Emil Santiago's Life’s Testimony as a Christian

I have heard about Jesus since I was young. My grandmother whose desire was for me to become a pastor someday, used to take me to the church every Sunday. I became a regular Sunday school attendee because of her persistence to make me founded on the word of God at a young age. However, I stopped going to the church when my grandma died because during that time, she was the only person in the family who was deeply rooted by God’s word.

As I grow up, I have been influenced by the world. Due to peer pressure and out of curiosity, I have tried several vices including alcohol and cigarette. There was even a time when I got engaged in to some riots in school.

Until one day, a pastor shared the word of God to me which helped me understand the gospel better. I involved myself in the church activities especially when it comes to the youth gathering. Being a pastor was not in my vocabulary and I never thought of becoming one someday. My desire was to go to college and finish my studies so I can help my family.

Everything was all set for my college schooling until I woke up one day very sick. Little did I know that something worst was about to happen. While I was on the recovery stage from my illness, my father who is one of the most important persons in my life passed away.  It was so heart-breaking that I could not help but ask God why He allowed all these things to happen. 

My initial plan to go to college was suddenly changed because this time, I have the desire to start working so I can provide for the family. I am the eldest child so I was pressured to take over my father’s role to my younger siblings. Few days after my father’s memorial, our church pastor approached me and asked me if I am interested to go to bible college which happens to be in Borongan. I ignored the offer because I was so consumed with the idea of earning a living. Truly, the Lord speaks to us in mysterious ways that a day before my companions left for the bible college schooling, my mother gave her approval for me to study there. It was one of the signs I asked from God if He was really calling me to serve Him full time in the ministry. 

I spent 2 years in the bible college. It was challenging but very rewarding at the same time. Words cannot describe the joy that I felt during those times when I was making myself busy studying and understanding the bible. I had my internship at my mother church in Western Samar. I was ordained by Pastor Gerry Brown. I continued to be a youth pastor and an assistant pastor at my mother church after the ordination. Until 2 years ago, few months after Typhoon Haiyan hit the city of Tacloban, I was given the chance to do a church pioneering in Anibong. It was one of the places severely hit by the typhoon and I am glad that despite of what happened, there were still people who willingly accepted God’s word and devoted themselves to be part of the ministry.

Based on my personal experience, serving the Lord is very fulfilling. I have my own flaws as a Christian and as a full-time servant of God but knowing how He has been great to me through all these years, I cannot say “No” to His calling. Even if the church only has a few members as of now, this won’t stop me from doing the work of the Lord. 


It was just 2 months ago when God let me experience another breakthrough of my life: getting married to my long-time girlfriend, B-Ann. She recently resigned from her work in Cebu so she can be with me and of course, partner with me in the ministry. She accompanies me with my ministerial works and one of these is counseling the drug surrenderees in Tacloban. We have just started our marriage life and we are both learning from each other.

Indeed, as the word of God says in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” When I got very sick which was followed by the death of my father, I was hopeless and helpless only to find out that the God we serve can turn our mess into a message. I am what I am now because of what Jesus did- He loved me first before I even did and He was there for me during the weakest point of my life. To God be the glory!