16 years

Today is May 22, 2015. 

Yesterday was my 16th year as a Christian, and I couldn’t help but look back to all the years that have come and gone since I accepted Jesus in my life.

It was during a youth summer camp in Batangas when I surrendered my life to God. I was a shy, skinny, 12-year-old kid back then, and matters about God, embracing a new life and leaving my former way of life are concepts that were too bizarre and esoteric for me. 

But on the night of May 20, 1999, my heart took over. The pastor in front was calling out the invitation; an old gospel song (No Greater Love), was playing on the background; and people started crying and walking towards the front. I didn’t fully understand what was going on, but I knew that when I take that step, my life will never be the same. Everything was in a daze, and I began shedding a few tears myself. The song got me — “You loved me, when I was so unlovely. You Sought me when I was lost. You showed me how much You really love me when You bought me at the highest cost.”

Soon enough, I found myself walking forward and joining the others in front. 

I knew back then that there’s no more turning back from that decision. And so the following morning, I was baptized in water, declaring that I am a new creation in Jesus.

Truly, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The step I took that summer night of May 1999 brought me to different seasons. Since then, God has called me to serve Him through the different ministries of the church. At age 12, I served in the ushering ministry; I remember waking up at 5am so I can attend to my duty for the 6am service. After my stint in ushering, I became part of the worship team — not as a singer or a band player, but as the projector guy. I remember doing my ministry as the “acetate boy” with so much enthusiasm, and I still smile at the thought.

Throughout the years, I have seen the hand of God orchestrating the events of my life. I have seen how he moved me from the backseat and gave me a platform to lead. He has brought me through the furnace of trials and challenges, pruned my character and humbled me before people.

As I look back to all those years, I also couldn’t help but feel thankful for all the people I have met. I’m thankful for all the friends with whom I have made some of the most amazing memories in my life. I will always be thankful to my Kuya’s and Ate’s from Cruzada Church of Christ who first taught me about following Jesus, serving zealously in the ministry, loving others and valuing relationships. I am thankful for all the best buddies I have had — the ones who stood by me, took care of me and offered the best of friendship to me. Nothing compares to the memories we had. I also thank God for the extended families I got there; the moms who took care of me, the dads who accepted me in their family. My spiritual family in Cruzada will always have a special place in my heart.

As I continue this walk with an equally amazing spiritual family in Victory, I can’t help but be thankful for the new experiences, the new friends I have, the new Ate’s and Kuya’s who disciple me and the new people I now serve with in the ministry. A new season in my life is about to unfold, and I am thankful that I am surrounded by people who share the same passion with me; people who I’m sure will be there to stand with me and keep me on the right path. I am blessed to be part of this movement, this family. Thank you for the love, friendship and all the wisdom you all impart. Most of all, thank you for helping me find my calling and for guiding me towards fulfilling my destiny in Christ.

As I celebrate my 16 years of walk with God, I thank Him for giving Me the chance to share His word. I preached at our Youth Service tonight, and I am amazed for all the things He has done in my life. My present self is a far cry from the skinny 12-year-old kid that I was when I first accepted Him in my life.

Happy anniversary, Jesus. Cheers to more years of togetherness! Thank you for not giving up on me.


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