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By Keziah G. Huelar

Angeli and Peter Billiones’ love for each other is  testimony of obedience and surrender to God’s will. Photo Credit: Peter Billiones

Growing up in the same church, Jil and Pete knew each other since they were young. Now a married couple, their relationship is not an account of young love blossoming into permanent affection. Rather, their journey as husband and wife is a testimony of how God favors a relationship that puts Him first at all times.

Back then Angeli Aragona-Billiones (Jil) and Peter Billiones (Pete) often crossed paths at Full Gospel Community Church when they were little but it was not until they studied at Central Philippine University that they got to know each as close friends.

Pete took up Bachelor of Science and Accountancy and later shifted to Marketing Management. Jil, on the other hand was a Tourism student. Both served as student leaders in the Chi Alpha, a Christ-centered organization aimed at spreading the Gospel among the youth.

According to Pete, his stay in CPU influenced him to be excited about serving God through others. “[Being in CPU] helped me learn to live by faith and not by sight. It also taught me the value of impacting one life at a time especially during Christ Emphasis Week. Being in CPU made learn about the importance of having global impact through local leadership. CPU encouraged me to put God in everything I do.”

With his father and all of her uncles as Centralian alumni, Jil developed a deep appreciation for CPU’s dedication to cultivate an atmosphere of community and family. Sharing her fond memories of CPU, Jil talks about how her professors would go beyond academic lessons to mentor her and her classmates about Christian values. “I still remember how my teachers would take the time to talk about how good God has been and they would always tell us that their door is open if we need to talk about anything. [My stay in CPU] encouraged me to be resilient and to always look forward to better things in life. I felt God moving in my life while I was in CPU.”

Pete and Jil dated after they graduated from CPU in 2014. With the guidance of their parents and mentors they earnestly sought a God-centered relationship which was not easy but according to them was definitely worth it.

The couple eventually married in July 2015. Now, they are serving full-time in the ministry and managing their business Rosy’s Delicacies, now known as Teddy Bear Treats, a business started by Jil’s parents.

Teddy Bear Treats markets authentic Filipino delicacies in the local and international market. They offer all kinds of Ilonggo delicacies such as pinasugbo, toasted mamon, biscocho and many others.

On discovering God’s will for their relationship, Jil talks about how she sought God’s guidance through prayer and reading the bible. “The moment I realized I was falling for him, I asked God to keep him away if he’s not for me. God always did that in the past I didn’t even have to ask, boys just come and go it’s important they don’t know I ever like them, because then it would be awkward and Peter and I have such a good friendship I didn’t want to lose that. When I knew he was the one, I said to God, “He’s yours not mine so I’ll always be second in his life because he has to put You first.”

When asked how they maintain a God-centered relationship, in unison, Pete and Jil share that it is by putting God first and obeying His word that helped them love and respect one another as God would have intended. “I earnestly asked God to help me love Jil as He commanded men in the bible to love their wives”, Pete says.

In 2016, Pete and Jil decided to go to Zamboanga and serve a newly planted local church. “[When] we realized that our 1st baby wasn’t formed, instead of being bitter with God [we submitted to His will]. He talked to us personally in our devotionals to respond to the call and trust His plan rather than our own personal dreams and desires.” Their experiences in the mission field strengthened their reliance on God – how He provides and promotes and most importantly how He blesses two people who pursue to glorify Him wholeheartedly.

When asked what advice they would give to young couples, Pete and Jil emphasizes that it is pursuing God first that makes a healthy and God-centered relationship. “Read the bible. There are a lot of dos and don’ts. The bible will explain what real love is and how it is different from lust. My parents told me, no trial and error. If a guy pursues you, he has to be serious about it. Don’t go into a relationship with him unless he has plans to marry you. So one day randomly while I was at home, God told me, not audibly, that I’ll meet [the man] I would marry two years from now. I said two years from now are you sure? Like this exact same day. I didn’t believe it but I took note of the day. At that time Peter and I weren’t even close. He never crossed my mind. Exactly two years from that day. He courted me. And so many affirmations I believed he was the one. God is not mute that He cannot speak. He speaks, but we don’t even read His word so how can we tell if it’s Him or not?” Jil shares.

Looking forward, Pete and Jil are considering joining foreign missions. “Our heart is to the Unreached People Groups who have never really heard of Jesus. Imagine how unfair that we in the Philippines could go to church, read the bible, and pray to Jesus and millions are dying without even knowing the name of Jesus.”

Pete and Jil’s testimony is a powerful description of how two people can uplift and support each other but it is ultimately a crowd of three with Christ at the Center that ultimately makes a relationship shine for His glory.

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