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“LEARNING TO EMBRACE CHANGE BY TRUSTING GOD”
Angelica Fisher: Big changes remind me of being thrown into the water in hopes that you learn how to swim. It is so sudden, the instant that you’re thrown in the water it completely surrounds you, and you have two choices. You can either let a sense of panic overtake you, and let you drown, or you can learn to embrace it and float.
Full disclosure though, I still don’t know how to actually swim. Yet this is perfect to emphasize on how I learned to handle change.
I was about ten years old when I found out. I came home from school and was eating my lunch, as usual, with my sister, when my mother came into the room to announce the news that we were moving to Mexico City in two weeks. This was a lot for me to take in.
At this point in my life, I had lived in Guatemala. I never expected that one day we would just have to pack up and go. As a ten-year-old, I expected that this was the place we were going to live and where I would continue to live my normal life. And suddenly this changed everything for me.
Maybe, I should start from the beginning…
I was two years old when my parents packed up and took my younger sister and me to Guatemala. This was the place where I had spent my childhood. This was the place where I had learned how to speak Spanish, and when I even gained a nickname as “niña Americana.”
You see, my father, Brother Juan Fisher, is a minister in the Church Of Christ. And as one of the first Spanish-speaking ministers in the Church, he had been entrusted with the task to preach the words of God in different parts of the world, such as Latin America.
As part of his assignments, we’d often visit different people. And we would have Bible studies at their houses. You know, sometimes we would even have them at our own home, and twice a week, we would have worship services in our small venue. Although it was small, this was an important place for me. As a child, it became the place where I would spend my entire Sundays, where I would see my friends, but above all, it became the place where I would learn about God.
This is how I grew up in the Church Of Christ.
From the time I was two years old until the age of ten, we had lived here in Guatemala…so the news of us moving away was a lot for me to take.
I dreaded the arrival of my first day of school. On top of being the new foreign kid, I was the only member of the Church Of Christ in my school… while most of the other students were Catholic. I walked into the classroom with my new uniform, and my stomach tied up in knots after I saw all of the kids sitting down. Shortly after my introduction I sat down, and two of my classmates came up to me and asked: “¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)” After chatting with them for a bit, the only remark left for them to say to me was, “Your accent is a little weird, and you talk kind of funny.” And it was rough.
This was the beginning of many things. I started falling behind on a lot of the school material. I was having a hard time making friends. I was always being made fun of for my accent, or how different I looked, and now all the more, I was being made fun of for my faith. I would often get into debates and small arguments with my classmates and teachers about my religion. And at the time, I didn’t have any friends, and yet I could not bear to tell my family about this situation. So I decided to keep it all to myself. Yet I did my best to keep in mind the reminders my parents had always given to me.
In every situation, my mom and my dad always had the same advice: “Pray and learn how to trust God.”
If I was worried about the outcome of my soccer games, my mother would tell me, “Anak (my child) you need to learn how to trust God because He will be the One to give you success.” If I was worried about my exams or any school projects I was going to go through, my father would tell me, “Mija (my daughter), pray. Because this is how you know that you will be ok.” And for every worry and for every fear, my mom and dad always had the answer. I heard it my whole life, but, in all honesty, I did not really understand what it meant until this very moment. So when I found myself getting picked on at my new school, I decided to apply the lessons that they had taught me about trusting God and prayer.
Yet, I must remind you, I was only 10 years old, and to be completely honest, I did not grasp the concept completely.
I started a devotional prayer that went on every day. And for the first time in my life, I decided to open up my feelings to God. My eyes would always be so full of tears. Not just because of the sadness, because I felt a sense of comfort and a sense of peace for the first time in a long time. But all the more because I felt that God was finally listening to me.
My father, he noticed that something was off about me. He could notice the sadness in my eyes. And I finally took up the courage to decide to tell him about how I really felt about this move in the first place, and how I really felt about the things that I was going through. And this is what he told me, this is why he told me that I needed to trust in God.
My father said:
“Mija, God is a faithful friend to those who put their trust in Him completely. When you put your full faith in God anything is possible. When the world seems to bring you down, God seeks to bring you up. And as you pray, make sure that every word that comes from your heart has meaning. Do not leave any grain of doubt.” He said, “Pray mija, as though you have received what you long for.”
And with this new understanding, I followed my father’s advice, and although life at that moment was still hard to bear, I now understood that I was not alone in all of this. And slowly, life started to come together little by little. I could notice the blessings that I was receiving in my life. But all the more I realized that with God’s help, He does not let you sink in these situations, even if you don’t know how to swim.
Since then, every time I face a low moment in my life, I find myself returning to that same advice that my father gave me.
Today, a decade after that move to Mexico, dealing with change can still be a struggle. COVID-19 has changed our whole world as we know it. And everyone is facing their battles, and adapting to change in the best way as they can.
I started 2020 attending college courses in person. But for the past few months, as many of you have been, my time has been spent indoors…within the four walls of my bedroom–trying to learn from professors online, trying my best to stay in touch with friends and family through any means possible. But all the more, I have a blessing to be able to meet members around the world, do interviews, and to tell their stories inside the Church Of Christ.
Change is inevitable and will reach us all one way or another, but most importantly, as members of the Church Of Christ, we aren’t doing this alone. Regardless of COVID-19, persecution, and millions of other worries that we carry in our lives, we have to learn that God is on our side.
If there is one that thing I have learned through living this life through abrupt changes, it is that God stays with us through our lowest moments, and therefore we have no reason to doubt His plan. The things He plans for us are beyond our human capacity to understand. Our relationship with God as members of the Church Of Christ is the most reliable thing we have in this life. So by trusting God, you are never disappointed.
And now, when I look back at the changes I had to face in grade school and the changes I continue to go through as an adult, I remember that God was always watching over me. He never left me; and He still allows me to learn how to trust in Him.
Brother Johnny Martin: Dear friends, once again on behalf of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), we are so grateful that you joined us in our Faith Speaks Online Event.
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Brother Johnny Martin
Minister of the Gospel
Brother Johnny: For some of you, you know, this may be the very first time that you’ve heard about the Church Of Christ. For others, perhaps you were able to attend our previous events or activities in the Church. Either way, we sincerely hope that this won’t be the last time that we get to see you. Because besides sharing with you an opportunity to meet these brethren of ours, and hear their inspiring stories, there’s something more important that we’d like to share with you.The words of God written in the Bible. Why is that so important?
Think about the world we’re living in right now, dear friends. How many people are feeling worried, troubled? How many are feeling anxious, depressed? With so much uncertainty in the world people wonder if there’s really anything to hope for.
Sure the stories we heard today were inspirational, moving, we were touched as we listened to the stories. Well why were the speakers able to stand before us and tell us their stories? Didn’t they get sad too? Didn’t they get discouraged at moments in their life? And if they did, should that surprise us? The Bible tells us this, in Psalm 42:11:
But I say to myself, “why am I sad and discouraged? I should not be sad and discouraged! I will confidently expect God to help me, and I will praise him again, my God, the one who saves me.”
[Psalm 42:11 Translation for Translators]
Brother Johnny: This servant of God said right here, “why am I sad and discouraged? I should not be sad and discouraged!” So there may be moments in our life when we feel that way. But God’s servants, they don’t allow themselves to be overcome by those feelings. Instead, what do God’s servants do? They confidently expect God to help them, and save them.
In short, they put their hope in God. They put their trust in God; in what God can do in the promises of God.
Dear friends, God keeps His promises. If God promises to His servants that He will help them, well then He helps them. And what kind of help does God give His servants who put all their trust and hope in Him? In Ephesians 3:21, 20, well let’s listen now to what this passage of the Holy Scripture shows us right here. Ephesians 3:21, 20, this is stated:
“All of us who are included in the church of Christ, we should praise him forever and ever…
[Ephesians 3:21 Traducción en lenguaje actual (Translated to English)]
God has the power to do far more than we could ever ask for! We can’t even imagine what God can do to help us with his power!
[Ephesians 3:2- Traducción en lenguaje actual (Translated to English)]
Brother Johnny: Dear friends, that is what the speakers today experienced. That’s what we would like you to experience, as well. And so we, again, invited you to our Bible studies in the Church Of Christ. Join us and receive God’s wonderful promises.
So as we come to the end of our program we want to thank our beloved Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ, for guiding us in the holding of this event. And if you would like to learn more about the Church Of Christ visit incmedia.org.
And once again, thank you dear guests, for being with us today on our program Faith Speaks.