How a Protestant became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo
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  Inspiring Convert Story-03

"No Longer Confused"

By Arthur W. Jones II
Locale of South Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

THE YOUNGEST OF four children, I was born on April 4, 1970 in Duval County, Jacksonville, Florida. Even if I was attending church services, I found myself confused as to the proper worship of God's glorious Name. **I had been attending the Navy's protestant worship service since I was a child but I didn't understand why the minister would began the service by reading a verse from the Bible and yet his sermon neither had connection with nor give us the meaning of the Holy Scriptures. He was trying to make sense of the Bible by preaching from personal testimony.

I enlisted as a US Army infantryman and was deployed for the Persian gulf: Operations Dessert Shield and Dessert Storm. One evening, my good friend whose father was a Methodist minister, asked me if I had been saved. I recollected how in high school I had another friend who asked me the same question. I attended his church but found nothing. And so, I told my friend that I had not been saved because I didn't know how. He said that all I have to do was to accept Christ as my personal Savior. We discussed religion that night.

Standing guard at night, I gazed into the distance as the moon lit up the quite sands. I began to think, I was in the middle of nowhere, my life heading nowhere, and not knowing where to go. The dessert was like an ocean of land—no roads, no paths, only choice. This was my life at a glance, alone and empty, without purpose or direction. I could continue this life or choose a life with God. I believe that on that night, God was giving me that choice, a chance to begin my life serving Him. I had to find Him and follow His commands.

When I returned from the gulf in 1991, I began my search for the truth. I attended many "Christian churches"—Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Non-denominational, Pentecostal, and the Catholic Church.

I was then stationed in Korea from 1993 up to 1994 where needless to say because I didn't live there, I postponed my search. Then, I was stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Soon afterwards, I was deployed in Haiti for Operations Uphold Democracy. Upon my return to the US, I went to the military chapel persisting to find the true religion. To my surprise, not many people attended the worship service, just three couples, a soldier and myself. I continued attending for a month or so, but felt nothing.

I visited home in Virginia Beach in 1995. I attended the the same Protestant church where I grew up to see if it had changed. Though it sounds awful to say, I felt as though the service were dead, so I continued my search. I caught up with my best friend, Johanna Blancaflor. She immediately invited me to the Church of Christ. I accepted and cancelled my previous plans in order to attend. The next day, my life change forever. It was the anniversary worship service of the Virginia Beach Locale. I noticed that the worship service was solemn, no one talking, only praying. The choir began their processional march. I heard the most amazing voices. Instantly, I felt secured. I felt overwhelmingly warmth. Suddenly, I began to weep. The minister then preached. I noticed that he never spoke his own words, only the words from the Bible, no personal interpretations. I was intrigued and all the more glued to the lessons. I never learned as much in my life of attending other churches than what I learned right there. I yearned for more. The worship was so solemn. We behave like this at our current employment, how much more for God!

I immediately began my Bible studies, and my baptism took place in July 1996. My heart was full of joy. Virginia Beach head deacon Brother Ismael Domingo spoke to me shortly before baptism saying, "You are truly fortunate. God loves you." My eyes instantly filled with tears. As I was immersed, I felt that a lifetime of heavy pain and sorrow was drowned. As I surfaced, I received my first breath of a new life.

Latter that day, I invited my family to the Church of Christ, hoping that they would be enlightened. With the exception of my nephew and niece, my family has yet to attend.

I courted and married my best friend, Johanna, and we now have a beautiful daughter named Sarah Kaitlen. Now my wife and I are choir members in South Atlanta and our daughter is soon to be in the children's worship service choir. Just recently, I was entrusted the offices of co-overseer and president of the Buklod Sports Committee. I have also been assigned to host our Locale profile Group working with the Church's television network. My wife will soon take office as group secretary. How fortunate we are to be among the officers in the nation of God.

My friends and peers wonder why I have to travel so far just to attend the worship service. I tell them that I travel far because that's where God's house is.

Today, I proudly serve in the US Army as a Ranger Instructor but my commitment remains—above all, I dedicate my life to serving our Lord God.


Story source: August 2004, God's Message, pp.16-17
Note: Some words and phrases are in italics for emphasis.

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