The Testimony of Tata Dayondon in the Philippines
My name is Tata. I was born into a Roman Catholic family. As a girl, my parents taught me, of course, that there is God who made all things that please Him. Our priest continually reminded us that we have a heavenly Father aside from our earthly father, and that we need to pray each day to that heavenly Father. We were taught to call now and then on the mother of the church, the Virgin Mary, the mother of God. We had many saints that we adored, even saints whose names were not written in the Bible. Our priest explained that we had no idols, only the designated saints. Idol worshippers would be punished one day, but we would not be included because we did not have them. We adored the saints but avoided idols. This was what we were taught by our religious leaders, anyway. We celebrated feasts each year to recall the wonderful deeds of our saints. Later, I would think, Could this be right in the sight of God? Do these activities or celebrations please heaven?
When I became a teenager in high school, life was enjoyable. I found myself seeking for more excitement. I was encouraged to go wherever the wind blew. For me, that meant wherever my friends went, I was with them. Soon I learned to disobey my parents’ instructions. I began to smoke cigarettes, drank hard liquors and picked up some other vices. At that time, it made me happy; but now I know it was an earthly happiness, and it was not making God happy.
Having wayward friends many times leads you into trouble, but sometimes it leads you to an early commitment to a life partner. This was what happened to me.
One day I became acquainted with a gentleman named Roldan Dayondon. He looked good, and I thought he liked me. I liked him, too, but at that time had no plans to marry. I just wanted to enjoy my teenage moments. But not many days had passed before he told me how he really felt toward me. I did not want him to wait for my answer too long, so I told him that I felt the same—we loved each other. Soon we were engaged, and then married. An early marriage had happened; but, fortunately for me, it turned out to be a blessing.
Roldan was a backslidden Seventh-day Adventist, but one Sabbath he brought me to his church. There I heard a precious message. I saw the way the congregation worshiped the Creator. It was a whole day of worship. It was so different from that of the Roman Catholic Church, where we only spent an hour of worship. I was so surprised by the way their pastor treated us. It was as if we were his real family. It was harmonious. I desired to be brought into a family like this. We ate together and had fellowship with each other. I was very impressed with the Sabbath afternoon message, although sometimes I felt the need of just a moment of sleep. The youth and children were being trained to sing songs to glorify God. I was convinced that if we Roman Catholics should be saved, how much more so this church which I visited.
Ever since that day, Roldan and I have always joined the congregation to worship the God of Heaven on His holy day, the seventh-day Sabbath. Of course, we were taught that we may worship God every day and even every hour, but the seventh-day Sabbath is the only day which God has blessed and sanctified, for in it He rested and was pleased with His creation.
I was also convinced that the laws of health are an important truth to be put into practice, beginning at the book of Genesis and continuing through Leviticus and Deuteronomy. But I still wore earrings, rings on my fingers and a necklace. I had not heard a message about jewelry in the Springside Church, so I continued using it. Then one Sabbath day, a little friend, only six years old, looked at me intently, and after a moment she said, “Jesus Christ would not be happy if you worship God with adornings. Our God wants us to put all of that away from us.” The girl’s name was Angel Luz Cabahug. She was a very talkative little friend of mine. At first, I ignored her and was about to enter the church, but she returned and said the same words she had spoken before, but this time she added that I could not go to heaven if I disobeyed the Word of God. This time, I was convicted that the Word of God was being put into the mouth of the child. I took all of my jewelry off. My little friend was happy that I, like her, chose to worship God in modesty and simplicity. She was only a six-year-old child, but what a missionary! What she learned from the Holy Scriptures, she shared happily and with courage. She had already taught us many things that she had learned from the Bible and the story book, Best Stories. She was my angel child—God’s missionary.
Of all members of my family I am the only one, along with my husband, who strives to walk the path of Christ Jesus. It has been hard. My parents many times tempted me to eat foods that would not please God, but recalled the messages I had learned and told them, “I will not disobey my God in whom I trust.” At those moments, I imagined the face of my friend, the missionary child, who keeps saying that we need only to obey God’s Word. When I think of her, I choose to obey. The thought of her encourages me to go on and continue the battle of life as a Christian soldier of Christ Jesus.
Now, God has given me a child of my own—His special heritage to me. I hope that my little boy will grow up to be a missionary child: a child of prayer, faith and conversation. Please do not forget to pray for me and my family that we may continue to serve God according to His truth. I am not yet a baptized member, but I strive to follow the Lord. Also, pray always for my missionary child that she may grow in Christ Jesus all the days of her life, that she will always be a missionary, not only now, but until Jesus comes in triumph and glory.
By Nanding Cabahug. Donations for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.