This testimony I came across at a forum recently that touched me. Unfortunately, the person passed, but his friend gave me permission to share. Thanks, Francis!

By: Roman Monzon
this is how i came to know God

this is a blog i posted on my old myspace, i posted it on september 19, 2005, exactly one year after my step dad died, im just re-posting it so that maybe through this testimony others will draw closer to God as well.

So it's been exactly a year since my step dad had died. I don't really do blogs so I'm going to go all out on this one, it'll probably be really loooooooong.....

Exactly one week before he died, we had a basketball tournament at church and I gave my testimony. I was a Christian for only 2 months, I think, so the feeling of being changed was still fresh. I talked about how the Christian faith made a lot more sense to me, and how a relationship with the Lord gave meaning to my life. And lastly, I talked about how it's true that accepting Jesus as your savior is your only way to heaven. As I can recall, I didn't' really read my bible at that time, I didn't even listen to worship songs back then, I would like to say that me accepting God was a result of the FACI youth group being a good influence on me. Every single one of them was very inspiring at that time. You should have seen them a year ago; they prayed like crazy at random places like lollicup, by the lake, even for 2 hours at church one time. And that made me think, what kind of people would pray publicly? Or for 2 hours? Are they not embarrassed of what people will think? And don't you think 2 hours is such a long time to pray. Everyone was just so nice too, they threw a going away bonfire for me even though I barely knew them. Josh, Joe and Rommel were very nice, Kenzo, Jorel and Andrew kept on reaching out to me and inviting me to go to youth group, or play basketball on Thursdays. I remember Jorel helping me find a house so that I can stay here in California. Will was friendly, Mando always offered me rides, and the girls are very conservative, they all just seemed different in their own ways, Icy,Rachel,Kriselle,Nikki,Wowie, Lindsay and Ashley, (although ashley hated me at that time haha) but yeah, they are in high school and they don't cuss, drink, smoke etc. Then it hit me, they really are different. I could see it through how they acted towards each other and towards other people… And I wanted to be like that. I wanted change. I already screwed up my life in the Philippines; getting kicked out of college because I failed my classes cause I'd either cut class to smoke weed or wake up late cause I was drunk the night before. When I was at Irvine Valley College, I did the same thing, and I couldn't believe myself, I wanted out, I wanted to live a clean life like the people from my youth group. I wanted to be like them. I wondered what made them so different. I discovered that it was because they knew and feared GOD. At that time my family was planning to move to Nevada. I didn't want to move. Thank God we found a house in Mission Viejo, so we ended up staying here in Cali.

So due to inspiration and motivation I decided to accept Jesus in my life. I remember Harvest Crusade 2004, July 10th to be exact, when I went down to the field. I went down for 2 reasons. 1.) I wanted to dedicate myself to the Lord and 2.) I wanted to see how big Angel Stadium was.

After accepting God that day, the following week, July 18, the youth group and I went to rock harbor church in Costa Mesa, and I got baptized randomly! haha, I was nervous at first, but then it was fun! The best part was, after I got baptized, a bunch of people from my youth group went too. After that we prayed outside. It was so cool... after that we got persecuted at jack in the box. That was even cooler, less than an hour after being baptized I already experienced persecution, well I didn't really experienced it, I witnessed it, but it was awesome nonetheless, why? Cause it made me realize that persecution was real and it still happens. Anyways, I got baptized again, this time at my home church faci along with icy,mando,mike,rommel and more people! August 1, 2004, was the date. It was fun. I can't believe we went swimming in the lagoon, that place is gross, and very cold. But it was fun stuff. At the end of the day it kind of made me sad because it was like a family picnic, and everyone was with their family. I made a wish that hopefully next year my family would be there too. Anyways, going back to the basketball tournament (which I won by the way LOL) my testimony was inspired by the fun memories I had that past summer and I owe it all to the inspiration given by josh,joe,rommel,andrew,jorel, kenzo,will,mando,icy,rachel,ashley,kriselle, wowie,lindsay and nikki. At the end of that day, I felt good, I had just given my very first testimony and I won the basketball tournament, what could go wrong?

Exactly a week after, September 19, my stepfather died of heart attack, he died like a month after we moved. I wasn't even home when he died! I was at jorel's house and I was lucky Icy gave me a ride, I don't know what would have happened if she wasn't there for me. Well, she took me home first, and then my sister said they already took him to the hospital, so icy took me there, but by the time we got there he had already died. My mom was crying on my shoulders, it was horrible, Icy witnessed the whole thing. After an hour josh came, and they prayed for my mom. That was the very first time I heard my mom pray. I was stoked, But of course, still depressed. It was just horrible, especially when we had to break the news to my 2 little sisters. That was the worst part; seeing the looks on their faces, sarah didn't even know what was going on. She kept asking, "where's my dad?" my mom kept crying and crying. I felt sorry for Trisha. It was just horrible.

Later that day, people from church came, and I was just thanking God for these people. We didn't have family here in California. All we had to comfort us was them. It made me think; what would have happened if I didn't know them? Who would be there for us? I just kept on thanking God for the comfort he gave to our family, most especially, the older people from faci. My friend's parents were there for my mom! Talking to her and comforting her! THEY DIDN'T EVEN MEET BEFORE THAT! That was the first time they ever saw each other, they didn't even know each other's name, and yet they kept on hugging her. It was just amazing. That proves God's compassion and Jesus' love; it rubs off on his children! I could totally see Jesus in these wonderful people. They're all amazing.

But, I got scared when they all left our house; it was just me, my mom, and my 3 sisters. no one else. I remember staring at one of the huge square windows in our house, and a vision of the cross came out. Then suddenly my fear just went away, and I told myself it's going to be all right.

Things were not going all right the first few weeks. My mom couldn't work. She still kept on crying. My sisters didn't want to go to school, and they kept on crying too. No one else in the family drives, we were all stuck at home. I couldn't get a job because I had to baby-sit my sisters. I was unemployed for 5 months. Another bad thing that happened was my step dad's death created a conflict with my immigration papers. The immigration said since he died, technically I don't have a petitioner, which sucked a lot cause he died a month before my final interview, I got everything else except the green card. So the petition my step dad started was cancelled. I got to keep the stuff I got like my social security number, and my work permit. My mom petitioned me before I turned 21 and because she's not an American citizen, it's going to take 9-12 years for it to process... which sucks cause, the work permit expires, and it can't be renewed. As a matter of fact it expired last July. So if I try to go to school I have to pay $179 a unit because I am a non-resident! If I decide to leave the united states, I can't ever come back! But they are not sending me back home to the Philippines! So basically... they're just asking me to wait for my status to get fixed... which will take 9-12 looong freakin years! ahhhhhh!!!!!!! I hate it! But then since my step dad died, my family started going to church! My whole family goes now! If it weren't for his death, my family would have never come closer to God. My mom grew up catholic, but since she married my step dad, who was an atheist, she stopped going to church. They were married for 8 years! My 2 little sisters grew up without knowing about the existence God. And my other sister, umm, I guess God is still working on her. But it gives me strength and I tell myself that the cost for my family's salvation is me being idle, so be it. It's so worth it. Now my mom is always up on her feet during worship time, clapping her hands, singing worship songs, worshiping God. She even composed a song, and she's going to sing it next month at the building for life banquet. She's also giving her testimony. My sisters, liked vbs a lot and children's church. Its just so amazing how things turned out. This proves that God always makes good out of bad, he brings glory after suffering. You just have to seek him and trust in him. I relied on him a lot during those times when I was scared. I couldn't imagine being the man of the house at the age of 20. But God helped me. The church helped me, and my family. Now I believe that everything happens for a reason and there are no accidents in life. faci is no accident. My step dad's death, my family going to church, my immigration status, they're all for a reason, I mean, what would have happened to our family if faci wasn't there for us? What would have happened if we moved to Nevada? I wouldn't know, at least I don't have to worry about that anymore.

If you think that there cannot be a loving God because there's pain and suffering in this world, you are wrong. Look at what he did in my life. look at what he did to my family. I would have never imagined my family going to church with me. NEVER. But I couldn't see that! Only Jesus could have predicted that! That's why we should always rely on him in times of disaster for only in him will we find comfort and answers. Take Jesus' death for example, it was horrible, what was going through Mary's head when he was crucified? What were the disciples thinking? They must have thought, this guy, the kindest, most gentle guy I've ever met, is trying to change the world. He's practicing more than he preached, helping people, teaching people, being kind to others etc. is being crucified, what would happen now? Sounds horrible right? At that time, nobody saw how anything good could ever result from this tragedy. And yet God foresaw that the result would be the opening of heaven to us human beings. So if you think of it that way, the worst tragedy in history brought about the most glorious event in history. And if it happened there, it happened to my family, it could happen to you too.