[Month 3 (Week 10): This post is part of the “6 Month Discipleship Plan” series]

We recently went to General Santos City for the internment of ate Vivian Muñasque, my best friend and mentor, my discipler and confidante. She was like a mother to me and definitely an inspiration to many.

I once shared here how she is a woman of character (see: “Caught Not Taught”), and also a woman of wisdom (see: “When You Can No Longer Love A Difficult Person, Love Like Jesus”). I also remember writing about her battle against cancer (see: “What Christ Taught Me About Cancer. What Cancer Taught Me About Christ”).

The physical separation is still saddening and I don’t know when the feeling will go away or if it will ever go away, but God’s promises bring healing and comfort. Thus we can still rejoice in this!

  • “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants” – Psalm 116:15
  • “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” – Job 1:21b

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Ate Vivian’s birthday celebration in 2015 — 2 months after she started discipling ladies in our ministry area.

I am grateful to God because He allowed us to meet her and to share life with her. At first, the physical death of a faithful servant of Christ seems shocking and surreal. I personally could not get out of bed for three days. My reaction betrayed my own failure to see the sovereignty of the Lord — that those who belong to God remain subject to His timing for every event and experience in their lives including physical death.

She is now home, and what blessed me even more is the physical, prayerful and loving presence of our church family during this time.

It is hard to come up with a summary of my memorable experiences with ate Vivian so much so the kind of love she showed  the ladies she discipled for Jesus. But if I have to describe her life in one line, it would have to be: A life well-lived.

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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

Ate Vivian had many worldly accomplishments: consistent honor student, graduated Cum Laude, a Master’s degree holder and was eyed as a researcher/ academician on top of the ladder. But no, those are not the reasons why she had a well-lived life.

Her life was well-lived because it was a life in Christ and for Christ. She gave up everything she had for the sake of the gospel. She could have earned the whole world but instead she gave her whole life to Jesus. I witnessed how tireless she was in her graciousness, excellence of ministry and the gospel. With or without cancer, she led people to God’s truth and being.

When I think of her, I think of her life verse (Acts 20:24) and ministry verse (1 Corinthians 15:58):

  • “I consider my life worth nothing to me; if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” 
  • “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Ate Vivian has finished the race. She has completed the task, and I am so grateful that we had the chance to run alongside her. She gave herself fully to the work of the Lord and her life and character bring inspiration and encouragement.

She is finally home. Deeply missed but won’t be forgotten.

Praise be to God.

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