How Cynthia Cebujano overcame unimaginable obstacles by pursuing education
Cynthia Cebujano was three weeks pregnant when she found out she had cervical cancer. After her biopsy in 2017, the doctors told her she needed an operation that would allow them to know what stage the cancer was at — an operation that could risk the health of her baby.
Cynthia had already lost twins and had a stillbirth before, but she decided in faith to go through with the operation. She said, “I offered my baby to God. I offered my life to God.” Both Cynthia and her baby, Chantelle, survived the operation and found that her cancer was at a manageable stage. Cynthia’s challenges didn’t stop there, but her vow to offer her life to God gave her the strength and determination to transform, as she said, from a “wounded wife to a warrior.”
Discovering new empowerment
Shortly after finding out she had cancer, Cynthia lost her job. By her father’s invitation, Cynthia; her husband, Charles; and their 10-year-old son, Chazz, moved from Manila in the Philippines to Fiji. There her family built several photography and advertising businesses.
Although things seemed to be going better in Fiji, the recent trials had put an incredible amount of strain on her family. Cynthia started desperately looking for something that could give her the skills to contribute to the business and mend her breaking family.
That’s when she met full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She enjoyed how they talked about how Jesus Christ helps individuals and families. After meeting with them regularly, Cynthia started to see a change in her family.
“Every Sunday, Chazz would dress up and wear his white shirt,” Cynthia said. “He started ironing his shirt. My son and my husband don’t really read, but they started reading the scriptures. They started studying.”
One evening the missionaries invited Cynthia to a presentation about
BYU-Pathway was my opportunity. It gave me the convenience of time. I was able to afford it.
“PathwayConnect gave me a way to learn and focus, and instead of me waiting to be financed by the family business, now I can afford to finance myself while taking care of my kids,” she said.
Shortly after starting BYU-Pathway, Cynthia and her family decided to be baptized.
“It was really special because we were getting baptized as a family. It was a conscious decision. It was a family decision. The Church brought us together,” said Cynthia.
Becoming a warrior
Now a member of the Church and pursuing a bachelor’s degree, Cynthia’s life is on track and moving at full speed — and her cancer has since subsided.
Now, Cynthia looks for opportunities to share her story of giving her life to God and, in return, receiving new life. To anyone who asks, she says, “Continue to ask God for the strength to go on. It’s going to be challenging. At the end of the day, it will all be worth it, because you will grow and you will improve your life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and, later on, financially. Keep going.”