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10 April 2020

GOOD FRIDAY TESTIMONIES

My Life Has Changed

I am from the Philippines. I was born into a Roman Catholic family. Even though my family did not go to church every Sunday and went only on special occasions held in my hometown, we made sure to pray every day at home. My grandmother taught me to pray the holy rosary and to the patron saints since young. I thought I was already in the right religion. During my secondary school years, I joined the youth ministry in the church in order to be closer to God. Serving the Lord by going to church and attending mass every Sunday was my way of showing to others that I was faithful to the Lord and that I was confident my soul would be saved through all the religious activities I was devotionally doing.

I worked here in Singapore for almost three years. I had a lot of trials and struggles in life. During my day-offs, I would go out with my friends to party, drink, and go to discos. I stopped thinking about God. I still went to church, but I did not have a peaceful mind. So I decided to go back to the Philippines.

I was given another opportunity to come back to Singapore to work in March 22, 2019. I started to work for a Christian family, Mr and Mrs Chua. I’m very thankful to God for giving me very good employers. My journey began when I started to follow them to church twice a month. During the service, my ma’am lent me her Bible to use. I admit it was my first time to hold and read the Bible. One Sunday, my ma’am asked me whether I could understand what the pastor preached, and I said yes. I understood how we need to pray to and praise God and to be faithful to the Lord. On Easter Sunday, I met sister Celeste and brother Carlo. They explained to me the differences between Roman Catholicism and Christianity. I read the sinner’s prayer and confessed that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead.

I have been attending the FilBF and the church services at RELC twice a month. On July 14, 2019, I went to church with my employers. My ma’am asked me to go up first. I was worried because I did not have a Bible with me. I went up and sat in the front row. Then I became embarrassed sitting in front without a Bible. So I pretended to go out in order to change my seat. I decided to sit in the third row as the service was already going to start. During the responsive reading, the young lady beside me noticed I didn’t have a Bible. So she let me read from her Bible. After the service, she gave me the Bible. God is so amazing. He really knew my worries, and I felt very blessed and happy that day because I received the Book of Life. God provided this Holy Bible to me to be nearer to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Miss Xin Yuan, the young lady who gave me her Bible, wrote John 3:16 for me: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

I finally got the courage to tell my parents and everyone that I have accepted the Lord Jesus as my Saviour. Now my life has changed. I will continue to serve and be faithful to the Lord. I thank God that I am not alone and that I have my employers and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank God for His faithfulness and assurance in guiding me every day and for His grace that is always available for me. He never failed me. I thank God for giving me everything I need, for giving me more understanding and patience in the name of our Lord and Saviour. Praise be to God. Reema C

Not of Works

I was born into a Roman Catholic family and just like many others, I thought that in order to be saved, one must accumulate as many good deeds as one can while still alive.

There was one particular incident in my childhood days which had a great impact on me spiritually. It was when my father told me that God has chosen some people to live with him. Though I was only nine years old at that time, the mere thought of being with God amazed me. It somehow left me feeling excited and worried at the same time. Excited, thinking I could be one of the chosen ones; and worried of the possibility I was not among them. So that day, I decided to talk to God and I told Him, “Lord Jesus, my father told me you have chosen some of us. Please, choose me too because I want to be with you.” It was indeed a childish prayer but I really meant it deep inside. From that day on, I strove to do as many good deeds as I could in the hope that by doing so I would get a place in heaven.

Years passed, I got married and had children of my own.

In one of my quiet moments in 2013, I suddenly remembered my childish prayer many years ago. I realized the strong desire to be with God was still within me after so many years. This led me to ponder on things and evaluate my own deeds only to find the sad fact; my wrongdoings always exceed my good deeds no matter how I calculate. Devastated and hopeless, I asked God “Why is it so hard to be with you?”

Days later, I came to realize maybe it is not God who made going to heaven hard for me; it could be the Roman Catholic teaching. For the first time, I began to doubt and question the religion which we Catholics proudly claimed to be the only religion founded by Christ himself.

Lost and confused, I turned to God in prayer. I asked him to enlighten me as I found the teaching of my religion quite unreliable and somehow misleading. Then something crossed my mind – the Bible! I know the Bible is the Word of God and for sure it can shed light on my confusion. So I took the Bible that had been laid aside for ages, but it was so thick I had no idea where to find what I was looking for.

One day I opened the Bible and was surprised by what was written, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; It is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8–9). Right there and then I knew I found what I’ve been looking for. From that moment on, I ceased to be a Roman Catholic and instantaneously I felt so free – free from the bondage of lies and deceptions. I told myself that unless there is a congregation which strictly adheres to what is written in the Bible, there is no way I would be an affiliate of any religious group. I said this because 2 John 1:9 says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”

I can say I am at peace now and I’ve never been so secured in my whole life. Some people might find it weird or even creepy when I tell them I’m excited to meet death anytime; but who wouldn’t be when you know that with Jesus as your Lord and Saviour you are assured of a new life? With Jesus, even in death I can still celebrate. M Igot

Grateful to God

I was raised in a small family with two younger brothers. During my early childhood days, both my parents were free thinkers. They believe that we have to work hard to provide for ourselves. In those days, children in the block played together and the adults knew one another. They trusted and helped one another. Such was the kampong spirit we enjoyed.

Moving into my teens, I found myself searching for purpose and meaning in life. I was curious about the existence of human beings but did not receive any answers. I hated studying so I failed very badly at every exam. As a result, I started working at a young age, in a stockbroking firm in Raffles Place. During that time, my father became a Taoist and he bought an altar and a Toa Pei Gong home to worship. My mother was very displeased with him. My brothers and I did not welcome this Toa Pei Gong also.

During the first few years of my working life, I prayed to Buddha of different sorts. I had a Christian colleague in the office who invited me to her church at St Andrew’s Cathedral. I attended one of her cell-group meetings but it was like a discussion and I was not satisfied.

Sometime later, my primary school friend, Ai Hoon, called me and she told me she had become a Christian and gave me a book on Jesus when we met. I found the book very satisfying to my soul. I confessed to God that I was a sinner and that I couldn’t save myself. I asked Jesus to come into my life so that I could start living for Him.

I told Ai Hoon I wanted to attend her church. That was how I started attending the Life BP Church on Sundays. About half a year later, she left and started attending another church but I continued to attend Sunday service alone. I did not know anyone in the church. So after the service, I would go home. Soon I backslided from the Lord for a long time; I was a lukewarm Christian then. I believed in God, but I believed I was self-sufficient. There was no relationship, and so there was no real fruit.

Thankfully, in 2015, I met sister Elizabeth who was my ex-colleague in 2005. Through her, the Lord brought me back to church in 2016. She also introduced me to the Adult Fellowship (AF) and FEBC’s Bible classes.

At this moment, I longed for very close and intimate relationship with God. In 2015, I was pursuing an early childhood education degree which I thought I would surely fail because of the last research paper. It was not until the last few days that I realised my research was heading in a wrong direction. I was left with very little time to search for materials to back up my points. It was a terrible experience and I was not even ready for submission on the deadline. I felt my heart pounding exceedingly. So I prayed that I would be able to submit on time and would pass. I told God I would start to worship Him again after that. I definitely did not deserve to pass the paper because it was really an inferior piece of work not only in its contents but also in the printing. When I was about to submit my paper, I discovered that there was a void space in every page! It was as if I was handing in a draft but it was really too late to reprint. I had no choice but to submit my research paper in this condition. Months later, we got the results and I passed! There were some students who failed the research paper but I passed it amazingly. I knew it was God’s grace and mercy and I was extremely joyful!

About two years later, I learned that God expects His children to support and pray for one another. He opened my eyes when I had to face an operation to remove my ovarian cyst. I was greatly touched by the care and concern of my brothers and sisters in the AF. When I was confused and helpless, Dr Maurice Chew who was then attending the AF took time and patience to explain to me. I really felt I am in a big family when the entire AF prayed for me from before the operation up to recovery.

God is merciful to His children. The report showed that the 10cm cyst did not show any presence of cancer. Besides, I did not experience any sort of physical pain after the operation so there was no need for painkillers.

God is love. He loves and takes care of our children as well. One month after the operation, my daughter had to leave us to Auckland and spend two years there to further her studies. With the advice from our pastor, she attended the Emmanuel Church. The AF prayed for her safety and protection and my daughter has met several caring families from the church. They were very kind to include her in their activities so that she did not feel as lonely and homesick during the two years.

The Lord is my Shepherd. I almost lived a wasted life when I backslided for a number of years and that was a great damage impossible to undo. I am grateful to my Lord and I want to make a fresh commitment to move forward in my relationship with Him. Adeline N

Golgotha or Calvary, “the place of a skull” (Luke 23:33)

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