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My Life Testimony

Growing up, I have always been a curious thinker. I question other ideas, even my own to prove a point. I am always searching for answers.

Then one day I got interested on the idea of afterlife. What happens when we die and after that? What happens to our soul? Are we just going to become ashes and eventually vanish on the surface of the earth? 

Is heaven real? Is hell even a real place used to scare people?

I have so many questions left unanswered.

And the questions kept on coming…

I have always been curious as to why we’re here. Why are we on this earth? What is our purpose on this earth? Is there life after death? Or is afterlife just an idea produced in our minds to shut us up from all the seemingly unending questions we have? The questions seem endless, the answers still unknown.

I have this notion that every question has an answer only if we are eager to seek for it. And while days, months, and years passed by, my frustration grew and grew. It came to an exhausting point, and then I stopped. I never thought that the answer will just present itself to me in a way that I have never expected.

Growing up Catholic
I have been a Roman Catholic since birth. Most of my relatives were. I was a Kids for Christ when I was in grade school. Knowing God through Bible stories gave me a sense of how great God is and how he is omnipresent. I was scared that He kept on punishing people for their wrongdoings. I was frightened that He would do the same thing to me. He was strict and powerful. That was how I see Him as someone with authority.

At school we have catechism lessons. Stories about Bible characters were taught to us. We also go to mass every first Friday of the month.

I had my first communion. I became a choir member in our church. I also became an angel with sky blue wings during Holy Week.  And one time during Christmas eve, I became a shepherd in the nativity scene.

I led the rosary during Flores de Mayo. I memorized every prayer for every situation. I experienced every tradition there is in practicing Catholicism. And I practiced religiously – afraid that the strict God would punish me if I forgot to observe everything I learned growing up.

But when my mother met someone who was a Born Again Christian, everything changed.

My mother’s brother, who was an elder at our Parish church along with her wife, who was also a passionate believer, were strict Catholics. When they learned that my mother was attending another church from another religion, they were infuriated. My mother lost her job as a cashier at my auntie’s sari-sari store. We were somewhat disowned by our immediate relatives. I can still remember mama borrowing money and asking for food to last us a week. 

I got me thinking.

I thought to myself, “How can our relatives reject us just because mama was attending other church?” I never thought religion can be divisive. I always thought religion makes people do good things to other people without expecting anything in return. I always thought religion was what the world needed. In our case religion did the opposite.

My Conversion to Born Again Christian
I became a Born Again Christian during my 1st year in High School. I was baptized in an open sea. It was cold and I kept on shivering. I know that when I was submerged in the water my old self was gone. And when I was taken out from under the water I was a new being.

But I would soon learn that my old self would resurface. And it would be difficult for me to change.

I practiced Roman Catholicism when I was in college. After a week or so I’d be seen in a Christian church listening intently to a sermon. I went back to attending mass when I overslept on Sundays. Sunday services in Born Again Christian church were very early for me as compared to the evening Catholic mass held on Sundays. I went to church when it was convenient for me, logistically and schedule-wise.

I remember what made me stick to where I attend church every Sunday.

I was singing the Our Father song during an evening mass in Tenement. With eyes closed and hands lifted I waited for something -- an epiphany I guess. Nothing happened. I kept on waiting. The song ended with me frustrated. When I was lifting my hands and singing, I was longing for something –- a revelation or a heavenly experience. But I left empty-hearted.

I got invited by a schoolmate to attend a Youth service near our house. It was where my mother attends church. Mama always invites me to go with her during Sundays. But I always had an excuse not to go with her – I was shy and did not have quite the interest and energy to listen to a sermon and mingle with other people. I was already exhausted thinking about it. That’s why I preferred attending Catholic mass before, where the only interaction you’ll have with someone is when you offer each other a sign of peace.

I attended the Saturday service I was invited to, and from then on I continued attending mama’s Born Again Christian church along with her churchmates.

All along what I have wanted during those times when I was singing songs with my hands lifted and going from one church to another was someone. Nope, it was not just a feeling of warmth in my heart. Not just an emotion of being happy and cheerful after a mass. It was a real relationship with someone.

I learned that that someone was God.

That emptiness in your heart, that is where God should be.

The many questions I have about life, existence and death were reduced to a single answer: God. And that was all I ever needed, all along.

The God I knew growing up as strict and ruthless was compassionate and loving to everyone. He loved and continues to do so because he wants to establish a real-lationship with us.

I know that my life here on earth is a spiritual journey – one that is laden with problems and trials. There will be detours, reroutes, pit stops, bumps, and ups and downs along the way. But one thing is for sure, God will be with me wherever I go. He will guide me in every step of the way as I follow Him and allow His authority in my life. And when my time on earth is through, I’ll be forever worshiping Him in heaven.

I know you too have so many questions left unanswered, but trust me on this one. The only answer we need is Jesus Christ. All of our questions will lead us to Him.

I pray that you find answers to your questions in Him.

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