Salvation testimony

I recently applied to go on a mission trip with MV Logos Hope, and part o te application process includes that I wite my salvation testimony. I wrote in and sent my salvation testimony but while I was looking for 12stone's phone number on my email, I chanced upon the email I sent my first 12stone friend, Cyndi. And I thought to myself, I should've sent that email instead because that was more heartfelt than the first one I sent. Anyway, I just wanted to share that same email, in hopes that I would bless someone along the way. Read on! :)

"Like what I said, my formative years, i grew up in a Christian environment. When I was 12 I was really active in church, and even befriended the youth pastor in our church. He just recently came back from a missionary trip to Vietnam, listening to him then, I knew I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up. Unlike other kids who wanted to be doctors or lawyers or teachers, I never wanted to be anything but a pastor's wife or a missionary. I was still too young, but the church had some problems and they ended up (I'm not exactly sure if they kicked out the other members or if they left on their own accord. That was my first disappointment in the church. After the other church members left, it was pretty much downhill for them. They lost other church members, even the then pastor quit, there were rumors about one family hating the other, and talks of people using the church's money for their own. Right about this time, I got into a catholic sectarian school, where they didn't allow any other faith/religion but catholic.

I was cocky. Mostly becAuse I know of the good news. I was confident, I was saved. I was calling Him my saviour but never my God.

In college, I tried to turn things around by going to a Chinese baptist church (i have a bit of Chinese blood) at first I didn't really felt that I belonged, most of my church friends were sons and daughters of filipinized Chinese men and women, if not half Chinese. But more than that, whenever we would conduct youth gathering, right smack after bible study and fellowship, we'd go drinking or hang out at a billiards place. The youth gathering was merely an excuse for us to be allowed to go out and meet. It was a facade. I discontinued going after about a year, soon after I was invited at school to join a campus ministry backed by one of today's most notable church names in the Philippines (it wasn't that famous back then). I told my friends I was adamant to join. A) because I was secretly crushing on someone from their church and I don't want people to think that I was going so I could get close to this person. And b) I feared that it would be like my experience with the Chinese baptist church (put no blame on the leaders of the Chinese church, we were very good actors, they had no idea that we were doing those things behind their back)

But I was persuaded nonetheless. It felt exhilarating. It was a different experience, it was a place where I was free to worship the Lord and cultivate my relationship with Him. I was dissuadade by people i knew who used to go to that same church, some blatantly, others by not speaking of what had happened to them when they were there. i thought that they were just bitter for what had or what did not happen to them. but soon enough i found out why.

through church, i came to know a certain young man. he was the group leader in our university's church group, he was then the church's worship leader and the most promising rising leader to become youth pastor (he was a senior at the university). who wouldnt like him? God's anointing was upon him, every time he led us in worship, every time he prayed, he spoke, i felt that he was passionate about his faith. i thought of him as a man of God. since we went to the same university, we would often go to school together or come from the student center together, we belonged to the same circle of friends, so it was not unusual that we would go out as a group, get dinner, have coffee, watch movies and all the usual teenage stuff.

the summer of my senior year, we became very good friends. we started communicating regularly and i even had the chance to meet his family when i was invited for her sister's bday party. that same summer, we admitted how we both liked each other but we sat down and discussed the situation. we knew all too well that dating, much more going steady was not allowed in our church, unless you are dating with the intention of marriage. and we both know that marriage was a far cry from what we were feeling, we were still both in school and we were still very much dependent on our parents financially, so we decided that we would wait for the right time to be together. we agreed that when school resumes, we would forget that we had these feelings and remain friends and that if we do decide to pursue our feelings, we would go through the right channels (submitting it to our disciplers, getting approval from the leaders). but even before we had the chance to say anything, news got to the church ahead of us, there were already rumors that i was even pregnant. we were summoned by the church leaders and reprimanded, we werent even given the chance to explain and they blamed me, as if i seduced him. we underwent the usual disciplinary action to restore the leaders trust, we werent allowed to see or talk to each other without anyone else, we werent to go to the same service. we did everything their way, but even in the end, my discipler released me and his, abandoned him.

after this, when everyone else has given up on us and we felt like we had no one else but each other, we did get together. we started dating and he stopped going to church. people from church would look at me differently when i go to church a) for dating him and b) for dating someone not from the church. most of them felt that i was the reason he left his faith. we would constantly fight about my church attendance, he couldnt understand why i couldnt let go of an institution that condemned us. finally, i gave in and stopped going to church too.

dont get me wrong, i dont blame the people in church, i have long forgiven them and every day when i feel that there's still a part of me that hasnt forgiven them, i apologise to God for harboring bitterness and claim mine and their forgiveness. what led me to stray away was this person that i fell in love with. it broke my heart that the man of god that i knew was now an unbelieving soul. i started believing everyone who ever said that it was my fault he turned out that way. and because of that, i promised god that i will never come back in his embrace unless he renews this person's faith.

stupid i know. but i held on to that, a) because i promised and b) because i stand on my promises and letting it go made me feel guilty.

but time and again, the people i love that also loves god would tell me over and over again, that i did not cause his unbelief and that if he is truly a man of god, and that if he truly believed in all the things that he used to preach, he will one day find his way back to Him.

i continue to pray for that person. there's still that nagging feeling that i caused his unbelief, that if i didnt date him or agree to date him, he would still be that faithful servant of the Lord, burning in passion of his faith and relationship with Him.

so, there, that's my life story. it feels like an excuse, so maybe it is :)) because the important thing is the future, my heart, my relationship with Him, my decision to walk with Him. "