My marriage was very bitter, I decided to leave our home in Cavite, bringing with me my six children to be far away from the sight of my husband, Benny. He was the Hitler type who acted like he was ordering robots without feelings. Moreover, he was godless, making our life too miserable.
By Cecille Perea
Benny, my husband, is the eldest child of his parents. He was raised by them in love and fear with god, for they were also Catholics like me. I was 16 and Benny was 19 when we decided to settle down. I thought that because we were so in love with each other, life will not be so hard for us.
We were given six children and we lived a comfortable life when things began to change. Benny had become a womanizer. His circle of friends had affected him so much, for he spent much of his time with them instead of his family. We began to fight everyday and treated each other as enemy.
His vices were unstoppable that even his parents could not do anything. The worst was that the good man I knew before had become a Hitler in attitude. A simple mistake would make him very angry and would raise his voice to anyone, especially to me and my children. He was called Hitler by his siblings from then on.
Due to bitterness of my marriage, I decided to leave our home in Cavite bringing with me my six children to be far away from the sight of my husband, Benny. He was the Hitler type who acted like he was ordering robots without feelings. Moreover, he was godless, making our life too miserable.
Our new residence was my uncle’s at Nasugbo, Batangas and we started a living separate from my husband. But, sadly, he found us after a few days! My decision to leave him was prompted by my desire to avoid being hurt by him anymore. But since he found us and promised that he will stop his vices, I forgave him and gave him another once. It was my children I was thinking of. Moreover, his parents supported him so that we can start a new life at Nasugbu.
I ate my pride and cleaved to him despite his worldly lifestyle. With his promise that he will change for good, I accepted him, only to discover that my life would be worse than before.
Life went on, and since our house was near the sea, Benny’s occupation was related to fishing. He became a partner in selling chemicals used in dynamite fishing. Although illegal, he ignored that for he earned a lot. From a small house, we built a big one that was too close to our Catholic parish church. People began to like us, and Benny became the President of our Parish Church. It also gave him opportunity to meet and be friends with high government officials and well-known personalities in the place.
Every town fiesta, our family was being selected to be a host. Food overflowed during those days, and even Benny’s relative from Cavite helped us to accommodate many people going to our house. The money that we earned, although coming from illegal activities, was the same money we donated to our parish church, for renovation and other church expenses if we were requested. The more we gave to our church, the more people loved us; they respected us.
My life from simple mother and wife also changed. I started my own vices as well. I loved buying non-essential things for myself like beautiful clothes, jewelries, shoes and every adornment this world has for women. I wore make-up even if I stayed at home.
I came to love myself too much. I was a friend to the wives of my husband’s friends’ also. I began to love my vices that time, like smoking, playing cards, going to casino, playing majhong that my friends were busy at. Meanwhile, the vices of my husband continued, and it had gone to worse for he was also going to casino and played there until the next day and the next and the next. He even brought his woman together with his friends in the sea while fishing.
In the midst of our worldly life, we able to seek another religion, as we got tired of the Roman Catholic Church’s style of teachings. We also wearied of giving donations to them and hosting our town fiesta yearly. We joined the JIL Movements (Jesus is Lord), but we did not get baptized there. They encouraged us to do so but we refused, learning that their teachings are almost the same as that of the RCC. The annoying part for us was that they always mentioned about tithes. It’s been a year when we decided to stop going to this church for we found no changes in our lives, especially with my husband.
Returning to the RCC, I wanted our lives to change for the better. I wanted my husband to be a good father and husband just like some men. I went to church mass again, and walked kneeling together with my children praying for my husband’s changes. But the same as before, no miracle happened. We lived a very shaky life.
On November 30, 2000 when things seemed too different, my husband who stayed out nightly called me hastily and asked me to look for a Bible. Wondering why, I obeyed him to avoid fighting in the middle of the night. And then he gently asked me to look for a verse in the Bible, if the birthday of one person is celebrated according to the Bible. Yes, Christmas is it. Yes, and more to it.
I was very much confused that night as he asked me biblical matters which never happened in our entire life, even after we joined the JIL movement. The next night, he stayed home, and did not go out with his friends, his usual routine every night. Later on, I discovered that my husband was listening to Bro. Eli Soriano through a radio program nightly. This was when he asked me to join him in listening to “This is Manolo Favis and the GENIUS Family.” I learned that in this program, preachers from different religions are being asked biblical matters. Bro. Eli is one of them until eventually, he alone remained. We had been listening to Bro. Eli for some time and I noticed in my husband an enormous change.
We looked for a Church locale in town when we felt that God was calling us. We knew there would be one of those where the preaching of Bro. Eli is being heard. After asking people around, we found that there was a Bro. Dodie delas Alas whose house was being used as a place for gathering. Benny asked for indoctrination and then asked me if I am willing also to undergo indoctrination. I nodded and said, “Wherever there is peace, I will join you.” So the indoctrination sessions were held at home. When I heard the doctrines about how women should dress themselves, I immediately took off my jewelries, my earings.
With God’s permission and help, we were able to go through the indoctrination sessions and got baptized on April 6, 2001. I was so overwhelmed that day and I cannot explain my feelings. All I know was that I was relieved. All my miseries and pains and heartaches that my husband gave to me all vanished.
From listening to Bro. Eli up to our baptism, I saw my husband’s great changes. He became so kind, so generous and spoke with gentleness unlike before when he always shouted. His cursing every time he spoke all flew away from him, and this was noticed by my children. In his enormous change, my evil thoughts about him vanished too. It was replaced with love and care. All evil things vanished in our life, including Benny’s friends.
Actively, with God’s help and mercy, we continued attending all the gatherings in our locale and go to Apalit, Pampanga every Thanksgiving to God. We also requested our children to join us but they were not yet ready. I saw my husband’s generosity in helping the locale and the ministry. He had become so active.
When people and the parish church that we used to serve before, learned of our conversion to Ang Dating Daan, they got mad and started to mock us. One of the biggest trials that happened to my family was when they filed a case regarding the land where our house was built. They accused us as being land grabbers, when they never said that before.
Actually we’ve been paying the taxes of that land from the start but they still insisted that we pay the parcel. We did not pay for it, but what we did was destroy our house and gave to them the land they wanted. It’s been a year when we had been fighting for our right. But it seemed that it was God’s will to leave the land to them for we were being persecuted in that place too much. Maybe it was the reason also that God gave us a new house in Cavite and to leave behind all the sad memories in Nasugbu. We went back to Cavite then.
It was year 2002 when my husband was diagnosed with a heart problem. His body chemistry failed little by little. Perhaps due to his past lifestyle, the alcohol and the cigarettes and other leisure that he had had before, had affected his body very much. Our going to Apalit to attend the thanksgiving stopped when Benny’ health condition became critical. We were bringing him back and forth to the Philippine Heart Center for the whole year of 2004. Although in his critical condition, he was able to attend the hook-up with us.
I remember he even asked his biological sisters and brothers to join us in our faith, but just like my children, they refused. It was in August 3, 2005, when God took Benny’s life. As much as we had wanted him to live longer, and he himself would have liked to, to serve our God and see my children walking in the path we our walking now, he became very tired. He wrote this on a piece of board when he was under the surviving machine in PHC. He said, “Hirap na hirap na ako, gusto ko nang magpahinga” (I am so burdened; I want now to rest.) Although with hesitation and with much pain in our heart, we decided to take off the machine from his body. I noticed a smile in his last breath.
His lose gave way to our children to know the doctrines of our Lord and be baptized. I learned that my two children, Ronni and Jon-jon, were baptized abroad. Ramir followed and his wife afterward, and Rena as well. Our prayers to God were heard. Benny wanted so much to see his children inside the fold. If he knew about these developments, his happiness would be overflowing.
I am so grateful to God that before Benny left this family, he was converted in the true church. I remember Saint Paul in his past life and his wonderful conversion. I am also thankful to God, for He let us be in his fold.
I am so happy now, and together with my children and their children, we thank God and serve Him faithfully. At present, I reside in Cavite with my grandchildren and is an active locale choir of Locale of Amaya.
[Cecille Perea comes from Nasugbu, Batangas but now resides in Tanza, Cavite and attends church at Amaya. She is now the coordinator of the locale’s choir-women.]