By Manny Catangay Jusay
Before, I haven’t come to know any “true” religion aside from the Church of Christ (INC). There was a strong conviction rooted in me that the INC was a true religion, and the only one of its kind.
When my parents were called into the INC, immediately I was offered. I was 9 years old then when I underwent indoctrination until I have finished it. Our house served as a place for assembly and worship services. When Ka Erdy Manalo was sent to administer the worship service, my parents told him to baptize me at once.
I was only 10 years old then and I thought that I wouldn’t be baptized, because a person must be 12 years old first according to INC beliefs. Ka Erdy was forced to baptize me when my mother cited what he said, that if a person would not join the church, there is no salvation.
I became an active youth member. I was respected in our clan as I was living a decent life. They know how much I cared for and loved my nieces and nephews.
My zeal for work was somehow manifested even in giving my 13th month pay that I have received; I parted with it and gave it for thanksgiving. Aside from our “lagak” or deposit from January to November, because of my shyness to God, I saw my offerings as an excess in my pocket. If observed carefully, I would be a strong believer and not a lame member of the Church of Christ.
In my service, I developed a skin disease. There came a time that I became one of those who were inactive. At some definite time, a deacon spoke with me saying that I would be excommunicated if I will not be active again because they were removing impurities in the church.
There entered a big question in my mind. They said that the church was eliminating wastes and I was chosen to be wiped out. There were so many to wipe out, those ministers who were drunkards, sons of deacons that whenever you meet them in the street are drunk. They were the ones to be wiped out, not me!
That very time, I told the deacon, “Right now, I will be leaving this church; I quit because I am very much offended.”
Because of my anguish, I decided not to attend worship services anymore. Then I starved for God’s words. It took me a long time not to feel God’s presence.
It was my anger that pushed me to observe other religious faith. I entered the El Shaddai of Mike Velarde, the Jesus Miracle Crusade of Almeda, and some Protestant sects. There, I came to realize that the doxology of the INC and Protestant Church played the same tune.
The INC ministers’ zealousness in bringing me back to their fold pushed them to visit me every now and then, that even in our office, they came to visit me. Time came when I watched Bro. Romy Español, Rey Ysmael, and Bro. Cesar Adamos on the television and I haven’t missed any of their programs.
I was not used to seeing that INC ministers cower in a debate. They faced almost all the debates then. That was why it was hard for me to accept when they refused the challenge of Bro. Eliseo Soriano to face them in a debate.
There I came to realize that if their organization is really of God, because they were claiming that God is with them, why then did they run and lose their guts to confront or to defy boldly the dare for a debate? It was at that moment that I readily accepted that the INC is NOT of God.
If I were to look back on my past life, I find myself not worthy. It was forbidden in the INC to gamble, yet I went to the casino because I was a rich man at that time. For nine long years I have been in the bosom of my mistress.
I have turned my back on my family but still I attended to their financial needs. I have a big business in Cubao; I experienced having a millionaire life. But it was far from the minds of the INC that I was a millionaire.
They don’t bother knowing that, as far as I was offering thanksgiving and giving money for collection. When I and my mistress quarreled because of business, I decided to leave and separate from her. I only had Php 7,000.00 in my pocket. I haven’t brought any machinery, neither a car nor anything from our company.
I went back to my real family and my wife and children wholeheartedly received me. Their hearts were overwhelmed with so much gladness that I was back home.
Then I met Bro. Rolly Laraya near my place of work. We often conversed but he was not insisting me to join their group. I knew that Bro. Eli was saying the truth even though I was not yet a brother in the Church of God.
I made an oath to God and every night I pray, “Lord you said when someone asks, it should be given…PUT ME IN THE TRUTH.” These words were always in my prayer.
I was not yet a member then when I first went to the Ang Dating Daan (ADD) Convention Center. I remember I had done nothing but cry. Starting from the congregational singing at 6:00 AM, I haven’t missed a hymn without a tear flowing from my eyes. This was the answer of God when I asked Him to give me some proofs and signs that He has led me to the right path to salvation.
It was in this organization only that I felt the guidance of the Holy Spirit. After that day, I asked for indoctrination. With God’s grace and help I was baptized in this organization on February 15, 2002 in Apalit, Pampanga through Bro. Don Capulong.
Thereafter, I searched for Bro. Romy Español, Sis. Nedie Español and Bro. Cesar Adamos. They serve as my inspiration in my long endeavor of searching the truth and finally, the goal to become one in the Church of God that is taught in the Bible.