My Life. My Story

Art Kevin B. Rio
SPAC, Bachelors of Arts in Theology 2017

I am Art Kevin B. Rio. I was born on October 10, 1995, a historical day for my parents, in a humble community of Libasan, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Province. For me, adversities don’t always win over aspirations. I always indoctrinate my heart with this quote, “Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire.” This gives me a reason to pursue and finish Bachelor of Arts in Theology at South Philippine Adventist College in spite of hardships in life. I do believe that we only experience life once and it must give inspiration to those who are discouraged and in despair that they may hold on to their precious aspirations in life like making it worth living (before God and man) before we expire.

They say, I am lucky to be an only child of Mr. and Mrs. Artemio E. Rio who never failed to support my schooling since I started my elementary days until I finished college. My parents worked very hard for me. It was not easy. It took a lot of packing of “Wow Ice Candy Cream” for them just to provide my necessities in school. Later, my parents availed of the Educational Plan offered by the SSS to augment my tuition fee/s every semester, while the rest of my needs all came from their daily labor through our small enterprise.

As early as 3:30 a.m., my parents would wake up to start the ingredients for ice candy cream. My father would start the “haling (burning firewood)” for the boiling of the cornstarch while my mother busied with the condensed milk and other ingredients. Then came the mixing of the ingredients in the basin using four flavors (mango, mango float, buko salad, durian or avocado). Each basin could produce more than 300 pieces of ice candy cream. At 6:00 a.m., my mother would call our neighbors for the repacking and each was paid fifty pesos for every mixed ingredients of basin. My father, his brother and some of our neighbors would then bring the products to different sari-sari stores (tindahan) within the three nearby towns (Nabunturan, Mawab and Montevista) in my province using an old motorbike. During semestral breaks, I always found myself on the road transporting our homemade goodies to our waiting patrons in the said towns even when the sun was unmerciful at times. This is my parents’ way of making both ends meet on a daily basis, otherwise my college education could have been jeopardized.

Behind the hard work of my parents is the bedrock of our strength to endure – their indomitable trust and submission to God. Despite uncertainties in our earnings, there is nothing compared to their faithfulness in returning their tithes and offerings to God. I must believe that’s the optimal secret of our survival. We are not rich on the one hand, yet not poor on the other hand, because “Our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19). This has been my inspiration to work hard for excellence so as not to make their labor in vain.

It was in 2013 when I entered South Philippine Adventist College. The excitement was beyond compare as it was my first time to attend an Adventist school with my longtime dream to take up ABTheology. During my 3rd year in high school, my inclination to become a Pastor had become more apparent and crystal clear. Our then District Pastor, Pastor Bonifacio Cruzada, saw my potential and thereafter encouraged me to pursue theology. When I entered the campus, I really felt that it was my home away from home. The environment and folks were very friendly—it was really a country living and a Christian living at the same time.

My study was focused on God and His nature. The curriculum was very relevant. It was my field of interest. This made my years at SPAC very enjoyable one! Of course, it was not always a “bed of roses,” but it was about the love to study in the midst of thorns. “Mas maayo nang nagkalisod nga nag-eskwela, kaysa nagkalisod nga wala nag-eskwela (It’s better to be impoverished or poor but in school than impoverished/poor but not attending school).” So, education is the solution. This is the only treasure that cannot be taken away from you. So education is not just a right but a privilege as well. As what Mark Twain has said, “I have never let my schooling interfere my education.” For me, the greatest gift I could give to my parents is making them see me succeed in all my endeavors. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:25, “Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.”

My College life had taught me the value of servant leadership. While most dictionaries generally define leadership as “INFLUENCE”, but I define leadership as making others be influenced by the life of Christ. My earned experiences on leadership in public schools are less desirable compared to what I experienced at SPAC. So when I was on my third year in college, I ran for the position of Vice President religious and won. We introduced a program called, “SPACIANS: Grow in all things through Jesus”. Month after month, my team would devote their time to programs to make students encounter Bible stories, facts, and promises in a more unique and passionate way. Little did I realize that this experience prepared me to my next call of leadership – President of the College Student Government (S.Y. 2016-2017). It took a lot of hard work and prayer to confidently balance between schooling and student leadership. But it was worth it for it honed me for what I am today. Now, I can lead with confidence. My exposure to college student leadership helped defray (scholarship grants) my financial obligations to the school through scholarship grants from the same. I should say, it’s a privilege to lead out in the student government because other God’s blessings just come along with it.

My accomplishments are but temporary…lessons learned are the most important thing. Its principles are eternal! Yes, I graduated with highest honor (Summa Cum Laude) but this all due to hard work and divine providence. The Paterno M. Diaz leadership Award is one of the rare awards a theology or any senior student of SPAC may receive but it carries a big responsibility. I never thought that such award, Paterno Diaz Leadership Award (one of the most influential and important persons of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, especially at South Philippine Union Conference territory), would fall on my still empty hands. I am so happy and blessed by this honor. In my 21 years of existence, Adventist education taught of something that must be cherished in life, that is, to discover God’s will and plan for my life. Our achievements and accomplishments will just pass away but the lessons taught in line with God’s textbook, the Bible, is the greatest attainment of all.

I offer my accomplishments and profession to God’s service till He comes. Always His ministry, not MEnistry. “Not I, but Christ.” Soli deo Gloria!

Art Kevin B. Rio
SPAC, Bachelors of Arts in Theology 2017
Summa Cum Laude (Because of God’s Amazing Grace)
Paterno Diaz Leadership Awardee