“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand….” John 10:27-28
I am Rizia Perez, a graduate of B.A. English Creative Writing from UP Mindanao last 2018, and now taking up Law in Ateneo de Davao University. I am a church-grown believer and I could still remember the times I bragged that I am a Christian just because I sang worship songs, when actually, I never knew what it takes to be a believer. I did not know then that it was not really a matter of what I can do, because all this time, it was a matter of what He did—sent his Son to save me.
Because of my failure to recognize this when I was in high school. I have tried seeking thrills in different churches and youth gatherings thinking that there would be a “perfect” church for me. It was exhausting, and I failed to find one until my mother reminded me that I still have my home church where I was brought up, listening to Bible stories, and eating the free snacks afterwards. Yes, funny it might seem but honestly, my middle teenage life revolved around these questions : “What could a church offer me?” or “How does it benefit me if I do this and that.” In short, I was just a church parasite, feeding and feeding but not really giving back. It took me years after I learned that there was no “perfect” church after all, but certainly, there is a “Perfect God.”
Soon came the university life and I got my hands full. Two years of my college life revolved around seeking for truth, justice, peace, and all but I never found them. The routine had been like this: going to classes, going to rallies, or to political discussions, or go home and go to church on the weekends. This went over and over again until I felt tired, purposeless, ending up having even more questions. Well yes, my intellectual hunger was fed during the first 2 years in UP, but never my hungry soul.
Just so you know, UP does not teach us to be rallyista but UP teaches us to be critical. In my case, I became so critical of others and everything was an issue. I became so skeptical to the point of even doubting myself. What’s worse was that I learned not to trust myself, thinking that maybe, I wasn’t really a good person. That maybe, I was born to become a leftist.
One morning, I struggled to catch my breath after running away from a rally after the police came. I found our Church door unlocked and I went straight to the CR to finally remove the bright red shirt I wore for the protest. Imagine, I was inside our Church when I caught myself standing in two worlds, serving two gods. When all the adrenaline had worn off, I heard God clearly say “Tama na.” You’ve had enough of that. It’s time to come back.” And soon I realized that I wasted two years of my college life seeking thrills from wrong sources causing me to go farther and farther until I got lost. But the good thing is that… my Shepherd knows how to call me when I was about to jump off a cliff— and commit a “spiritual suicide” and decide to go extreme with my ideologies. And thank God, I still recognized God’s voice wanting me back. And so I joined my first breakthrough weekend Seminar organized by PSALM Davao, and finally gave up my Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideologies to God. Soon came 3rd year in the University and God planted a new desire in my heart—to pluck myself from different left-leaning orgs and commit in the campus ministry. It was a painful process as I had to give-up good organizational positions. But it was worthwhile as I found a warm home right inside the toxic world at the University. Praise God, there’s PSALM – a lighthouse for the lost an
Through this ministry, God removed the worries of not being good enough or UP-material enough as he placed a new branding for me—A CHILD OF GOD. One who knows His voice when He calls. One who knows how to get back when lost. The God who called me is the God who understands who I am, one who comforts, one who gives me genuine security. It is He who says there’s no need to be fearful of being judged because it is He who vindicates us. No need to doubt because it is He who is sovereign. No need to fear being lost, because He is home, and He is everywhere. I would forever grateful to Him for using the ministry of PSALM and its generous supporters for through them I came to know Him even more closely and I finally knew who I really am. Thank you and to God be the glory.