By Moolien Almendras
(A testimony shared during EFC-Davao’s Thanksgiving Service on November 19, 2017)
My name is Moolien Manny Almendras. You can call me “M”. I’m 38 yrs old. I am married to Johanna Libron Almendras and the father of two handsome boys, Shawn and Jacob. I am currently working as a real estate and insurance agent. I am a lola’s boy who grew up in a broken family. Growing up without a father is not easy, especially for a boy. I had lots of questions that only a man and father can answer. Though my father comes from an affluent family here in Davao City, not a single cent did he support me. My childhood was not easy. I felt incomplete because I longed for the love of a father. In my teens, I started drinking with friends because that’s where I found happiness. I learned to drink and smoke while still in third year high school. Though I’ve got these vices, I felt the conviction that these could destroy my life, so I had my reservations. I wanted to finish my studies. During my college days, I worked in a fast food chain to help my mother in our finances. With the help of all the women in my mother’s side- my grandma, my mother, and my aunts, I was raised well. They instilled good values in me, and I finished my studies.
I married Joanna, and God blessed us with two boys. I guess my journey with the Lord started some time in May last year. After beating my deadlines in the office one day, Kuya Alger and Ate Cres (whom I did not know then) came at around 6:00 in the evening because my officemate Marcus scheduled a Bible study with them.
Sabi ni Kuya Alger, “Basin bakante mo ug gusto ninyo maminaw? Kay naa mo diri dili kay aksidente lang, kung dili, plano ni sa Ginoo”. (“Maybe you’ll want to join us if you’re free. You’re being here is not an accident, but God’s plan,” said Kuya Alger.)
So, I and Joy who is another officemate, stayed to listen. That was my first time to attend a Bible study even though we were devoted Catholics. Since childhood, my lola has always brought me with her to church. However, I was not familiar with the Bible. Our Bible at home was never read; it was only a display on our prayer altar.
Going home that night, I was pondering on what I heard in that sharing. The following week, Joy and I attended again because we wanted to hear more of God’s word. Then Joy and I decided to buy our own Bibles. I asked Marcus how to start reading it. That was my first time to actually read!
Our meetings continued, and we met other new friends like Kuya PJ and Ma’am Mayme, Ate Ivy and Kuya Enan from EFC-Davao. After several weeks, Joy attended the Sunday service at EFC-Davao. I did not because I was afraid that I might change my religion. I did not want to be different from the rest of my family, but I was already asking Marcus and Joy about their experiences in that church.
After two weeks, my wife had an office duty on a particular Sunday. We always go to church together, but since she’s not coming with me on that day, I decided to go to EFC-Davao. It was a totally new experience for me. The preaching penetrated my heart.
That night I told my wife. Somehow, I was trying to invite her. “Ikaw lang ‘dun Dad. Huwag mo lang akong galawin,” ang sagot niya. (“You just go there Dad. Don’t bother me,” was her reply.) I did not press the matter anymore to avoid arguments. My wife was a very dedicated Catholic. She prayed the rosary every morning.
On Sundays when my wife had office work, I went to EFC with my youngest son. On Sundays when she’s off from work, we all went to the Catholic church. That was our arrangement.
On August last year, I got sick with dengue. All hospitals were filled because of dengue outbreak that time in Davao City. My family managed to get me admitted in a hospital ward room with five beds. All of us in those beds were serious with dengue. My platelet count continued to go down even if I had swallowed all the necessary medicines and supplements I could- tawa tawa, durian, “wonder ball”, papaya leaves.
My platelet though kept going down. Every four hours, they monitored my blood. On the third day, I felt very weak. My platelet count plummeted to 12, so they transfused two bags of concentrated platelet on me. My son Shawn called me in the hospital and asked me when will I go home. I felt confident because I already had blood transfusion, so my platelet count was expected to rise. I told Shawn I’m coming home soon.
My platelet continued to go down to 4 however. I was distraught, and I cried because it seemed I could not fulfill my promise to my son. I prayed to the Lord that moment, and I committed my family to Him because I felt like I was dying. My wife and mother who were there with me in that room started to cry too.
Suddenly, my EFC friends, arrived to visit me. Then they started to pray. One of them, Ma’am Lady, laid her hands on my chest. I felt something entered my heart like a flowing water. I started to feel calm. My mother and my wife witnessed the miracle. That instant, my platelet count started to rise.
Today, I am holding these promises of our Lord whenever I am in bad situation:
(John 10:10) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(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.
That miracle in the hospital won the heart of my wife. She was even the one who said she wanted to worship at EFC. All of us in the family are worshipping here now. My wife and I are part of the Functions department. We opened our home as a venue for small groups, Bible study and cottage prayers. But I’m still not satisfied until all my family members and relatives get to know the Lord.
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.
When you have trials that you could not handle at all, or you don’t have the capacity to solve, listen to Exodus 14: 14. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
For us to share our testimony with certainty and conviction to others, our stories are needed. For example, you cannot be an effective sales manager or cannot convince your people to listen to you if you cannot sell. It is more effective if you train your people based on your experience, rather than just by the book or in theory. Your people will admire and stick with you because they believe in you. The essential part of our testimony is encountering a transformation brought about by Jesus. Knowing the power of the Holy spirit and His words are very true.
My life isn’t perfect. I am not a perfect son, husband, and father. But, I am very blessed because I have a perfect God.