Idol Love to God’s Love
Lola Bastiano’s Testimony
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3.
“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3.
Our mission story this month is about an elderly woman who lives in Upper Tibanban, Sigaboy, Davao Oriental. She is the grandmother of the Bastiano family and has found a new faith in God. I (Ding) recently had the privilege of baptizing her.
She will tell her story for us. It is divided into four parts.
Her Life Before She Met Her God
I was devoted to many saints. We were taught by the religious leaders in our church the importance of praying to the saints, celebrating their birthdays, having their images in our homes and church buildings and dedicating our lives to
these saints. We believed that the saints were our mediators in order for us to communicate with God. The Virgin Mary also was a mediator, and we were taught that she was the mother of our God Jesus Christ. We were told that these images were not idols, but just representations of the saints. It was taught that it was a sin to have idols like Baal, Astaroth, etc., but images to the saints were not idols.
The church also taught us that it was not a sin to drink wine, but we should not become drunk. One of the teachings was that we could erase our sins from the book of record in Heaven if we did good things for our neighbors, and by being kind and loving and blessing our enemies. It was our duty to care for the needs of Christians of other denominations around us.
I grew up believing that God is the Father who created all things by His Son Jesus and that Mary was the mother of God. We were taught that if we committed a mortal sin, we would be punished in hellfire without dying, but if a man died committing venial sins, his soul would be in purgatory for cleansing. His family would have to make long prayers for him so that he could go to Heaven. I believed all this as truth.
I have children, and when my husband was very ill, they asked him to divide up his property between them. He would not do this, and finally his illness caused his death. I was left with the matter of the land, and my oldest son Bugoy and youngest son Ari both wanted the land. I did not want to divide the land but wanted us all to be able to use it and live off of the food that it produced. These two sons continued to have a contention between them. I forced my son Bugoy and his family to leave their home and the property.
I was told that a man by the name of Pastor Nanding Cabahug and his companions were holding Bible seminars inside our church. It was very hard for me to understand that my son Bugoy had attended these meetings and was already rejecting the images to the saints. I cried much, wondering how the Bible convinced him to do this thing. I also wondered how the preachers taught him to blaspheme the saints.
Unexpectedly, Pastor Nanding and my youngest son Ari came to my home for a visit. At this time, I was having some
health issues with my heart. Pastor Nanding gave me some medical help and had prayer with me. He presented to me that both my sons love me and that they did not hate me. I was convinced to believe them. I made an opportunity to visit Bugoy and his family and made every effort to reconcile with them and invited them back to our property. They moved back. This made me so very happy.
My two sons, Ari and Bugoy and my grandson Roldan shared with me their newfound faith. I was interested to know about their new faith. They invited me to come to church and worship with them without idols, but in a special way to worship the Creator on His Holy Sabbath day. I decided to go with them. I was blessed by God through His Holy Word. From that time on I understood that I was not to worship the saints and their images and that God forbids such worship. I felt bad that I had been deceived.
At church one Sabbath I met Beniboy. He started to give me Bible studies. I have learned many Bible truths as we studied the Bible guides. I am so very happy for all the eternal truths that I have found in God’s Word, the Bible.
I started to desire Bible baptism by water. I was told that Pastor Aque or Pastor Nanding would have to do the baptism. I had to wait nearly a year to be baptized. This concerned me, as I was an old woman and I was not sure when I would die. I felt a great need to make a public commitment to my God.
Yes, I loved idols because I did not fully understand the Word of God. I prayed much that I would be taught and that He would help me to love Him the most. I trust Him and reject all that will displease Him.
A Fulfilled Desire
God has given the right time for the fulfillment of my long-standing desire for baptism. I understand the need of such an experience and of being a real Christian and having a complete righteousness which is heavenly. Pastor Nanding visited our church in July of this year. He presented many things to us. He presented the relationship of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, the Christian standard of dress and many more topics. As he presented these topics, I prayed to have clear discernment and to understand everything. By the grace of God I understood. I love God because He first loved me, and I will obey Him in all His words, and this will be for my own good. By faith I can follow Him all the way. After the worship service, my son Ari and I buried our sins in the water of the river, and through water baptism we were raised to a newness of life. I was very happy in mind and in heart. Before, I would say I loved the saint’s graven images, but now I greatly love the One Who really loves me. Great is our God of love.
By Nanding (Ding) Cabahug. Support for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.