My mother would tell me to wipe my handkerchief on the statue of their Jesus, so that I will get well and he will guide me. But I was really scared of that graven image. I was scared thinking that if I’m going to mold a clay and draw a picture or image that looks like the face of their Jesus, it can also be my God.
By Keemson J. De Leon
My family was a former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) member, from my grandfather unto his children, which included my parents. My grandfather was the one who led them to be INC members. But, when my grandfather died the INCs buried him in a catholic cemetery.
Because of that, there were great changes our family: they became inactive in attending INC church gatherings and some switched to other religions. Some of them became Catholics and my parents became Born-again members. We became active in Born-again with my grandfather in my father’s side leading us to become Born-again members.
I didn’t understand their doctrines. I always thought and felt that there’s something missing and lacking in their teachings. Time passed that we became inactive in their fellowships.
Then I became sickly and for that cause, my mother began to attend church gatherings in a catholic church near our place. It was because of benefits, like free medical check-up and free medicines that my mother needed for me because of my sickness.
Every time we went to the Catholic Church my mother would tell me to wipe my handkerchief on the statue of their Jesus, so that I will get well and he will guide me. But I was really scared of that graven image. I was scared thinking that if I’m going to mold a clay and draw a picture or image that looks like the face of their Jesus, it can also be my God. After going to the Catholic Church after quite a time, nothing was changed in our lives; we were still the same.
As time went by, I noticed that my cousin, Oliver Diaz, was totally changing! He used to go with wicked friends. He was also a drunkard and smoker. He even used prohibited drugs like “shabu”, and was destroying himself. But he was becoming different! All of his wicked doings have gone away, but I was not able to know the reasons why and how he changed a lot.
Then one time, I visited their house near ours. I saw him watching something. I thought it was a debate, but at that time I didn’t know who Bro. Eli Soriano was.
I joined him in listening and watching. I came to understand that the man speaking who was Bro. Eli was right and that his rival is wrong.
It was my cousin, Oliver, however, that I was curious of. I noticed that he was always active in attending their church gatherings. All his doings then changed to good.
Still I didn’t come to know who Bro. Eli Soriano was.
After some time, my cousin Oliver invited Jason who is also my cousin. Jason was my companion in doing bad doings. We used to make trouble. We liked to have awful trips among those who we wanted. Like Oliver, Jason was also destroying himself.
Later on, I learned that Jayson was attending Church gatherings. He had also become a member of the Church where Oliver is also a member.
I always mocking Jayson and we used to have discussions. I always contradicted what he was saying. I always contradicted their doctrines, never having the idea that it was Bro. Eli Soriano who was teaching them.
I have observed, however, that he didn’t fight me back; he was always answering me using God’s words. Through Jason, I realized that, that was Bro. Eli – the very man I saw in a debate that I used to watch before with my cousin Oliver. It was also from Jayson that I learned that they are in the Church of God International and that they are members.
Then time came that Oliver invited me to attend their Church gathering in one of their locale in Marikina City. After having attended three times, I have understood that Bro. Eli is preaching rightfully and he is speaking the truth.
But after that I still ignored them and I continued to make friends with those who are drunkards and smokers and even drug addicts. Yet, I didn’t join my friends in their wrong doings and habits, because I always remembered Bro. Eli’s teachings.
Oliver invited me to attend their indoctrination sessions and I attended all of them. After that, I understood all of Bro. Eli’s teachings. In my heart I knew that this is the true church which I haven’t found in many other religions that I used to be a member before.
Here, I have found the doctrines that really changed my cousins, Oliver and Jason. I was thinking that when the time came that I’m going to receive my baptism, I won’t make my parents know because I know they will stop me. However, Oliver informed my parents so that they will not get angry. On February 19, 2010, I became a member of the Members Church of God International.
After my baptism, and having become a member of the Church of God International, the more I learned and liked the doctrines. I am a witness to the works of the members which are always good. And I can say that whenever Bro. Eli is being hurt, I also felt the same. Whenever he teaches us, I am really filled to the brim. My hunger for truth has vanished away, something I didn’t feel in my previous religions.