Maranatha Media Philippines

Nene's Conversion and Walk with God

Nai-post Abril 12, 2024 Mula kay Nene Castor Ferrando sa Testimonies (English)
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Nene is a missionary living in Mindanao, Philippines

MERCIES IN DISGUISE

Grace is an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow this grace upon every one who hungers for it. To every one He presents terms of mercy, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we shall receive this gift. (RH September 15, 1896)

I am one of the undeserving humans that was reached by God’s mercy. It was through trials, allowed by God, that woke me from my sleepwalking through life. Disease was the mercy in disguise that God used to call me. That disease was not mine but my mother’s.

In 2017 my mother was diagnosed with a kidney problem. Prior to knowing her illness, she had paranoia due to her high level of creatinine. The doctor told her to undergo dialysis. We knew that dialysis costs lots of money, and I heard it wasn’t a cure but only pushed back death.

I was upset at that time, though outwardly I tried to be happy. I appeared ok and normal, but deep inside I felt hopeless and worthless. I couldn’t support my family financially because I was still studying at that time. As I looked at my siblings, I felt that they were not affected or worried about our family situation. Did they not have any sympathy to our mother? I asked in my mind, Did they not care or WHAT? But I can’t judge them because I could only see the outside; God is the only one that can read and know their hearts. Still, the only person attending mother in the hospital was my father. I think she was confined for almost one week in the hospital and even me, I only visited her once.

Do you know the story of Job? He was perfect, upright, feared God, and shunned evil. That's why he was a wealthy man both materially and spiritually. One day Satan asked God to test Job for his loyalty to God, accusing Job for only being loyal to God because he was blessed by God. And the LORD said unto Satan, "very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job1:12) So Satan tormented Job, and all that Job had was lost; the only thing he had left was his life and his wife.

One day his wife said unto him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? curse God, and die". He replied "You are talking like a foolish woman. What? Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:9-10)

Mother was discharged from the hospital and came home. After seeing her several days, I pitied her deeply. My heart was crushed and scattered in pieces and I couldn’t breath properly because I was holding my emotion. I don’t like for people to see me cry because I think it looks weak.

As I was contemplating her situation, I asked myself: what if she died? What will happen to us? I couldn’t accept that. I couldn’t live without her.

My Aunt contacted my cousin in Bukidnon and informed him about the case of my mother. He said don’t let her undergo dialysis, we can treat her naturally – send her here. As she went to Bukidnon together with my father, I and my siblings continued our lives. I thought that I couldn’t live without her by my side, but then I thank God for using her illness to train me not to depend on my parents as my lifegiver.

One day Mother called me. She said she went through a cleansing and detoxification program and was baptized as an Adventist in Bukidnon. I questioned this: Why Adventist?

After staying in Bukidnon one year she came home. I noticed something different about her. She looked like she was glowing… she was ok! My mother was healed! What they did to her?! How amazing!

I asked her, “Mom, why were you baptized as an Adventist?”

 Then she said, “Adventism is nice; they do morning and evening worship, dress modestly, and practice healthy living. The sermons are good too; you could understand what the Bible really means.”

I was happy because she was content. I saw that she prayed before she ate, read the Bible, and of course she’s going to church. I didn’t know who really changed her. Every Sabbath she went to church for worship, but before she would go she would invite me to go with her. I said, “You can go Mom, maybe I’ll come next time.”

During our family gathering my cousin Kim said they had an upcoming youth camp and mother said to me, “You could join and get some experience.” I felt excited that moment and said “sure,” and she lent me some of her clothing – “modest clothes”. I wasn’t used to this kind of stuff before, for me it looks like a “manang”, an ancient.

In the camp meeting there is what is called “testimony” and I’m the lucky one they chose. I felt terrified, shy, and nervous. As my time started, I didn’t know what I was going to say because it’s my first time. I started giving thanks to everyone and to God for the opportunity. As I was thanking God, my tears started to fall. I don’t know the reason I cried, maybe because It’s my first time… so there I was, a “crying lady” in front of the crowd.  How embarrassing.

After the camp I went to Bukidnon with my cousin (Gil). I stayed there for two weeks. I experienced attending morning and evening worship and going to church every Sabbath. My head hurt at that time because I couldn’t understand the Bible and all the sermons.

I enjoyed my stay at Bukidnon: I liked the food, the place, and also the people. They are godly people. They pray, read, do gardening, and also attend to their health guests. They treat their health guests naturally: they do juicing, exercising, praying for them and talking about God –  how God could heal them through natural ways and how God forgives their sins. Wow, how amazing… this is what they did to my mother! How I wished I could be like them.

Healing is not only physical but mental, emotional, social and above all spiritual. The absence of one aspect is unhealthy because HEALING means WHOLENESS/HOLINESS.

I had read about the woman who had a 12-year bleeding issue; it is a Bible story of faith from the book of Matthew. She said to herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole, and when she did immediately she was healed. Her faith in Jesus Christ had cured her from her disease. My mother’s faith was that “where she is healed, there she would serve.” And since she has been healed she has served her God. I am her witness that God can heal whatever diseases you may have as long as you believe, repent, and turn away from evil to live a new changed life. He is faithful and just to forgive us, cleanse us, and make us whole again. He can recreate us even in our worst state.

Sickness, suffering and death are work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer, God is the restorer. (MH 54)

For me my mom’s disease was a blessing, a mercy of God in disguise to save me out of darkness, uncertainty and an artificial life. He gave me new life and light to guide my ways, gave me security that heaven is waiting for me, and gave me hope that He will come again and receive me as His beloved daughter. All this is through Jesus Christ. I’m happy to walk the path that God chose for me, and now I volunteer myself as a medical missionary (trainee). I’m happy to serve and assist patients and guests; I treat them as my family members. SAVED TO SERVE.

"HITTING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE” – How amazing is the work of our Loving Heavenly Father.

My sincere gratitude to God and Jesus Christ for loving and serving me always. We love Him because He first loved us.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever (Psalms136)

Grace be with you all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.

 

AN ANSWERED PRAYER

Jesus said,” And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” --John 14:13-14

December 2019 I was convicted about Sabbath and baptized. Sabbath is a sign between the true God and his true people, it is His holy day, and most importantly it is the commemoration of His creation that in six days He made the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He ended His work and rested.

God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. Man needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator. Therefore I always prayed that whatever appointments I had wouldn’t fall on Sabbath.

When I didn’t have class I worked a part time job at the laundry shop, except on Sabbath. Most of the time I only got one day off. My co-worker, who is my cousin and friend, said: “you should take two days off (Saturday and Sunday), it’s way better.” I replied, “one day off is better than never off.” Working is not hard for me because before I went on duty I prayed that God would do some miracles to prove that He is there to help me in everything.

While putting the clothes in the laundry machine, we had to first check the pockets because some of our clients are Army and PNP; they may have bullets and sharp objects that can cause damage to the machines. One day while checking a pocket I felt some papers, when I checked it was money!

I told to my co-workers, "Girls, there is some money here!"

She replied, "You can keep that.”

I bought a snack with the money. Wow, I thanked and praised God for hearing and being true to me. I had my one day salary and a bonus!

The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.

That’s what I thought at the time, that God blessed me…but was that the case?

March 2020: Coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic, there was lockdown and checkpoints were everywhere. The government issued a memo that students were not to go to school, so they suggested online classes. Boredom struck me: all I could do was wait for the pandemic to pass and for everything to come back to normal again. I could hardly go to work because of quarantine requirements; the worst thing was the social distancing protocol.

I felt worthless and bored at that time, so I prayed: "Lord, could you give me some work that gives Saturdays off so that I could worship you?” How demanding I am.

The next day, I received a text message from my cousin: "What are you doing? Do you want a job? Come here to Bukidnon.” I was so happy and thankful to God for hearing and answering my prayer. Again. How amazing our God is. Our Father in heaven is a true, living, loving and faithful Father who is always concerned for His sons and daughters.

My path to Bukidnon was smooth because I knew it was God who led my way. In Bukidnon I assisted my cousin in his clinic; he is a lifestyle consultant, so when there are patients I assisted them, to fill out their evaluation and other tasks. My cousin is a medical missionary together with his wife. They taught me how to make juices, shakes and do hydrotherapy for the health guests. I learned how to assist and care for people. I always put it in mind that they are my family and treated them as a family member, so that they wouldn’t hesitate to ask for my assistance.

This is the work that I am now employed in, and God is my employer. The wages I got are the exceeding and greatest joy that I felt within, something no earthly value could give – it satisfies my soul.

In our life here, earthly, sin-restricted though it is, the greatest joy and the highest education are in service. And in the future state, untrammeled by the limitations of sinful humanity, it is in service that our greatest joy and our highest education will be found--witnessing, and ever as we witness learning anew "the riches of the glory of this mystery;" "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Ed 309)

I was reminded always about the life of Jesus here on earth. His work is to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18). He is a great physician. He came to serve and not to be served, and gave His life as a ransom for many. The Prince of heaven came to earth just to show what is the true object of life, and that is the life of service. By living to minister for others, man is brought into connection with Christ. The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is our example, He came to this world as the unwearied servant of man's necessity… His work was not restricted to any time or place. His compassion knew no limit… His life was one of constant self-sacrifice. He had no home in this world except as the kindness of friends provided for Him as a wayfarer. He came to live in our behalf the life of the poorest and to walk and work among the needy and the suffering… He came not to destroy but to save. (MH 17-19)

Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". (John 14:6)

What a privilege to become a part of God's family and be His worker. I credit all my opportunities and privileges to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus. Thank you Jesus for reclaiming us and reconciling us to Your Father, that we might know He is our Father also. I won't hesitate now to come to His throne to asked for guidance to go forward in faith because I know He is willing and happy to grant all our desires and prayers.

As I grew in faith, I started to think back on things I had done earlier in my life. I realized that taking the money that didn’t belong to me was a crime. God says, "you shall not steal", and I stole it so I'm a thief. I know God allowed it to happen, and maybe that's the way He could reach me; He provided for me at my level. I really thought He blessed me that day.

How wonderful is His work that He would allow circumstances and later teach the lesson. The lesson I learned is that that job is not meant for me, for He prepared a better work ahead. He allowed it to teach me a life lesson that "honesty is the best policy.” The Bible says:

That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.1Thessalonians 4:12

Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with sincerity.

 

COUNTRY LIVING:  A WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE

Country life is not new to me, because most of my ancestors lived in the country on both my father’s and mother’s side. I was born in the country too. I spent my infancy in the country and our parents raised us children in simple living. My father is a farmer and my mother is a housewife, but she sometimes helped father in farm work.

When I was two years old my father decided to leave the country and move to town. They are now staying in town but in a somewhat farm area. That's my country living background.

Now, after many years, God put me back in country living but not on our own land, instead in RTR Agusan del Norte.

My country living in RTR started in October 2020 together with my uncle (mother's brother) my cousin, my nieces and my nephew – the Castor family. Why am I with them? It is because of my ANSWERED PRAYER.

Our place in RTR is nice. There's a river, coconuts, and pako or fern farm. There’s two ways to get to my place: a short way and a long way.  For the short way, you must drive your vehicles down a muddy road to park beside the river. For the long way, you must park along the highway and walk around 500m before arriving at the river.

Why a river? Because our place is across the river – you have to walk through it; the water reaches just under our knees. Then after crossing and reaching the place you are washed with the fountain of living water.

This place is God's provision, a wilderness experience that He designed and planned for training me for His purposes. Just like the Israelites, after God brought them out of Egypt, He brought them into the wilderness to train them for his purpose. They were reminded that they are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that should shew forth the praises of Him (1 Peter 2:9).

God provided them Manna, a Hebrew word for "what is this". Manna is Angel's food. What a great privilege for the Israelites to eat Angel's food. How loving our Heavenly Father is. He provided them with the food best adopted for His purpose – not flesh, but Manna. It was only because of their discontent and murmurings for the flesh pots of Egypt that animal food was granted them, and this only for a short time. Its use brought disease and death to thousands.

The unbelief and murmuring spirit of the Israelites made them tarry long in the wilderness. God's purpose was forty days travel going to the Promise Land, the Land of Canaan, but their unbelief and murmuring made it forty years of travel with the consequences of suffering and death.

The lesson I got from the experience of the Israelites is to believe and not murmur, because God has a purpose why He put you in whatever place or situation you are in. What He has designed for us is for our own good, His law was given to bless us, and when we murmur and push back against God we hurt ourselves.

I am happy and thankful to God for having an extraordinary experience in RTR. He provided me plenty of coconut, the biggest nut in the world that is food for the brain, and pako or fern that is a source of protein, vitamin C, and iron.

These two provisions are the highlight of my country experience. When you heard RTR country living you will miss and remember coconut and Pako.

This place (RTR) is very memorable to me because God taught me many practical lessons in life here. He taught me to have faith in Him, how to live simple and content, how to survive without your own family. Here he recalled all my SINS and called it by its right name, while assuring me I am forgiven and that I would be healed. He taught me many Bible promises that would uplift my soul and motivate me to go forward with the hope that Jesus is coming soon.

My struggle at the country living site in RTR is when I want to leave, because of how tiring the 500m walk and crossing the river is. So when it's not so important to go out, I prefer to stay. I was upset also when it comes to gardening – I'm always a failure at planting. Sometimes I felt sorry for the seeds; they won't grow because of me.

I would comfort myself: maybe God doesn't want me to be a gardener. But I didn't lose hope… "I will plant and plant until I succeed". I know God is teaching me patience. Maybe someday I will be a certified gardener of God, not only of literal seeds but also of the spiritual seeds of truth. I've had some struggles but I lay it all to Jesus, for He says; “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)

Therefore I conclude that I will believe in Him and not murmur, for He is waiting in the Heavenly Canaan.

The only thing I regret not doing in my childhood days in the country is exploring the river… that's why I don’t know how to swim. Maybe one day

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