Two more weeks and my first year in high school was over. To prepare for the annual Honors Day, my homeroom adviser was making a list of students who deserved the “Model Girl Award.” That award was given to students who have excellent academic records and active participation in their churches. During the break, she approached me to ask which church I belong to. I was dumbfounded by her question. I thought to myself, “Should I tell the truth that I just stay home on Sundays or should I make something up?”
Back then, going to church was only a childhood memory. My upbringing was Roman Catholic. My family and I would just go to church during special occasions, feasts, or holidays. And I thought that was it. That was enough to suffice God’s requirements for our family. I also remember having friends in the neighborhood who couldn’t play with us on Sundays because they had to go to their Christian church. Sometimes, I was invited to various Sunday Schools and my parents were totally fine with it as they would say, “We worship the same God anyway.”
After graduating from elementary school, I was bound to join my older siblings who were studying at a Catholic high school. I took the entrance exam but lacked few points to make the cut required for scholarship application. I would love to think now that that failure was the Lord’s intervention because later on, one of my teachers who happened to be a Christian was able to convince my mother to send me to a Christian school.
I experienced culture shock during my first days in that Christian high school as we always prayed before and after each class. We also had Chapel Hour, which was an hour of corporate worship every week, and Bible as a subject. At first I thought that was weird, but even then, I quickly got accustomed to these activities that were new to me. What surprised me the most, however, was how passionate our homeroom adviser was to us, students. She was different from my previous teachers. Other than making us understood math problems well, she monitored our academic and behavioral performance. When she addressed her concerns during Homeroom, I could feel that she was sincere to teach us beyond books because she cared more to develop our godly values. So when she asked me that question, I decided to be truthful and said, “I’m sorry Miss but I just stay home on Sundays with my siblings.” I knew she was a little disheartened by my answer even though she didn’t show it. Instead, she invited me to the Christian church she was attending.
That Sunday, I went to her church and joined the Sunday School and the Worship Service and I saw that some of my classmates were there, too. A few weeks later, I was attending the Youth Fellowship where I was invited to join the Youth Camp that summer.
And it was during that camp in 2006 that all the information that I was learning then in Chapel Hour and in our Bible subject began to make sense. I not only learned that Someone had forgiven me and died for me, but it was also at that time when I was transformed and my eyes were opened to why Jesus died on the Cross for my sins, why He was buried and why He rose to conquer death in my stead! The verse John 3:16 that I used to memorize lifelessly mean a whole new thing to me because it was FOR ME.
I did not receive the “Model Girl Award” by the way, but I am thankful that it was the way for me to accept my teacher’s invitation twelve years ago. Looking back now, I am still astonished as to how God weaved every detail of my life by orchestrating the circumstances and using people to allow me to meet Jesus in high school.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14
My Christian walk is not a bed of roses but it is filled of days remembering Who wore the thorns. I still have a lot of setbacks but praise the Lord for His grace that sustains me until today. I sincerely desire that your eyes will be opened so you too can see that John 3:16 is for you.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16