Testimony of Sammy Ojoylan

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest part of the earth. (Psalms 139:15)

Before I formed you in the womb, I KNEW YOU! Before you were born, I SANCTIFIED YOU... I ORDAINED YOU.
(Jeremiah 1:15)

I was born on September 4, 1960, in a farm land at Negros Occidental, Philippines. I am the third son of Loreto and Catalina (deceased) in a Christian family of four. My only sister, Mary, is married to Armando - a politician. They have a daughter and a son. My elder brother, Joe, a businessman, is married to a Filipino-Chinese named Rosemarie. They have two boys and two girls. The youngest sibling in our family is Lemuel, married to Ramona and they have two sons.

Yes, I grew up in a Christian home. My life is centered on prayer, praise, worship, studyung the word, memorizing scriptures, trying to obey and live the Christian life.

Although I came from a Christian home, I personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour at the age of twelve. I invited him into my heart and was baptized in water in the following year.

Subsequently, I have developed a desire to play the guitar and later on - the piano. I taught myself to play. no formal training, just the Holy Spirit.

Succeeding years were devoted to attending Christian youth programs, conferences and conventions from one city to another, hopping from one island to the next. During school breaks in the summer, I was never home. I am either in a youth camp, a seminar or in another island spending time with school friends.

When I reached the age of 14-16, my journey has begun. By this time, my body was undergoing changes - physically, emotionally and spiritually. I became aware of my surroundings and I ended up having two sets of friends: school friends and church friends. In school, with my friends, I have slowly learned the things of the world and its enticements. In church, with my other friends, I am the saint. Double life is what it was; sinner and saint at the same time.

I have learned smoking, binge drinking, sneaking out at night, stealing money from my parents and lying. These things I did, and I am only thankful that I was kept away from drugs. School is my priority, but at the same time, all I want to do is to have fun. I also haven't neglected church responsibility, which is foremost to me.

Although I want to finish schooling, the desire to excel is not there. There was no motivation whatsoever. Since my friends were the brightest in our classes, they just let me copy their answers everytime there is a test. Luckily, I was never caught or reprimanded for cheating, or perhaps, my teachers just turned a blind eye out of respect for my family - since our family is quite known where we live.I was always in school, never tardy, absent, or sick. Sometimes, my friends and I do cut classes and watch movies. My high school life was fun. fun. fun!

I finished high school and enrolled in the university. This time, it was different. I was more into studies, serious and diligent. My new friends consisted of the school intellectuals and the spiritually inclined. I was too embarrassed to get failing grades - or maybe I have matured even just a little bit.

This period in my life, I was involved mostly in church activities: singing in the church choir and teaching school programs. My spiritual life was also changing: prayer, praise and worship has intensified and has become more intimate. You see, I have developed a habit of getting up at 5.30 in the morning, every day, and start the day with praise and worship, on to of reading and praying.

I did not understand that, at that time, the Holy Spirit has already created a hunger inside of me. a yearning. a longing. to sing to Him, to be with Him, to fellowship with Him. It grew and grew, going deeper and deeper, that sometimes I didn't realize that I've been in his presence for an hour or two. The Holy Spirit taught me and is still teaching me how to minister to Him first, through worship, and then to minister to His house (people).

As my body continued to grow and get stronger, the work of the Holy Spirit in my inward man also grew and strengthened. Upon receiveing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, immediately He became my Jehovah Tsidkenu - He made me righteous. As I further grew deeper in the spirit, He became my Jehoval Mcaddesh - He sanctified my body and made me clean. When I am in trouble and confused, He is my Jehovah Shalom. In times when I was lost and in darkness, He is my Jehovah Rohi. When sickness strikes, He is my Jehovah Rapha. In times of lack and need, He is my Jehoval Jireh. When life's struggle surmounts and the battle's baffle me, He is my Jehovah Nissi. At times I do not feel Him or sense His presence, I know in my heart, He is my Jehovah Shammah.

Sometimes, my battles are won, other times, I lose. Sometimes, temptations are overcome, other times, I give in. Sometimes I give in to sin, other times, I refuse. In all of this, His grace, His mercy. is sufficient. For His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Above all, I glorify Him. My journey in life continues, running the race. Knowing that I was born with a purpose and a destiny, then all that I am, all that I do. I will give Him honor and glory.

It's not in trying, but in trusting Him;
It's not in runnung, but in resting in Him;
Not in wandering, but in praying;
That I find the strength of the Lord.

To be continued.