Feature

Music Ruined My Life Then Saved It

By

To say I’ve had an interesting life so far would be an understatement. I was born August 7, 1963, in the Philippines. I was the only child of my mother, Avelina, and my father, Ambrosio. They were both school teachers, so they valued education. Naturally, I became a bright student.

I also discovered my gifts as a musician, quickly learning guitar and other instruments. I played guitar for my high school’s folk-dance group. Our group even performed outside of school and at night for various engagements.

The Pull of Satan

I loved entertaining, but the show-business life pulled me into worldly pursuits and desires. As a young teenager, the temptation of the flesh was strong. At age 14, I became involved with a married woman almost 11 years older than me. Looking back, I know now that the devil was hard at work to destroy me. God gave me my musical gifts to serve Him. But the devil wanted to prevent me from discovering God’s purposes for my life. So the number of illicit affairs with women increased.

William (center) and his wife, Mimi, (left) were once entertainers at Misasa Onsen Hotel in Japan. (Photo by Stephanie Reindel)

I continued performing professionally as a dancer, singer, instrumentalist, and musician. At age 18, I went to Japan to perform on a six-month tour. I made money as an entertainer. While living that wild lifestyle, I didn’t know that one of my girlfriends would eventually become my wife. Mimi was an entertainer herself but in another performing group. Our groups belonged to the same company that sent entertainers to different areas of Japan.

It was not easy for Mimi in Japan. Whenever I got drunk, I battered her. I became involved with several Japanese women, including a divorced Japanese mother of one daughter. I grew so close to them that her daughter called me Papa. Visiting her turned into dating her, and that turned into living with her in an apartment in Nagaoka.

Back in Manila, I became a runner for drug dealers, which allowed me not only to make some money but also to use some of the product I was running. I used a gram of meth a day, a dangerously huge amount. I relied on marijuana and alcohol to slow me down and to get some sleep, but that didn’t always work. When it did, I would use meth to wake up again. This vicious cycle was destroying me. Would I ever be able to escape from my abyss?

My Wake-up Call

One evening in November 1989, I was waiting to make another drug run after midnight. To bide my time—and since silence was always deafening to me—I turned on the television to a channel with praise and worship. Little did I know that this anointed music was preparing my heart as it soothed my spirit.

Then a woman preacher began to speak. It was as though she was talking about my very life. Every word she spoke hit my heart like an arrow. I almost turned off the television.

She continued, saying that perhaps I was in a situation I couldn’t get out of, which was true. She said why not give Jesus a chance to save me, to ask Him to come into my life?

William prays with a group of new believers during a Bible study he leads in Richardson, Texas. (Photo by Stephanie Reindel)

With my hands on the television screen, I repeated her prayer of salvation. As I cried aloud, I began to feel real peace, a peace that only Jesus can bring. Instead of running drugs, I stayed in that evening. I felt the Holy Spirit’s strong presence in my room. And without any extra help, I slept like a baby. His peace was so powerful that it felt like a thorn had been taken out of my heart. His grace was so overwhelming that I knew I was forgiven.

When I woke up that afternoon, I thought it must have all been a dream. But I felt convicted to do more. I started knocking on doors, asking forgiveness of those I had offended and wronged. People thought my brains were finally cooked because of the drugs. Instead of getting angry by what others said about me, I had no urge to retaliate. I thought they were actually right and I deserved it.

The Holy Spirit eventually led me to Bible school, and He helped me to plant and pastor a church called Unity in Love that had campuses in Manila and Cainta Rizal.

These locations would later combine, and in 2009, Unity in Love in Cainta became affiliated with The Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines (CAMACOP). But this was years after I had already been introduced to The Alliance.

Partnering with The Alliance

My journey in the Lord brought me to America—to a church in Arizona of all places—to serve as a worship pastor. One of my side jobs was delivering ice sculptures, but soon I became adept at ice carving. Using my experience in visual art and honing my sculpting skills daily, I built enough of a clientele that by 2004 I was sending money back home to the Philippines to support my family. Before long I had enough money to bring Mimi to America.

At All Nations Alliance Church in White Settlement, Texas, William talks with a man from his Sunday morning Bible study. (Photo by Stephanie Reindel)

Through a contact, I found myself traveling to Paramount, California, and I became an honorary member of Paramount Alliance Church. My ministry there included preaching the Word and leading Bible studies in Long Beach and other places.

As my five-year religious worker visa expired in 2007 and with no more extensions allowed, the Southwestern District of The Christian and Missionary Alliance stepped into my life. An Alliance church in White Settlement, Texas, had a Filipino pastor who was having similar visa issues, and I was asked to become his replacement.

William leads worship at the church where he pastors. His nine children also have musical gifts, and several of them are worship leaders as well. (Photo by Stephanie Reindel)

District Superintendent Mark Searing interviewed me. I was tested by the Licensing, Ordination, and Consecration Council. And as I spent my days in Texas in several homes of the members of this prospective Alliance church, I didn’t know they were vetting me. They wanted to know how I thought, how I taught, and how I interacted with people. They loved their outgoing pastor, so I understood how important this decision was for the entire church.

By God’s grace, I passed all these interviews, and in April 2008, I was installed as senior pastor of Filipino-American Christian Fellowship, which would later become accredited with its new name All Nations Alliance Church. This church of many colors had started just years earlier as a small Bible study group. I was ready to help it grow even more than it already had.

Back Home

Several months passed, and the issue of my legal status (not my visa) came up. Although The Alliance made attempts to extend my legal status in America, I did not want to take any chances. I decided to take a leave from the church to travel back to the Philippines for a year, the required length of stay to regain my legal status. But when I returned there in January 2009, I was determined to evangelize the families of my congregants back in Texas. I told the church, “Pray for me, for I will be your missionary, but my mission is your families.”

William and his family that lives in the U.S.: wife, Mimi; four sons; one daughter; one son-in-law; and two granddaughters (Photo by Stephanie Reindel)

From the north to the south of the islands, I visited the addresses that my members had given me and met personally with their relatives, sharing the good news of Christ with them. Many names were added to the Book of Life during this yearlong trip. After evangelizing my members’ unsaved loved ones, I referred them to the local pastors of The Alliance and other Christian churches near them.

In December 2009, I was interviewed for my application to return to the United States as a religious worker, and with God’s intervention I was approved. I returned to America on January 20, 2010. My children came to America in May 2012.

Even when I was misusing God’s gifts to build my own fame, His hand of protection was always upon me. Now I live only to spread His fame to all nations.

The Holy Spirit brought me through Bible school. He helped me to plant churches in the Philippines. He helped me to get ordained as a pastor. He led me to America and to get credentialed as a senior pastor by The Alliance. And He blessed me to shepherd All Nations Alliance Church in the great state of Texas.

I know that if Jesus can redeem a sinner like me, He can save anyone.

FROM ISSUE: May/June 2018, Vol. 153 No. 3, Pg 14, “When the Spirit of God Transforms a Sinner”

5 responses to Music Ruined My Life Then Saved It

  1. What a wonderful story of how God can transform our lives. What a witness. Thank you for sharing your life. This is an encouragement to others.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, William! It sounds so very similar to my own. I pray God uses me at least a fraction of how He’s used you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Past Alliance Life Issues


Share

Get Involved...

Pray.

We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »

Serve.

Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »

Give.

Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »