God Never Failed Me
By: Rey A. Casurao
My name is Rey A. Casurao, 22 years of age. I was born on the 19th of June 1988, in my hometown, Calbayog City.
At the ripe age of seven, I began my first year of elementary education. With persistence and determination, I excelled in class and was a consistent honor student. Having been a recipient of the “AY Foundation National Discipline Award” way back in 2015, I received a sum of P7,500 – a great blessing for a family like ours. Alas, due to financial issues, my parents could not send me to college. My father was a farmer and my mom, a housewife. None of my siblings went to college and being the 5th child of a family of seven, we didn’t have much to work with. They were forced to find jobs right after graduating from high school. Nevertheless, I took the college entrance examination – not knowing where or how to make ends meet. Thankfully, my cousin referred me to the “Emmanuel and Ofelia Tuazon David Foundation Scholarship.” The private institution provided me with a full scholarship inclusive of monthly allowance. Hence, I began my journey at Northwest Samar State University with the hopes of becoming a Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Biological Science. This had always been my lifelong dream ever since first grade.
I was in the 2nd year of college when I started to know more about God. The said family that took me into their home was an instrument for bringing me closer to Him. But it took time before I had made a conscious decision to serve the Lord. From then on, I dedicated my time and effort to the children’s ministry in Evangel Family Church of Calbayog City, the church which nurtured me and enabled me to grow spiritually.
A year later, I became a scholar of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and was subsidized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). By God’s grace, I was given the chance to bask in the privilege of being a scholar of three institutions all at the same time. I can truly say that it was more than I could’ve ever wished for. Not only did God take the burden of my monetary concerns off my shoulders; He also gave me the means to provide for my family.
But life is not a bed of roses. Amidst the blessings that I had received, there is this one unexpected thing that happened in my life that I will never forget. I consider it to be the most heartbreaking moment of my life. On January 19, 2019, my father was innocently killed. A few months before my graduation, he was mistakenly shot by an unidentified person together with his companion on their way home from making copra. That was the saddest day of my life.
I didn’t have any choice at that time but to accept my father’s fate and face reality – to be strong and move forward. On May 2019, I graduated. I had previously intended to invite my father to the graduation ceremony. I wanted to show him that even though he didn’t fully support me in my studies, at least he could be proud that for the first time, he had a child who finished college. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. In the end, only my mother came.
But if there was at least one thing I learned from my father; it would be “Independence.” It is the main reason I finished my college degree. It is something worth my appreciation. God didn’t fail me then. He sent those scholarships to help me finish what I had started. “God helps those who also help themselves”.
The board examination was held on September 29, 2019, and the results were out by December. By God’s favor, in just one take, I was able to pass the board examination. I applied for a job in the Department of Education (DepEd) but due to COVID-19, applications were postponed for a few months. We were only able to complete the DepEd ranking and hiring process last August. Again, by God’s favor, I was able to get 70+ points which are the required score for you to be in the Registry of Qualified Applicants (RQA).
When you have the right mindset, faith in God, courage and determination, nothing is impossible. For me, these are the three key ingredients of success. And I am already a Licensed Professional Teacher (LPT) and soon to be an official DepEd employee. Finally, all the hard work, suffering, and trials are now slowly getting paid off.
Now I want to end this with one of the bible verses I continuously hold on to. Even though there were ups and downs in my life, still God has never failed to give me hope in my worst moments. He somehow compels me to entrust myself more to his plans in the future. The bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I Know the Plans I Have for You’ Declares the Lord, ‘Plans to Prosper You and Not to Harm You, Plans to Give You Hope and a Future. ‘”
Once again, this is Rey A. Casurao, and this is my short life story and testimony.
God is still the God of miracles. He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. He will meet us at the point of our need.
Why does God allow trials in our life? Many people are asking this question. For me, He allows them to remind us to leave behind our old and bad habits. He uses them to mold us to become better persons, and He wants us to realize how powerful He is. When we overcome a problem, that’s when we can say, “You are great, Lord!” Looking back at my life, many difficulties came and were resolved with prayers to our Lord. That’s my personal experience.
“I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”
You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’
You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”
I am Reyno Lamesa, 21 years old–a child of God. Before, without God, my life was a mess. I came from a broken family. My deeds were evil. I was addicted to drinking and drugs. To continue my vices, I resorted to stealing.
I was doing all these things to make myself happy, but all there was in me were emptiness and brokenness.
On November 2, 2013, my brother who was a soldier died, and Pastor Reynaldo Coronel went to our home to condole us. He shared the word of God. It gave me a glimpse of hope and relief. But after that, I still continued with my wayward ways. I went out with my barkada. We got drunk. We sniffed drugs. We stole. I tried to convince myself that I was happy doing these things with them, but it seemed such happiness was only shallow and temporary.
I felt my life was useless, and that there’s no future for a man like me. I thought I was a hopeless sinner and that God was angry with me. On December 18, 2013 I decided to commit suicide to end my misery once and for all. When I got home, I ingested a Lacquer thinner.
At that crucial moment, my mother saw me committing suicide. I was almost dying, and she rushed me to the hospital. She called Pastor Reynaldo to pray for me in the Emergency Room.
God did hear their prayers, and He took me back from an almost certain death. I realized that the Lord was very merciful to me and that He loves me. I was moved by this great miracle. I decided that from then on, I would give my life back to Him.
The best thing that happened to me was the miraculous change wrought by God in my life. I was delivered from my hopeless and sinful past.
Last April 15- 17, 2014, I attended a Youth Retreat in Cagayan de Oro with the theme Empowering the Next Generation. I was blessed and encouraged. There, I understood that God has a wonderful plan for my life- a future that’s full of hope.
Now, I am an active worshiper in EFC-Lala, Pacita. I help Pastor Reynaldo in conducting Bible studies. There are times I do Bible study by myself. I drove the workers to various outstation churches in the surrounding communities.
I actively share my testimony to my friends and loved ones. Thank God my family got saved. The Lord also used me to reach out to two families who are now faithfully serving God.
Unlike before, I am now fulfilled and joyful. God alone can satisfy.
I know that I can never repay God and that there’s no better way but to say, “Thank You God for Saving Me.”
Digging for our humble beginning would lead me back to our first Sunday worship of six people in a small rented house in Dona Soledad subdivision, General Santos City on November 12, 2005. This birth of our small church is filled with hope, power and God dependency. This rented house church thrived through evangelism, bible study and invitations until the limited space was engulfed by the attendance.
The need for a much larger space was prevalent in every prayer meeting and in our personal devotion. Trusting in God’s provision kept us “Kingdom Driven” rather than considering set backs in our hands. On the next year of a budding church, God led us to transfer to a nearby place ( Lanton, Apopong ) since vast membership lived in that location. We landed in an abandoned Sari-sari store (Multipurpose building). On this year, we conducted our first film show crusade entitled Hell is Real. During the event, a woman came and maliciously disrupted the crusade by pulling the microphone plugs and generally created chaos. Truly our adversary, the devil, was unhappy with the salvations of souls in that event. But through God’s power, the woman just left the premises and the crusade ended successfully.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? ” was indeed an appeal for us to stay confident to face the realms of darkness. Convictions of the Holy Spirit sprouted in the hearts of everyone who attended the church services every Sunday. It was on the same year in 2006 that we invited our first guest speaker Pastor Tony Angelias ( EFC-Kidapawan ) to speak in our church service. Never did we expect the attendance to double. The Holy Spirit moved mightily. The Sari-sari Store building later couldn’t contain the growing attendance of the church. Thus, the need to transfer was greatly considered for the second time.
We moved from one place to another throughout the years, looking for a much larger building for our place of worship , until God provided us with His unwavering favor. An abandoned warehouse of about 300 Square Meters was rightly God’s answer to our fervent prayers. Members were overjoyed upon seeing the building that was so spacious. Pastor Wee and Pastor Christine came to see the building and affirmed that it is a very good place of worship. However the prospected building needed enormous renovation for flooring, electricity and water line installations, comfort room construction, and painting. Once again, that led us to bend our knees seeking the Lord for financial provision. God never failed our expectant faith. Our sincere gratitude went to Pastor Wee and Pastor Christine for initiating funds for the expensive renovation. We thanked God for JECPP, EFC-Davao, EFC-Tagum, EFC-Kidapawan, EFC-Mati, EFC-Marahan and all Davao Region churches who helped us in our renovation. Our young people came to church every day to help mix the cement, paint the wall, and carry loads such as hollow blocks, sand and cement while the adults brought snacks and lunch to our young people and laborers. It was indeed a display of Psalm 133:1 “ How good it is when brothers live together in unity ”.
We finished our extensive renovation in more than two months , yet blessings never stopped from coming. Pastor Wee called me up to say that Rev. Robert Lim wanted to give money to help us upgrade our sound system and instruments. I couldn’t contain what I felt inside. I wanted to cry. I lifted my hands in praise to God. On December 04, 2011 we celebrated our 6th Anniversary and Thanksgiving with Pastor Fabian Sumampong ( EFC-Polomolok) as our guest speaker. It was also on this occasion that we celebrated our first service in the newly renovated place of worship, making us ready to usher more and more souls to His Kingdom.
In these recent two-year span of my work here in GenSan, our faithful Lord gave me double blessings. After establishing our place of worship in 2011, He again gifted me with a companion in the ministry. On August 20, 2012, I was happily married to my lovely wife Jane, and God provided everything for our beautiful beach wedding. Now, we are doing our “King’s business” hand in hand as the Holy Spirit empowered us to do the ministry with great joy even in trials.
(written by Pastor Albert Poliño, Jr.)
I am sharing my testimony of how I was changed for the better when I encountered the Lord Jesus Christ. I like to thank Pastor Lim, Pastor Wee and Pastor Christine for this chance to share in the HOF, Davao. I am an army personnel, married, with one daughter and a son.
To begin with, I did not finish my education because it’s too expensive for my parents to send me and my sister to school. I completed only primary school. Both my parents were gamblers who quarreled and squabbled over money everyday. Doing my childhood days, I could only taste chicken during Chinese New Year. My grandma would give me a juicy drumstick, and I would sit at a corner relishing each bite.
As a teenager, I turned rebellious and started to join gangs to seek companions. I picked up all the wrong habits of my friends. My life was messed up. I joined all kinds of pagan worships, going into trance but never had peace to calm my soul. I just turned wild.
At 18, I enlisted into the army seeking a place to hide from the law. Back then, I was already convicted with some offenses, so it was ironic that I joined the army to escape my sentence. I signed on immediately so I could have a pay and a place to stay. During that time, I was invited to church. I agreed because I wanted to look at beautiful girls in the church. In a way, I was trying to look for a girlfriend. Then, I came to know a Christian girl. To please her, I followed her to church, and I accepted Christ in my life without commitment. We were going out for a month, and under one moonlit night, she asked me this question: “Do you love God or me?” Of course I said I love her. Then she told me to go and read Matthew 6:33. And that was the last meeting we had! I was so disgusted and confused.
Meanwhile, I was progressing in the army service. I was fully in control of my life with all the activities I enjoyed. Not long after that, I met my wife, got married and had two children. But my old habits were clinging to me like leech. I drank more often than I was at home with my family. Until one day, I got heavy losses in investments and gambling. I was fully in debts up to my nose. This time the devil came to “help” me. In my mind, he tried to make a deal with me. He clearly told me that he would pour in money and that I would strike big enough to carry me thru my losses. But in return, he said he wants the lives of my wife and two children. I sweat cold, and I said NO to the devil.
I managed to salvage my problem through the help of some close friends. But I turned more frustrated with my life. In my working place, I saw Christians reading the Bible in their room. That just made me more frustrated. I asked them all kinds of stupid question against their faith. I made them report to my office and enjoyed harassing them for period of time. One day, I summoned the four of them to my office. While they were standing in front of my desk, I flipped the Bible beneath my drawer to Deuteronomy and Leviticus. I started shooting them with chapters and verses and asked them to recite the words. I was mocking and laughing at them. Seeing their confused expressions really amused me. Then I was serious and asked them this question, “Do you pray for me?”
They all replied “Yes.” The first one said that he’s praying that I will be posted out of this place. The prayer of the second was that I will not come to work at all, and the third replied that he was praying to be posted out of this place in order not to meet me. But the fourth one replied that his prayer is for me to turn to God and attend church. Wow! This one really soothed me inside. But outwardly, I acted harsh. I shouted at him “You! Confined!”
Then came Wednesday morning. That fourth guy came to my office and invited me for special evening service in his church. I got so angry that I hollered at his gut to invite me. That morning onward, I was very troubled in spirit. So I puffed and drank all I could to control my nerves. By evening time, I went home early from work trying to overcome this feeling. But I could not, so I told myself, “Alright, I will go.” I changed and told my wife I am going to a church service. To my surprise, she laughed and laughed all the way saying, “Do you have a better excuse to go out with your friends than that?”
I went to SLF building where the service was held. I told myself that I am there just to get rid of that troubled feeling inside. I was ushered to a corner seat. I sat with my arms folded, determined not to give in to whatever may happen there. When the message was over, the altar call was given, and my body started to tremble. I was fighting within myself not to go down the altar. But, I could not contain my body. I went and fell flat on the floor.
When I woke up, I felt different. I felt great peace and comfort within my spirit. Something changed inside. But then, I returned to my normal self and started looking for the nearest exit, so I would not face my colleague that invited me there. Next day, I did not go to work. I was ashamed to face those I had harassed. Nevertheless, the next day, I met them and apologized. I began to treat them as my brothers in Christ.
Since then, in Sep 1995, I started to attend Evangel Family Church. My life began to change. I disengaged from my bad habits and wrong doings. I found the joy and happiness with my family. Throughout those times, my daughter came to know the Lord. She was followed by my wife, who was watching and checking whether I was real! All glory to God for His grace and mercy. We, as one family, are serving Evangel Family Church until now.
My brothers and sisters, tonight you have heard my testimony. I encourage you to grab the opportunity to serve God when it comes your way. Bring your friends and relatives and get involved in Church. 1 Tim 4 says let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. Thank you and God Bless.
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