'We put egg cartons on the walls, and worshipped in secret'
Venus’ story | Coming to faith in Saudi Arabia
“I was born in the Philippines, the fourth of nine children. My auntie encouraged us to go to church, but I found that at church there was a lot of rituals and worship of saints. At that time I had no real understanding, and I hadn’t read the Bible.
After school I went to Manila to study nursing, and I worked at the Airforce Hospital, living at the military barracks. Back then I was very independent, and I had a strong character. One day we had been drinking and smoking, and we went for a walk past the male barracks, and we challenged them to a fight. They didn’t fight at the time, but I was very rebellious!
Then in 1982 my father became very sick. I went back to Manila, and I was kneeling and praying for my father. I loved him. I was searching for God to heal him. I went to many different churches, and I begged the statues to heal him.
But my father died. He was only 58 years old. Before he died, a relative told me there had been witchcraft involved. I was so angry. I wanted to kill that person who did it to my father.
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I started thinking about my purpose and my future. I went to Saudi Arabia to work as a registered nurse. Living in a Muslim country, I struggled with loneliness. Whenever I went out, I wore abaya and tarha to cover my body, head and face.
“I am the way and the truth and the life.”
But in 1987 a co-worker at the hospital told me about Jesus Christ. I said I had never heard of Jesus. They were doing a Bible study, and asked me to come. I was very hesitant, and I made excuses.
I didn’t know anything. But my co-worker gave me a Bible, and that was the moment. I had never read the Bible before. I opened it up, and I was browsing through it. I came across John 14:6:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.
Every day, I had a hunger to know Jesus.
I couldn’t control myself. I started to cry. I knelt on the floor, and I asked Jesus for forgiveness of all my sins. All those years were wasted. I realised Jesus is the only way to God!
It changed my whole life. Every day, I had a hunger to know Jesus. I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Even when I was on duty, I was reading and journalling my prayers to God. The emptiness inside me went away, and my heart was filled with peace.
At that time there was no church in Saudi Arabia, and Christian gatherings were prohibited. But we went to house fellowship in secret. We would meet in a small room, and put empty egg trays on the walls so that no one could hear us. And the Lord allowed us to worship.
It’s a gift from the Lord to be part of his works.
After some years I met my husband at the hospital in Jeddah. He started to court me, and I told him I was a Christian. He came along to the house fellowship, and that’s when he accepted Jesus. We went back to the Philippines to get married, and then we lived in Saudi Arabia for 11 more years. Our two children were born there. We were both baptised in the Red Sea!
I have never looked back on my old life. Every year the words of God and my faith grow stronger. I love to share about salvation through Jesus to my friends and family and co-workers. Some of my siblings and my mum have since come to Jesus!
Even when we don’t get answers, we can trust.
I also love to pray – for the sick people and those in need. I implore God for them. It’s a gift from the Lord to be part of his works – to be able to pray!
My walk with Jesus has included trials and tribulations. Sometimes we pray, and don’t get the answers. I have had problems with my eyes, and I am now blind in my right eye. I have also had breast cancer, but Jesus miraculously healed me without chemotherapy treatment. Even when we don’t get answers, we can trust. The Lord is faithful and good!
I want to tell everyone that they can call on Jesus and receive forgiveness. It is such a great privilege to serve the living God. As long as I have breath, I will praise and serve him!”
Venus’ story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click to read more Faith Stories.