30 Orange Grove Road, down Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore 258352
Mailing Address: 1 Goldhill Plaza, #03-35, Singapore 308899
Email: email@example.com; Website: http://www.truelifebpc.org.sg
(Ring Pastor Jeffrey Khoo 62561189 Anytime)
|“The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep SILENCE before him.”|
Jude Thaddeus Gabales
I was named by my mother as such because of my Roman Catholic background. My parents knew the various saints of the Catholic Church and one of them is Jude Thaddeus.
What Is the Purpose of Life?
In my younger days I was inclined towards supernatural things especially the occult, and wanted to be a Catholic priest. I served as an altar boy in high school and learned about God. However, I still did not know how I could be saved in Christ. I was taught that I would be automatically saved once I got baptized (water baptism) in the name of Jesus only under the Roman Catholic Church. Without the correct teaching of the doctrines of Christ, I was side-tracked and took things for granted. I thought I was saved but I was actually not.
Eventually I was drawn into the vices of this world. I became a wine-bibber, a chain-smoker, a liar, a fornicator, an adulterer, and even defied God and denied His existence. It was probably due to the hardships I faced in life. I had questions and sometimes asked why I was born into this world. For what purpose? To eat, sleep, and be merry for tomorrow I die? To labour, face hardships, and suffer? It seemed to me that maybe there is no God for why would He create me only to give me difficulties in life? I had no answer.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I became a free-thinker. I still kept thinking of answers to my questions. I read a few worldly philosophies here and there, but they had no relevant impact to my way of thinking. In reality, I was a worldly person enjoying my life with worldly entertainment, and the love of money made me greedy for worldly treasures. I was selfish and full of myself.
Later on, I was introduced to an occult religion which is a part of the brotherhood of Masons but was more esoteric and inclined towards the Kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, and mystical Christianity. So, I joined the “Rosicrucian Order” or the “Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis” (AMORC). Their rituals involved deep meditations, some chanting, magic rituals, etc. They taught me that humans are gods, only that we do not know yet our own potentials. They even told me that Jesus is highly divine and more heavenly because he came from another plane of existence and taught us how to become divine like him. Fortunately, I did not have any endurance to learn their so-called secret knowledge and left; but sadly my eldest sister remained with them until now.
Weariness of Work and Life
Sometime in 2007, I went abroad to work and earn more money. I was in the Maldives constructing resorts. I was lonely and far away from my family and replaced it with temporary happiness through drinking with my colleagues and having different sorts of fun. Eventually I came to Singapore in May 2008 and started working here. Moving forward to 2012, I became weary and tired of work, of the hardships I faced each day, of being away from family, and of the feeling that things were repeating over and over again. Just like what King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:8–9, “All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” All is vanity. Sometimes I just asked God to end the world so that all of my sufferings would be gone. Then I remembered what Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). God’s answer to the weariness I faced did not easily affect my life.
Invitation to Bible Study
In August 2016, I became acquainted with brother Deccarlo Igot at my work place. He had just joined us. I told him that I tried to read and understand the Bible because I wanted to learn spiritual truths. I had tried to find spiritual truths in the different religions but found nothing. It did cross my mind once to go to India to learn from the yogis, but that did not happen. One day, brother Deccarlo invited me to go for a Bible study. I told him, “Sure, why not? I want to hear what they have to say.” So I joined the then Filipino Bible Study and True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church’s worship service consecutively. I became convicted upon hearing God’s Word not just in the Bible studies and worship services but the night classes. Through this constant hearing of God’s Word, praise the Lord, brother Deccarlo and I repented of our sins, confessed and received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour on 1st December 2016. I was baptized in True Life BP Church on 16th April 2017 together with five other Filipino brethren.
Trial of Faith and Change in Life
However, when I informed my wife of my scheduled baptism, I was shocked when she angrily rebuked me accusing me that my newfound faith disrupted our relationship and family, that we did not understand each other anymore, and that any important plans for our child’s future might be prevented. She threatened to file a divorce if I did not give up my membership with the church. After that, she gave me her silent treatment. I did not understand why she did that. So even though I was sad, I continued to entrust the matter to the Lord; never doubting in Him. I knew then that this was a trial to test my faith. Nobody noticed how sad I was because I was happy to be baptized in the name of the Triune God. I did not want to give up my faith just like that because, like the parable of the ‘prodigal son’ (Luke 15:11–32), I also was once lost, but now that I am found I am not willing to give up my faith in Christ. “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him” (2 Samuel 22:31). Indeed, God’s way is perfect and tried! A few weeks after my baptism, my wife called me like nothing happened. It is always a blessed assurance to know that with God, nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).
After I said my sinner’s prayer and was baptized, did I experience miraculous signs? No. There was nothing, but the most special thing was, I knew for sure I am saved by Christ’s sacrificial blood, for He is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). And I knew that something in me has started to change. One of those things was the burden I now have to share with my relatives how God has saved me. I was like that man in Gadara from whom Jesus cast out a legion of demons and told him to return to his own house and show to his family, relatives, and friends, what great things God had done for him (Luke 8:26–40).
Family Evangelism and Missions
In early 2017, I went back to the Philippines for a vacation. It was my very first evangelistic mission to my own family back home. With the help of Rev Reggor Galarpe of Gethsemane BPC-Cebu, we arranged for a Bible study with my mother, my siblings and their families, my wife and my daughter. I gave each of them a KJV Bible and that night was full of the study of God’s Word through Rev Galarpe. It was the first time that a Bible study was conducted in my old home with all of my siblings around and their families. I thank the Lord for His guidance and giving me the zeal to boldly open up to my family about my convictions in Christ. During the Lord’s Day, my wife and daughter went with me to worship at Gethsemane BPC-Cebu. I was so blessed by what the Lord did for my family that they might also be delivered from the bondage of sin and depravity. I know that this burden for my family to be saved is of the Lord. It is my duty as a Christian and I pray the Lord will not allow me to be discouraged as I persevere in bringing God’s Word to my family.
The second opportunity given to me was when brother Deccarlo invited me to his daughter’s wedding sometime in November 2017. As a principal sponsor, I had to give an advice to the newlywed couple and this was a great opportunity for me to share God’s Word from Mark 10:6–9, not just for the couple but for all who were there, especially my wife. The next day we had a discussion about what I had shared. I thank the Lord that He enabled me to openly share God’s Word with my wife.
Another opportunity came when a dozen of brother Deccarlo’s relatives were baptized early this year (2018). The Filipino Bible Fellowship proposed a series of Bible studies in Cebu City, to teach God’s Word to our own families. I shared with brother Deccarlo’s relatives and my own family when I went back home during the Chinese New Year holidays. I felt very nervous since it was my first time conducting a Bible study. I knew I was not ready and worthy, but I believe it was the will of the Lord for such a wonderful opportunity. God led me to share the fundamentals of the Christian faith. This was followed up in April 2018. I still felt unworthy and unable to do these things, but I needed to follow God’s will! Thank God my wife at this time was very supportive and even encouraged our daughter and my step-daughter to attend our Bible study. We also attended the worship service at Gethsemane BPC-Cebu. They even came here to Singapore to attend Calvary Tengah’s Church Camp. They also attended the worship service at RELC and the Filipino Bible Fellowship. Truly, blessings are received and prayers are answered if we put our faith in God.
Praying and Hoping
There is still a lot of work to do even for my own family as they have not yet confessed and accepted our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But I am constantly praying for that time to come and I fully entrust everything to God as I continue to strive and obey His Word. Please help me pray for my family’s salvation.
I am thankful to God our Father for the blessings He has given me. In the form of trials and sufferings in my life, He is teaching me to persevere and endure with prayers, supplications, and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). Praise God for His guidance. My wife is now very supportive of my faith in Christ. I guess she now understands that faith in Christ is the only sure way of salvation. God works in mysterious ways. I hope and pray with joyful perseverance as I continue on with my faith in the Lord that it will lead me to a fruitful life in Christ and eventually lead my whole family to serve our Lord as one.
[Testimony given at the 2nd Anniversary Thanksgiving and Gospel Meeting of the Filipino Bible Fellowship, 29 July 2018.]
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