Regina Vicente has a heart for both education and health care and will be heading to Hope College. She won a tuition-free scholarship as well as a private scholarship from individuals and churches in the Holland area. While I have taught her for several years, I have gotten to know her better this year when her dad joined 61 Isaiah as a full-time pastor. Any pastor kid will tell you that they are often free labor. But I think she would volunteer even if not forced to, as this girl has a heart for helping others. She is one of the few students that I know who values the older generation and wants to serve them with her nursing degree. Read her essay below to see what she considers to be hope.
At some point in our lives, we have all felt lonely, like there is nothing left for us to do, well that is where hope and faith play their part. We show our hope everyday without even realizing it, our actions show what we hope for and how strong our faith in it is. Hope is easy to say, but hard to believe especially in hard times. For us to have hope we have to have faith, from there God is the one who will fill us with hope and peace we cannot even explain.
Growing up my grandmother lived with us for her last four years of life. She was pretty lucid for her age but still needed someone to give her undivided attention during the day. So, she had a part-time sitter who lived a couple of streets from our home that would come in everyday and keep her company. The sitter’s name is Antonia, but we called her Doña Toña. She was pretty young at the time, probably around her late thirties. Doña Toña was a single mother with two teenagers, being single did not stop her from building character in both her children, in fact they were and still are one of the most respectful people I know.
Whenever I think of hope, Doña Toña instantly comes to my mind. She did not have a degree or a business but a sitter’s income and she also sold food to students. Her hope was that someday her children would grow up and have a
better future than she did and her hope motivated her to keep working hard. I remember when her children left for college and moved to a different city, her words were: “I have no way to provide for them, but God does and he will make it possible for my children to earn their degrees”. She would send them frozen food for them to microwave throughout the week and worked extra hard to provide for them. Her hard work inspired me to also work hard, making me realize when we hope for something it will not always be easy, but it will not be impossible either.
Despite all the limits or things that could have stopped Doña Toña from sending away her children and making the decision for her children not to go to college, she did not and her circumstances did not stop her. Her faith was beyond paychecks and bills, but she believed God would never leave her and He never did. She had ups and downs financially and emotionally which she is really open to share, but one thing that never went down was her faith and hope. Doña Toña served in church, going through financial problems people would expect for her to leave church and work extra hours but she never did. She stayed faithful to God and he was also faithful to her.
Doña Toña Today
Long story short, now Doña Toña doesn’t work, she has a beautiful and charming dog named Bruno, which you will see her often on walks with. Her children, now adults, are an architect and microbiologist, both well known in town as brilliant people. After all the sacrifices, hard work, and faithfulness Doña Toña has achieved everything she hoped for. Her testimony has brought so much hope into my life since I started high school. Whenever I’m struggling or feel like giving up, Doña Toña’s testimony reminds me that God will always provide no matter how hard it may seem, all I have to do is trust in him and never lose hope.
Inspired by Doña Toña
Without even knowing it Doña Toña impacted my life and I have no doubt I am not the only one she has inspired and given hope to. Her life was hard, it was never easy for her or her children, but during that time you would see her and it would not even occur to you what she was going through. She would always greet you with a smile and if you visited her, you could tell hospitality was one of her gifts. All of her problems and struggles did not play a part in the way she lived her life. She was definitely troubled, but she also had faith and her hope never disappeared. It was not that she was living a perfect life, it was that her faith was in God and he never let her down, her hopes never went down. One thing Doña Toña taught me when I was little was to believe in what I want, but also to work hard for it. She placed that mindset on me of working hard to accomplish good things and in the way to also believe in myself and remain faithful to God.
Doña Toña’s testimony has given me so much hope for my future. It is also a reminder that it is not going to always be easy, but if we remain faithful to God, he will make sure we accomplish what we hope for. Just as Doña Toña was placed in our community to inspire hope, I also want to inspire hope wherever I go. I really want people to believe in what they hope for, to have faith in what God is holding for their future and most importantly I also want to keep believing in what I hope for, because I know God will be part of my way.