The Student from Talaut Island

The Student from Talaut Island

Carlos Madrazo – Indonesia
In an academic campus swamped with theology students rarely does one expect to meet perhaps the most conscientious person who is a non-theology student. Maria Gagurang, was among the 269 plus who graduated yesterday exceptionally though she was not one of the honored students. However, she received her bachelor in education diploma yesterday, February 20th, 2006 from the Universitas Kristen Indonesia Tomohon (UKIT) with self confidence more than anyone else.

Carlos Madrazo – Indonesia

In an academic campus swamped with theology students rarely does one expect to meet perhaps the most conscientious person who is a non-theology student. Maria Gagurang, was among the 269 plus who graduated yesterday exceptionally though she was not one of the honored students. However, she received her bachelor in education diploma yesterday, February 20th, 2006 from the Universitas Kristen Indonesia Tomohon (UKIT) with self confidence more than anyone else.

She worked her way thru the educational process and completing its academic units in 3 1/2 years instead of the usual four. Maria is the only daughter of farming family that lives on the island of Talaut. This island is the closest island of Indonesia to General Santos, Sarangani Province in the Philippines, she managed to complete her education as a seamstress at Mawar Tailors located just in front of the still being constructed headquarters of the Gereja Masehi Ingili di Minahasa (GMIM), of which Global Ministries has a covenanted partnership in educational ministry. The shop specializes in making stoles and gowns for clergies and lay leaders in congregations, doctors and nurses as well as for judges and lawyers in Minahasa province.

I met Maria by chance through another former student who then was taking agriculture and attended the Conversation English class which I facilitated. Maria is the “laughing machine” of Class 2006… she laughs and giggles and often projects a smiling face. Yet, she is the shy type but always dependable. She does not own anything fancy but dresses well as she knows how to make her own clothes. At one point in her life at UKIT, the tailoring shop was low on job orders and she could hardly pay her rented room. Being familiar with me somehow allowed her the courage to ask for help. I told her I don’t have the resource to give her but if she knew of another student they could occupy the extra room in the house I rented. Well, it took her less than two day to find a companion. a theology student who was in much deeper need. What I learn about Maria is that she is a deeply religious person and consistently reliable. After school, she works until 8 or 9 in evening. Comes home and studies until 12 midnight or 1 in the morning and wakes up at 5 to meet the challenges of a new day. She always tries to attend neighborhood prayer meetings and is very good with children. It was indeed, a pleasure to help out someone who has a plan for her life to become a good teacher and Christian layperson. Unfortunately, Maria‚Äôs parents where unable to witness her receiving her diploma, but I am sure, they are just as proud and happy as I was to see her walk onto the stage to have her tassel turned by UKIT’s new rector and shake all the hands of all the dignitaries present. God has blessed Maria’s parents through their daughter, as we are always happy to serve those who deserve help.

C.L. Madrazo, Jr.

Carlos Madrazo is a missionary with the GMIM Synod of the Evangelical Church in Indonesia. He serves as a development worker.