GOD CHANGED MY HEART AND MY BUSINESS

by BCBP admin

NGO, RodBy Bro Roderick “Rod” Ngo, BCBP Cebu South
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In his sharing during the Grand Breakfast, NAC33, Bro Rod shares the ups and downs in his life involving multi-millions. He relates how his business problems that once had been settled by the question “How Much Is The Problem?” were all resolved by “Jesus Christ is the Answer”!
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INTRO: It never ceases to amaze me how God changed my heart that’s been hardened for fifty long years.

Ezekiel 36:26 says: “I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart.”

CHILDHOOD: I was born in July, 1953, in Iligan City, where my father, his brother & some friends engaged in copra trading and general merchandising. We were baptized Roman Catholics but attending Sunday mass was never imposed. Religion was not taught in our school, and I never saw my father go to church. I knew there is God but I never prayed to Him. My Chinese upbringing taught me to pray to our ancestors instead.

SCHOOL, DEATH & LESSON: At 15, my father sent me to Manila to finish high school. While I was in Manila he developed kidney failure and later that same year my father and my uncle, who was close to me, died. These tragedies left a big void in my life and the family. I was 16 and could not mourn. I held back the tears and the pain made me tough and lonely.

BUSINESS: After graduation from college in Cebu, I ventured into business without any experience nor any mentor. I was into rice trading, hardware, buy and sell, then construction. I worked hard but went broke. At 28, I went to America, where I was exposed to the marvels of wealth, freeways, skyscrapers, etc. This motivated me to return home and business opportunities came one after the other.

I engaged in corrupt business practices just to make money. Problems were settled by asking, “HOW MUCH IS THE PROBLEM?” Bribery was my game plan. As my construction business prospered, I entered into contract with the Mormons for the construction of their churches all over Visayas and Mindanao. I learned from this experience that one need not be dishonest in order to make money.

Early 80’s, I experienced my first court case, one of my multi-million projects got into trouble. Here I realized that CREDENTIALS AND CONNECTIONS outweighed money. I joined the “Jaycees”, in a year’s time I became its local president, and after 8 years, I became its national president. This title meant travelling the world attending conventions, enjoying the limelight and adulation. Then more connections, confidence, & opportunities came. Money flowed in. My business became my God. Sadly, I paid no attention to the 1st tenets of the Jaycees creed that says, “we believe, that faith in God, gives meaning and purpose to human life.”

I NEVER thanked God for the life I enjoyed. Instead, I held on to the words of a Chinese fortune-teller who predicted that in 1988, a dragon year, anything that my hands would touch would succeed. Indeed, that year I set up 5 businesses, married Marivic and had our first child.

In 1996, I invested heavily in real estate and borrowed a huge amount from the bank and when the 1997 Asian financial crisis hit the country, I found myself crushed in debt. Four years later, I emerged from the crisis almost debt-free. Those cycles of downfalls and successes should have taught me something. Instead, I found myself not only into vices, but also into the business of vices. I even opened a beerhouse and disco bar.

SEARCHING: At 46, I was spiritually lost. I realized that I was an absentee father and an unfaithful husband. I tried to make up by driving my kids to school, helping them with their school work,k pampering them with yearly vacations. I would bring my wife and children to Sunday mass, but preferred to stay outside the church and read the newspaper.

The void and emptiness remained inside me and I tried to fill it with friends, loud music, smoking and heavy alcoholic drinks. Coming home from night outs, I would curiously watch religious programs on television and listen intently to what the host said. At times, I even knelt, cried and prayed with them.

It was in this stage of my life, that I was invited to the Breakfast fellowship by BCBP brothers . It took me more than 2 years to be convinced to attend my first BCBP Breakfast, (December 2002). During that breakfast, I said, “This will be my first and last.” I simply didn’t like it. This guy was thanking God for the house he constructed after 8 years of praying, while I had never thanked God for all the buildings I had constructed in weeks.

However, I noticed the atmosphere. It was so different from the world I used to know and used to be, there were no maneuverings for titles and recognition. Everybody was simply happy to be there. God’s miracle happened to me in reverse. What I did not like hearing that morning stayed on my mind. Somehow God touched me, softened my heart. I don’t know how this happened; the next thing I knew, I came back to the next breakfast.

CONVERSION: Feb. 2003, two months after my first breakfast, I closed my flourishing beerhouse. This I did, after my youngest son Kriss, who fetched me at the beerhouse, candidly commented, “D-I-S-C-O means dancing in Satan’s company”. Today, the place, once inhabited by the devil, has become the office of BCBP Cebu South Chapter, and BCBP regional office.

God seems to reach out to me through my children. The second time, He used my eldest son Ken. After his visit to China, I happened to read Ken’s testimony in a school essay. He wrote: “I firmly believe I was not inflicted with SARS virus. My fever was caused by my failure to thank God immediately upon my safe return home.” I was struck by his faith. How I wished I had the same.

Then we were invited to the Brotherhood Christian Life Program (BCLP). But I was still a confused soul. Somehow, my wife and I decided to join the program. The BCLP made my heart yearn for God’s Words. During the baptism of the Holy Spirit, something happened. I never felt so much relief, comfort and peace. This experience strengthened my resolve to have a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus.

As I let God into my life, many miracles unfolded before me. On my 51st birthday, the urge to smoke left me. My drinking reduced drastically.

MARKET VICTORIES: It is not only that God was working overtime to heal me of my feeling of emptiness, He too worked miraculously in the way I conducted business. In our project in Metro Manila, I was told I needed to secure additional clearance to start the project. I was prepared for the six-figure settlement, but before giving in, I told my action group leader about the deal. He asked me to pray.

I am not a prayerful person. Prayer is not my cup of tea, but for the first time in my life I really prayed for guidance. During the negotiation, I told the man, “If I give you the money, I don’t want it to be used to feed your children.” Amazingly, he did not come back. This led me to give twice the intended amount to Gawad Kalinga and the previous BCBP Ecoreach project.

In another instance, there was a problem with our real estate business, 20 land titles couldn’t be released due to typing errors. To settle the problem, we were asked to pay a huge sum for each title. I almost succumbed to the demand and discussed it with my son who was now handling the business. I was embarrassed because my son didn’t budge. And true indeed, the problem was settled without us paying a single cent.

COMMITMENT: God knows I still have my struggles as a Christian businessman. As I passed on most of my real estate business to my son, God continues to clean my hands and soul. My wife’s hotel business allowed us to pray for the first time from its conception to completion of the project. You see, this hotel is located besides two drive-in motels and across from a big KTV bar. The temptation to cater to short time stays is great. But we do not. Every morning, religious music is played in the coffee shop and restaurant. Bibles can be found in each room. And traveling priests stay for free.

God is not finished with me yet. He called me to greater service to purify me. When told I was considered for chapter headship, I had mixed feelings. Why me? All I did in BCBP were odd jobs, serving food and handling the video and projector. I suggested to Marivic that we just take a leave of absence from BCBP and consider making a substantial donation just to avoid this service.

But as I prayed over this predicament, I realized my heart and mind were miles apart. I likened myself to Zacchaeus, who offered to buy out his past misdeeds. I realized I was not humble, merely hesitant. This strange feeling persisted for months, my prayer became more intense and my church visits more frequent, until I was led to Mathew 26:42. “My Father if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away from me unless I drink it, your will be done.” “LORD, LET YOUR WILL BE DONE.” This may be the shortest and most powerful prayer I have ever uttered. After a quiet surrender, I FOUND PEACE.

COMMISSIONING: With a heart more obedient to God, I was installed as Chapter Head of Cebu South last year, I am aware that the Lord has called me to an enormous task. I prepared myself by letting my wife and children take more control of our businesses, so I can devote more time in tending God’s business. I look forward to work for and with the Lord, and I promise, that I will always be a faithful steward of His business called BCBP.

With God, I know my tomorrows may not always be bright and sunny, but I am sure, they will be meaningful, exciting and fulfilling. For He, our loving God, who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it.

I believe it was St Augustine who wrote, “God chooses the most ordinary person on earth to do His extraordinary task, so that in the end, it is God whom we praise and glorify, and not man.”

AMEN.

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5 comments

Loloy November 28, 2013 - 4:52 am

You might not remember me but God bless you…..

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Nimfa C. Tangcuangco August 1, 2013 - 2:38 pm

I was personally present at the NAC33 Grand Breakfast last April, 2013 held in Iloilo City when you gave this testimony and I found it so powerful. Very edifying indeed! God bless you, Bro. Rod.

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Nelia Angel July 29, 2013 - 6:08 am

Hi bro!
unfortunately, i haven’t heard your sharing way back when i was Cebu based, but reading it gives me an intense feeling on how gracious is God to us in working miracles in our lives. you are in God’s loving grace bro. and say hi to marivic for me.
God bless you all!

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Bong F. Pelaez July 28, 2013 - 8:26 am

Rod, our Jaycee(JC) days paved the way to higher purpose and meaning of life. Sharing our time in the JC community services (BCBP PSD), JC leadership training/seminars (BCBP Formation), and our JC Chapter AKA mother chapter organizing chapters (BCBP Mission). God was molding us to serve HIM in the BCBP. NOW, we can say the JayCee(JC) stands for Jesus Christ (JC)!

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Ed Pama July 27, 2013 - 6:15 am

Great sharing bro Rod. I hope this would inspire more members to serve. God bless

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