All praise is due to Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and those following true guidance.
This is my story why I embrace Islam. During my childhood, I was brought up in the Catholic faith particularly within the Aglipayan sect. My grandfather and aunt are faith healers. They worship idols and spirits. I also witnessed many sick people who came to my grandfather and aunt to be healed and they were healed. Thus, these caused me to follow what they believe in.
When I reached the age of seventeen, I noticed that there are many religions having different types of doctrine, however, using one common source, which is the Bible. Everyone claims to be the true religion. Then, I ask my self; “Shall I remain with my family′s faith or shall I try to attend and listen to other religion?” One day my cousin invited me to attend the Pentecost Church. My motive was only to observe what they are doing inside their Church. I witnessed that they employ singing, clapping, dancing, crying and raising of hands in worship to Jesus (peace be upon him). The pastor preached about the bible. He mentioned the most common verses quoted by all preachers pertaining to the divinity of Christ such as: John 1:12, John 3:16, John 8:31-32. That time, I became a Born Again Christian. I accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and personal savior. Everyday, my friends are visiting me to go with them in the church. Two months later, they baptized me. I became a regular member of their congregation. Five years passed, our pastor convinced me to work in the ministry, as a volunteer worker. Later on, I became a lead-singer, worship leader, and a Sunday school teacher. Eventually, I became a full time worker in the ministry. My congregation is under the Free Rural Evangelization and Expansion (F.R.E.E.) Mission. It is an evangelical ministry just like the Jesus is Lord (J.I.L), Nazarene, Bread of Life, Pentecostal church, etc.
I began teaching people about the bible and its doctrines. I read the bible twice from cover to cover. I committed myself to memorize chapters and verses of the bible for the purpose of protecting the faith I am uphold to defend. With the position I have attained, I became proud of myself. I often tell myself that I do not need another teachings or scriptures except the bible. However, within me, there is still spiritual emptiness. I prayed, fasted, and served to fulfill the will of the god I use to worship, but I only find happiness when inside my church. This feeling of happiness is not constant even I was with my family. I also noticed that some of my friends who are likewise pastors are materialistic. They indulge themselves with carnality such as illicit relationships with women, corruption, and thirst for fame.
In spite of these, I blindly continued to hold firm with my faith. This is because I know according to our teachings, many are called but few are chosen. I always prayed to Jesus Christ (pbuh) to forgive my sins as well as their sins. I thought that he is the solution to my problems and as such, he can answer all my prayers.
However, looking into the lives of my co-pastors, you cannot find among them as good examples to the flocks they pastorate. Thus, my faith began to decline. Still, I strive hard to work to serve my congregation
One day, I thought of going abroad not only to work but also with the intention to proselytize the name of Jesus as Lord, astagfirullah. My plan was to go either Taiwan or Korea. However, by Divine Will, I got a visa for Saudi Arabia. Immediately, I signed a three-year contract to work in Jeddah.
A week after I arrived in Jeddah, I observed the diverse lifestyle of different people such as the language, customs, and even the food they eat. I was totally ignorant of other′s culture.
Alhamdulillah, I have a Filipino co-worker in the factory that happens to be a Muslim and who can speak Arabic. Though, there was little apprehension, I tried to ask him about the Muslims, their faith and beliefs. I thought Muslims were hard-killers who worship satan, Pharaohs, and Muhammad (pbuh) as lords. I shared to him my faith in Christ. As response, he told me that his religion it totally different from my religion. He quoted two verses from the Holy Qur′aan. One in surah al-maidah 5: verse 3 which says;
“-This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
Another in surah yusuf 12: verse 40 which says;
“You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him, that is the straight religion, but most men know not.”
The verses he quoted struck me. After that I began to observe his life. Everyday we shared each other′s belief and eventually became close friends. In one occasion, we went to Balad (the commercial district of Jeddah) to post some letters. There, I happened to notice many people watching video of a debate by my favorite “preacher”. My Muslim friend told me that the favorite “preacher” I was telling him happens to be Ahmad Deedat and apparently a famous propagator of Islam. I told him that, our pastors back home had made us to believe that he is just a “great preacher”. They kept to us his real identity that he is a Muslim propagator! Whatever their intention was, definitely, it was to keep us away from knowing the truth. Nevertheless, I bought the videotape as well as some books to read about Islam.
In our residence, my Muslim friend told to me about the stories of the prophets. I was really convinced but pride kept me away from Islam.
Seven months later, another Muslim friend from India went to my room and gave me an English translation of the Qur′aan. Later on, he brought me to Balad and accompanied me to an Islamic Center nearby. There, I met one Filipino Brother. We had some religious discussions and related to me his life before when he was a Christian. Then he lectured to me the teachings of Islam.
That blessed night, on the 18th of April 1998, without compulsion, I finally entered Islam. I announced my declaration of faith called the shahadatain, Allahu Akbar!
Before I was following a blind faith. But now, I see the ultimate truth that Islam is the best and complete way of life designed for the whole of mankind, alhamdulillahi rabbil ′alamin. My prayer is that Allah will forgive us all our Ignorance regarding Islam and Guide us to the siratal mustaqeem (straight path) leading to Paradise. Ameen.