’s faithfulness in her life.
“I really believe in the promise that God has a purpose,” Elaine recounts. “We are not to just live on our own. As children of God, we are called to go to the communities we are in. As a living testimony, I believe that we can do something. We make them realize, we connect to them, we fellowship, and we share God’s Word to them.”
Elaine discovered her security, identity, and purpose through Real LIFE. She was given hope, and now wants to do the same for others.
To support scholars with stories like Elaine’s, you may participate by giving to Run for LIFE in Cebu this November. Visit reallife.ph for more information and spark hope in the next generation today!
From October 24 to 26, 2016, more than 260 Real LIFE Foundation scholars from Metro Manila and the provincial areas will gather for their annual National Scholar’s Conference. This event aims to equip the scholars for L.I.F.E. (leadership, integrity, faith, excellence) and to encourage them in their faith.
The conference is also a great opportunity for our Real LIFE scholars to be connected, build relationships with fellow scholars from other Philippine cities, and be inspired to make a difference in their own ways.
The scholars will hear from different Victory pastors, namely Pastor Joseph Bonifacio, who will talk about leadership; Pastor Gilbert Foliente, who will speak about integrity; Pastor Joey Bonifacio, who will expound on faith; and Bishop Ferdie Cabiling, who will tackle the topic of excellence.
There will also be workshops focused on different course tracks like engineering, accountancy, communications and information technology, and business management. These sessions will be done in a classroom set-up, with the goal of preparing our students for their respective fields after graduation. Every Nation campus missionaries will also speak to our high school scholars about identity, character and developing good habits.
We are in faith that when our Real LIFE scholars go back to their respective homes and campuses after the conference, they will be refreshed, energized, and encouraged to live lives of leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence, and inspire others to do the same!
If you would like to know more about Real LIFE Foundation and make a difference in the lives of these scholars, visit RealLIFE.ph
Princess Tolentino spent the first five years of her life living in a shack under the flyover near the Buendia station of the Philippine National Railways (PNR). It was a harsh reality she faced with her three brothers and sister, but Princess consoled herself with the hope that their lives would one day get better. At least, magkasama kami,she thought to herself. In 2005, Princess’ world shattered, when her father left her mother for another woman.
“Pagkatapos kaming iwanan ng daddy ko,” Princess recalls, “sinira ng gobyerno ang bahay namin sa gilid ng riles dahil squatter lang kami doon.”
Without a steady source of income, her mother was forced to relocate them under the bridge. At the age of 5, Princess was living among drug addicts, common thieves, and Rugby boys–a gang of street children named after the ubiquitous contact cement they sniffed to alleviate their hunger. Under a makeshift roof of cardboard and plastic, Princess, along with her family, endured harsh weather and unsanitary living conditions. The constant fear of being driven away by the police haunted them.
“Pinapaalis po kami,” Princess shares. “Minsan nga po, hinahabol pa kami.” One of Princess’ friends died in front of her when he was hit by a car while running from a policeman. “Tapos kapag hinahabol kami ng pulis, minsan kung saan-saan kami tumatakbo kahit sa kalsada. Kahit delikado.”
To survive, Princess learned how to beg for alms from passersby. She would pick scraps from the trash bins of fast food chains. Risking her life every day and being at the mercy of other people quickly became her norm. Her response to her hardships at a tender age was out of self-preservation and the need to have some semblance of control over her life: rebellion. At 10 years old, Princess learned how to drink and smoke. By age 13, she had entered relationships with several boyfriends.
“Nalaman yun ng mama ko at ng kuya ko,” she reveals. “Binugbog ako ng kuya ko. Dumating sa point na pumapasok ako sa school na may black eye.”
After several years, her mother finally secured a steadier job, and their lives, slowly but surely, began to improve. They uprooted themselves from the streets and moved into a small rented room. The family had a place they could call home. And, at the age of 11, Princess enrolled in first grade.
“Doon ako nagkaroon ng mindset na mag-aral na nang mabuti,” Princess shares. “Sinabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Babangon ako at dudurugin ko sila.’”
Motivated by revenge and the desire to win her mother’s affection, she became obsessed with acing her subjects just to show her family what she’s made of. On her graduation day, she reached her goal: she was the school valedictorian. That day, however, she had a big fight with her mother over a petty thing. What should have been a happy occasion became one of the lowest points of her life.
“Ang sama ng loob ko ‘non dahil ginawa ko naman lahat pero parang wala pa rin,” she sighs.
Princess texted her student teacher to confide in her, and she invited her to come to church. “Sumama naman ako kasi aircon,” Princess laughs. They went to Victory Fort, and there, for the first time in her life, Princess heard the gospel.
“Habang nakikinig ako ng preaching,” she reveals, “pina-realize sa akin ni God na kailangan ko si Jesus kasi sobrang dumi ko dahil sa mga kasalanan ko.” Princess felt a heavy burden lifted from her as she cried out to God. That same night, Princess surrendered her life, her self-reliance, her pain, and her pride, to Jesus.
Over time, Princess saw how God began to heal her heart and mend her broken relationships. All the hatred inside her began to disappear. In an incredible turn of events, Princess was able to reach out to her father, who had abandoned her more than 15 years ago, and met up with him so she could tell him that she would be all right. “Hindi ko na sila sinisisi kung bakit ganon yung buhay ko,” she shares.
Aside from personal healing, God also mended her life by allowing her to become a scholar of the Real LIFE Foundation. Her 7th grade teacher, Jaime Gabrera, saw her in Victory Fort and decided to connect her to the foundation. There, aside from a good education, she received mentoring, financial assistance and character development. She was molded to be a Christ-centered student, a scholar of God.
“God has a great plan for our lives,” she says. “Ang dapat lang nating gawin ay magtiwala. I know na kumikilos Siya sa buhay ko.”
While at Victory Fort, Princess was also connected to a Victory group, where she saw that Christians needed each other to grow in their faith. Encouraged by her new spiritual family, her self-esteem grew, and she learned how to be a disciple maker herself.
“Siyempre hindi pwede mawala yung discipleship, kung saan tinutulungan nila ako sa walk ko with Jesus. They empower me to lead.” Today, Princess is leading her fellow students to Jesus through her own Victory Group. She is also reaching out to her family, and firmly believes in God’s promise of salvation for her entire household. Two of her siblings are scheduled to undergo ONE 2 ONE soon.
Last month, Princess graduated from high school at the University of Makati. She is the first one to ever pursue college in her family. She has high hopes, and is expectant of her life in the university where she plans to take up a degree in Finance.
Asked where she sees herself five years from now, she replies with a smile, “I’ll be working hard for my family. I know I’ll be happy with the path that God will give me, like making disciples in the corporate world,” she adds.
Before, Princess was a child begging along the streets of Buendia. Today, she is an accomplished high school graduate on her way to university towards a brighter future. She may have already been through much, but with her new life in Christ, she knows that this is only the beginning.
Do you have a story of restoration? Share your story with us and testify of God’s goodness!
Since 2003, Real LIFE Foundation has been passionate about providing a better future for underprivileged Filipino students by giving them access to a good education. More than just tuition, fees, and a daily allowance, Real LIFE also mentors their
scholars in Leadership, Integrity, Faith, and Excellence; and equips them with practical life skills. Real LIFE has been empowering the dreams of scholars across the Philippines since 2003.
Last April 19-20, Real LIFE gave 45 scholars a surprise trip to Matabungkay Beach Resort in Batangas. Dubbed the “Mystery Tour,” the overnight camp brought together 19 university graduates from Metro Manila and 26 graduates from different provinces all over the Philippines. The students were asked to pack an overnight bag, and were then brought to their secret destination.
The Real LIFE Mystery Tour serves as a team building, fellowship, and send-off for the scholars—a chance
for them to get to know each other and build connections since this is the first and last time they will be together as a batch. The camp was indeed full of fun, surprises, and learnings. Junver Arcayna, Real LIFE’s Area Supervisor, spoke about perseverance in the real world. In the end, the camp was able to bless and honor the graduates before they finally heed their respective callings and make a positive change in society.
On October 26-28, more than 240 Real LIFE Foundation scholars gathered for their annual National Scholar’s Conference. This annual event serves as a time for our Real LIFE scholars to be encouraged, build relationships with scholars from other Philippine cities, and be inspired to make a difference in their own ways.
A photo posted by phoebe marie alicaya (@pebbleloves) on
The scholars, many of whom were students from the provinces visiting Manila for the first time, heard from different Victory pastors, leaders, and Real LIFE alumni, who spoke on leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence.
A photo posted by Rose-Ann Fel Guya (@felelang_25) on
Pastor Joey Bonifacio, Real LIFE’s Executive Director, gleaned from the life and leadership of King David, encouraging the scholars to know their calling, care for people, grow in their character, and be competent in their skills.
Pastor Carlos Antonio, Every Nation’s Global Communications Director, reminded the students of their identity in Christ and God’s love for them: “God loves you with a never-stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always-and-forever love.”
Victory Provincial Churches Executive Director Jon Naron shared his personal experiences on honoring God as a student through excellence. He encouraged the students to “excel in the things that matter”—namely, their relationships with God and their families, and in pursuing their life purpose.
Real LIFE alumnus Ian Olivares from Victory Malate also shared his testimony on excellence. When he was in high school, he did not care much about his academics. When he became a Real LIFE scholar in college, “I strived to be an excellent example to my classmates. I never cheated. I also became involved in my school organizations.” Because he lived a life of excellence in honoring God, Ian graduated as a magna cum laude from the University of Makati with a degree in Information Technology. He was also voted as the Most Promising App Developer in their batch.
We are in faith that as our Real LIFE scholars go back to their respective homes and campuses, they will be refreshed, energized, and encouraged to live lives of leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence, and inspire others to do the same!
If you would like to know more about Real LIFE Foundation and make a difference in the lives of these scholars, visit igivetolife.com.
In-store registration for the Real LIFE Foundation‘s annual Race for LIFE starts this Sunday, October 10!
Set on November 30 at the Seaside Boulevard, SM Mall of Asia grounds, Race for LIFE 2015 is for the benefit of over 250 scholars of the Real LIFE Foundation all over the Philippines. In-store registration for Race for LIFE begins on Saturday, October 10 at the following venues and their corresponding branches:
Runnr – Trinoma, Bonifacio High Street, and Alabang Town Center
Toby’s – Robinsons Galleria, Mall of Asia, Robinsons Metro East, and SM Manila)
Garmin – Glorietta 5
Registration will be accepted Mondays to Sundays, 12 NN to 8 PM. You may register for the following categories:
10K – PHP 1,000
5K – PHP 600
3K – PHP 350
You may also register online at http://igivetolife.com/race or at registration booths at Victory Fort (October 17 & 18) and Victory Pioneer (October 25, Nov 1 & 8). The Real LIFE Foundation is the social responsibility arm of Victory and Every Nation. Our way of showing compassion to the poor is through the provision of Scholarship Grants to high school and university students. We believe that it is through education where the poor can get out of poverty. To date: Real LIFE has granted over 1000 scholarships since it started in 2003. Real LIFE is currently handling 260 scholars nationwide. LIFE 2015 and, together, let’s change a life and change the nation!
From September 5 to October 25, Pastor Ferdie Cabiling will run across the Philippines, running 50 kilometers a day, covering 2,500 kilometers, to celebrate his 50th birthday. His goal: To raise P2.5 million pesos for the scholars of Real LIFE Foundation.
Find out how you can support Pastor Ferdie and impact the lives of 250 Real LIFE scholars.
Last October 27-29, more than 200 Real LIFE Foundation scholars from 26 cities all over the Philippines gathered at Victory Pioneer for the annual National Scholars Conference. The three days were a time of equipping, encouraging, and fellowship for Real LIFE’s high school and university scholars from across the nation.
KC Bahaj, a Real LIFE scholar studying in the De La Salle College of St. Benilde, shares her testimony from the conference:
It was a great three-day National Conference—not just for me, but for every scholar who went to this event. I’m blessed to see a lot of students who were able to study because Real LIFE answered what God called them to do.
(I learned) that we are not after Uniformity, but we are (for) Unity.
Everything was just perfect! Thank You, God, for not just providing for us financially, but spiritually. It’s not just about the conference itself, but the encounter and experience of all the scholars!
Some of these scholars never had the opportunity to go to Manila, let alone fly on a plane.
In the three days of equipping and team building, the scholars also heard from keynote speakers from Every Nation Philippines.
“If we stay in integrity and stay in obedience,” Pastor Steve Murrell, Victory’s founding pastor, said, “God will provide.” Emphasizing financial integrity, Pastor Steve encouraged the students to start building boundaries of integrity, even at a young age.
“Leadership is designed to serve,” Rachel Ong of Every Nation Singapore, shared. Ms. Ong, a member of Every Nation’s executive board, gleaned from the life of Joseph and exhorted the scholars to cultivate servant hearts. “God’s design for leadership is serving one another.”
Other speakers included Pastor Ferdie Cabiling of Victory Metro Manila, who shared a timely message on the Father heart of God. Pastor Nixon Ng of Victory Malate, who encouraged the students to walk in excellence as an expression of worship to God. Pastor Joseph Bonifacio and his wife, Carla, facilitated breakout sessions for the men and women on living lives of purity and holiness.
One of the main highlights of the National Scholars Conference was the “REAL Amazing Race” held in the UP Diliman campus grounds. This activity allowed scholars from the different Real LIFE centers to get to know each other and work in teams.
All in all, the three days the scholars spent being encouraged and encouraging each other helped them grow in their relationship with God. It is our prayer that they experience success in greater measures as they finish school and help lift their families out of poverty, all for God’s glory and honor.
Thank you for faithfully giving to LIFE!
Real LIFE’s mission is to honor God by serving the poor and empowering their dreams through educational assistance, character development, and community service. Through their scholarship program, these young men and women are given opportunities to receive a good education, thus helping lift their families out of poverty. Their education is coupled with LIFE coaching, where mentors coach them in the areas of leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence.
In our “Who Cares” series, scholars from our Real LIFE Foundation shared their testimonies and how God not only provided for their education, but also gave them hope to fulfill their dreams and bring their families out of poverty. In these video testimonies, see how God provided for Jonathan and Cezanne.
Jonathan was a son of a scavenger and a housewife, and his faith sustained him even in the midst of their poverty. His dream was to have a college degree and at the same time help his family live a better life. Through Real LIFE, he recently finished his Computer Science degree.
It had always been Cezanne’s dream to be involved in the arts and media industry. As she became a scholar under Real LIFE Foundation, God made a way for her to study and receive a regular allowance—and be able to complete the different requirements that she needed to accomplish her school projects. Cezanne is graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Major in Broadcasting, from the University of Makati.
We are so encouraged hearing these stories firsthand from our Real LIFE scholars! You may also participate in empowering the dreams of underprivileged but deserving Filipino students by giving to LIFE. If you would like to know more about Real LIFE Foundation, you may visit its official website at igivetolife.com or follow its updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Since 2003, Real LIFE Foundation has been passionate about providing a better future for underprivileged Filipino youth by giving them access to a good education. More than just tuition, fees, and a daily allowance, Real LIFE also mentors their scholars in LIFE: Leadership, Integrity, Faith, and Excellence; and equips them with practical life skills. Real LIFE has been empowering the dreams of scholars across the Philippines since 2003. On April 8-9, our biggest scholar graduation, dubbed the “Mystery Tour,” will bring together forty-six Real LIFE scholars from 18 cities across the Philippines. Twenty-five provincial graduates will be asked to pack an overnight bag, and then flown to Manila to join twenty-one Manila-based graduates for an “Amazing Race” (Grad Edition), which will eventually culminate at their undisclosed graduation venue outside the city. Most graduates will be the first in their family to obtain a university degree, and many have never experienced staying at a hotel. Some have spent up to eight years battling hurdles to be able to graduate, which is why Real LIFE wants to make their graduation extra special. Last year, some scholars revealed that they couldn’t sleep the night before their graduation because they were so excited for the Mystery Tour! This year, it is bound to be full of fun and surprises, which aim to truly bless and honor the graduates before they finally heed their respective callings. In preparation for this celebration, we are raising funds for this special event. If you would like to contribute towards this unforgettable experience for our scholars, click here to help! It is Real LIFE’s goal to raise US$ 7,500 in 45 days; we have created an IndieGogo campaign page that displays our full vision for this project. The budget for every Scholar Graduation includes:
Airfare to fly 25 provincial graduates to Manila for graduation;
Hotel accommodation and meals for 46 graduates, 5 staff & 5 volunteers;
A special graduation banquet for 100 scholars and guests;
Transportation costs to rent 4 vans to bring scholars and guests to the graduation venue outside Manila;
A graduation gift for every scholar; and
An extra special surprise on April 9 for the graduates (details cannot be disclosed yet).
In the event that we don’t reach our ultimate funding goal of US$ 7,500, the scholars will still be treated to a special graduation trip with the funds raised. As a treat, everyone who donates a gift of US$50 will receive a black T-shirt with the slogan, “Helping Others Never Goes Out of Style.” Here’s a video of last year’s graduation. Watch it and witness how Real LIFE’s programs are transforming lives through hope and education!
Jane Ibay did what she could with the little she had—but God had so much more for her. Read her story of faith and perseverance!
I grew up in a family of four siblings. My mother was a seamstress and my father, a construction worker. Because of their combined meager earnings, three of us were scholars when we set foot in college.
I considered it a blessing that I had a government scholarship in my first two years of college. However, only my tuition fees were subsidized. I still had to rely on my parents for other expenses.
My mother would give me a PHP 250-a-week allowance when I attended school. Because my daily fare cost PHP 30, I was left with PHP 20 for everything else—food, projects, photocopying expense, and other things. I did not want to ask any more money from my parents because of all the other needs our family had.
To make ends meet, I decided to earn from my meager resources. I started to sell small food items and paper to my classmates. Thankfully, they became loyal customers! My earnings helped me pay for the other expenses I needed—and I was amazed that I had more to give back to God through my tithes!
Meanwhile, my older and younger sisters’ college educations were greatly assisted by the Real LIFE Foundation’s scholarship program. I didn’t know much about Real LIFE or its scholarship program; I had an idea of what Real LIFE was doing, but I was afraid of becoming too dependent on Real LIFE to provide for my education and other needs.
Eventually, after seeing the changes in my sisters’ lives, I ended up desiring to be part of Real LIFE. I knew in my heart this was what God wanted for me, and how He wanted to provide for my future. When I joined my church’s Prayer and Fasting activity, I included securing a Real LIFE scholarship in my list of faith goals.
On the third day of the fast, my Victory group leader informed me that I made it to the Real LIFE Foundation’s initial scholarship screening for the next school year. I was stunned; I did not tell anyone about my desire to join Real LIFE!
What happened after that is a blur. As they say, the rest is history.
“Never doubt God’s faithfulness”
I learned a lot of things while part of Real LIFE’s scholarship program. I’d say the most important lesson I learned would be having faith in God—which means, I must never, never doubt the faithfulness of God. In my season as a Real LIFE scholar, I consistently saw that He did what He said He would. In every season of our lives, we need to fix our eyes on Him.
God taught me to be faithful in the small things. Because He blessed me abundantly, I learned to be a blessing to others as well. Every time I stepped out in faith, God would return it in greater measure!
I did not just learn how to be a blessing through God’s resources; I also learned how to be a steward of His blessings. God gave each of us talents and skills, and we must maximize everything given to us. I realized that my underprivileged background did not entitle me to anything—and I don’t have to feel sorry for myself. God created me for a purpose, and I want to share the same truth to others.
I am thankful that I was given this privilege, not just to study or receive allowances, but to also be empowered to live to my fullest potential. Real LIFE helped me to have faith—not in my circumstances, but in God, my Provider and Father.
In 2011, Jane Ibay graduated with a degree in Banking and Finance from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa. She is currently one of the administrative staff of Every Nation Ministries, and an active member and Victory group leader at Victory Pasig.
There was one thing that Tonie Aguilar really wanted: to finish his studies. Thanks to Real LIFE Foundation, he was able to pursue that dream and learn a lot of lessons. Know more about his testimony here.
Ever since I was young, my heart’s desire was to finish my education and pursue a better future. It wasn’t easy, because I came from a poor family, and was practically raised in a single-parent household. My father left my mother when I was six; I never saw him again.
My mother worked as a laundrywoman, and her meager salary was our only source of income. To make ends meet, I worked as a busboy in a fastfood restaurant, but my salary could not compensate for my family’s expenses. Balancing time between work and pursuing my college degree wasn’t easy. I prayed hard to receive a scholarship, but I did not know how to get one.
Around that time, I became part of a Victory group at Victory Fort Bonifacio. I didn’t tell anyone about my needs, but instead fully trusted God to do His will. One day, my mentor, Miko, encouraged me to try out for a scholarship at the Real LIFE Foundation.
I will never forget that God answered my prayers in a powerful way, and gave me the opportunity to do greater things for his glory. The Real LIFE Foundation gave me a scholarship, and I received support for my education, including tuition and allowance.
Attitude of Gratitude
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Real LIFE is to have an attitude of gratitude. For one, I am very grateful about the education I received. I learned not to take my studies for granted by doing less than my best. I realized that studying and working hard honors God. I’m also thankful for everyone who partners with Real LIFE to give people like me a chance at a better future.
Real LIFE isn’t just about financial support. Being part of the program taught me a lot about character. Yes, God provides for our needs, but He is also concerned about our character. Real LIFE values what our church values: leadership, discipleship, and growing in our faith.
Being part of the program helped build my faith and encourage others to live by faith as well. God is a faithful God, and we can trust Him to provide for all our needs. He is also faithful to answer our prayers. Because of this, I want to live my life as His messenger. I want more young people to know about who God is and what He can do in their lives.
Tonie has long since graduated and is now helping students reach their fullest potential in Jesus. He served as a campus missionary under Every Nation Campus Fort, and is now the youth pastor of Victory Pioneer (edit as of August 14, 2015).
Mark Gonzaga dreamt of finishing his university education and securing a future. He was able to surpass the odds and increase his faith in God in the process. Read more to know how God moved mightily in Mark’s situation.
Before being part of the Real LIFE Foundation, I was struggling with my finances. Income was scarce in my family. I had to drop out of college to be able to provide for my needs, and work as a call center agent.
I had a burning desire to finish my studies. By faith, I decided to pool all my savings from my income and enroll in the upcoming semester.
My mother, who had just received a job abroad, was excited for me and promised to support me all the way until I graduated. I had my hopes up and was looking forward to my future.
A few months into the semester, the bad news came: my mother got very sick. Because she was in the hospital often, most of her finances would go towards her treatment. She could no longer support me as I hoped.
It was a season where I walked with God. I also did a lot of walking—from school to my house, even to church. It was a time where I could eat only once a day. It was a very, very difficult time. Yet God would unexpectedly provide for my needs.
I am thankful that He did not only provide financially, but also people who stood with me and encouraged me. Jay, my Victory group leader, told me something I can never forget: “Even if the mountain doesn’t move, climb over it. God will give you the strength like a deer to walk over the mountain.”
God answered my prayer for finishing my education when I became a Real LIFE scholar. That semester, I was so thankful to be part of their Adopt-a-Scholar program. Almost simultaneously, I was also elected as the school’s student council president.
Real LIFE did not just give me an opportunity to graduate—it helped me push for excellence. It made me realize that everything I did was to honor God. I was taught that everything we do is a dedication to Him. In everything that I do, I want to please and glorify God.
Being under Real LIFE, I was taught leadership, integrity, and excellence. But faith is what separates us from the rest. Faith is what holds all these values together. We need faith in order to live lives of leadership, integrity, and excellence. Now, I am thankful to be able to serve God and His people wherever He calls me to be.
In April 2012, Mark Gonzaga graduated from Arellano University in Pasig, with a degree in Financial Management. He helps disciple LIFE groups in his alma mater, as well as students from Victory Ortigas.
There was an air of anticipation and excitement at the Real LIFE Graduation Scholars’ Banquet held on April 11.
The students—some about to enter college, others about to enter the corporate world—excitedly shared stories with their co-scholars, take photos at the onstage photobooth, and spend time with their parents.
It was a great opportunity for Real LIFE’s twenty-eight high school and university graduates to celebrate an important milestone in their lives. In spite of personal odds, these young men and women were able to finish school and also be examples of leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence among their peers.
The scholars heard various testimonies shared by their fellow graduates and from Raquel Bag-o, a Real LIFE alumna. One common theme in these stories was the hope that they had in Christ, and how Jesus helped each of them overcome their struggles and difficulties.
Eric, one of Real LIFE’s university graduates from Bacolod City, shared his testimony onstage. Eric was part of a government scholarship for the first two years of his college education when it was suddenly cut short. He felt that he lost all hope in finishing his studies, when an opportunity to be part of the Real LIFE Foundation was presented to him. “Being part of Real LIFE is the greatest gift (I received) from God,” he shares. “It taught me to value my family, my church, and the people around me.”
What was the most important lesson he learned while being part of Real LIFE? “I was taught to be a leader.” Eric was able to exercise his leadership skills particularly in leading young men like himself to a relationship with Jesus. He currently leads a Victory group in Victory Bacolod, and one of his group members is also a Real LIFE scholar.
Ultimately, Eric learned about LIFE: leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence. Because of his learnings, “Jesus became in the center of my heart.” Truly, Jesus is the best example we can emulate in our lives!
Eric’s story is just one of many that highlight the vision of the Real LIFE Foundation. Not only about sending underprivileged young men and women to school, the Real LIFE Foundation is also about transforming lives and empowering dreams. As the most recent class of Real LIFE graduates, along with their parents, left the banquet full of hope and expectation for the future, we are expectant that each of them would be God’s light to their campuses as well as their workplaces. And we are confident that, being fully equipped, they would also be encouragement to others who are going through the same trials they once did.
Through your prayers for, help and support of Real LIFE, these men and women are given a bright hope and future. They are equipped in their character, given opportunities to exercise what they’ve learned, and have a vision for their future.
On Saturday, February 11, take your family and friends on a different kind of experience, while helping deserving scholars at the same time! Join us on a Cruise for LIFE!
Victory Quezon City has organized a Corregidor Island day tour on February 11 for the benefit of the scholars of Real LIFE Foundation. Cruise for LIFE is a fun way to spend time with your family and friends. Not only will you learn more about our nation’s history, you will also give underprivileged but deserving scholars a chance at a better future!
Tickets for Cruise for LIFE are at PHP2,500 per person, inclusive of the day tour, lunch buffet, and guided tour around Corregidor. Ticketholders must be at the Sun Cruises dock at the CCP Terminal in Manila on February 11 at 7AM.
You can buy tickets for Cruise for LIFE at the following venues:
2011 was a great year for the Real LIFE Foundation! Your partnership and prayers are helping build a bright future for underprivileged high school and university scholars across the country.
Here are some highlights for this year for Real LIFE:
Steady Growth Real LIFE currently supports more than 150 students in 20 locations around the Philippines. They’ve recently opened three scholarship programs in Caloocan, Metro East, and Dasmariñas, Cavite. Real LIFE also celebrated their biggest Graduation Banquet last April, with forty-three high school and college graduates.
From Death to LIFE In March 6 and 7, five men joined the Bataan Death March marathon in Mariveles, Bataan. They ran for 102-km to raise support for Real LIFE and raise awareness. Two of our Victory pastors, Ferdie Cabiling and Junn Besana, took part in this grueling race. This team was able to raise PHP 500,000 for our scholars.
Soaring to Greater Heights Real LIFE also held their very first national scholar’s conference in October. Entitled “Soar,” our scholars took part in two days of equipping and encouragement in leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence. Some of those who attended experienced firsts in their lives—riding an airplane and staying at a hotel, among others.
Putting the Fun Back in Run Last November marked Race for LIFE with over 2,300 who ran, walked, skipped, and hopped for LIFE. The organizers cooked up an Amazing Race for parents and their kids, which proved to be a fun and helpful way for them to spend time! Lynn Nawata, Real LIFE’s executive director, recounted her experience here.
Getting Real Not only has Real LIFE received help and support here in the Philippines, but internationally as well! “Get Real this Christmas,” a benefit concert held in Singapore, was held in December. It was organized by members of EN Central, one of our Every Nation churches in Singapore. This benefit concert raised enough funds to support twenty-one scholars!
We are thankful that you have taken part in giving to LIFE! As you have refreshed others, may you and your family be refreshed.
About Real LIFE Real LIFE Foundation is passionate about providing a better future for underprivileged Filipinos by giving them access to a good education and transforming their communities through community service.
On October 20-21, the Real LIFE Foundation will be holding its first National Convergence entitled, “Soar.” Around 250 scholars, LIFE coaches, and Real LIFE alumni will be taking part in this two-day event for refreshing and fellowship. The conference will capture various topics such as integrity, leadership, excellence, and faith.
According to Vince Bitana, Real LIFE’s program coordinator, the theme was chosen to encourage every scholar to persevere and soar on wings like eagles, amidst their circumstances and backgrounds.
We’re looking forward to the future that these young men and women will build! Let’s pray that from this seminar, these young men and women would rise up and take the challenge of overcoming all the obstacles they face and will face. Pray also that all of them would be examples to their families, friends, and classmates.
About Real LIFE Real LIFE Foundation provides high school and university scholarships to underprivileged but deserving students with good academic standing. They also offer feeding programs every Saturday morning to malnourished children in Pasig and Malate.
If you would like to volunteer for Real LIFE’s feeding programs or know how you can help, you may call 817 1212 or visit their website. You can also follow their updates on Facebook and Twitter.