With her warm, friendly smile, the beautiful gray-haired woman, popularly known as Lola (grandma) Nits, creates a positive atmosphere wherever she goes. Her presence alone can impart serenity, joy, and a sense of security, especially for the children at the orphanage she runs in Calauan, a municipality in the Philippines.
Lola Nits was raised in a family that practiced Aglipay, an offshoot of Catholicism. She tried her best to do good things in order to go to heaven, but she didn’t really have faith. She did all the necessary rituals she learned because she was terrified to go to hell. She fell in love with her boyfriend, David, and became pregnant at a young age out of wedlock. Her hopes of earning her way to heaven were lost.
Lola Nits worried that God could never forgive her for what she had done. David, who came from a family of Presbyterians, was not active in his religion, but he knew she needed help. He encouraged her to listen to a Christian radio broadcast. At first, she refused. At that time, her religion forbid members to read the Bible because it was considered to be dangerous.
But she slowly changed her mind and began to listen to the program, a regular Bible study called Bukas na Aklat (Open Book). She heard teaching on John 3:16 and was shocked. “With the kind of sin that I did, there was no way for me to go to heaven,” she says. But it was almost as if the Lord directed the broadcaster to speak right to her. “Whatever your sin is, whether it’s big or small, God can and will forgive you,” he said.
From that moment on, Lola Nits accepted the forgiveness of the Lord. “I cried so hard, because right then and there I felt the love of the Lord,” she says.
“I was filled with joy; I jumped and danced because I knew I was forgiven, and God accepted me as I was.”
A few months later, Lola Nits gave birth to a baby girl, fittingly named Joy. And so began a lifetime of teaching the love of the Lord to children—her own and others.
Lola Nits and David built a life together. David’s dream was to start an orphanage, and Lola Nits felt God calling her to help take care of orphans. Soon, the Pinagpala Children’s Home was born.
Lola Nits wanted the children in her orphanage and the young people in the neighboring areas to know more about God and experience His love. She began using Bible League’s Project Philip Bible studies to reach the children. “I felt so blessed and equipped, because studying and sharing God’s Word was made so easy through the materials given,” she says.
Inspired by their own faith development through the program, teenagers in her Bible studies became interested in teaching others. They participated Project Philip Bible study training, and now, they are fully equipped to handle four regular Project Philip Bible studies for younger children in remote areas. The young Project Philip teachers share the same warm, friendly smiles that they learned from Lola Nits. Their students love them, and they are excited to attend their Bible study.
One of the best parts of this flourishing children’s ministry is that it’s also reaching the parents of the participants. They are showing interest in studying the Bible because they can see how it has changed their children’s lives.
Generation of faith leaders
Lola Nits makes a special mention of one of her most active students, Kacy.
Kacy’s father left her and her siblings at the orphanage when she was only three years old. She felt so afraid then because it was dark and, like many children, the darkness scared her. “Our mother was fond of drinking alcohol with her friends. I remember she would ask me to dance to entertain them,” she recalls. “When my father left us here, we had no idea why he was doing it. We cried because we wanted to stay with him. Lola Nits took care of us. She’s the one who gave us comfort.”
Lola Nits welcomed Kacy and her siblings, treating them like grandchildren and introducing them to the Word of God. Kacy looks back with gratidude. “I am so thankful that we grew up in the orphanage with the knowledge of God’s teachings,” she says.
Now 17, Kacy has embraced the role of Project Philip Bible study leader. “As a teacher at heart, I find the Project Philip Bible study program very useful. Now it is easier to teach the Bible with the aid of the materials provided,” she says.
Kacy knows that, while difficult at times, her life at the orphanage was all part of God’s plan for her.
“He brought us to the orphanage to experience His love through Lola Nits, the same love I am giving my students,” she says.
Lola Nits also sees the ever-present hand of God in Kacy’s life. “Now I realize that God was already preparing Kacy to teach the Bible as I was teaching them,” she says. “That’s why I am so thankful to God that He brought the Bible League ministry to us. I want to hug every one of you for bringing the program to our place.”
The legacy of Lola Nits will continue among these young people. The love of God so overflows in her heart that she passes it on, creating a culture of Bible reading and discipleship. She’s reaching children, youth, and their parents, effectively changing an entire community.
Lola Nits exhibits such love and joy in the Lord. It’s a contagious spirit that’s evident in the faces of the young Bible study leaders and their students. It also impacted her own family. Her daughter Joy grew in the fear and knowledge of the Lord; she has a Ph.D. in Theology (Major in Old Testament) from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
Lola Nits is grateful that she is able to teach God’s Word with the help of Bible League materials. “Thank you for showing us that we don’t necessarily need higher education to study and teach the Bible. Even if someone did not take a doctorate or master’s degree, he can still teach the Bible to the people. Bible League makes it easy for ordinary people like me to learn and share God’s Word,” she says.
“I’m already 85, and my life now is a bonus from the Lord. When the time comes that the Lord takes me, my request to Him is to take me while I’m asleep,” she says.
“But for now, I will keep spreading God’s love to my people in Calauan.”