Have you ever prayed this very short and simple prayer, "Please, God help me"? Dan has.
Being raised in a Catholic home, youngsters are not exposed to Bibles. They know that there is a God because of mass and the statues that have a special place of honor in most Catholic homes. As children in the Philippines, this is how Dan and Zeneida Sacapano, Marysville Foursquare Multicultural Pastors, always knew about God.
As individuals and as a couple they have woven through other religious denominations such as Seventh Day Adventist and Jehovahs Witness. They knew God. They conversed with Him. But still there was confusion about the teachings of each persuasion. There was an unsettlement of not knowing who was teaching the truth.
As a young USA Sailor, Dan carried guilt for his lack of being a conscientious objector to military service as the Jehovahs Witnesses taught. He found that his dwelling was much like a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. His peers and commanding officers were constantly all about sex and lust. It seemed a pre-occupation for all sailors and something to boast about in the course of each day at work.
Temptation was all around especially because he was trying to mend from a broken heart after his engagement was called off because his mother did not feel that his fiancée was the right girl for him.
Uncomfortable with the life style that enamored the sailors on board the carrier, he turned to God with a wish list for the girl he would like to marry. The first trait on the list that he verbally gave God was that she would love the Lord with all her heart. Dan was baffled because that was not on his list and yet the request came out of his mouth. He spoke the remainder of the list to the Lord. Shortly afterward, he promptly became smitten with Zeneida, the drop dead beauty that he laid eyes on. He prayed that she be the one that God had sent to him. She was indeed the one chosen for him. She had all the characteristics on the list that he had sent to God. The divinely orchestrated union took place six months later.
Who is Jesus?
Still, back on the carrier and in ports Dan was bombarded with the lust and sex. To assure the perseverance of his marriage, he surrounded himself with Christian friends who did not know of his struggle to understand their beliefs. One night when Dan needed to be alone, he went the chapel on the carrier. There he asked God for clarity of who Jesus is. Jehovahs Witness do not believe that Jesus and God are one in the same. Dan desperately wanted to know who Jesus really is.
The Bible in his hand opened to the Book of John Chapter 20. Dan scanned down the page. Verse 28 became the focal point. “My Lord and My God.”Those words were spoken by Thomas to Jesus when He appeared before him. Dan considered that if Jesus was not his Lord and his God, then Thomas would have spoken words of blasphemy. Dan took ownership in recognizing that Jesus was indeed his Lord and his God. That night the mystery of the Trinity was solidified in Dan’s mind. Acceptance of the Trinity freed him completely to serve the Lord. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. John 20:28
Zenedia put her Catholic teachings and her desire to be a nun aside. She found a deeper love for the Lord. She followed her husband, Dan, in his new found faith. Zenedia was a devoted wife and mother to their five children for fifteen years.
God Hates Divorce
Then pride, self-righteousness, and hurt drove the young mother to abandon her husband and children as she fled to join family in the Philippines. She convinced herself that leaving was the right thing to do because the children would be better off without their broken mother.
During the three months that she was away, she was in constant prayer and reading of The Word. In Malachi 2:16 she read that God hates divorce. Those words unexpectedly struck a nerve. She grasped that her actions would lead to a divorce that would offend God. With genuine remorse she asked, “God, What have I done?” Immediately she repented and asked God for forgiveness. Having received His mercy, she was ready to return to her family to be the wife and mother that she had been ordained to be.
The phone call to her husband was not what she expected. His familiar warm loving voice had turned cold and unfriendly. After speaking to Dan, Zenedia questioned what she would do if everyone rejected her? Unsure of her future, she found an answer in Proverbs 14 that spoke of the foolish woman. At that moment she recognized that she was self destructing because happiness came to her only when things went her way. Clearly, she had become her own God. All she could do was to fall to her knees and pray. “Lord, I have sinned. If I am rejected by all, Your mercy will be with me.”
Zenedia’s sister phoned to inform her that upon her return to the United States, she would be staying with her because Dan did not want her back. She went to her room where the Holy Spirit ministered to her through Isaiah 41-43. This provided her with the faith and strength to complete her plan to return and seek forgiveness from her family.
She expected to reunite with her sister at the airport. But it was her husband that was there to greet and to welcome her back. With a humble heart, she went before her husband, her children and her mother-in-law to ask for their forgiveness. Instantly, she experienced the amazing mercy and grace of God as she returned to her designated place in the family that He had blessed her with.
Married for Life
The Sacapanos renewed their wedding vows on July 4, 2015 in honor of their forty-fourth anniversary. They continue making God the center of their lives and to assure that their eleven grandchildren (and one on the way) know His love, mercy and grace.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Read more about Dan and Zenedia, including their works, on the Marysvilles Foursquare Church website.