03/11/2017: The Gospel That Changed Me
The Gospel That Changed Me
An alcoholic abandons his destructive habits and begins preaching the gospel.
Like many in my country, I was born into a devoted Roman Catholic family. As a teenager, I developed many vices. I drank liquor and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. Even after I married and had seven children, I kept drinking and smoking. My parents had taught me that through praying to the saints and Mary and memorizing the Rosary, we could go to Heaven even if we did not change our lifestyle. I always thought, Why should I put forth effort if going to Heaven is so easy? Even if I die, my relatives can pray for me so that I will not stay long in purgatory.
My wife often told me I needed to stop my vices. Her family worried that my smoking would cause a serious illness like tuberculosis. Still, I did not listen. When my three sons reached their teens, they followed my example in drinking and smoking. That was our lifestyle for many years.
One day a pastor came to visit. Even though he was not Catholic, my family and I welcomed him to stay in our house while he did mission work. Of course, we heard his messages often, and eventually I was convinced to join his faith. Yet, I still did not stop smoking and drinking because our pastor said grace alone saves our souls.
Most of my family converted with me, except for my oldest daughter. Instead of joining my church, she became a Seventh-day Adventist. I was so embarrassed that I tried to force her to join my church by hitting her.
Pastor Habla went back home, and my siblings abandoned our new faith. I really admired our pastor, however, so I continued worshiping as he had taught us. It seemed to me that what he preached was based on the Bible, and therefore truth.
Three years went by before our pastor returned. When he came back he told us that God’s real name is YaHusWaH, and that the name Jesus refers to a horse in Greece. It really confused me.
Shortly after Pastor Habla went back home, a big opportunity opened for my family. In another part of our island, the government was offering farm lots free to indigenous people like my family. Leaving our village, we went to claim our farm.
Our new beginning proved to be quite a challenge. We had no place to worship because most of our neighbors were either Muslim or non-religious. Then another missionary visited—Pastor Temtem from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. My siblings appreciated Pastor Temtem and the messages he brought us. Among other things, he helped me understand that I should address God as my Father. He also said that according to Matthew 1:21, the name Jesus means “Savior.”
Pastor Temtem taught me what God requires of us to enter Heaven and what to do to be saved. I kept thinking about what he had told me. I saw my family being convinced of his message, not because I was forcing them, but because they understood for themselves. As I read the Bible, I could see for myself that what Pastor Temtem taught was true. Through God’s help I was converted and stopped practicing my vices. Soon I received baptism! Today I am an elder, preaching to my neighbors the gospel that changed me.
Ramon Tianchon lives
in southern Mindanao,
Pray for Pastor Temtem and the other gospel workers in the Philippines, that they may reach many more confused, needy souls like Ramon and his family!
Donate to the support of the Filipino gospel workers and their evangelistic efforts by sending your contribution to Mission Projects International marked “Philippine workers” or “Philippine evangelism.”