Manny Onos
My journey in life has been full of intrigues and excitement. There have been many favorable and beneficial circumstances that came my way which quietly challenged my notion that I am the captain of my soul. This challenging battle was joined many years ago in my twenties.
I was a gift from God to my mother and father. They had been married for many many years with no children. They had sought help from many sources but to no avail. My parents were not expected to have any children, but they continued to pray and believe that God will give them a child. My mother was past the normal child bearing when she conceived and gave birth to her only child - me. And they gave me the name "Emmanuel" as an expression of God presence with them.

I was raised Baptist but attended a Catholic secondary school. In my secondary school years, at the ripe of age of 13, I decided that I was done with Church. I wanted to be in world, I did not want the restrictions of Christian living. So off I went into the world of disco music, drinking and partying. My believing father never doubted that his son will be saved and he expressed this to me as I told him, "I was done with Church." But at 13, I simply scoffed.

14 years later, I am a father of two lovely girls. We were living in Brighton, a neighborhood of Boston. And my wife Beatrice was working at a prestigious University in Boston. She was invited to a Bible study by her co-worker. She returned from these bible studies excited, but I would have none of it. After all, I was a graduate of an MBA program from one of the nation's leading University, "Why," I asked her, "would I want to go back to what I rejected when I was 13 years old?" Her response was that I should read the Bible and get to know who God is from his word and not from what I had decided when I was 13 years old. Noticing that my wife was getting drawn into the Bible things and feared for my family, I decided to study the Bible with her friends with the purpose of showing them for what they really are- men and women who are not captain of their souls. I met Ken, a Chiropractor, who was also a twin and a Jew. My wife was a twin. And I thought it was funny that he too was a twin. His wife, Ann, was also a Chiropractor and they were difficulty having children, just a my parents have had difficulties. Of course, he did not know about my parents' story. It is amazing what our God can arrange to bring his plans and purposes to come to pass.

Remember, I came with determination to show them up, however, God showed up. Somehow, I became willing to let the scriptures examine my heart and my thoughts and feelings and my actions. We read this passage together, "What comes out of man is what makes him 'unclean.' From within, out of men's hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make us 'unclean.'" What I found in applying this passage to myself was shocking and repulsive to me. I was undone. I became honest with myself and declared to myself that I was unclean and needed to be cleaned. I became willing to be made whole. As a result, I was able place my faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ and receive his resurrected life. On July 26, 1987, I was baptized in a church in Lexington, Mass. My father's faith in God's saving grace reaching to me was proved right, even though he himself did not see it on this side of heaven. Since then, I have found an amazing truth that God with us is a reality.

As I continued in the new life, my journey brought me to Leominster. My wife Beatrice again was attending a Bible study. This time, it was held by Carol Tellier. Through this I met Robert Tellier, aka Bob, in 1999, and the rest is history. I enjoy our work at Living Stone Foundation, because the written word, the scriptures, were powerfully use by our God to bring about my salvation. And I believe that scriptures are the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.

-- Manny Onos, 2016