The Personal Testimony of Catherine Bautista

I grew up in a Baptist Church at Almanza Bible Baptist Church in Las Pinas City. I was saved [so I thought] when I was 10 and got baptized at 11. Many years passed I believed with all my heart that I was in the right religion and that I was sure of going to heaven, this made me proud of myself and thought I was better than other people who were not Baptist and even more puff up because I was better than other Baptist as well. Growing up my life was a simple routine of going to church-home-school then church again. And though I was an active member, I became miserable when I neglected doing church stuff. But God is good to me to let me learn His words as a child. At this early stage in my life I learned that the church has a lot of problems. Though our church did not split as other churches had, there were backbiting, gossiping and other sins as well. The church buildings were reconstructed again and again and the people were complaining and much more. I got used to this and we were led to believe that those things really happen and that there are no perfect churches so I continue coming to church. This was another goodness of God in my life that caused me stay to know His words more.

A friend of mine invited me to a mission trip. This friend [Pastor Tim] showed zealousness in whatever he did, so our pastor [Pastor Mack] said that there should not be two pastors in a church so he send him out to Antipolo for missions and he also entrusted pastor Tim to an American Pastor. So we went to Antipolo for missions believing that it was a noble thing to do. For a while the American Pastor [Pastor Henderson] supported us but when he went back to America, we were forgotten. We fail to pay our rent, we did not have food and we even experience no electricity. Pastor Tim could not come back to Almanza because he felt he was not welcome there. We only survive because our individual family supported us financially, but the ministry should go on, so we moved to Quezon City. This is where I met my husband, another of God's grace that I would even be attracted to him. We are so different. I was a homebody, sheltered from the "evil'' of this world while Larry grew up in the street. He had a broken family and had vices, that is why I was so amazed God have chosen him, because God had put in my hearth that someday he will be used of God.

I learned more of God's grace because He was gracious to Larry and me and straiten out the messes I had made. We have 5 children who we named grace, except one, recalling His grace toward us .The church had a problem like the one when we first left Almanza, there was jealous. So Larry resigned from being a church worker and I had to quit too to take care of Jemima who was two years old. We were miserable and we ended up living with Larry's parent and became more miserable. During these times I kept reading my Bible. I believed God would lead us. My prayer was that God would put my feet in the right path. Then I came across the scripture "God will give you pastors according to His heart that would lead you with understanding.'' I hurriedly told this to Larry. I said we need to go back to Pastor Tim, but when we went back, Pastor Tim was still angry with him. Then God made a way for us to return to Almanza. I remember myself as Naomi coming back to Bethlehem, and we have nothing, no job but two girls to take care of and a jobless husband. My mother was kind enough to receive us. Larry got a job, and then he resigned to apply as a church worker in Almanza Baptist Church. From Almanza Larry was sent out to start a mission in Batangas, after two years he met pastors from America. He excitedly told me stories about them and their message. At first I said I do not trust them because they preach another Gospel, but when I read an email from Pastor Terry to Larry I was really moved because it answered one of the questions I have in my heart concerning giving. I found myself weeping and I really did not know why for me it was so powerful. Then Faith Baptist Church sent us money and we were able to buy things we need. I was so surprised that they would give even though they do not know us. I felt their love and I cried again. On their trip I said to myself I must get to know these people. So I did, for the first time I left my children and went with Larry to listen to them for two weeks. During these weeks I was able to hear scriptures that I heard for so many year come to LIFE. It was like before I see only water but when I listened to them I was actually touching it. For the first time in my life, we would talk about the Word on the way home, before we go to bed, and as we wake up we talk about it more. WOW! What a great day it was to hear the word. We were so hungry.

Then during one of night Pastor Terry was preaching and I saw Larry crying, when we got home told me he saw the Lord very real. Then it struck me, what they are saying is all true, then I realize my salvation is not true either. I was LOST!

Then one day Larry said to me that he needed to resign and leave the people and the children that we are with. It was probably that most difficult decision that he would make and I felt that I could not let go of them. Larry told me Pastor Terry wanted to talk to me, too. This is new to me, I was never asked my opinion because I am a woman. While Larry was with them in their hotel I was so upset I cried and cried I ask Mimay to turn on the computer so I could listen to the audio Bible, I was surprised to here the scriptures that Pastor Terry preached but it was a Tagalog Bible. So I texted Larry and said that I will obey.

We listened, we followed, and we moved to Santa Rosa and listened more. God showered us with much blessing. My husband got save. I was SO amazed.

The Fourth trip of Pastor Terry and Pastor Claude

Before they arrived, I thought I knew what I needed to be saved. I said I need to repent because that is what I kept hearing from the preaching but I really did not know what it meant. Then I made a mistake of going to the altar as my husband did when he got saved. Pastor Terry said “I could not be saved by bringing my works to God.” All those many months that pass by I was working? Whew! Pastor Terry said, “quit”. I said OK but there were times I did not want to follow anymore I cried to God “I don't know what to do and not what to do, Lord help me” I was so discouraged I wanted to run away from home. Thank God he did not let me!

Pastor Claude preached  “What shall I render unto the lord for all his benefits'' and he concluded that when we render thanksgiving it should come from the heart so we obeyed. I think we all tried but as for me I came up short. Then Pastor Terry came up and told us that praise is like a door or a gate. I recall he preached about a door and that I should enter the ''door'' to be saved. Then he said a person could be saved by being thankful. True thankfulness is active faith.

The second day Pastor Terry came and preached about the goodness of God leads you to repentance. Then I saw the goodness of God and I knew it was God all the time guiding me and providing for me. Then I said to myself maybe I am saved already. Then Pastor Terry said about the people who were on their way to God and those outside are both lost. Then I saw that I am the same as them, I am a sinner on my way to God but I am not saved.

On Sunday, Oct 7, Pastor Terry was going to preach but he said Pastor Claude has still another gift and it is for me. It was a necklace from Hilary Mills, which was given to her by her husband Nathan. I know it very important and precious to her. Then Pastor Claude read her email about how she wanted me to be married to Christ. I was speechless, I wanted to say a formal thank you or communicate a deep appreciation but I could NOT. When they played the song, “Who am I” I started to cry out loud thanking Him for loving me and I said I love Him. I was fully aware what was coming out of my mouth but there was no fear of saying it out loud anymore.

Then Pastor Terry came up to preach, it was about “Mercy and Truth kissing each other.” I am not really sure I understood all of the message because he was preaching to Larry too. What I do remember was the story about the woman who came to Jesus and agreed she was a ''dog.'' Then Pastor Terry said that she was not probably aware that she was believing and that her acknowledgment of the truth was counted as faith. It was then that I realized what God had done to me when I became so thankful for loving a dog like me. I really felt good about that. Even when I could not get my brain to work when Pastor Terry started asking me what happen. All I knew it was powerful and wonderful night that God would love a ''worm'' such as I.