A Personal Testimony by Bro Mabuhay “Mab” Santos, BCBP Pque
After finishing accountancy at the University of the East, I worked with the SGV accounting firm. Four years later I transferred to one of its clients, stayed there for two years, then moved to Asian Institute of Management in the area of finance and administration where I remained for 13 years. As I began thinking of looking for greener pastures, my wife reminded me of God’s words: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything shall be added unto you.” So we began praying together every day.
On the fourth day of our couple prayer a friend who was then an Asst. Secretary in the Dept. of Agriculture offered me two job opportunities: one in Indonesia, the other in Malaysia. A few hours before the interview with the Secretary of Agriculture, my wife and I prayed to God that I be chosen for the job. That job interview did not turn out to be one, but was a briefing on job and compensation package and lasted for only five minutes. The Secretary was in a hurry, ending the briefing by saying: “Good luck, Mr. Santos. We will send you to Indonesia. You will represent the Philippine government in the management board of the ASEAN joint venture in fertilizer.” All I could say was “Thank you.” That evening my wife, our daughter and I celebrated with simple food but overflowing with praises and thanksgiving to the Lord.
In 1990 my wife and I flew to Indonesia, where I worked as one of the managing directors (in charge of general affairs) for five years. When I received my first pay, I was incredulous and very surprised, expecting only what the Agriculture Secretary had mentioned to me. That turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg! Again, my wife and I lifted our thanks to the Lord.
After five years, I was asked to assume the position of marketing director, a promotion in terms of pay and travel perks. Initially I refused the job on account of my lack of experience in marketing plus lack of technical know-how about fertilizer. I prayed to the Lord, “Lord, I hardly know fertilizer, I have no experience in marketing. I wish to strike a partnership with you, Lord. In this job I will do the possible trusting that You will do the impossible for me.” From then on, I took all my difficulties to the Lord in prayer and He never failed me even once. Let me give you an example.
There was a time the world fertilizer market was in doldrums: demand was low and the price was depressed. Our inventory almost reached the ceiling of our warehouse. I had two options: First, sell at basement price. I put this off, mindful of our reputation as the leader in the industry. Selling at a basement price would depress the price even further, and we would be blamed by our colleagues in the industry. My second option was to shut down the factory temporarily, which was not a viable alternative since to restart production was very expensive.
I met with my staff, all of them Muslims, and asked them to pray for God’s help at 8pm that evening in their mosque, and I, at the same time, would pray to Jesus in my residence. The following day I received a call from a Singaporean trader wanting us to ship urgently 10,000 metric tons of urea to a desperate Vietnamese buyer who specified that the urea must be manufactured by our company. The price he would pay was a little higher than the prevailing level if we could ship asap. God had answered our prayers by making the impossible turn into reality. This experience reflected the prayer in Psalm 118:5-7: “In my distress, I called to the Lord; He answered me and set me free. The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid; what can anyone do against me?”
Once again God made the impossible possible for me. For the first few years of our marriage, I admit that I had not been a good husband, frequently abusing my wife both physically and emotionally. One night feeling guilty, I asked her why in spite of my shortcomings, she still loved and cared for me. She looked straight into my eyes and replied, “My eyes are open to your good points but, in love, I am blind to your bad points.” Upon hearing this, I was too flabbergasted to speak. God had begun the seemingly impossible task of my transformation through those words of my wife, telling me that I should learn to focus on the good things, on the accomplishments, on the love present in the person/situation rather than on all the things that went wrong, the failures, or the desire for revenge.
The transformation process struggled along for years. Then we joined the BCBP in 2001, participating in the community’s many activities, being active in service. It was through the BCBP that God continued changing the ‘impossible’ areas in my life.
My transformation did not come overnight. It was gradual. First, I began to listen to God and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in me as in Ezekiel 36:26-27. I learned obedience. I always readily obey the Lord because I now know that delayed obedience is actually a form of disobedience. Obedience to me is an act of continuous service, so I have made it a point to do whatever small or large service my BCBP leaders ask me to do.
Second is the gift of forgiveness. Once, moved by an inner urge to forgive a long-standing hurt, I reached out to a friend who had wronged me and the doors of emotional healing and freedom from the bondage of selfish pride opened wide the doors of my heart. One significant realization from that experience was that for me to have complete forgiveness, whether I am the one asking or the one giving forgiveness, I must be able to forgive myself.
Third, the Lord has shown me that life should not be a comparison (between myself and others) but a creation, not competition but collaboration. My pride does keep bouncing back from time to time; I guess it’s a lifetime struggle. But I trust that the Lord will take even this most difficult and stubborn pride of mine and transform it into some form of humility. Another example of God’s doing the impossible in His time, in His excellent way. Meanwhile I am learning how to be patient with myself, with my friends, and with my God.
Fourth is the realization that it is better to love than to be right. The BCBP community has been instrumental in teaching me this. Life in the BCBP is very gratifying. I enjoy the support of a community of Christian men and women who are always there to share joy and laughter, to listen to my problems and concerns no matter how trivial they may seem, to assist, encourage and pray for me and my family in times of trouble.
Truly, God makes the impossible possible, even in the face of great contradictions. He has shown me that I am the strongest when I am weak, because when I am weak, I cling to God. And when I cling to God, He is with me. If God is with me, who can be against me? No one! And when no one is against me, I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength! All praise and thanks be to my God of the impossible!