With firm belief that the Catholic Church is the true religion, I remained steadfast on this faith and continued practicing their doctrines. All along I thought that I was doing the right thing.
Elsie P. Morante
I was born and baptized in the Catholic Church. I spent my childhood years playing with my friends and enjoying the moments when we see each other in the church to hear mass with our respective parents. However, at some point in my childhood, I became one of the youngsters of the INC church, for my parents had decided to shift to another religion from catholic to INC and this happened twice.
My parents finally decided to turn their back to INC and retain their catholic faith. Since then, I became attached and devoted to the catholic religion. I would follow every doctrine and every practice that the priests and our religion teachers had taught me. I also joined in whatever activities was approved by the Catholic church.
Every year, I used to participate on the Flores de Mayo. Before the month of May would end, there is this thing that they call santacruzan where all of my friends and peers get so excited. It is because this is the time of the year where we can wear gowns, be at our prettiest and grandest, and pretend to be like real princesses.
During my adolescent years as a catholic, I was convinced to join Youth for Christ (YFC), a youth-oriented group in the church that promises camaraderie, unity and fun for every youth who will join the group. I became one of its active members and indeed it was fun. However, when I started to feel discriminated and less important because of how I looked and the status of life that we had, I slowly began to shy away until I totally isolated myself from the group.
In my elementary grades until high school, I was one of the diligent students on our Religion subjects. I can still remember that my classmates told me that I am religious. I used to be very active in church, join choir, then later on learned to play the tambourine. I would receive commendations from my friends saying that I am good at playing the tambourine.
There was one time that I was allowed to bring the tambourine at home. On my way with my friends, after we heard mass that night, I played the tambourine and the noise that I made had drawn the attention of the dog. I was so scared because it kept on following and barking at us and it ended up biting my left leg. I still have the scar up until now.
But that did not stop me from attending evening mass and did not discourage me from playing the tambourine as we sang in the church. The incident that happened just taught me to play it at the right time and at the right place. Well, there are some things in life that needed to be learned the hard way.
With firm belief that the Catholic Church is the true religion, I remained steadfast on this faith and continued practicing their doctrines. All along I thought that I was doing the right thing. I used to have this feeling of security and confidence that the things that I did in accordance with catholic doctrines are enough to merit eternal life with God in heaven.
One day, however, I found myself in the habit of religiously watching Ang Dating Daan every night. It felt like my day is incomplete without watching that show on TV. I remember the days that my mother used to yell at me for leaving the TV open until dawn because most of the time, I felt asleep upon watching Ang Dating Daan.
There was a time that I stopped watching the program for it had changed its channel without my knowledge. Then I seemed not to care anymore if I was going to watch the program or not. To my surprise, however, I was able to watch the show again. I had accidentally found the new TV channel where it had been broadcasting.
Since then, the excitement, thrill and fun that I felt whenever I watched the program had been awakened and I continued watching the program as days went by. It made me realize how rich the bible is, when it comes to wisdom. Bro. Eli Soriano had taught me so many things about faith, about life, about God, about Jesus, about nature, about people and so many things that our priests and religious teachers have never taught me.
There was one episode that I remembered when Bro. Eli answered a query from the viewers as to the right way of praying. After hearing the answer from Bro. Eli, I was convinced that the manner of praying that the Catholic Church had taught me is not the righteous one. Since then, I always prayed to God without me doing the sign of the cross. No more. I prayed the way Bro. Eli said it is taught in the bible.
As days went by, little by little I started to stop worshipping the catholic idols, praying the rosary, going to church to hear mass and up to the point that I finally stopped observing the catholic practices that were being taught to me since I was a child.
There came the turning point in my life that I have decided to submit myself to indoctrination sessions and eventually became a member of the true Church of God. At first, I had tried to seek approval from my parents as to the decision that I would make. Sad to say, my parents disagreed. My parents’ disapproval did not discourage me, however, to push through with my plan to join the true Church of God. With fear in my heart that I was going against my parents’ will, I determined to respond to what my heart and faith dictated. This was to do what God had taught me through Bro. Eli.
It was hard of course, but indeed worth it. After 16 years of being a slave to sin and a false religion my soul finally found its resting place in the caring hands of God in the true church. Although I do not have my family with me in the church, God is indeed faithful to his promise that if I choose to obey Him first and if I choose Him over all things in this world, what I lacked would be added unto me.
True enough, God gave me not only brothers and sisters, not only friends, not only a family but a resting place – a place that I can call home. He gave me a family that loves, nurtures and reprimands me when deemed necessary.
I know that even though God had already helped me go through the hardships that I have experienced, as I step closer towards entering his church, there would be more obstacles, tears, longsuffering and problems that will come along the way as I go on with my journey towards salvation. I hope that God will continue to hold my hands, with my fervent prayer that He will never let go.