Friday, March 17, 2017

Turning Point Part 1

There is nothing dramatic about my story.

Although I was raised a Catholic, I did not grow up in a God-centered home. My parents, two sisters, all my uncles, aunts, and cousins are Catholic. I can't say any of them were devout, although I know that some of them religiously attend Wednesday novena, charismatic prayer meetings, and are members of some religious organizations. Still, I don't know the extent of their relationship with the Lord because I was never close enough with any of them to know.

As a child I was also invited to attend Catholic charismatic prayer meetings, even serving at the music ministry at some point. I did not attend a Catholic school, but I remember we had character building and values education subjects at my school. So the bulk of what I know about God and religion were based on what was taught in those channels. And also - Psalty, the Singing Songbook.

I was introduced to Psalty at an early age. I was still in primary school when a cousin lent me a cassette tape of Kids' Praise 4. I really enjoyed listening to it. In fact, my enjoyment was so great that I ended up buying other Kids' Praise tapes. Psalty really taught me a lot through those tapes. I may not have fully understood it at the time, but it sure planted the seed in my heart which paved the way for me to seek the Lord in the coming years. Indeed, Proverbs 22:6 proved to be true in my life.

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Although my whole family and I prayed the rosary everyday and go to church every Saturday (we used to attend the anticipated mass), I still felt something was lacking. Even though I was aware that there is a God, I just did not feel close to Him. A great part of my life, I thought God's only purposes were to grant my prayers and to banish to hell anyone who go against His commandments. To me, He was both a genie and a police.

I distinctly remember one encounter with a classmate when I was in Grade 5. She was a Born-Again Christian and she was telling me about her Bible study activity after school. Now the thought of reading the Bible at that time was so foreign to me because I didn't know anyone who reads, much less studies, the Bible. But even then I knew at the back of my mind that that's what everyone is supposed to do - study the Bible so that one can learn more about God - although I was personally not doing it. For a good number of times I tried reading the Bible on my own, but I just felt so overwhelmed by the small prints and the big words. No one in my immediate family reads the Bible and I do not remember seeking anyone's help. Soon enough, I gave up on my reading and just continued to live an ordinary life, going where the tide takes me.

That encounter plus the things I learned from Psalty made me very curious about what is taught in a Born-Again Christian church. I had no idea that I would be a member of one almost twenty years later.

The instruments that led me to be where I am now came in the form of two officemates who are members of a local Christian church. The day they invited me to attend a night service, I was not even in a desperate situation in my life. It was actually just an ordinary day for me. I had no grave problems that made me more desperate to seek the Lord. I came out of curiosity and to finally answer my longest lingering question: what is taught in a Christian church? And why are Christians a little bit "different" from other people?

That night turned out to be the turning point of my life.

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