The Personal Testimony of Faith Salisi

My name is Ledda Wilma Salisi, or "Faith" for short.  I am the wife of Emerson Salisi. We have two children, Iana Chloe and Zerkh Wilson. 

I grew up in a very religious Catholic family.  My mother, Erlinda Angeles, is a very pious woman. I always see her inside the church, praying, doing lots of religious deeds.  Our house in Bataan (province) is filled with statues of different saints.  (Almost all saints known to Catholics are displayed inside our house.) I also see my mom praying (with) the rosary every single day.  They say they will go to heaven if they do good things. (Salvation is through good works).

One time, my mother told us we need to go to Pampanga (province), because it is Holy Week, and she said she would carry the cross. Because she had a dream, and God told her to carry the cross.  She believed that if she did that all our problems would go away.  As a child you believe what you think is right.  The day my mother carried the cross, I saw her pain and suffering, that was a big wooden cross and she is old.  I pitied her but I could not do anything because that was her choice, (that was what she wanted and what she believed to be true.)  I asked myself, "Why does she need to carry the cross, why does my mother need to suffer? (I did not understand why she had to do that.)

When I moved to Manila, I went to church every Wednesday at Baclaran Church to pray the novena.  And every Friday I went to Quiapo Church.  I had a rosary I brought everywhere I went. I lived my life like that; I went to church and prayed because that was what I knew. But I did not feel anything special.  I went to church for the sake of "going to church".  I did not know anything about the Bible until I met and married Emerson.

We were blessed with 2 children. From the start, he told me he was a Baptist and he knew that I was a Catholic.  And even though we had different religions, it did not cause any problem, because we respected each other's beliefs.  Whenever I go to church he would accompany me just to avoid arguments / discussions.  One time I asked him to go to San Pedro, to his old church.  (We attended Christian Bible Baptist Church.)  I saw someone being baptized.  I was so happy to see that almost everyone carried a Bible.  I thought to myself "(how adorable) that is cute, they all have Bibles."  For Catholics it is not common to see a person with a Bible. That was the only time we went to that church.

I know I made a lot of mistakes in the past, and I had a lot of negative and bad attitudes.  I say "bad attitude" because I was arrogant and envious of what others had.  If I saw something new, or anything trendy, I would strive to get that no matter what the cost, even if we could not afford it, just so I can boast to my friends.  When my father-in-law gave us a huge amount of money, we would spend everything to buy all the things I wanted.  I am also the type of person who is very frank, out spoken, no matter the consequence I would say what was on my mind.  I also picked out the wrong things that other people do, completely ignoring all the wrong things about me.  I knew all these things about myself; I just did what I wanted to do. Until one day I felt I had enough.  I did not want this life anymore. I started seeking God (or so I thought).  

So we went back to our old cycle, we would go to Catholic Church to hear the mass.  Then the time came when we struggled financially, and problems overflowed. We went to church every time we had a problem. And it became a habit. We go to church for our own personal gain, thinking we would be blessed if we went to church. As the old saying goes, "you will remember God when you need something."  But even though we always went to church, I still felt empty, like something's amiss.

One day I told Emerson I want to go to a Baptist Church, but we did not know where to go.  We heard that Tita Dolce was coming to Manila. I was happy to hear that and I asked Emerson if we could go with Tita Dolce to church.  He agreed and said yes.  We went to Liberty Baptist Church.  The first time I attended Liberty, Bro Terry preached.  I was shocked (surprised) whenever he shouts. I asked myself "why do they shout, and why do they cry?"  I thought maybe that is just how it is with them.  But there was something different about this church.  I can feel their love for each other and everyone.  

My husband and I became interested in attending the services at Liberty.  And every time we were there and listened to the preaching, I felt something is different about this church.  I now had the peace of mind that I had always yearned. Slowly, a lot has changed in our lives, especially my attitude.  I also learned what salvation really is. Only God can save. Salvation is of the Lord.

Last March, Cathy Tapia shared her testimony, and Jemima sang. When Pastor Larry preached, he said God loves His sheep.  I cried because I saw myself as one of the sheep and God loves us, He would never forsake us. 

May 3, 2015, Emerson got saved.  I saw a lot had changed about him. I saw what God did to his life.  I had a strong desire to be saved as well.  Every day I prayed to God that He save me too.  Since my husband got saved, I prayed every day and every time we go to church, I prayed, "Lord please help me understand your words"

But there will come a time when God will test your faith and trust in Him. Those past few days I had been struggling.  The start of the school year was just around the corner, and we still had not enrolled our kids.  I always asked Emerson negative things, and he would always tell me "God will not forsake us, trust in Him."  

Friday, May 29, Emerson went to Batangas to see his father.  When he got home, he immediately told me "I wasn't able to get money for enrollment of the kids / tuition fee."  I was too quick to think, "I thought God will never forsake us? Why is this happening to us?"  Emerson was still saying something but I' was not listening to him, I did not understand why God would forsake us.  A lot of negative thoughts came to mind, a lot of "what if."  My husband said "let's talk upstairs." When we got to our room, he asked me "Do you believe that God will not forsake His sheep?"  I answered, "YES" but deep inside my heart I know the answer is "NO."  Something moved me to just open Emerson's bag, and when I did I saw there was money for my kids' schooling.  I was stunned and felt so ashamed because I questioned God's ability, which I should not have. I should have given my complete trust in Him that He will take care of us.  I felt so burdened.

Sunday, May 31. Early in the morning, I felt something wonderful, I was so excited to go to church. Before Sunday school started, I already took notes so when Bro Terry starts preaching, I could focus on listening to him.  I prayed that God give me wisdom and understanding.  During Sunday school, I felt something different, strange. I prayed, "God please take care of me.  Whatever it is that I am feeling now, I give everything to you."  Sunday School ended, and we started morning service with a song.  We sang "MY REDEEMER IS FAITHFUL AND TRUE” and when the chorus came "EVERYTHING HE SAID HE WILL DO, AND EVERY MORNING HIS MERCIES ARE NEW, I suddenly felt cold, my heart was beating hard and fast, I was shaking, and I felt God's presence beside me, and He told me "TRUST IN ME AND I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU, I WILL NEVER FORSAKE YOU."  All I remember in that moment was the pool of tears that filled my eyes and I say repeatedly "Yes po Lord, I Trust You"

The song ended and I know God is still with me.  When Pastor Larry said, "today I will preach what I have already preached before. Open your Bible to Luke 15".  When I looked into my Bible I saw "Parable of the Lost Sheep” and I asked God if this is for me.  I did not understand what Pastor Larry was saying, even Emerson was saying something, but I did not pay attention to him because my eyes were focused on the text LUKE 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, doth he not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

I saw myself, I am God's lost sheep, and He is looking for me because I am valuable to Him.  What I felt last March, I felt it again.  All the burden I felt the past few days were lifted, like a thorn was pulled out.

God is so good, I am His lost sheep, He searched for me until He found me and saved me.  Every burden I have, everything that bothers me, God lifted. I did not feel burdened anymore. I had surrendered everything to Him. I was ready to follow God with all my heart.  I am very excited to see what God has planned for me, what He will do with my life. Thank You God for saving me, God is good!