I once had a broken home – the lack of decent shelter and parental care made me question where God is. How could He let this happen to me? I was just three when my parents separated. During those times, my father went home to visit but never to spend the night. In a darker part of my life my mother, little sister and I slept in front of a chapel on a cold, dark night because my father wasn’t able to pay our house rent. It happened 12 years ago but the memory still haunts me.
Time went by, and I entered high school at age 14. I lived with my hospitable classmate and her family. They treated me well, like I was part of their family, but I still couldn’t help but feel like a bastard. I couldn’t understand how my mother could eat her pride and allow me to stay with other people. Neither could I understand why my father couldn’t bring me home and make me feel safe.
I wanted to know the truth – does God really exist? Why did He allow such things to happen to me? If there isn’t one, then I’ll work on my own, I decided. I encouraged myself to become independent.
But still I found myself wanting to know the truth. I wasn’t satisfied kneeling inside the church and listening to the priest’s sermon. I asked so many religious advisers and nuns why God permitted such persecutions, problems and struggles to happen in my life. Is He angry at me? Did I do something wrong? Who am I to Him? I had so many unanswered questions. I was a fool, I thought, seeking answers from people who apparently do not understand God’s reasons for things as well.
I went to Born Again churches thinking they could help me. But they couldn’t.
I graduated from high school hoping to be able to fulfill my dreams of reconstructing our broken home. I became so frustrated when I failed. I discovered that my father already married his second wife and had four healthy sons with her. Needless to say, he decided to stay with them.
So I accepted things wholeheartedly. After all I only had one option – and that is to be with them for the rest of my life. However, the change wasn’t easy for me. Jealousy was to blame for my being the black sheep of the family. I longed for the love and attention of my father which I felt he wasn’t able to give. I felt like the family’s unwanted child.
Then one day, everything changed. Our family business wasn’t running smoothly. It was like the wheels of fortune have spun completely out of our reach.
Due to this unfortunate event, my father decided to send me to Bicol for college. We were no longer financially stable and he decided to work as a jeepney driver.
But as it turns out, the event wasn’t so unfortunate after all. I would say that it wasn’t the end of our lives because God knocked on the hearts of my loved ones through the preaching of Bro. Eliseo Soriano of Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). He has opened my father’s eyes to the truth. Through his grace and mercy, God has called to the Church of God my father’s wife as well, whom I now call mother. It happened sometime in 2005, if I’m not mistaken.
After more than two years in Bicol. I went home to Manila. My father and stepmother were already brethren of Ang Dating Daan or Members Church of God International as it is officially called. Seeing that their eldest son was already baptized in the Church as well, I decided that it would be better for me to be like them. I believed that in doing so, I will no longer be an outcast in the family.
I already heard Bro. Eli’s voice on TV, but I haven’t really listened to what he was preaching. I must say that I admired Sis. Luz’s way of reading the Bible; her voice was soft and mellow. And this made me even more curious about Bro. Eli – why was he often shouting? I understand he was doing jeremiad. I get scared but I needed to be brave so that I’ll also be part of MCGI. After listening to Bro. Eli’s preaching, I found out why Bro. Eli shouted some the time. When I listened carefully to Bro. Eli’s voice, I realized that he was eager to let everyone learn what is true – and not what false preachers peddle to the public. He was shouting for emphasis.
Because of the hatred I felt towards my father and his new family, I became a sister in MCGI. And because of the love given to me by God, I realized that the events in my life had very good reasons behind them. God made me stronger to overcome life’s difficulties. Anger hasn’t defeated me, but instead, it led to the opening of my eyes so that I can see the light. Because of God, my hatred turned into love; jealousy, into understanding.
God has a purpose and has His own way to encourage us to go to His Church. We just need to open our eyes, ears and hearts so that we may find the answers we’ve always waited for in God’s teachings and laws.
By Natalie Sara Vasquez