Leonel L. De Jesus
At 12 years old, as he was looking out their kitchen window into the vast outer space, a crippling fear dawned on him. He came to realize the inescapable truth of death. It was this fear that set Mr. Leonel L. De Jesus on the track of following the one person who overcame death – Jesus Christ.
By age 14, his parents became estranged, while their eldest brother was away at the Philippine Science High School. He was forced to look after his younger brother and sister, being the second child. This trial led him to seek comfort and guidance from the word of God and by the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit came to faith, inheriting the gift of eternal life.
Blessed with creativity and confidence in the faithfulness of God, he paid for his college studies through a working scholarship as administrative artist in Foundation University. He did stage designs, posters for announcements, streamers and program sheets.
In 1987, he graduated from the program Bachelor of Science in Architecture and that same year got accepted for a teaching position in the College of Performing and Visual Arts in Silliman University.
He recalls: “Since I was recommended to teach in this prestigious and blessed university, I believe God has assigned me to give service to Him first, then to this institution. I’ve noticed the unwritten qualification of whoever works in this institution should be a missionary, a servant of the Lord Jesus.”
It was in Silliman, through the Philippine Student Alliance Lay Movement (PSALM), that Leonel first got discipled. He continued to be involved as adviser of various Christian youth groups, such as the Christian Youth Fellowship of Silliman Church, PSALM and the Campus Crusade for Christ.
Aside from teaching his students art appreciation, he also equipped them to face real life in the context of their field of discipline. When he was still teaching, he always found fulfillment in being able to inspire students to achieve and find understanding more about themselves and life.
It was while still a young teacher of Fine Arts when Leonel first met the woman to whom he has committed a lifetime. He prayed for a woman who is intelligent and a Christian. God alone can provide that prudent wife and Swyline proved to be that woman. It was around two years after class was over when Leonel and Swyline bumped into each other again. Swyline was just about to leave the internet cafe near the campus, while Leonel was just on his way to log-in. When Leonel noticed that it was his former student, he felt a “divine push” to approach her. And so he did.
In 2005, Leonel and Swyline got married, a year after Swyline graduated from college. They are blessed with two children, a son, Kish Samuel, who is now 7 years old, and a daughter, Mesha Danielle, now 4 months old. Their children's names were carefully chosen to carry beautiful truths from scripture. The combination Kish Samuel means “gift” and “for God has given”, while Mesha Danielle is for “salvation” and “God’s judge”. Leonel considers it one of his life missions to raise God-fearing children. He teaches his son how to read by using bible stories, and he centers conversations with him on the Gospel. He points out that “very few parents share the gospel at home through ordinary conversations.”
Leonel is an elder of the Silliman University Church. Together with his wife, he leads bible studies and disciple young men and women in the Church.
On Mondays, Leonel teaches the bible to two families in Barangay Cadawinonan. These families were illiterate when he began the ministry four years ago. But in time, through this study, they learned how to read. His Tuesdays are reserved for an Adult Bible Study at the Biology Department Conference Room, his Wednesdays for a Prayer Meeting, and Fridays for the Christian Young Adult Fellowship.
Describe yourself in three words.
Creative. Explorative. Christian.
What is your motto in life?
Semper Fidelis, meaning “Always Faithful” – unto Christ Jesus.
What makes you laugh?
Practical jokes, making the lighter side of life.
What makes you cry?
When I become emotional, be it in sadness or happiness.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
The whole day, because this is the day the Lord has made.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Days with bible study schedules (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
What do you love doing when not working?
I could not love anything if I’m not working.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
What makes you blush?
I don’t really know. I’m not conscious.
If you were an actor, who would you be and why?
None. I watch movies for the story, not the actor.
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I’m a father of two, having a beautiful wife, with the joy of the Lord.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
“Taksi”, “shatong”, “gira-gira”, “war craft”, “chess online”, “tower defense”.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Meditating on the word of God and praying.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
Faith and salvation. Life issues and humor.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
Praise songs, secular ballads (60’s-80's)
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
What’s your idea of a family?
Godly. The role of the father and mother strongly guided by God’s statutes for He designed what a true family is, not by man’s principles.