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Man Finds Life-changing Faith in Toronto

A man in Ontario learns that it's never too late to learn about the most important thing; more people are brought to the true faith in Southern Italy.



SHANNON SANTAMARIA: This week on INC News World, one man in Canada becomes a student again, years after school, this time learning about the true faith. A simple invitation introduces residents in Italy to the true faith. Your INC News World starts now.


SHANNON SANTAMARIA: Welcome back to INC News World, I’m Shannon Santamaria, coming to you from the San Francisco Bay area as we continue this week’s episode. With the constant change of the world due to the pandemic, it has cause for changes in schooling and learning. And for one man, he finds out it’s never too late to be a student again. Jessica Garcia has the story.


JESSICA GARCIA: Richard, a Machine Operator from Vaughan, Ontario has had his share of encountering problems in life. 

RICHARD DOWNY (RESIDENT – VAUGHAN, ONTARIO): I started my life, I’ve had some difficult years. I went through a quad bypass 10 years ago, almost lost my life, and I realized I had a second chance in life.

JESSICA GARCIA: A moment he was truly thankful for. And later in life, he was given a chance at something else that came in the form of an invitation to attend an event in Toronto. A chance at attending a Bible study of the Church Of Christ.

RICHARD DOWNY (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – MIDTOWN TORONTO): And I said, I would definitely like to give it [the Church Of Christ] a try. Because we all, I believe we all need faith in our life. 

JESSICA GARCIA: And after hearing the teachings of God taught from the Bible, it was then he realized how important it was to reconnect with God through the true faith.

RICHARD DOWNY (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – MIDTOWN TORONTO): I was, I was definitely interested. I was a longtime member of the United Church, but had some issues with them many years ago. I grew up with that faith. I thought I lost my faith, but I didn’t and now, like I said, I’m really enjoying the Church. It’s helping me a lot, making me realize how much we need God in our life. And the belief in that, and  strength in that, it makes us all stronger, to be a better person.

JESSICA GARCIA: And it was through a special gathering for doctrinal instructees officiated by the District Supervising Minister Brother Glendo Baitan in Scarborough in Midtown Toronto, meant to inspire, motivate, and strengthen the faith of each Bible student as they took steps closer to joining the Church Of Christ. And Richard was able to experience just that, quickly learning that there’s no such thing as being too old to be a student.

RICHARD DOWNY (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – MIDTOWN TORONTO): It’s funny, when you hear, Bible student. I said to my friend Dali, “Boy, it feels good to be called a student at 62 years old!” One thing I enjoyed seeing is how many young people are in the Church. Like you, it’s really, really, nice to see

And that is something I think the Church should be proud of. And to me, as an older gentleman, seeing the young kids involved, and really involved, that’s very, very nice.

JESSICA GARCIA: And despite what might be happening in the world, Richard is determined and focused in being part of the true Church Of Christ.

RICHARD DOWNY (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – MIDTOWN TORONTO): I think we have a lot of problems in this world and people have problems with what we’re going through with this pandemic, but i think with the faith in the Church, I think it’ll help people get through it, and we’ll all be better off in the long run. 

JESSICA GARCIA: Richard now takes these steps in being baptized into the true Church Of Christ like other Bible students in the Greater Toronto Area and sharing how it changed his life for the better.

RICHARD DOWNY (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – MIDTOWN TORONTO): Yeah, I think you have to show your belief, live your belief, and let people know. If you’d ever like to attend, please come. The Church would love that and I would like it if they did. And I’ve had a few friends who seem to be interested. That’s just hoping, hopefully, to spread the word.

JESSICA GARCIA: Many like Richard are holding fast to the true faith while awaiting their day of baptism and continue to see how God’s Words guide them to the best life there is. If you live in the Toronto area and want to also learn how God’s Words taught in the Church Of Christ can bring positive change to your life, visit us, at and click on the worship with us tab and find a congregation near you, to schedule a time to speak with a Minister Of The Gospel. Jessica Garcia, Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network.


SHANNON SANTAMARIA: Despite the many established religions at present, a downward trend of non-religious people still continues. Studies show that a


HOST CONTINUED: rising share of adults in Western Europe describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, and about half or more in several countries say they are neither religious nor spiritual.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: But in Italy, we see a group of people going against this trend – finding clarity and confidence in the true faith. 


RAFFAELE ESPOSITO (RESIDENT – NAPLES, ITALY): I entered this Church coming from the Catholic background.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: Growing up in Naples, Italy where people are predominantly Catholic, Raffaele was no stranger to their beliefs and practices.

RAFFAELE ESPOSITO (RESIDENT – NAPLES, ITALY): As is well known, the Catholic Church imposes baptism on infants, but I believe that the newborn can never understand the value of baptism each one of us [that has understanding] must make a decision to receive baptism.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And that is what Raffaele did. However, not knowing where to begin his search for the truth, Raffael happened to be introduced to the Church Of Christ through a friend abroad. He then searched for a Local Congregation of the Church Of Christ in Naples and where he met a Ministerial Worker. 

RAFFAELE ESPOSITO (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – NAPLES, ITALY): The one who introduced me to the doctrines of the Church Of Christ was Brother Mark Joseph Santiago. Day after day I gained more confidence.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: After hearing the words of God and completing Bible studies – today Raffaele is one of the many who received the holy baptism. This special occasion was officiated by the District Supervising Minister, Brother Randy Macalinao, where Church Of Christ members from all over the  Ecclesiastical District of Italy South gathered in the Local Congregation of Rome, Italy and joined through video conferencing to witness this special event.

BROTHER VIZAR BALCITA (ASSISTANT SUPERVISING MINISTER, ECCLESIASTICAL DISTRICT OF ITALY SOUTH): We continue to be one with the Church Administration to intensify the work of propagation so that more people in this part of the world will receive the truth written in the Bible. That they too may have a chance for salvation. And we believe that the baptism held today is one of many that will continue throughout this year and with the help of all the brethren, uniting with the Church Administration in this holy endeavor, more people will be added to the Church in our district to give glory and honor to our Father in Heaven.

RAFFAELE ESPOSITO (/NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – NAPLES, ITALY): I feel renewed, that’s why I am proud to receive the baptism in the true Church Of Christ.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And just like Raffael, Giovanna also received this special blessing despite the many challenges they faced.

GIOVANNA PANZA (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – FIRENZE, ITALY): I’m overjoyed as I’ve finally reached this milestone. It hasn’t been easy, obviously, I had to face many challenges regarding friendships, family. However, I’m delighted to have reached this milestone. I’m moved.  

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And just as they were brought to the true faith newly baptized members of the Church Of Christ made a humble promise to God.

RAFFAELE ESPOSITO (/NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – NAPLES, ITALY): My promise is to continue to worship our Lord God, and never abandon the worship services and always participate in all the activities that the Church Of Christ holds including evangelical missions and sharing our faith.

GIOVANNA PANZA (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – FIRENZE, ITALY): I promise, I hope to be worthy of this great possibility that I’ve received and I promise to follow the path that will be set by the Church Administration and by the Executive Minister.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: To learn more about the Church Of Christ, and to begin your journey, log onto Click on the red questions tab and submit your inquiry, where you’ll then be directed to a Minister Of The Gospel.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: Well, that does it for us on INC News World. Tune in every Friday for new episodes of INC News World on I’m Shannon Santamaria and on behalf of the entire INC News World team, thank you for joining and we hope you continue to stay safe wherever you may be. We’ll see you next time. Have a great weekend and God bless!


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Man Finds Life-changing Faith in Toronto