Iglesia ni Cristo

The testimonials of people of various nationalities on their unforgettable experiences that made them decide
to join the Iglesia ni Cristo.

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AS DIVERSE AS the origins of the people who comprise the multiracial membership of the Church of Christ of today are the ways by which they first came to know about the Church and its teachings. All of them have different stories to tell concerning how and why they made that giant leap of faith by leaving their former religions to join the Church of Christ.

In this special edition of our Converts section, we put together the testimonials of 22 converts of various nationalities and descent, as they tell of their unforgettable experiences that made them decide to join the Church as well as the profound changes such decision has made in their individual lives.

"How their lives have changed"
Convert's Testimonials
CLIFFORD STIRBA, M.D. American 'Always grateful'
     As chief of the Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Department of Windham Hospital, Dr. Clifford Stirba has seen the worst what can happen to people from all walks of life.   "I take care not only of general medicine patients but also some of the more unfortunate patients in the world, such as the patients that have HIV, which causes AIDS," he  said,   "I   see a lot of unfortunate young people who get sick and die."
     Such experiences have made him appreciate more the good things he is fortunate to have. And it's not just having a stable profession and family that he is thankful for. He professed: "I thank God that He has given  me the opportunity to have  my profession, to have my family,  and my faith. And for this I am always grateful."
     Baptized in 1984, Brother Clifford often encounters people who ask him why he joined the Church of Christ.
     "My answer would be," said Brother Clifford who is currently head deacon in the Locale of Norwich, Connecticut, "It's the teaching which is the most sensible."
'A better person'
      A former Baptist, Brother Darryl said he had explored  different religions  in  search of a religion   "that   is consistent   with  the scriptures"  His search ended when he attended an evangelical mission of the Church of Christ in San Diego, California.
     "When I heard the gospel preached by the minister, I became interested" recounted this federal prosecutor from  Washington, D.C.  "I was intrigued when the minister said that there is only a single Church that God  intends to save. The minister spoke nothing about believing in the Trinity, and that it was not found in the scriptures."
      Concerning how becoming a member of the Church changed him and the way he views life, he said:
     "God's teachings about marriage helps me to be a better husband. I have become a better person."
THOMAS ZAFFARESE American 'More humble, understanding, and patient'
     Like many others, New Yorker Brother Thomas found the Bible studies in the Church of Christ "very informative" and that they "made a lot of sense." But more than just a learning experience, his study of the teachings of and eventual conversion into the Church of Christ changed him a lot as a person. He disclosed:
     "Now,   I   became a   little   more  humble,    a  little   more understanding, and more patient."
     Brother Thomas says he doesn't want to miss the worship service because as he puts it, "if I did I would feel guilty." For him, becoming a member of the Church of Christ is what every person needs in order to be guided "in the right light."  
LETICIA SANCHEZ Mexican '100% sure'
      Her first encounter with the Church of Christ was during one of its worship services. "The first thing that caught my attention/' said  Sister  Leticia,  a former Catholic from Tijuana, Mexico, "was there were no images [for worship] when we entered the worship building. Also, the brethren warmly greeted us."
     After she attended the Bible studies and finished listening to all the lessons taught to those who wish to join the Church, she  was convinced that  she   has  found   what  she  had  been looking for.
     She affirmed this when she  said,   "I  am   one-hundred- percent sure that this is the true Church. I have proven, in my years in the Church, that ail of its teachings are from the Bible."  In my personal life, if I experience problems or have doubts or feel helpless, "I call unto God and, eventually, all my problems are solved."
LLOYD  HEADLY Panamanian 'I now live a quiet life'
It had been his quest to find the truth concerning matters of the spirit.
      "I always prayed to God and asked Him if there is a church out therein which I  should belong to, I wish that You would show it to me" narrated Brother Lloyd.
     When he was introduced to the Church of Christ and had the chance to study its teachings through a minister, his reaction was one of wonder and acceptance. He remarked: "It was so clear that I said to myself, this has got to be it."
     Not only did he join the Church but he also brought in with him his family. First to be baptized was his son, then his son's wife and their children followed. Describing his life now that he is a member of the Church, he simply said, "I now live a quiet life, now that I'm part of the Church."
FRANK HANS  KLAPPROTH German 'The right way'
     Brother Frank first saw how the Church of Christ conducts its worship service when he attended one in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He remembers his initial observations, as he said:
     "I was surprised that there was  no cross; that the men are seated separately from  the women.   Everything was really organized. Everyone arrives at the appointed time and leaves after the worship  service is over.  There  was no chaos or something like that. That was my first impression and it was truly positive."
     First impression indeed lasts, for, today, Brother Frank is an active Church member in the Locale of Madrigal and is fully certain about his faith.   "I believe that the Iglesia ni Cristo is the right way, the only Church  ... where one could be sure that he would indeed receive salvation."
KRISHAN LAL Indian 'So delighted'
     Recounting his first time to attend the worship service of the igiesia ni Crtsto (Church of Christ), 28-year-old Brother Krishan said,  "I  was  so delighted not only with the way the choir members were singing the hymns. The words of God are read straight from the Bible. I told myself that I already found the true religion."
     A former   Hindu,   Brother   Krishan   looks  forward   to the establishment of Church  locales  in his homeland, India, and promises to help in propagating the faith there in the near future. "When I return to India" he said, "I will also invite my parents, relatives, and friends to join the Church of Christ."
ROBERTO ROBRENO American 'Dedicated to serving God'
     Brother Roberto, an educator, experienced a major  turning point in his life when he first attended the worship service of the Church of Christ in the summer of 1991.
     "As soon as the choir started singing the first hymn" he narrated, "I knew right there and then that I had finally found Him [God] and His people."
     He was convinced even more when he witnessed how the minister read from the Bible the answers to questions he also had in mind. He continued his study of the Church's beliefs and was eventually baptized on September 5,1992 in the Locale of Long Island City, New York.
     At present, Brother Roberto is a deacon and the president of the Light of Salvation organization in the Locale of Chicago. He and his wife Doris, who is a deaconess, don't mind traveling 170 miles to go to the house of worship twice a week and fulfill their Church duties. He told us why:
"We have dedicated our lives to serving God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
'We live in peace'
Born   and   raised   in   the predominantly Catholic country of Venezuela, Dr. Elvia Garcia remembers how she used to "attend [religion] classes with a Catholic priest"   and  study  the  Bible like a history book." So, when she accepted the invitation of her colleague Dr. Daniel Ignacio and saw how the ministers in he Church of Christ preached the Bible, she quickly spotted the big difference.
     "It was totally different" she said. ''The minister presents questions about a certain subject and the answers come from the Bible. He never gives his own opinion."
     A   former   professor   at  the   Medical   School of Zulia University in Maracaibo, Venezuela, she migrated to the USA  in 1987 to pursue her career as a medical practitioner. It was in the Locale of Temple Hills, Maryland where she and her late husband were baptized in 1989.
     Sister Elvia now lives in Temple Hills with her children, who  have  likewise become  members of the Church.   When asked what impact becoming a member in the Church of Christ as had in her life, she replied, "In my home, there is peace. We live in peace. We live in love."
LOW MENG SOON Singaporean 'No other Church'
     Talking about what he likes about the worship services of the Church of Christ, Brother Low Meng Soon said, ''The services and all are conducted very orderly. There's no rushing in or rushing out."
     The first time he attended  the worship service, he also noticed that the minister would always refer to what is written in the Bible. And so, Brother Low Meng Soon did more than just listen. "I did read up the Bible" he said, "and I found that what the Iglesia ni Cristo [Church of Christ] is doing is exactly what is in the Bible, and nothing else."
     Confident that the Church he has joined is the one founded by the Lord Jesus Christ, he asserted, "There's no other church where I want to belong."
'More than I ever thought possible'
     Much   has changed in Sister   Melanie's personal  and  family life since she joined the Church of Christ in 2000 in Fresno, California.
     "God has given me more than I ever thought possible" she said. "I feel that He is mending my character, my marriage, and my relationships."
     She no longer feels "disconnected and alone" as she did at one point in her life in the past "For almost 50 years, I have searched for a meaning to my life" she said. ''Now I have found it."
'Everything made sense'
     When Brother Tony underwent the Bible Study on Doctrines, he did not have a hard time accepting the teachings of the Church of Christ because, as he said, "I was learning things and everything made sense."
     One of the teachings that   had a great impact on him was about the apostasy of the first-century Church. He was amazed to finally understand  and   know that the one true religion had been apostatized (turned away from the true faith) after the death of the apostles and that it was the reason we were brought up in different religions afterwards."
     He pointed out that "the wealth of the doctrines" that the Church teaches only means that Brother Felix Y. Manalo is indeed God's Messenger because "it's right there in the Bible, too, and it's undisputable."
DALE MICHAEL SCHRADER American 'Something I'll never forget'
     It was on June 24, 1 978 when Brother Dale was baptized in the Church of Christ at the Locale of Long Island City in  New York. He recalls that day with great fondness, saying:
     "After my baptism was over, the brethren were so happy for me. These are people that  I really have never met before in  my life. They were probably as excited as I was, as happy as I was, That's something I'll never forget."
     One of the many teachings of the Church that convinced him to join was the lesson about God's messenger in these last days, Brother Felix Y. Manalo.
     He recounted, "I attended the Bible Study held at the house Brother David Salvador. The lesson was about the messenger sent by God." After hearing that lesson,  "I knew this was not just another church."
     Brother Dale  is,  at present,   a deacon  in   the  Locale o: Philadelphia,   Pennsylvania.   His wife,  Sister   Asuncion,   is   a deaconess and their son, Mark, is a choir member.
SURENDRA DEVI PARIYAR Nepalese 'Very happy'
     Before, there are many things I did not know. I was just following what the old people do, what they practice. And even if it's the wrong way, I just followed their doings without judging the right or wrong.
     Thus noted Brother Surendra Devi Pariyar of  his  life as  a former adherent of Hinduism. Comparing this to his life now that he is a member of the Church of Christ, he stated, "there's much difference, I can see."
     Gone are the days when he had no sense of direction. For, as Brother Surendra said: "Now, any problem I have in my life, every time I go to Church, I pray and I can see the result. I can see the result immediately. I'm very happy now being a member of the Church of Christ."
 ROSELI SERNA Brazilian 'All the guidance we need'
     For Sister Roseli, there's no reason to doubt the teaching of the Church of Christ on God's commissioning of His messenger in these last days.
     "It's all prophesied in the Bible." she said assuredly. "God prophesied that there would be a last messenger, a man coming from the Far East, and this was fulfilled in the person of the late Brother Felix Y. Manalo."
     She likewise acknowledges the authority of the present Church Administration  in teaching the brethren God's words.  "God continues to guide the Church through the person of Brother Erano Manalo, the present Administrator of the Church,"  she said.  "We continue to listen to the teachings, and we continue to have all the guidance we need to serve God."
     To her friends and family in Brazil, her message is ---
"[Translation] Please take a minute and listen to the teachings because they are true. If you desire to serve the true God, please listen to the Iglesia ni Cristo [Church of Christ] teachings."
GREGORY CHIRSAN American 'It can't get any better'
     While some might think that joining the Church of Christ  is difficult, New York-based Brother Gregory believes otherwise.
     "Being a Church of Christ member is so easy,"' he remarked. "We have commandments of God for everything, even for our family fife. And if we do that, our life will be easy."
     He believes that Iglesia ni Cristo families  have "a better foundation" than other people. "It's when we see how things work according to God's plan that it feels great," he said, adding that "It can't get any better."
SHUJI TANAKA Japanese 'The teachings are good'
"There are many  good things about the Church of Christ. In this Church, the families are happy, the teachings are good,  the brethren are friendly, and on the return of our Savior Jesus Christ, the members will meet Him."   said Brother Shuji. As greatly as he admires the orderliness of the Church's worship  services, he appreciates the value the Church gives on the sacredness of marriage and family.
Unlike in other religions,"   he said, "divorce is prohibited among married members of the Church of Christ. Also, members place great value and importance on family."
'Peace in every aspect'
     What is the Church of Christ? To this question, Brother Edmund's answer is, "This is the religious organization where one can really  find peace in every angle, in every aspect ... an organization wherein we believe exactly what is written in the Bible."
     A former Catholic, he had tried other religions such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostal Church, Anglican Church, and others before he finally joined the Church of Christ. According to him, the Church of Christ is "unlike other religious organizations wherein you cannot really understand the doctrines."
     "I felt spiritually restless and empty" he said of his past religious  quests.  It  was  only when his  former mathematics professor gave him a copy of Pasugo: God's Message and he read about the teachings of the Church of Christ that he began to find the right answers."
     "I found the Church's teachings to be correct" he said. "Every single teaching it has is purely based upon the Holy Scriptures."
MARCO BONI Italian 'My life changed completely'
     From the time he was baptized years ago, Brother Marco attests that being a member of the Church of Christ has had "a very big impact" on his life.
     "My life changed  completely—the way I see life," he remarked.
     He firmly believes that serving God is a duty he ought to and vows to always fulfill! because, as he puts it, "God has pulled me from the darkness [and brought me] to the true light, in the true Church, [for me] to walk in the right way,  to reach salvation, to reach eternal life."
'A great opportunity'
     When he first attended the Church's worship service in Johor, Bahru, Malaysia, Brother Hon Kong Chiow immediately felt a strong sense of relief.
     "The hymn singing was very touching," narrated this former Buddhist of Chinese descent. "Every word from the hymns that the choir sang was truly a praise to our Lord God."
     Baptized in September 1996, he soon became a deacon---a duty he cherishes as God's wonderful gift."
     "I thank Cod for giving me this great opportunity that I can be His instrument," he said. "I will continue to fulfill my duty in the Church because I truly believe that God is my protector and He will provide me with the strength I need to carry my yoke until the final destination."
GEORGE CHING  Chinese 'Peaceful mind'
     Asked what impact his conversion into the Church of Christ has had on him, Brother George has few but meaningful words for an answer.
     "I found that the teachings help me to have a peaceful mind" he said in Chinese, his native tongue.
     Like other converts, Brother George notes that by listening and adhering to the teachings of the Church, his life has changed, "very much" in that he has "refrained from doing bad things" since he became a member of the Church.
     "Because of God's teachings which we constantly receive during worship services" he said, "I and my family have become more steadfast in the faith,"
DAVID MOORE African-American 'I feel very secure'
     For Brother David, the closeness of the brethren in the Church of Christ is truly "something special."
     "No matter where you go," he said  "they appear to be friendlier, closer than real brothers and sisters,"
     But more than this, what Brother David considers as much more special  about  his being a member of the Church is the change it has brought upon his life. "I'm completely changed" he said, ''I feel that I'm a new person."
     He recalls how he used to have a hard time in handling his problems in life, saying, "I didn't have a solution or a way."
     "But now," he said,  "It seems like I have Somebody saying ... this is the way."
     Firmly believing that he now has God in his life, Brother David declares, "I feel very secure in the Church of Christ."
Source: December 2004, GOD'S MESSAGE, pp.9-14
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