Across the Pond and In the Plan
As soon as I got my working Visa in to go to the United Kingdom from the Philippines, I spoke to the Supervising District Minister, and he prayed for me. I also started my own devotional prayers. I was not sure if I should really go because my nephews and nieces were just born and I didn’t think I could bear the thought of being away from them. I said to myself, “What can I do?” I need to go away to get better pay to help my parents so I had devotional prayer every night for two weeks and prayed to God to give me the decision as to what I’m going to do.
In the end I said, “Whatever is your will Lord God I will just keep going and if you really decide for me not to go, you will let me know.” That’s it, I just relied on that. At the airport I was very sad yet I was very excited.
From the airport I still didn’t know what to do so I just kept praying. There were no problems, no hitch. Everything just went smoothly. I never stopped praying whenever I had the chance. In very early 1968, the Filipinos I met, there were seven of them, and none of them were members of the Church.
There were two known members from our local congregation in Philippines, already in England but I wasn’t sure whereabouts they are. All I could think of was, “When can I see them?” But God give me an opportunity to meet them, it was the answer to my prayers.
[When my colleagues and I arrived in England from the Philippines] We were informed that the training school in Yarmouth was closed for nurses and the seven nurses who were with me would be transferred as pupil nurses in Gorleston and I would be the only one who will be transferred to Norfolk and Norridge.
My colleagues asked, “Would you like to come, Melba?” And I said, “Yeah I would like to come.” I didn’t know that that was where the other membersof the Church were! I was so grateful I could say, “Thank God, thank God!” [When I found them] I couldn’t help embracing them and crying, I was so happy.
After some time, I got married to my husband Colin, we considered looking for a house in America and then later on he said to me, there’s a lot to think about because we had the children, their grandmother, we cannot just uproot ourselves. He said, “Perhaps God wants us to do something here. We have to look for brethren.” He was determined. So he wrote Brother Erano G. Manalo for help on how to contact other members in the Church in the UK and Brother Erano G. Manalo sent a memo all over the Philippines: If you know somebody who’s a member of the Church [in the UK], contact this member. It was our telephone number. From then on the telephone rang and we were so happy every time. It was very exciting; we used to run downstairs thinking, “This is another one!” I’ll never forget those days.
We enjoyed visiting INC members. That was our social life, we booked our holidays to do visitation because they were so far, so our visitations were our holidays. We’ve been as far as Yorkshire, Scarborough, Scotland, Whales. We love the brotherhood, we felt we were the only ones who could help each other. Our brothers and sisters would spend days with us, if they were sick we would take them in until they felt better or we visited them if they were ill. If they couldn’t cope, we would find out why. If they had problems with their visas, Colin tried to find out how the problem could be resolved.
The first time we went to Birmingham for a sports event, in the early 2000’s, that was the first time I realized how big the Church has gotten. I couldn’t believe it! I was so sad Colin wasn’t able to see it. The first time I saw the members in one area, full to the brim! I had faith that the Church would be in this country it never came to my mind that Colin and I would be instruments in all this. All I know is that Colin and I were just doing what God wanted us to do. That’s all.