I grew up with so much anger toward at my father because he was not the father that I wanted him to be. He was the kind who would always drink with friends and waste his money on gambling. He also had many mistresses and had 3 children from another woman. His way of disciplining us was by physical abuse. I did not want to be like him but at the age of 4, I already learned how to curse. At the age of 7, I was physically intimate with my cousin as if it was just a game because our parents told us that they were just playing when they had us.

When I was 12, my sister died because of Lupus. She was the only one on my side. She helped me in my school work and we both competed in art competitions. When she died, I looked for attention from my friends and it led me to be disrespectful to my family.

I remember a time when my mother was sick, she didn’t allow me to go out with my friends. In my hatred, I answered back, “I would’ve killed you if it were not for the fact that you are my mother.” Every time she wouldn’t allow me to go out, I would always wish her dead so that I would be free.  When she passed away in October 29, 2010. I regretted all those times that I wished for her to die. In hindsight, I realized that she was just protecting me from any physical abuse from my father.

A month after her death, my father brought another woman to our home, a woman that I couldn’t accept to replace my mom. His drinking got worse, and so did his gambling. He almost stopped supporting us and would just leave pocket change each day, for the eight of us to thrive on. My anger grew to bitterness. At night, I would think about killing him and almost stabbed him at one point. My siblings became like him, exposed to alcohol and gambling. They were also allowed to be in relationships, even at a young age.

I saw this and I became more distant with my family. I learned to drink and party with the group of friends that I have. Somehow, the emptiness and the need to belong was temporarily filled.

At 17, I ran away from home. I stayed with different friends and there were even times that I would sleep inside public transportation.

I was given work as a programmer and web developer in a startup company. My boss was a good man: he helped me find a new home, supported me with my needs and he even took me out with his friends to drink and to party. I felt the freedom that I’ve been searching for a long time. Inside of me though, I knew that there was a missing piece in my life.

A few years later, my classmate invited me to attend a youth retreat. He sponsored me as well as four other classmates. I didn’t know that it was a church retreat and I wanted a vacation from work, so I attended. When we came to know that it was a Christian retreat, we wanted to back out.

The retreat went well and when I encountered Christ, I knew that I found the missing piece that I was looking for my entire life. I repented and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was also baptized at the end of the retreat.

I thought it would be easy to change and turn away from the worldly things that I used to do but it wasn’t. I had the conviction to go to church, attend Bible studies and know more about Christ but I still ended up following the life  that I was used to. A few weeks after the retreat, I was back to engaging in my worldly passions. Drink more. Party more. Work less. I abused my work and the goodness of my bosses. I was eventually fired, and my spirit was broken.

BROKEN. NO WORK. NO MONEY TO SUPPORT MY STUDIES. NO FOOD TO EAT. NO PLACE TO STAY. NO FRIENDS TO GO TO. NO FAMILY. I WAS SUICIDAL.

I prayed a prayer of desperation, “Jesus, if you are truly God, take me out of this situation. Give me a place to stay in and use other people to help me study.” I was able to sleep comfortably after that prayer. When I woke up, I told my classmate what had happened to me and she told me that her father allowed me to stay at their house for a week. That one week turned to 10 months. An old family friend also asked me how I was doing. I told her what happened and she volunteered to support me in my weekly expenses in school, until the end of the semester. Right then, I knew that Jesus is God, my Lord and Savior. He made himself real by sending all those people to help me out.

In November 2013, I started attending the campus youth ministry of our church. I volunteered as a graphic artist. I continued seeking God by having daily quiet time, attending bible studies and Sunday services.

I wasn’t able to graduate in March 2014 as planned. I knew that it was one of God’s ways of disciplining me and allowing me to trust Him more and to do things with joyful dependence on Him.

During this time, I was given the opportunity to become the Stage Designs Head and Graphic Artist at our church. I also started mentoring/discipling young high school students. I was also allowed volunteer in the music ministry.

God convicted me to reach out to my father but he would always give me numerous death threats and told me that if I wanted peace, It would be better not to talk to him anymore, because he does not consider me to be his child anymore.

But God is truly faithful.

In October 2014, my father was hospitalized because of an infection on his left foot and heart failure. The family didn’t have enough money to buy the medicines needed and God allowed me to use my remaining money to help out. Because of this, we were reconciled as a family, forgiving each other along the way.

God continued to move in my life and He restored one by one every little thing that was taken away from me before. God used people to help me study again. I was also given the chance to work as a waiter and dishwasher. I graduated April of this year and on my birthday, I was hired in a Christian school as an information technology and computer teacher.

God is indeed faithful in His promises. These two verses keep me grounded:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

 Fear not, for I am with you… I will strengthen you,
I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.
Isaiah 41:10