'I sing at home by myself and I grow in my faith in Jesus!'
Rachel’s story | From the Philippines, with love
“My grandparents were evangelists in the Philippines. In the early years of their marriage, they migrated from the island of Leyte to another island, called Mindanao. They started evangelising, and they planted churches there. The churches grew, and then when my mother was six years old, they moved back to their home island of Leyte and they started a church there. That church is quite large now!”
“When my mother grew up, she married my father, who was from another island (in the Philippines). They settled in Leyte. My father couldn’t read or write, so my mother taught him, in our dialect. The first book he read was the Bible and he was able to understand it! My mother also taught him to sing church hymns which they both enjoyed.
“I was the eldest of their eight children, and we grew up in a little house by the river. It had shrimp in it. We had to walk on a bush track to school. We had chickens but we seldom ate them. We used them for bartering for basic needs like sugar, salt, salted fish and canned fish.
“I have always believed in Jesus. I know that he died on the cross for us … and I love the verse in John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” It’s true. When we each believe in Jesus, we will be saved. But out of believing, and out of our personal relationship with Jesus, comes our actions. We are encouraged to use the gifts he gives us.
“When I was in the Philippines, I was a Sunday school teacher and I was in the choir. I loved singing. It’s how I express my love for God, and internalise truth, and learn Bible verses and stories. In the Philippines, we had songs about all the Psalms, including Psalm 8.
“‘When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?’ (Psalm 8:3-4)
“I came here to Australia in 1997, 23 years ago. I find there is less singing in Australia. Not every church has a choir, not like in the Philippines. And this year, we [have not been able to] sing in church at all because of the pandemic. But I sing at home by myself! And I grow in my faith in Jesus!”