(Told to Missionby Expedito Lariosa, Sr. Adapted from adventistmission.org)
Chona paced around the room, angry and frustrated. This is our vacation! She thought. And my own brother treats me like a prisoner!
Chona, a native of the Philippines, had lived in Switzerland, where she met and married her husband. Recently they returned to Chona’s homeland and decided to build a home there. While they were building it, they spent time visiting relatives. Her brother, Protestant pastor, invited her to attend his church, but Chona refused. When he asked why, she told him that Sunday was not the Sabbath.
Chona didn’t know much about the Sabbath, but she knew it wasn’t Sunday. She had seen an Adventist television program while still in Switzerland and had read some Adventist literature. She was intrigued. Then an Adventist nurse invited Chona to visit her church. Chona attended. She sensed that this church taught the truth, but she had been unable to complete Bible studies before she and her husband left for the Philippines. She hadn’t found an Adventist church in the Philippines, but she kept looking.
When Chona repeatedly refused to attend her brother’s church, her brother became increasingly angry. Then one Sunday he locked Chona and her husband into their room while he went to church. Chona prayed. “Dear God, surely You have people here in the Philippines. Help me to find them!”
Chona’s brother finally allowed Chona and her husband to leave his house. The couple left for their own home an hour away. Chona continued to pray, “Lord, help me find a church—Your church. Help me to know the truth.” She had no idea how soon God would answer her prayer.
Toto rode his motorbike toward home after having delivered some goods. Suddenly he felt a slight bump and found himself sailing through the air. He landed hard and slid on his side, coming to a stop in the middle of the road. His motorbike lay nearby.
Before he could figure out what had happened, a man and woman stood over him. “Are you OK?” they asked.
“I think so,” Toto said as he struggled to his feet. He saw his damaged motorbike and realized that the car in which these two had been riding had hit him. “Let’s go to the police station and file a report,” Toto said, fearful that these people would escape.
“Don’t worry,” Chona said. “I’m a Christian. I won’t try to escape my responsibility. I’ll pay for any damage to your bike, any medical bills you have, and to replace your merchandise.
“What church do you attend?” Toto asked.
“I am an Adventist,” Chona said.
“I’m an Adventist too,” Toto said.
God’s Swift Answer
Chona was startled. She reached out to hug Toto, but remembered he might be injured. “Oh, sir, you are an answer to my prayer! I’ve been praying to find an Adventist, and God has just answered my prayer!”
Chona asked her nephew to take Toto to the hospital. There the doctors checked him and confirmed that he was not seriously injured, but it would take time for his scrapes and bruises to heal. Chona paid to have Toto’s motorbike repaired and offered to support him for a month while he recovered from his injuries. Then she asked to have Bible studies.
Finding Her Faith
Toto asked his pastor to visit Chona. When he arrived, Chona eagerly told him that she had been praying to meet an Adventist and find a church so she could prepare for baptism. The pastor was pleased to study with her.
Chona was an eager student of the Bible. Her husband joined her in studying the Bible. He committed his life to God, but his health was failing, and he was too ill to be baptized when Chona took her stand a month later. A month later Chona’s husband died, holding firmly onto the faith that his wife introduced him to.
Chona and Toto smile as they talk about how God introduced them, literally by an accident. “God knew that I was impatient to find the Adventists,” Chona said. “So he arranged for me to meet Toto as soon as possible.”
God sends people into our lives who are searching for the truth. We must prayerfully be ready whenever He calls upon us to give an answer for the faith we hold dear (1 Peter 3:15). This is one way we can obey the Great Commission to go into the world and preach the gospel.
Dumaguete, where this story took place, is a city on the island of Negros in the heart of the Philippines. Like most large cities in the Philippines, it is located on the ocean. Fishing and agriculture are the main sources of the country’s income.