“I am now a master teacher 1! This is unexpected. Praise God for this favor,” Ms. Marifel Forones Fernandez exclaimed with joy and thanksgiving after being promoted to that position at Ma-a National High School. She prayed for this but entertained doubts because she lacked some credentials but the Lord was gracious to her.
That is just one of her many major experiences of God’s favor. Flipping a few pages back in her biography are concrete expressions of His love and faithfulness in the midst of uncertainties and difficulties.
Her parents separated when she was a teenager. She and her two younger siblings had to live with relatives to survive, sometimes with their father and seldom with their mom. Marifel lived with her aunt in Cagayan De Oro. She came to know the Lord through her cousin, who was then involved with CDO Navigators. After a while, she had to transfer to a relative on her mother’s side in Davao City. A cousin with this aunt is a Navigator leader. Later, she worked for a Nav couple (Danny and Angie Narciso) while taking up BS Education major in Math. She got involved in the collegiate ministry and received training in discipleship. After passing the licensure exam for teachers, she served the Lord as Youth Development Facilitator for a year.
She is married to Roy Fernandez. They are blessed with two girls. In 2011, heavy rain and an unexplained huge volume of water fell on a mountain that overflowed to Pangi River in Davao City. This incident placed housing subdivisions, including theirs, underwater. It happened at night when Marifel was alone with the young girls. Struggling against the strong current in the dark (because of a brownout), she lost hold of her girls. She panicked and prayed. Suddenly, her daughters floated to her, with the younger holding tight to the foot of the older. They managed to grab a chair on which they stood, singing hymns together until they were rescued.
Now on the current page: Marifel takes on these greater privileges and bigger responsibilities, relying on God for strength and capacity. Hundreds of students take her mathematics class every year. She wants to share the Gospel to these young people through the partnership with the high school ministry of the Navigators. Stakeholders were established. Partnering with her in this ministry are Mrs. Felicidad Natad, a fellow teacher; Engineer Jonathan Victolero and Dr. Joanna Victolero, Nav volunteers who tutor and lead Bible study; and Dr. Eurlyn Racaza, a Nav alumna funding the work.
When asked to share her testimony during the “Lugaw for a Cause in Davao” about how the Navs has helped her, she shared, “The Navs has served as my family, providing for my basic needs, watching over my soul and reparenting me in some areas of my life.”
Marifel and her family still live in the same house but now with a second floor for their safety in case another flood would come.
For all these favors, Marifel could only respond in gratitude and worship.