I was born and raised in a Buddhist/Catholic family, and ever since as a young boy, I was the odd one among us four siblings; they’re into Japanese anime while I’m into Discovery Channel, they’re mostly into mainstream Pop & Rock music while I’m into 70’s & 80’s New Wave and Post-Punk music, and they’re all math and science geniuses while I …am the artist. In my childhood, my academics were quite low and because of that, I was the subject of ridicule around the house. I was not really close to anyone at home and I can only relate to my siblings very well when it comes to food. (Amen!)
I thought that as long as you’ve done more good and religious things than the bad, it would get you a pass on the Kingdom of God as I had a very religious upbringing, and remember my relatives and caretakers would threaten me with hell if I’ve been disobedient. Religion was something that was forcefully shoved down my throat. I only knew God back then as a punisher of sinners, that’s it.
All my brothers (we are all boys in the house except mom) were baptized at birth and I wasn’t, and here I was enrolled in a Christian school. I didn’t gave it much thought and shrugged it off, not knowing that the Lord had something planned for me in the future.
As I entered high school, life was getting stressful. I became rebellious, started going-out with the wrong people, became a regular attendee on drunken parties during summertime, and I remember one incident I brought alcohol on school grounds. I’ve done things that I’m not proud of as I became adventurous with this new freedom. I’ve lied to my parents where I was going, and come home smelling like beer after.
I always thought that my worth was measured by how others see me, and I did a lot of things just for the sake of pleasing others, and it would always be the others, the center of my life.
One incident brought me down to the lowest point in my life: it was the third quarter of my third year in high school that I got caught for a grave offense. I had an accomplice and I did not want to give the name up, but then the guys at the discipline office told me that the truth will set me free, so I did confess everything at the day I got caught.
What happened then was I got suspended, lost my credibility in my family and my relatives …and same thing at school, people would point-out to me as someone who would give up his friend for the sake of saving his own flesh somehow, and in another account is that I just included a name just so I wouldn’t face the punishment alone – to be associated with me was a bad thing.
I felt so alone, and wondered if all the things I’ve done were worth it. Are these the beautiful things in life they say? Well, certainly not. Not only did it affected me, but it also affected the people at home. Quarrels between me and my parents worsened, and eventually it became a routine in my daily life. I grew numb, and my anger and frustration I kept it all inside. It stayed that way and accumulated as time went. I was stuck reminiscing about how simple life was back then.
Well, Christmas passed, New Year’s day passed, finally, it was my last quarter before it was summertime again.
One Friday noon, I was told that my fetcher would be late and come by school to pick me up at 7pm. It was 4pm and I had nothing to do, so I passed by the publications office hoping to rest since they had good air-conditioning and a place to sit. Then there, I saw a teacher I know. We started conversing about how my life was here and there, one topic led to another. She sensed that something was wrong and asked me if I was okay…
…I decided to open-up to that person my life story. Finally, I told her all my years’ worth of pain and frustration to the point I couldn’t speak anymore, because I was crying so hard and I was forgetting to wipe the tears. It was a painful conversation as I remembered all the wrong things that has happened in my life and how I thought that no one was there to help me back on my feet – I thought I was worthless.
She then shared to me, Jesus Christ.
She shared to me what God’s love and grace is all about, and how much He loves me and looks beyond all the wrong things in my life. She shared to me that God sent Jesus to die on the cross so that I can be saved.
She shared to me that Jesus died on the cross because God said that a sinner like me is worth it, even if it costed Him. I finally understood – true love.
It was January 16, 2009, a sunny Friday noon when a boy who was once so angry and frustrated with life, finally come to know Jesus. I remember it was a tearful prayer as I prayed to the Lord to forgive me all the things I’ve ever done, and declared to Him that He has indeed sent His son to die on the cross so that I can be saved, and there I lay my life down to the Lord to lead it, because I did not want to live like this anymore. I then experienced what others’ say, tears of joy.
I have established a personal relationship with the Lord and things started changing in life as I got into God’s word deeper and deeper, as I started attending youth ministries and getting involved in Bible study groups. My life was changing and I really felt the Lord leading and guiding me to the point I’m leading others to get to know Christ. Looking back, who would’ve thought that I’d be doing such things?
I got baptized in a Christian church on July 31, 2011, and here I am now, serving in a youth ministry, eagerly attending Sunday services, updating this website, leading a campus ministry in CSB, counseling, bringing other people to know how God loves them so much beyond their mistakes. All these became possible because of Him.
I thank God for all the things that has happened in my life, for everything had its purpose and how they all fall into place. Although there are times I still stumble and fall, I am and will always be a work-in-progress until the day the Lord’s purpose for me on Earth is fulfilled. Until then, I will continue to serve and give the glory back to Him, knowing that He will guide me and live with that 101% assurance of salvation.
I have decided to follow Jesus, and since then, Jesus Christ changed my life. This is the truth, and the truth indeed has set me free.
“I have swept away your sins like a cloud, I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist, Oh, return to Me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” -Isaiah 44:22