By NEOFITO SANTOS
I WAS BORN and raised in a devout Catholic family. I was the president of the Youth Club in our barrio and had been active in the Catholic Church until I turned 25. I migrated to the United States of America and settled in Seaside, California, where I eventually met and married a Protestant Methodist. I held various offices at Hilltop United Methodist Church for 26 years. I was Chairman of the Board, a lay leader, a lay speaker, a trustee, and a choir member. As a lay speaker, I could not speak on the topic “Jesus is God”; hence, all the titles I used wee like “Jesus, The Man” and “Who Is This Man They Called Jesus?” But no matter how good a presentation I made, I still felt hollow inside. Something was missing. I am a Go-Ju-Kai third degree black belter and I used to practice Yoga, which is how I was introduced to Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and other eastern religions. I joined the fraternity of Freemasonry in 1974 and have received many awards for excellence in service. I was a Past Master of Monterey Lodge No. 217 F & AM, 32’ on both Scottish and York Rite Bodies, a member of the Islam Temple AANOMS, Past President of Monterey Peninsula Shrine Club, Past Illustrious Master of the Santa Cruz Council N. 17 Cryptic Mason, and Past Commander of Watsonville Commandery No. 21 Knights Templar. When I was in high school, I had a problem accepting the Trinity. I asked our teacher, a priest, about the so-called mystery of the Trinity. He replied that if he could explain it, then it wouldn’t be a mystery anymore. I also had doubt about the Protestant doctrine regarding the faith-alone concept because if it were true, then there would not have been any need for the Judgment or the lake of fire. I questioned, too, why they had many denominations. In the 90’s, my interest turned to reading books like New Age Religion, Life After Death, Near Death Experience, Embraced By The Light, Eagle’s Gift, Celestine Prophecy, The Bible Code, The Messiah Stone, The Birth And Death Of Jesus Christ, Christianity The Missing Link, The Late Great Planet Earth, The Prince Of Darkness, Armageddon, Angels And Messengers, and The Hiram’s Key, among others. One day, Brother Mon Dizon, Monterey Congregation’s head deacon, who is married to my late wife’s younger sister, Jennifer, invited me to a Bible study. I accepted. Months before, I booked a trip to Europe for spiritual search and to trace my Masonic History in England. I was to travel with Minister-Pastors and lay people to trace the roots of Protestantism. But before my actual departure, Brother Mar Nucup had already taught me four of the fundamental doctrines of the Church of Christ. On the night of the fourth lesson, without hesitation, I made a declaration that I would continue my Bible studies when I came back from the trip. My intention then was to search for the true church in England. On the plane, I read the copy of God’s Message magazine which I brought with me. Before I knew it, I was asking my companions about the true nature of Christ, but none of their answers satisfied my queries. On the last leg our trip, while in Gloucester, I contacted Battersea Congregation and introduced myself as one who was undergoing instruction in biblical doctrines. I have read many issues of the Gods Message voraciously, almost memorizing all the convert stories that were featured. I wanted to meet at least some of the converts to reinforce my search. When Brother Mon took me to an evangelical mission in San Jose, California, I meet Brother John Borg, a convert from Malta. From then on, we became very good friends. I continued listening to the Church’s teachings and I became fully convinced that I had found the true church, the Church of Christ. Eventually, I was baptized on March 7, 1998. As I emerged from the water, I broke into tears as I realized that I have become a new person. Persecutions came my way from family and relatives but God provided me with the strength to stand firm in the faith. We would fall into discussions that became a missionary endeavor for me and, afterwards, I would always feel glad and relieved because they would already have a better understanding of the church. I wasted no time in holding an office in the Church. I became the Light of Salvation president of the local congregation of Monterey and have not stopped performing my duties since then. No doubt, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming for the second time While waiting for that day, I hope that my two sons and my relatives will be called into the fold. As for me, I shall go on doing missionary work until the end of my life.
Source: God’s Message Magazine, October 2006 Issue
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