BY REUBEN GRACE
Leona, who leads an urban house church in the Philippines, shares the difference knowing Jesus Christ has made in her life:
I’m Leona. I have three children. 12, 8 and 6 years old. My husband drives a construction pump boat but because of the pandemic his work is on and off. I came to faith in Jesus Christ because I met a missionary who shared with me about him. At the beginning it was very difficult because I wanted to stay faithful to my own religion. But praise God, the greatest blessing that I received was the grace of salvation.
I am truly thankful because there is a great change of character in me. I’m grateful because even my neighbours knew who I was before; I didn’t know how to forgive, I had no respect, I was always running around, discontented. People used to see me that way, but now they see that I am changed. They are thankful for the changes they see in my life. Now they see that I know how to be humble. Now people know I love them and that is because of the teaching I received from Jesus Christ. Also the changes in me continue as I read the Scriptures and listen to the missionaries. The missionaries are also helping me to know how to follow Jesus. As I continue to walk faithfully there are still many things that I need to understand yet in terms of following Jesus and also the ministry tasks in this world.
A change of plans
My passion is to teach. But sad to say, I was not able to graduate, after my third year in college I had to leave because I was married. If God will give me a chance I still would like to complete my studies but I am already more than 30 years old.
I am now leading a house church meeting twice a week: on Mondays I teach the new believers, on Thursdays I teach those ones who are older in their faith. So I thank the Lord who has given me the privilege to share my knowledge about God with my neighbourhood.
I’m thankful that the missionaries have also passed over the responsibility for a local nursery school to me. For me it is really a privilege to serve with the children. I have many job offers which are promising a big salary but I am not after a good salary. My desire is to serve because this is one way I can help my community.
A miracle of God
My husband doesn’t yet follow Jesus. He’s still working things out for himself, but he’s getting closer because he saw God work a miracle for our son. It was a great testimony to God’s power. Our son was in hospital because he had sepsis when he was born. Seven doctors saw him and the last doctor said, ‘Sorry we already exhausted our options. We really cannot help your child.’
They advised us to take the child from the hospital and wait for his death. I contacted my missionary friend and he encouraged me to exercise my faith. When the missionary arrived in the community, he was really expecting the baby to die. After two weeks the baby was still alive. I texted the missionary and told him that it really is a miracle the baby is alive and healthy.
God is really present in our situation and God provided. This is one of the teachings that God has given to me, to pray for my husband every night so that he will be moved and touched by God and that he will believe in Jesus too. I am encouraged to pray because we saw God answer prayer when I prayed for our son.