“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Eph 6:1-3)

This testimony is given to the glory of God all and to honor my father, Professor Albai Ion, who is now in heaven. By honoring him I claim the promise to live a long and happy life on earth. In Jesus name, amen!

This evening I remember an event in my life, something that happened long ago. I was a teenager. I won the competition as the best in mathematics in my junior secondary school in Orsova, Romania. In that capacity I went to the state capital for the bigger competition, representing my school. Over there I met other champions from all over the state. Most of them were boys. I still remember how confident they looked, well dressed, talking confidently and discussing their exploits in the field of mathematics. No one noticed me and if they did so, they did not talk to me.

This is a little from my background: My school was a small school. I went there with my father who was my teacher in primary school. He always encouraged me not to be intimidated by anyone. He told me to relax and do my best. Even today I still feel his love for me. He said that he trusts me to win the competition. I went inside the exam hall. He was waiting outside the door. That gave me a good feeling, that I am not alone. Both of us were hungry for the train was late and we had no time to eat. He promised to take me to a fancy restaurant after the exam.

I kept quiet and tried to relax, as my father advised me to do. I ignored the ‘confident’ boys. Then the man with the envelope came and gave us the test. It was a difficult formula. I knew that if I can find the ‘secret key’ everything will fall into place. I quickly scanned the numbers. I eliminated the unnecessary things. I completed the easy ones, helping myself to go to the heart of it all. Then suddenly I had a flash of inspiration and I ‘saw the answer’. I finished in a record time. I was the first to give my paper. Going forward I saw the loud boys sweating and struggling. I somehow knew that they got lost in the details. I just knew that I am the winner. Just like my father said…

I came out from the exam hall, happy with my performance and happy that I will not keep my father hungry for too long. He kept his promise. We went to a fancy restaurant, the best I have ever entered in my life. I was the only child there but I was treated as an adult. I liked that feeling. I don’t think I remember what I ate for I was too excited with everything that day. We came back to the school in the afternoon. I went in as my father waited outside once more. They announced the results. One of the boys was in the third place. The most confident boy took second. Then silence filled the room. Who can be the mysterious champion? My name was announced as the winner of the state mathematic Olympiad. It was an ‘awesome moment’, as they say it. This is the first time that I was ‘seen’ as a champion outside my home. Later the other boys graciously congratulated me. Yes, it feels good to win! This is a true story. My certificate is still in my parents’ house, somewhere in an old drawer.

This story happened so long ago. It is like another life. But I never forgot it. I was not a believer. My family too did not believe in God. But God used the events of that day to teach me so much. These are few of the life lessons that stayed with me all this time:

*Each child is special!

*Do your homework! If you really prepare well for an exam, you shall pass it!

*Do not be intimidated by anyone! Mind your own business and you shall succeed!

*Humility and hard work are dynamite! They make a true champion!

*The love of the father is a wonderful blessing! Good parents invest blessings in their children!

*Be grateful if someone encourages you and trusts in you! That is the gift of God!

*I wait outside the door as my children pass exams in life! I walk with them in their challenges!

*I do not give up on my children! They are not left alone! I passionately love my children!

*It does not matter if you come from a simple or poor background! Things can suddenly change for better!

*Victory is possible! Dreams do come true!

I am now a mother and a grandmother. I have natural and spiritual children. It is a privilege to invest seeds of hope and faith in them. I pray for them, that they live spiritual, happy, fruitful and fulfilled lives! That their dreams will come true! I pray that they can overcome all inferiority complexes and obstacles in life and become true champions in whatever field God has assigned to them.

Lastly, my father, Prof Albai Ion is in heaven now. I know that he smiles as I type this letter… To God be all the glory!

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