•His Life For Mine•

Testimony of Iana Chloe A. Salisi

My name is Chloe Salisi and I'm from Liberty Baptist Church.

My father's name is Emerson Salisi and my mother's name is Ledda "Faith" Salisi. I also have a brother who is Zerkh Salisi.

I was born a Catholic and ever since then, I never really had an interest to it. I go to a Catholic church mainly because my parents wanted me to and no one else would be staying at home if I didn't go.

Sometimes in our life, we weren't able to attend church for a whole year and at first I was fine by that. But as I got older, it began to cross my mind that being okay with not attending to church for a whole year (or so) just doesn't look or sound right.

But thank God he didn't let me and my family stay like that because last January 2014, we were invited by Sister Dolce (who is also my Lola which means 'grandmother' in Filipino) to go to Liberty Baptist Church. And ever since then, we never stopped going.

Everything seems all too fast until I got to the point of telling myself that I was in fact, "lost". Yeah, I did knew I was lost but did it really felt like it? The answer was I didn't really know.

Until Pastor Mike preached on about being a sinful man, that was when I felt how lost I was.

Last November 2015, I thought that God saved me. And so by that, this wasnt my first time writing a testimony. I thought that God was finished working in me, I thought I said everything at my first testimony but I was wrong, there was still more going on.

At first when Pastor Larry told me that I wasn't saved, I couldn't believe him. In my mind, I told myself, there must be a BIG misunderstanding because in me, I thought I was really saved. Then after that, they told me that it should push me more to be saved, that I shouldn't give up. I told them, "it's alright I'm not gonna quit."

But deep down in me, I was furious.

Then the next thing I knew, that's where it all started.

On the way home, everyone in the car seems quiet which is really odd because my family isn't the type of group to be quiet. And since it was quiet, I was left to think and process what just happened. I couldn't believe what Ptr. Larry told me, the proof just doesnt seem enough to me. Out of all the three people, why was I not picked? It just seemed unfair to me. No matter how much I deny it, I knew my thoughts weren't right. As much as I deny that Its okay, I knew it wasnt to me.

I couldn't sleep that night no matter how much I try, I was really angry but I keep telling myself that I'm calm. Again, I kept denying.

Sunday came and it was Jemima and Bro Willy's baptism. I was bitter at that.  Before we went out Ptr Larry preached first and I knew I wasnt listening anymore. Ever since the time I woke up that day, I dont have the same energy that I used to have before. I always feel tired and uninterested. Whenever Ptr Larry would preach all I could think of was waiting for the day to end and then heading back home. When we went to the area where the baptism would be held, I was basically angry, sad, and jealous. All I could think of was that I should be baptized too. I was so caught up to myself that I thought maybe they confirmed they're saved because they are the favorite ones and not me. I was madly bitter throughout the time but I was denying that.

"I'm a good person, I dont get jealous." That's what I thought to myself. The next thing I knew, I became prideful too. It was like as if I'm starting all over again.

Few months came and I observed myself that I was really acting different. i felt so fleshly.  I didn't want to go to church and I still I kept denying that. My attitude inside the church was very much different from the outside. Inside the church I try to let everyone know that I am good and I have the desire to be saved but outside the church, my thoughts are filthy. I dont appreciate the help that they give to me or to my family, probably because its not what I wanted. I would plan the things I would do in the future and one of the plans was getting a good college course, earn a lot of money until I have enough to get my own house and leave the place.  I try to tell myself that I will still go to church in the future but it was just a cover up to my ugly plans so that I wont feel guilty. I was trying to tell myself that I would stay in church but I knew deep down, I really want to grow older so I could decide on my own and do things which what I want, not God's.

Things were really getting out of hand that time, I wanted what the world has. Its like day by day it was luring me. I told myself to stop but deep down it felt nice to think that way.

Few days passed I thought that things doesn't feel right. I keep praying to God to help me, I asked him multiple times to talk to me. Somehow I knew I needed him. But few services came and I felt that he ignores me. I got angry at it and as much as I cover it up, I was doubting very badly at it. I think to myself that no matter how much I pray to God to help me, nothing seems to change. I don't feel him. I can't understand the preachings anymore. Its like it'll come inside my ears then come out on the other one. Nothing is staying inside my head. I felt like my mind is empty of God's words but full of ugly things. There was nothing good in me. And without hesitation, I didnt believe that God loves me. Secretly to myself and to everyone (as well), I was doubting about salvation.

Everyday I'd overthink about the things that doesnt need to be. I was making myself sad and problematic, I was just making myself worst by making my own problem. I'd stay in a room alone sometimes crying because I feel so alone. I have no friends or anyone with me. I was basically caged inside the house, I wanted to go out somehow. I would look in the mirror and see how ugly I am. I was making myself stressful. I would take what other people say too serious then I'd feel so sad and angry. I was so sensitive to everyone, including my parents. I was just so frustrated that I didn't know what I was doing or thinking. I just can't wait for all of this to end.

All throughout the time, I felt God wasn't with me. At first I was too blind to see that because well, I didn't really care. I thought I do but sadly, I didn't.

Sunday came again then Pastor Larry read Kevin Canard's testimony to us. Somehow I didn't notice that I was listening to it attentively. I didn't know why but I didn't stop. A few days later he also read Makayla Robinson's testimony and then again I was listening to it. I didnt know but somehow I just listened to it. And while I was doing it, I told myself, I wanted to get saved too. For real this time.

When Pastor Larry, Sis Catherine, Jemima, Aunt Cathy and Gabbie went to America, we stayed there in Santa Rosa for two weeks to look out for the Bautista kids. All week I wasnt feeling anything again. But this time it was starting to bother me really well. I wanted God. I needed God. I just want to be saved and I want him to work in me. I dont want to be lost. All  I could think of was how am I going to be saved? What should I do? What shall I say? Should I talk to my dad? My pastor? I was basically having a whiplash inside my head and I couldn't help but stress myself out and it somehow affected my mood too.

I was too stress out on how to get saved when little did I know, I wasnt doing the best thing for that to happen which is to listen to the preachings.

One morning when we were staying in Santa Rosa, my mom asked me to help Safeeya fold the clothes that was on the bed. So I went up and thought she was doing something so I did it myself. A few moments later she came and helped me. Me and Feeya are really close so I don't really mind opening up to her. I asked her, "what does it feel like to be homeschooled? will it take me too long to be in that?" She replied saying, "its the same as regular schooling." Then I thought to myself maybe homeschooling would be fine.  Its my first time so I'm pretty scared on the outcome of it but from the looks of it, it seems okay. We talked about it for a while then I asked her what does she wants to take in college then she said she wanted hair science but she was having second thoughts about that because she has asthma and she might not take the chemicals. She asked me the same question and I said,  "I kinda want to take medicine and be a surgeon but Pastor Larry said I would definitely lost my time to go to church so that's a no. Second option is becoming a lawyer but then I'd be lying. Honestly, I do not know what to take, everything all seems like a no." Then out of nowhere Feeya replied, "I'll take the course that is the will of God for me. It doesn't really matter if its not a major since sooner I'll have a family of my own then stay at home so I don't probably need a major course plus I need a course that I can still use in the future for me and my family, not just a course for just college." And that honestly shook me up, she was right. I told myself that I'll  just pray for that and see what God wants me to get. Her whole point changed my mind and somehow I also remember what was on Makayla's testimony about not wanting to have major courses and just wanting to be a mom. I realized that getting something that God doesn't want could be just a waste. I needed to do what God wants, not mine.

Few days came, Pastor Larry, Sis Catherine and Jemima was back home and it was also camp day to us.  Pastor Larry told us that someone got saved during camp in America and we might get too so we should listen properly. It woke me up and told myself, this could be the time. I have to listen carefully. We started Saturday July 2 and Pastor Terry was first to preach. I couldn't say I completely understand what he was trying to say but one thing that got stuck on my mind was when he said, "it is good to wait on salvation." I believe it was true but then I thought to myself, what should I do to be saved? I was overthinking and somehow the idea of not being saved scared me.

I was so scared to die and go to hell. Then again I couldnt stop thinking and because of that I was basically distracted at the preaching that I didn't know what to do. Nothing was coming inside my head and it really bothered me. I kept telling myself what was wrong, I'm trying everything I could but nothing seems to work. What's going on? I tried calming myself down but I couldn't.

Sunday came and I'm still frustrated of whats going on. It was our breaktime and I went to Sis Charry to help her peel some banana and for some reason, I wanted to get rid of the things that was running inside my mind. My dad came then told me something that isnt really hurting but I took it in a bad way. Dad came to me and hugged me but I didnt respond anything. I was really sensitive and I couldn't help but cry. I was trying to hide my cry because I didn't want Sis Charry to see it. Sooner my mom asked me if I'm crying then I wasn't responding because I didnt know what to say and I didn't want to lie either. She told me what's going on with me and it was starting to annoy her. So after that she told me to go inside the room and wait for her because she was going to talk to me. I knew she was angry and so I went inside the room and couldn't help but cry again. I keep asking myself why am I like this? What's going on?

Mom came and she was mad at me because of the attitude she got from me a while ago. I tried to explain her whats going on inside my mind but when she told me to explain, I couldn't let out a word. She told me what I did wasnt right. I was being too sensitive and that wasnt even how I used to act. Now everyone who witness that event is feeling guilty because of the attitude I gave them. What my dad did wasnt even hurtful or anything, he was just playing around. She asked me why am I like that? What's bothering me? Then she said is it because of the preachings? And I told her yes. I told her how much I am doing my best to be saved then she called dad because dad knows more.

Dad talked to me about it and told me that I shouldn't be stressing myself out because of that. God is the one who should work. After a few moments when I was left alone in the room to rest, I cried harder then prayed to God for a help. I really need him to work in me.

After the service sis Charry gave me a letter saying that God loves me so much. I dont know but I couldnt fully believed that. I know he does but why can't I completely accept that? It was really making me doubt to myself, what was really going on with me?

Little did I know that time, that letter would mean so much to me in the future.

Last day of camp and it was Ptr Greg preaching. We know that was the day when someone got saved so I really tried my best to listen. I thought I was accepting everything that Ptr Greg was preaching but I wasn't. I was forcing myself to cry because maybe I'd go to the point where it becomes true. At the middle of the preaching I asked myself, what should I believe? Should I believe this is all true? Then out of nowhere I just felt empty, I didnt feel anything at all. Then again, pride came in and the next thing I knew, God didnt talk to me again. I realized that my heart wasnt soft enough to accept things, I wasnt ready. The saved people said God was there but I didn't feel him, I tried to but there was nothing in me.

After that I kept telling myself not to give up yet.

Few days came again and I couldn't help but look back, I remember before when we still dont go to church I'd pray to God to let me know him and to show me what's right. I didn't know why I pray that before but somehow I just did whenever I could think about it. Then now God sent us here. It took me a while to realize that but when I did, I started thinking things differently without me noticing it. I somehow thought that God was doing something but I didnt know what.

Pastor Terry and Pastor Claude came here last July 14 and I was really excited to see them again.  Sunday came and their preachings were very much getting in me. Again I kept striving myself on what to do. I just dont know what to believe as well. I asked myself, what was lacking in me? What was still missing?

Monday came then Pastor Terry preached about believing in the report of God. When he was preaching that, I couldnt help but cry. I felt like my eyes were slowly being open to the reality. I couldnt stop crying by then because I kept seeing bad things to myself, I was finding it hard to believe God's report because somehow I was covering my own sin. I kept denying it.

So after the service I was debating whether I should talk to Pastor Larry or not. I thought to myself maybe next time so I stood up and went at the last row of the seats. I looked at him and I couldnt help but think about it again. My mom came to me then asked me, "Do you want to talk to pastor larry?" and without hesitation, I said yes.

I went to him then broke down saying I dont know what to do. I am trying to do it but nothing seems to change, it felt fleshly and I didn't want that. Something was obviously missing and I am finding it hard to know what it was.

He smiled at me and said I'm like him, sis Catherine, and Aunt Cathy before they got saved. He told me that God should be the one working in me, not myself. He exampled Cain when he offered something that wasnt what God wants. It should be what Abel did which was offering what God wants. I should do what God wants but not what I want. Because if I do what I want, God wont accept it. Our conversation really helped me and it did open my eyes.

On our way home I couldnt stop myself from crying, I was biting the sleeve of my sweater and couldn't help but cry harder because suddenly I saw how sinful I am. Out of nowhere, I just saw how much of an unbeliever I was. I was crying then I remember what Pastor Terry said on the preaching. God knows our thoughts and he knows us even from afar off, so that means he hears my prayer and he knows what I feel. I was the one rejecting him all this time, not him. He wasnt the problem, I was.

All this time God was talking to me and showing me how kind he is but I was too blind to see that because I keep telling myself that I am the victim, that God was the one ignoring me. Right after that I couldnt help but cry and tell him I'm sorry. I felt so weak and all I could do was cry. I am so ashamed of what I did.

He was the victim all this time.

When we got home, dad talked to me and asked me what happened awhile ago in church, I told him what I said to Pastor Larry then told him what happened a while ago in the car. He told me I should do what God wants, not mine. That was his whole point and somehow I understand what he was saying. Before he left he told me to just pray to God because he'll listen to me.

So before I slept that night, I prayed to God while crying. I didnt ask him to give me signs, I didnt ask him to prove me something or anything. I just let the tears rolled down and asked him for forgiveness and his help. I told him how sorry I am for being an unbeliever and rejecting him. I told him I'm sorry I got so caught up to myself and I didnt realize how good he has been to us, to me. Then before I ended the prayer I said, "God, I need you. Help me, You're the only one who can save me." And after that before I could even fall asleep I told myself, I wont do anything that I want, I'll just let God do whatever he wants and be ready for it.

Tuesday (July 19,2016) came and all throughout the day all I could think of was God. I was  a little bit nervous which I dont know why but somehow God was telling me that it's gonna be okay. I keep reminding myself about the conversation I had with my dad and pastor larry. Everytime I'd think about God I always tell myself God loves me. It wasnt forced or anything anymore.

Then on the way to church I was seating on the passenger seat on Aunt Cathy's car. Her radio was on and some christian songs were playing loudly but somehow she kind of turned the volume down but is still audible although barely. Out of nowhere I was looking at the road and I didnt know why then it felt as if the volume turned up and there I heard the song saying, "Maybe God is calling me tonight To tell me something That might save my life." Those were the only things I heard and it felt like it was meant for me. And right after that it kept replaying on my mind like it was pinned somewhere in my heart and my eyes  became really teary. Then after that I told myself, God help me. I kept saying that inside my mind.

The service started. after singing  I let out a deep breath about three times before sitting on my chair. I didnt know why but I knew I needed to be ready for something. Sis charry sang "Not Guilty" and without hesitation I cried there silently but when she changed the lyrics to "he knows you, he loves you." I couldnt help but sob. Somehow God was like directly telling it to me that he knows me and he loves me. My heart was pounding so hard and my hands are really shaking. When the song ended all I could think of was I need God.

Pastor Claude then preached about Proverbs 29:13 and it says there "he that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

The message was very detailed and when Pastor Claude exampled Adam covering himself from God, I saw myself doing exactly the same thing. It was me.

The next thing I knew, I was in front of God who waiting all this time for me. i told him how sinful I am, Confessing how an unbeliever and selfish I am to think such things like I did. But God showed me how merciful he is, Jesus dying on the cross when it should have been me.

And by that time I couldnt help but cry. I kept saying I'm sorry God, I'm sorry. I was crying so hard then Pastor Larry read a verse in Romans saying "whosoever call upon him shall be saved." And when he mentioned "his life for mine" I was shaking on my seat, and I couldn't stand up to sing the song.

When they started singing my heart was physically pounding and I kept saying thank you God. The part when they sang "he became sin now I am clean," God told me it was finished. And there I was thanking God so much, I felt as if he was there with me. He was despised and rejected by me yet he showed mercy and is determine to show kindness to me. I screamed, "Thank you God!" Over and over. He showed me how good he is.

After a while, I no longer felt any weight in my shoulders, all I think of was how good god is all this time. I felt like my burden was lifted up this time.

I came to Pastor Larry then bowed my head on his knee, thanking him for preaching the word of God. I felt so blessed for having pastors that helps us.

After that, all I could think of was God and how much I trust him. I just feel happy after that. Thats when I knew, I love God. I looked at the wooden display in front of me that says, "That's beautiful God!" Then I smiled, thanking God for what he has done.