How a Vietnam veteran who studied the Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Pentecostal churches ultimately became a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
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  Inspiring Convert Story-17

"God's purpose for keeping me alive"

By Raymond D. Harper
Canton, Illinois, U.S.A.

DURING MY YOUNGER YEARS, I didn't think much about whether or not there was a God. I was born on October 26,1947 in Canton, a small town 'in Illinois, USA. My father was a carpenter and farmer, and my mother was a nurse aide. I had four brothers and a sister. We didn't go to any worship services. Sunday was just another work day.

Two months before my 17th birthday, I joined the United States Marine Corps. Eventually, I was assigned the MOS of 0331 (M60 Machine Gunner) and was sent to Vietnam. While in Vietnam, I was captured.

One night, after having been beaten severely, I was thrown into a cage in a rice paddy. I had given up hope and was thinking that if I just put my face in the water and breathe in I would die and not be hurt anymore. But at that exact time, I had a strange feeling and a surge of inner strength to have more patience to withstand my  ordeal   for  some reason.   That incident somehow made me believe that there must be a God and He had a purpose for keeping me alive. That made me want to know more about God.

When I returned to the United States,   I  started   attending   the worship  services of a number of churches. I attended the Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran,   Methodist,  and other services but with no satisfaction. A cousin of mine had become a Pentecostal minister and had his own church. My mother had joined his church and asked me to also join. I went to the services with her and was baptized, but I still wasn't satisfied. There were just too many questions not answered.

Later, my wife and I got a divorce. I was back to being single, lost and lonely, and still hadn't found what I was looking for. I surfed the Internet and met many people. Most of them, sad to say, were just hanging out to have fun and were not serious.

On January 3, 2004, I chanced upon someone from the Philippines who seemed to know what I was looking for,  prompting me  to visit that foreign country. I arrived in the Philippines   on  September   6,   2004 and started going to the worship services of the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo). I asked to undergo study on the Church's doctrines, so I could become a member. At first, I thought it would be like all the other churches I had gone to. Then I met Brother Del Gibson, a deacon, who eventually became my overseer. He introduced me to their resident evangelical worker who taught me the biblical doctrines.

.As I progressed in learning about the Church's teachings, many of my questions were answered. The evangelical worker wouldn't only explain things to me but would show me the proof written in the Bible. My cousin, the Pentecostal minister, hadn't done that. I was beginning to have different thoughts about the Church of Christ. I finished instruction in biblical doctrines and was eventually baptized on February 19, 2005. My mind and heart have finally been satisfied with the teachings in the Church of Christ, the only true Church.


Source: May 2010, God's Message, p.37

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