It Started With a Joke

by: Melody Ohidor
(Melody is a 4th year student-leader from University of Southeastern Philippines –Tagum City. Now, she is actively involved in Rabe Church of God-Tagum, her new found local church.)


Melody as she shared her testimony during the Southern Mindanao Regional Assembly

I came from a religious family. My grandparents served in our community church and my mother, back when she was still alive, was a church officer. Firm in their belief, they kept the traditions and practices of their religion. Growing up under their influence, I was encouraged to take active participation too in the church’s youth activities. However, despite having a deep-rooted Catholic background, I still had lots of questions. I realized that within me was a growing hole that sought to be filled with truths about God.

In my search for answers, I tried to join a religious ministry during my high school. Unfortunately the group was not sustained. So as I stepped into college, I was determined to look for a ministry that would primarily cater those from our religion but all I found were ministries from other religious groups. With fear that I might be converted to another religion, I was hesitant to join those religious groups. It was only when a friend invited me to the Discussion Group (DG) of IVCF that I opened myself to joining a different Christian group. I found the discussions interesting because of the in-depth study of the Bible, so I decided to keep on joining the group. But later on, I stopped attending the DG. This was because I got discouraged by the testimonies of some students who claim to be ‘Christians’ yet live contradictory lives. That time, I told myself that I was better off than these ‘Christians’ (whom I identify as those outside the Roman Catholic religion). Thus, I stopped joining IVCF.

One year later, because of my friend’s persistent invitation, I reconnected with IVCF and started attending their prayer meetings. In one event, when I was with this friend of mine, someone called her for a meeting in IV Home. It was a meeting among the Tagum City Leaders Council in preparation for an upcoming event. My friend tagged me along. When we arrived in IV Home, I felt warmly welcomed by the team. Feeling shy, I sat at the corner as they started their meeting. In the middle of their discussion, someone jokingly asked me to be part of the event team because they lacked workforce to help them with the preparation. I was surprised because it was my first time to meet them yet they invited me right away to join their group. Having the sense that it was work for the Lord, I accepted the invitation. That served as the mark of my active involvement in IVCF.

Through InterVarsity, I became open to Christian activities which planted in me seeds of truths about God. I was able to attend a regional camp (though only for 2 days because of academic demands). Going back to the campus, I became part of a Bible Study group with the few leaders of the area. Later on I was sent to join the Alternative Leadership Training (ALT) of IVCF in Manila. ALT, though originally intended to train studentleaders, turned out to be an avenue  for a seeker like me to meet Jesus and fully surrender my life to Him as my personal Lord and Savior. After ALT, I decided to find a Christian church.

There is this saying: pag may umalis, may darating. However, for me, it turned out to be the other way around: may dumating, pero may umalis. After receiving Jesus in my life, my mom died exactly a month after my conversion. At first, I complained to God about this first heavy challenge that He allowed me to encounter. But while feeling the pain of losing someone, He gave me peace to understand that He does not allow things to happen for nothing. During those difficult times, God became my help and strength.

Now that He has led me to the way of Truth, now that He has filled the hole of questions within me, and now that I have truly understood the purpose of my existence, I am encouraged to serve the Lord even in hard times.

All glory to God!