Life used to be well for John Lester Aratea when he and his siblings were still kids. Their father had decent earnings so they had what they needed; this was until he lost his job. Their father had a hard time finding a new job because of his age, and without enough savings, the family started to have financial troubles.

At some point, Lester’s family had to leave the house they were renting because they were no longer able to pay rent. He and his siblings would have to go to school without allowance or food. Such financial crisis took a toll on his parents’ relationship. Seeing his parents quarrel often was one of the hardest to bear. He was agonized and frustrated at their situation, questioning why life had to be so hard.

Lester was brought up to be active in church, but he admits he never truly understood why they had to go to church, read the Bible, and attend Sunday school. Yet while in high school, he met an Every Nation Campus Missionary at a LIFE Seminar. The campus missionary preached the gospel to Lester and he, in turn, surrendered his life to Christ.

Lester started sharing his new relationship with God to others and he became active at one of Victory Katipunan’s volunteer ministries. He even encouraged his mother to get involved in the church.

In 2014, he lost his father to hypertensive bleeding. Following a stroke, his father went into coma for three days, and then passed away. Despite this, Lester is at peace because his father received Jesus’ gift of salvation before he died.

Lester recently graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accountancy, Magna Cum Laude.

Lester says, “Without Real LIFE, I don’t think I would have survived.”

He particularly appreciates that Real LIFE is not just focused on providing for its scholars’ financial needs, but is also very much concerned about their scholars’ spiritual welfare and relationship with Christ.

He hopes to work in the field of accounting and finance, and eventually work in the academe as a teacher. Because of a deep sense of gratitude, he would like to be a Real LIFE coach someday.

Lester’s life is just one of the many that have been impacted by Real LIFE. Many more lives will be changed through the continuous support of our partners as we change a life and change the nation. To be part of the stories of our scholars, click here.

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