Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Two new books from the local author address current social issues with an inspiring mix of fantasy and faith

by Candance Moore

Minerva Rew is known for being many different things: mom, pastor, educator, benefactor, and prolific poet. She’s the daughter of an amazingly strong woman whose qualities she has inherited. She’s the wife of a retired Navy pilot, deeply devoted to the American dream. Local clinics and retailers know her as a charity organizer, cajoling donations from them with a lovable persistence. And now, with two books published and a third book underway, she’s found herself thrust into the very public role of author.

Her budding career began in a way familiar to most writers: there she was, minding her own business, with no thought of making a name for herself, and a story idea overcame her like a fever. She shoved it aside. She questioned herself. She prayed. The story demanded an outlet, and publication possibilities were available. One thing led to another, and her first book, Cecilia of the Sea, was published in 2020. Minerva recalls watching it unfold as if from outside.

“I’m always asking the Lord for more ways I can minister to others,” Minerva explains. “I ask Him to use me as a pipeline for blessings. That’s my whole philosophy for life. If He wants to write books through my hands, or anything else, so be it—as long as His children reap the benefits.”

“I’m always asking the Lord for more ways I can minister to others.
I ask Him to use me as a pipeline for blessings.”—Minerva Rew

Minerva’s commitment to serving others is a deeply-rooted family tradition. Her parents brought Minerva into the world as the youngest of six children in a village in the Philippines. They lived in a middle-class household by Filipino standards, but Minerva’s parents, seeing severe poverty around them, were determined to help others, sometimes stretching their own limited resources to the breaking point.

Minerva remembers walking for miles with her mother to a small lean-to that served as the home of an illiterate laborer forgotten by the world. A free bowl of rice perked him up, and a chat about the Christian Gospel made him feel wanted. There was no applause, no social media fanfare, and no taxi coming to drive them back to comfort. Just the long walk back home and a sense of joy in having helped another human being.

At age 14, circumstances brought Minerva and her mother to the United States. Her mother, appropriately named Ligaya, meaning “Joy” in English, showed her youngest daughter that happiness in life is not a result of getting something from this world, but a result of what you give to the world from inside of yourself.

American life had different effects on Ligaya and Minerva. As a teenager adapting to public high school in Florida, Minerva quickly saw the disparity in the economic standards between a middle-class household in the Philippines versus one in America. She visited friends in affluent neighborhoods, dazzled by their standard of living. It was also during her high school years that she met her future husband, Christopher, a classmate and friend. Then it was off to Auburn University for both of them, where they later married immediately after college graduation.

Ligaya, however, was haunted by the poverty of the villagers she’d left behind in the Philippines. She started Feed My Sheep Ministries to raise much-needed funds for Filipino missionaries laboring back home. Minerva supported the ministry, but as a devoted mother, her attention at that time was on soccer games and science fairs.

When Ligaya passed away unexpectedly, Minerva was left with the management of the ministry. It was a wake-up call that reinvigorated her passion for serving God and others.

She devoted herself to full-time work in her church, The Bridge Christian Fellowship in Chesapeake, which now oversees Feed My Sheep. These efforts connect with a Filipino church organization, Christ Charismatic Fellowship International. It’s a feet-on-the-ground ministry, taking the Gospel to the poor on the wings of much-needed food and school supplies.
Minerva even became an ordained pastor through Christ Charismatic. She’s been known to deliver a fiery sermon or two on the ministry’s Facebook page. After exhorting Filipino missionaries with the Great Commission to bring the Christian message to the world, she supplies them with food for those in need.

Realizing the value of the miles that she walked with her mother long ago, Minerva took her own children to her old home in the Philippines, showing them where their fundraising was going. When her teary-eyed son first asked what hunger did to a body, she knew she’d broken through the American bubble in which her children had been raised.

Then came the spring of 2020, and life changed for everyone. Travel restrictions limited her assistance to the Philippines. A terrible typhoon season crippled phone services there, and communication ceased with widely-scattered evangelists. Had they been injured? Abandoned? A powerless Minerva could do nothing but pray.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the summer heat erupted with social unrest. As an immigrant herself in a loving interracial marriage, Minerva was in a unique position to understand all sides of the debate.

That’s when the seed of a story idea was planted and began to grow. Wanting to minister to all affected by the conflict, Minerva crafted a creative—and unorthodox—parable. The result was her first book, Cecilia of the Sea, released in December 2020.

Then came the challenge of explaining her uniquely imaginative tale to her congregation. The Bridge Christian Fellowship is a Bible-based church that strives to blend traditional Christian theology with an open-minded/open-hearted approach to the issues besetting society. Cecilia of the Sea tested that sensitive balance. It’s a fantasy romance promoting themes of cultural tolerance, involving—well—a mermaid who hears singing from the moon. To Minerva’s delight, her church family’s reaction was overwhelmingly positive. A stream of five-star reviews boosted her confidence.

Mountaintop Proclamations, a devotional book about the trials of 2020, was published next. Cecilia and Mountaintop are both available on Amazon. Minerva is currently developing her third book, an illustrated short story for children.

As things slowly begin to return to normal, Minerva is anxious to help the Philippines more, and all proceeds from book sales will go entirely to that cause. Autographed copies of these books are available through her local church and Stillwater Tea Room in Suffolk where the owner is a long-time supporter of missions.

“I believe God has opened this avenue as another pipeline,” Minerva says. “I don’t know what the future holds, but my family and I will go wherever He leads.”

Minerva Rew

1116 Hillwell Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322