Testimony of Yvette Espiritu
Yvette came from a deeply religious family. His father had a position in the church for nearly three decades. She had little doubts where she belongs, after all, all religions lead to one God, or so she thought. She felt secure because “only members will be saved” was their dogma. Similar to Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, if she was removed, salvation is no longer guaranteed.
Removal from this church also meant going to hell. As a result, there are those who lived a double life to keep up with church rules. “They were devout when in church, but worldly and proud outside,” she relates. Yvette held a “distant God” with fear. She is afraid of God but was more afraid of the church and its overarching power over its members.
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More questions than answers
Members were required to recruit at least one person a year to church. She invited a Christian friend and if converted, God will bless her for evangelizing someone. Her friend was reluctant but agreed if Yvette would also attend the Christian church her friend goes to. Hoping her friend would be enlightened for coming, she was asked questions to which she couldn’t answer.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
When it was Yvette’s turn to attend the Christian church, she immediately felt something different. “I found myself crying and speechless. For the first time, I experienced a loving God.” Eventually, God led her to a Bible study. “It was my first time to open a Bible, I kept crying because of the revelations, awe, and confused at the same time,” she said in her testimony.
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God used to be a “distant figure” for Yvette, but when she began to read the Bible, God’s Words became alive and changed her perception. “How is it that I’m encountering this loving and compassionate God, when all my life, I was afraid of him?
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Discouraged from reading God’s Word
Yvette was previously taught that Jesus is only a man, yet many Bible verses point to the Divinity of Jesus, who has the power of life!. Reading the Bible by yourself was discouraged in Yvette’s former church. A stark contrast to what God said, which is to meditate on His Word day and night (Joshua 1:8). God wants us to read His Word daily to set us free from doubts and fear. (John 8:32)
She was told that the teachings of the leaders were enough. On the other hand, God warns us of those who will teach doctrines that are not from God but the teachings of mere men. They will distort the truth to draw people to them. (2 Timothy 4:3-4; Acts 20:28-30)
God wants us to read His Word daily
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Holding on to Jesus
Eventually, she joined the True Life Retreat of CCF. She learned the importance of the Cross of Christ and what Jesus did. She surrendered her life to Jesus and was baptized as a symbol of her faith, declaring “Jesus is Lord!.” Weeks after, her Dad was infuriated and threatened to disown her. She was asked to leave the house, never to return. She held on to her faith and trusted God that all things will work together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
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Defending the Gospel
Friends from her former church sent hateful texts, but God’s grace enabled Yvette to respond with love. Soon enough, the church leaders confronted her involvement with the Christian church. She was asked to deny her faith. Boldy instead, she proudly admitted her conversion. She cited Bible verses in defense of her decision but the leaders became even more furious. They told her that she wasn’t authorized to use anything from the Bible.
After hours of interrogation, the leaders gave up and asked Yvette to write an apology letter and declare loyalty to the church. If she refuses, her father who was a head deacon and her brother studying to be a pastor will lose their position. Yvette held on to her faith despite the threat and she refused to give up being a Christian.
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Her dad was forced to step down after 20 years of serving the church. He begged her to recant yet Yvette could only hug her Dad and pray for him, it wasn’t easy and her father had no choice. Later, Yvette Espiritu’s name echoed in the pulpit and she was excommunicated. Though painfully embarrassing for her family, “I have never felt more free,” Yvette said.
→ How the Bible is twisted by other religions.
A witness to a loving God
Eventually, her family accepted the faith she chose. “They saw the change in me and realized I’m in a better place.” Yvette preached to them that its all about a relationship with God through Jesus, it’s not about church membership. Her family even joked, “Isama mo yang (kapatid mo) sa Christians services para magbago din,” (Bring your siblings to Christian service, so they will also change”).
Today, Yvette Espiritu serves God through a single’s ministry, mentoring women, and leading a Bible study. She also counsels former members of her church into knowing who the real Jesus is and learning to reach out with truth and love.
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