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From Nobody to Somebody

Andria Mae Arandilla is a BSED second-year student at Central Philippine Adventist College.

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Every night it’s a habit that tears will fall from her eyes. She doesn’t know what the reason is in her mind, but her heart does. When the light switch is turned off, tears fall silently.

Every time Andria sees the family of her cousin bonded together, who has a big smile on their lips and laughs like there is no tomorrow because their uncle is tickling their three children, playing like they are best friends. Andria cannot stop turning her eyes to watch them instead of the television. She forms a smile on her face, but her heart is being pinched and it aches, and when tears want to come out of its big, lonely and pretentious eyes, she reminds them, "Do not come out yet, just wait till the evening comes, and you can freely fall if you want”, and a voice is whispering in her head every time this scenario happens," I am nobody."

The Start of Her Journey

Andria Mae Arandilla is her name, she has felt like a nobody since she was a child. Her parents broke up because of the reasons she knows but can’t explain. Her loving and caring grandma took care of her because her mother chose to work in a faraway country to sustain their needs and wanted to help her family, while her father, she doesn’t know where it goes, but it shows up once in a while.

Andria needs to start studying, so her grandmother makes her live with her eldest daughter and a sister of Andria’s mother who has a family. She feels anxious and excited when Sunday comes because it’s the day when her grandmother will come home. One time, when his uncle was tipsy and his sleepers were lost, the villain cousin pointed out that Andria was the one who used them, and it became the reason why she was scolded and spanked.

While she was beaten by the firewood, no tears fell from her eyes; although some of it wanted to escape, she reminded herself, "It's not time to come out yet." She can endure it because she knows she needs to be strong. She doesn’t have anyone to lean on, so she needs to be strong.

A First Encounter With God

Time passed by so easily. She lived now with the youngest sister of her mother because her grandma wanted it. Her aunt, with her husband, has had no child for years, so she feels privileged to live with them.

She was confused at first while living with them. " Why are these people singing songs and reading a book that talks about Jesus and the church every morning and evening?" she asked herself while her uncle was praying before they went to sleep.

As she grew up, she became one of them, a Christian, specifically a Seventh Day Adventist. She was not bothered anymore if her father was not visiting her, because she was used to seeing him once in a blue moon until she never heard from him again.

Andria feels something in her heart, a happiness that no one can take away from her since she received Jesus as her personal saviour at a young age. She is part of the teachers who teach the children during her high school days and lead the young people in their local church.

Questioning God

Every time she goes up to the stage to participate in school activities, she sees the parents of her classmates supporting their children. And when the performance on stage is done, her friends are proudly running to go to their parents, while Andria just goes along with them because she has no one to go to, her guardians are too busy to attend, her mother is far away, her grandmother is working, and she doesn’t know where her father is. At every homeroom meeting, she is the one who attends because no one attends for her.

One night, the schedule of crying time was set. While crying loudly in her heart but silently for her guardians not to notice it, she asked God, "Lord, why me? Out of millions of people, I have a lot of classmates. Why did you choose me to have a broken family? What sin did I commit on you? Am I this unfortunate or do you just not love me like you love them? " And she remembered she was a nobody.

Discovering Her Purpose

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Andria was involved in the ministry. She became a student literature evangelist. The gifts that she discovered in herself, she used them in God’s glory. She is an active youth who preaches and teaches the youth too.

She then realized, while reading the Bible, that she is somebody and that God has a purpose for her life, because she discovered everything happens for a reason and that Jesus Christ died for her. She then became more positive in life after that, because she engraved in her heart that she should be thankful for having a broken family, because if not, maybe she did not meet Christ and find its real purpose in life. It is to glorify God and to be a channel of his good news.

Life lesson

Andria will say no if given a chance to live a different kind of life. Even though her life is not perfect, she finally appreciates it. Yes, it’s true that there is a lot of emptiness in her life, but God fills in all of it. That’s why she feels complete now.

She may have had separated parents who did not fully fulfill their role in her life, but God gave her more than that. She uses instruments, like people in her environment, church, and her guardians, to fill in the role of her parents. She now has not just one person who treats her like a child, but many of them.

She then concluded that yes, she was a nobody, but through Jesus Christ she had become a somebody.