God is Good All The Time

August 6 2009 / ShareHim in Philippines C, Jul. 10 - Jul. 25 '09 #378
by Jose Arauz

Personal Testimony of Jose Arauz.

Hi, my name is Jose Aráuz. I am a senior at Southern Adventist University, currently enrolled in the nursing program. As a young boy I always wanted to help others and serve my Lord Jesus. Last year was my first year at Southern; I transferred from a community college in Florida. Going to Southern has been the best decision so far because it gave me the opportunity to make new friends and to learn about evangelism. When I heard about preaching a whole evangelistic series, I was truly excited and scared at the same time. I had preached before in Spanish but never in English. Though I am fluent in both languages, I still did not feel prepared to go. I prayed and God directed me to participate in this campaign for his glory and honor.

On July 5, 2009, my group from Southern University departed to the Philippines. We were all very excited waiting to reach the beautiful island. The next day after our arrival, we were introduced to our pastors and translators. I was informed that my corresponding church was about 40 minutes from the hotel where we stayed. My translator was very kind and I could see that he was also excited about the crusade starting at the end of that week. He informed me that my church was very small with only 4 adult members including the first elder. I visited the church location the day before we started the series and indeed it was a very small temple for, at most, 35 people on pews. It is located on the outskirts of Iloilo City in a community called Kabuluan. I met the first elder and some of the children; while I was there, they were still painting the walls and finishing final preparations for the next day.

On the first night of the evangelistic series, everyone was excited and the visitors were early to begin with the health lectures provided by my translator’s wife. They would conduct these lectures before the sermon every night and Sabbath morning. Through the health lectures, people in the community were learning about water treatment and other important information about diabetes and dengue fever. After the health lecture, there was special music and then my turn to preach.

As I mentioned before, I had never preached in English and I was truly nervous and did not know how to begin. I prayed to God for strength and courage to speak His words and not my own. I remember first getting up in the front of everyone and saying “May on Gabi” (Good evening), and everyone responded politely with the same phrase. I preached my first sermon with the help of God and thankfully everything went well. I started thinking to myself that, if God can give me the necessary strength to preach a sermon, then he can help me give bible studies back at home. As the conference progressed, I was more convinced that God wanted me to continue working for Him giving bible studies. I am planning to be part of bible workers club so that I can share with others the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the first things my translator told me was that my assigned church was a dieing church. Many of the members were backsliders and previous campaigns were given without any success. It seemed as if people did not want to hear about God and His love. Instead the church remained literally empty without any growth. Several weeks before the ShareHim campaigns were to begin, bible workers started announcing and giving out flyers to people in the churches surrounding vicinity. They spread the word that there was going to be an evangelistic campaign and that everyone was welcome to come.

On our opening night, there were approximately 50 visitors. And successively every night we had about 35 visitors that remained faithful to every meeting. I give thanks to the Lord that people accepted every given message without any interruptions. I heard that some of my fellow preachers had some minor difficulty where people did not agree with the given biblical point. God blessed the meetings as more people wanted to hear the message of a loving Savior.

At the conclusion of the crusades, there was a massive baptism where approximately 1,350 souls gave their hearts to Jesus. Only 6 were baptized from my church, and I am very happy for them. All of them except for two were backsliders who decided to return to God and be faithful to Him. The other two were teenagers whom their mother was very proud and excited to see they join God family. I was so happy to see a great multitude accept Jesus as their Lord and personal Savior. I can imagine there was great joy in heaven as everyone witnessed this great event in the Philippines.

From my assigned church, there will be careful follow ups of visitors who came to every meeting; I don’t know how many of them will accept Jesus, but I do know that they are hungry for more of the bible and more truths. God is good and his Holy Spirit worked in the hearts of many during this crusade.

Going to the Philippines was an amazing experience. I don’t think I can truly describe how grateful and blessed I really am in going to share with others the great news of salvation. As I mentioned before, I am planning in giving bible studies in Chattanooga as this school year progresses. I want others to know of Jesus and of His soon second coming. There is no time to waste and I wants to simply share what a blessing it has been to have Jesus in my life. After I graduate from Southern with my nursing degree, I am planning to continue preaching and doing missionary work wherever God sends me to work. The only thing I can do is encourage my friends to go on trips just like mine so that their lives can be greatly enriched by the numerous blessings God gives us every day. It is our mission to go to the world and to share with others about Jesus and salvation only through Him.
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