As an engaged woman waiting for her wedding day to come, many thoughts go through my mind and I sometimes wonder if I will be a good wife and mother. I am grateful to have my mother, Cristina Fuentes, whose example of faith, service and love motivate and guide me.
She is a woman of faith.
In 2012, while preparing with my father to become Church Service Missionaries, my mother suffered a stroke that left her bedridden because half of her body was paralyzed. She was undettered. After three months of intense physical therapy, heartfelt prayers, fasting and priesthood blessings, she was back on her feet and went on to serve with my father as Family History Church Service Missionaries under the Cagayan de Oro Mission from 2013 to 2015.
Her mission may be over, but up to this day she still serves as the Area Temple and Family History Adviser, traveling all over Mindanao while helping turn the hearts of Church members to their fathers.
She is a woman of service.
All my life I have seen my mother serving in one capacity or another. She was a Relief Society President for a long time, organizing activities for the sisters and helping priesthood leaders facilitate extending fast offering assistance to widows who were in need. For three years she also served as Purok President in our barangay. She worked closely with barangay and other community and government leaders to establish farming and other livelihood projects.
Her example inspired all three of us, her children, to serve full-time missions. I served in the Philippines Olongapo Mission, my brother Ken Willie went to the Philippines Naga Mission, while my sister Kirstie labored in the Philippines Laoag Mission.
She is a woman of love.
My mother always put her family first. In 1975, she wanted to investigate the Church but her parents were against the idea so she waited until she married my father in 1982. They embraced the gospel and was baptized in 1988, inspired by the doctrine of family history and temple work because she had an abiding love for her ancestors. They were sealed in the Manila Temple in 1990.
Although armed with a degree in mechanical engineering and already working her way up in the corporate ladder, my mother readily gave up her career in order to become a full-time, stay-at-home mom. She has sacrificed so much to raise us properly and has always been there for the family. Her great love comforted us through times of trouble, and with her around we always felt protected.
I will always look up to my mother as the best example of faith, service and love. She has always taught us to be good, and that includes practical skills like cooking and taking care of the house. I now realize that all this time she was training me and my sister to become good wives and mothers someday. Today, as we celebrate the International Day for Women, I would like to honor my mother Cristina Fuentes. She is an outstanding woman: she is my mother, and she is my hero.