Before I came to know the Lord, I was a Roman Catholic but not a devoted one. One day while on my way to mass a question came to my mind, “Will I spend eternity in heaven?” I decided to increase my attendance to mass, but the priest did not know the answer to my questions. I continued to live my life going out with friends, drinking alcohol, and watching rock music videos. Most of the time I arrived home past midnight, vomiting and hangover. I love this lifestyle. Then one day, one of our friends the biggest drunkard of us all became a believer in Jesus. He tried to share the truths he discovered from the Bible, but I wasn’t interested in those things because they were contrary to my lifestyle. He challenged me to read the bible to check whether what he told me was true or not.
At first, I did not, but after a while I found myself searching the bible for the things he shared with me. He was right in the things he told me, and I saw the painful truth about myself and my sin. I then asked myself, which is more important, my religion of me or the Bible? For a time I tried to think things over it was not easy but I decided to follow THE WORD OF GOD, the Bible. The next time we met I told I agreed the Bible could be trusted. He brought me to various crusades, and I visited with his friends at the Bible School, I also visited with his pastor and spent time studying the Bible with his Christian brothers. I enjoyed this new kind of life that was far better than the life I had before. I received the Lord Jesus on August 7, 1987, in the evening at one of the crusades I attended. That was the greatest turning point in my life. I am not the same anymore I changed and pursued living into the likeness of my Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that I have eternal life, the things that I used to do I don’t do anymore. I lost the love of it. The things that I used to watch I don’t watch them anymore. I lost the desire of them, though sometimes temptations come to tempt me to come back to the old life that I had before, but the grace of Him who calls me to Himself is more than sufficient for me. The life that I live now, I live for the Lord Jesus Christ who loves me and died for me.
I sensed the calling of my life when I desired to serve God. The desire to serve God in the area of Church Planting become even more evident in my life when I become one of the local church workers under the mentorship of Pastor Dutch R. Manzano.
Shoemaking was the means by which I supported my family. I occupied a little space behind our room to use as my shoe shop. I resolved in my heart that this livelihood would not hinder my desire to serve God in any way. The intensity of that desire grew even stronger as the days went by. Every time I heard the lyrics of a song that goes, “I want to care for others as Jesus cares for me.” It brought me to tears. From that time I desired to one day plant a church. I continue to keep myself involved in various ministries in the church while waiting for that time. I shared this calling of my life with Pastor Dutch. He told me that,” If God calls you, there is a definite time for that, He will bring it to fruition. When that time comes, I will send you and support you with your calling, along with prayers.
From time to time I visited my mother in a province south of Cebu. There is a town (which is now a city) that I pass by, and each time I see it, I feel a burden in my heart. There is a strong impression inside me that when the time comes for me to plant a church, this should be the place. The name of this city is Carcar City. This city began to have a special place in my heart for the Lord.
Another year came, but I never forget the calling that I had and that strong desire to serve the Lord full time. Suddenly a tragic incident happened, more than 80 people including my family were left homeless after a fire ravaged our area. Many people, including us, survived with just a few belongings. It made us think how could this happen to us? Comforting words don’t seem to work. But God always has a purpose for everything I told myself and remembered my calling. After the fire, we moved to the city of Carcar and made it our home.
By the grace of God, I am now a church planter and look forward to what He will do in our city!
From my recent ministry…
Thank you for your prayers and support in the ministry here in Carcar. God is so good, and by His divine favor, He used us to reach new people so that they are added to His kingdom. The new family in our fellowship is the Baron’s family. Brother Vernel is the father, and he is a welder by trade. His wife, Sister Grace and their children, Krizen and Khirsty, attended church first, it’s a blessing to see them worship God and attending Sunday School as a family. Their children also attend Youth Shiners Fellowship. We will pray and hope to launch a home bible study in their home soon. Krizen, the eldest is now in 8th grade, and Khirsty is in 6th grade. They are also doing well in school, and they are starting to share the Gospel with their classmates. To God be the glory!
The Youth Shiners for Christ celebrated Youth Fest in October. They had the opportunity to invite their friends and classmates and most important to received Jesus. The event started 9:30am with Praises and worship to God, followed by a special song presentation and the preaching of God’s Word. There are many first-time visitors, young people that came and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. After the service, we had lunch together. The church and young people start sharing their food especially with those who did not bring meal; it was an enjoyable time. At 1pm, they were divided in two teams. They had indoor games, but at 2 pm we transferred to the Barangay gym. There we did the badminton, volleyball and the basketball games. At 3:30 pm, the women came with the snacks. They brought juices, sandwiches, and noodles. We ended at 6pm for the awarding and picture taking. I am so blessed to witness how the YSC are growing spiritually. The youth are taking care of their friends by making sure they feel included in the group. We have seen some of the new youth faithfully attend Sunday service each week.