By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (April 28, 2015) — He grew up poor in the Philippines and went to work at an early age to support his mother after his parents separated. At 14 he began to fight, rising through the ranks to win 10 world titles. But the current WBO welterweight champion’s bold profession of faith in Jesus Christ is what sets him apart.
“God has a purpose,” he told Fox News. “He brought me back into his kingdom to use me to glorify his name, to let people know there is God who can raise the people from nothing to something.”
Surprisingly, he and noted quarterback Tim Tebow grew up in the same town on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.
Raised Roman Catholic, Manny strayed from the church as he rose to fame in his boxing career. “I went to church on Sunday, but from Monday through Saturday I was in the bar drinking,” he told CBN. “I was gambling. Careless words came out of my mouth. I committed adultery. I didn’t care.”
But one day he read a letter that gripped his heart. “I received a letter from my mother saying my sister stopped going to school because I stopped sending them the money. I cried, blaming myself for spending all the money on alcohol.”
That same night in 2011, not long after his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, God visited Manny in a powerful dream. “I heard the voice of God in my dream. His voice was ten times louder than thunder. He said to me, “My child, my child, why have you gone astray?” he recounted to CBN.
In the dream, which unfolded in a beautiful forest amid flowers, he also saw two angels, according to an interview with The Blaze. “When I heard the voice of God I felt like I died. … I was in the middle of the forest and I was kneeling and praying with my face on the ground and then I saw a light, a very white light and I heard the voice.”
He said the angels had “white, long, big wings” and said that God revealed to him “about the end of time.”
“I felt I was melting when I heard the voice of God. It was the turning point in my life. God spoke to me and he told me what He wanted me to do and I had to follow (Him).”