Turning a Filipino Saul to Paul

Rachel Chimits

An ex-Muslim helped one woman see the truth of God’s Word, which sparked her passion to do the same for others.

Carmelita absolutely could not stand these filthy evangelicals.

She could’ve sworn they’d put some kind of Bible study near her house just to drive her half crazy. People would walk past her house holding Bibles all the time, and it was unbearable. Then there came the knock on her door.

Several people smiled as she opened up, stoking the flames of her righteous indignation. “Ma’am, our church has become too big for the house where we’re meeting, and we were wondering if you would be so kind as to let us meet in your home?”

The pure nerve of these fools! Furious, she chased them off her porch.  

Investigating the Bible

Marriage had brought devout Roman Catholic Carmelita from her native Leyte to this backwater town. Her husband was a hardworking man. Sure, he was a “masiao” financier, which was technically illegal since it was gambling, but when he died, he left her with a nice house and generous piece of property.

Now she just had to deal with these terrible evangelistic neighbors. If she had known they were praying for her salvation, she would’ve clutched her chest and claimed to have palpitations.

The worst offender was this man she knew had been Muslim, and now she saw him walking past her house with a Bible, of all things.

Determined to get to the bottom of things, she decided to wait on her porch until she saw him walking by. “What are you doing with these evangelicals? Why are you following their Jesus?”

“’Their Jesus?’ Isn’t he your Jesus too?” When Carmelita hesitated, he asked, “Do you know Christ as your Lord and Savior?”

All she could answer with was what she had been taught in catechism by the priests.

Upset, she threw other questions at him, but he calmly opened up his Bible and showed her verses to clarify the error or correctness of her beliefs. “You are Catholic, yes? How is it that you don’t know your own book?”

The whole situation had turned rather embarrassing.

Carmelita sat down with her Bible and began to study it with the rigor of a private investigator hired to track down a cheating husband. Now she marched out with it in her hand to talk with the Once-Was-Muslim young man.

Reluctantly, slowly, she began to concede that the Bible taught many things that contradicted what she had been taught by the Catholic church. 

Leader of a Bible School

Carmelita became a Christian, and then she demanded to be baptized. “Right away! And properly this time.”

Her new friends celebrated with her and began walking alongside her in her new life. They introduced her to World Challenge trainings that encouraged others to teach their neighbors about God and bless their neighborhoods in any practical way they could.

“We should start a Bible school for people,” she pointed out. Everyone needed to know about the Bible’s authority for themselves, not just what they heard in church. Here, Carmelita wanted to share her story, what God had shown her and everything she had learned.

She spent two years inspecting the scriptures, dedicating them to memory and discussing them with the ministry leaders. After that, she decided to open a Bible study and see who would join, and the church offered to sponsor it.

Fifty people showed up on the first day and agreed to attend faithfully until the study was finished.

Out of those, 30 started a real relationship with Christ for the first time while they were taking these classes.

The beginning of this year, another 50 new people have joined the church groups to learn more about the Bible and God, much to Carmelita’s delight. Now she wants to see everyone learn who Jesus truly is and dig deep into the Word.