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How A Crisis of Faith Made Me Look For God

Trauma left Teresa feeling let down, so she turned away from God. Now a mother, she was determined to find her way back for the sake of her son.



Teresa Rios (former Catholic): I kind of lost my faith in God. I put a lot of blame on God because of being told growing up that God protects His children. At a time like that, when you don’t feel like you’re protected, I felt completely let down. I lost all my faith in God. So I stopped going to church. Then I was lost after that. 

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Teresa: My name is Tersa Rios, I’m 29. I was born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Until about 3 years ago I moved to California. I’m the youngest of 7 siblings, so there was a pretty wide age gap. So I was pretty sheltered, and inside a lot, by myself a lot. So I ended up pretty shy. Up until about 12 years-old I was going to Catholic church with my mother. When I was 7 my parents separated but she still continued to take me to Catholic church. I kind of questioned a lot about Catholicism growing up. I didn’t understand why if we were supposed to call God our Father, why we would call a priest “Father.”

At 12 years-old I went through, I guess, personal life crisis that kind of broke my faith. 

My mom’s boyfriend at the time ended up abusing me. I blamed my mother for bringing him into my life. I kind of lost my faith in God. I put a lot of blame on God, and at a time like that when you don’t feel like you’re protected, I felt completely let down. And I lost all my faith in God. So I stopped going to church..

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Wanting to Believe Not Knowing How

Teresa: My teenage years and high school life ended up revolving around my friends. Having a boyfriend when I was a teenager. During the whole time I still grew-up struggling with my faith, wanting to believe in God, wanting to have faith in God, not knowing how. Still feeling angry about things. I was married. And soon after, I ended up having a son a year later, we’re separated and I became a single mom. Even though I questioned my own faith in God, I wanted my son to have a better relationship with God. 

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Getting A Lift

Teresa: I came to know about Iglesia Ni Cristo about a year ago. I was working a terrible little job, didn’t have a car, and I ended up having to get a Lyft ride after work one day. The driver ended up happening to be a brother. The brother I met, his name is brother Chris Baniaga. He was really welcoming, he was super nice. And really friendly, easy to talk to. The ride ended up being about half an hour long, trying to get home and even though I’m pretty shy, it’s hard for me to talk to new people I ended up feeling so comfortable with him. I just couldn’t stop talking.

So eventually, we exchanged numbers and he invited me out with some of the brethren. I got to know them a little bit better and eventually he brought me to worship service.

From that day, everyone was so welcoming, and seeing how emotional the prayers and brethren were. People crying and sniffling. It was different from other churches I’ve been to. It was a pretty emotional service. I wanted to know more about what more of that was like so I continued to go from them on. 

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I Was Hooked

Teresa: The first worship service I went to, visually there were no crosses, crucifixes, stained glass, pictures of people that no one should even know what they look like. At first I wasn’t sure what to think about that because it was something I’ve never seen before in any church. But it caught my interest and once the service started, the main thing that I really noticed was the Minister at the time was reading directly from the Bible. Usually, any church service I’ve been to, they’d have a Bible there, and they’d give their sermon but a lot of the time, they never even opened the Bible or they’d say a story they would give, some kind of testimony.

But when I went to INC (Iglesia Ni Cristo), the whole sermon was read directly from the Bible. That was something I’d never seen before. It really peaked my interest. I wanted to know more. The was also the same day, I signed up for Bible studies. I was hooked after that.

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Questions Answered

Teresa: When I started Bible studies, one of the things that stuck out the most to me was, I believe it was lesson 7, it was about Catholicism. It was things that I questioned. Even if I hadn’t said those questions out loud, they were answered just in that Bible study alone. 

Some of the questions I had when I started Bible studies, a lot of them were like “Why do we call priests father?” or “why can’t they get married?” “why can’t nuns get married if marriage is something that’s in the Bible?” “why is the pope always wearing these robes and extravagant when he’s supposed to be worrying about the people that follow them?” 

Things that I kept to myself and never said a word, he answered for me. If I ever asked someone, they would just tell me “don’t question it. That’s going against God.” But at this Bible study, it was written right there in front of my face where I couldn’t deny it in a way that I could understand it. That was the thing that really caught my attention and blew my mind of wanting to know more about this Church.

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I Couldn’t Find God On My Own

Teresa: A lot of the things I’ve learned in INC (Iglesia Ni Cristo) about what we should be like as followers of God, I’ve never learned going to Catholic church growing up. Those things that I never would’ve even known growing up in there. 

For a long time, I felt like there was a place I needed to go or something I needed to find. Because I couldn’t find God on my own no matter how much I wanted to and no matter how much I wanted to believe in Him. I wanted Him to be real. I wanted guidance in my life. I didn’t know how or where to go for it. That void filled up, And now all we get is love and support from the brethren. I don’t have that void anymore. I feel I’m where I’m supposed to be. I believe that I did find the true Church. 

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After going through the Bible study lessons and having her lifelong biblical questions answered, Teresa was baptized in the Church Of Christ. 

A Stronger Bond

Teresa: After I started going to the Church, it was a few months. I would ask my mother if she would go with me, at least go to a worship service, or a Bible study with me and over and over again, I would always get “no, not this week, I’m tired. Maybe next time. ” And when she rejected me I told her “why don’t you love me?” and for the first time, the puppy dog eyes worked, so she went. Something happened in her just like it did with me that got her hooked and now she recently was baptized into the Church as well. The relationship I have with my mother is quite close. We’ve gone through so much together. A lot of struggles, a lot of blessings. But one of the things that I love the most is getting to go to Church together. We have the same thoughts about God that we’ve both had differences in before. But when it comes to the Iglesia Ni Cristo now, we have the same thoughts and the same feelings. Getting to go to Church every Thursday or Sunday together as a family, it feels good. It’s a very nice relationship to have.

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Wanting More For My Son

Teresa: When I became a mother, putting my son first is my main priority. Wanting him to become a better person than I ever was. Or wanting him to have a better life than I did. It includes wanting to have a relationship with God that I felt I didn’t get to have, as well. So as I raise him, I want him to become closer to the Church and have a better faith than I ever did. Because even now, my faith has grown so much but I still regret that I ever questioned it in the first place. That’s something I don’t want my son to have to live through.

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Having Hope

Teresa: As an adult now, going to INC (Iglesia Ni Cristo), to me God is hope. Everytime that we have struggles, because there’s always struggles in life, now… compared to before when I was younger, if I had a struggle, l would feel like it’s the end of the world. I would feel like there’s no way out; cry, get angry, you don’t know what to do with yourself. You think “how am I gonna get out of this situation?” Now, when there’s a struggle, it’s hard times, you always have hard times. But now I always think, I leave that to God now. He’s not going to let me fail. He’s not going to  let any of us fail. He’ll still be there to protect us. That gives me hope, no matter what we go through, no matter what hard times we face. Knowing that He’s there watching, that He’s still going to protect us. He’s just gives us hard times to make us stronger people. I always hold on to that bit of faith, that He’ll always be there for us.


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How A Crisis of Faith Made Me Look For God