D R . E L R O I


Friday, May 30, 2008

HIV Progression and Testing Part 4 - Tests

Testing for HIV Viral Load, Antibody Tests and CD4 Count Test

We can perform tests to test for the HI virus. There are three tests that can be used to determine how many viruses are present in blood and it is called the viral load. These are the PCR or Polymerase Chain Reaction, NASBA and Branched Chain tests. The tests are very expensive approximately per test. However, the tests for HIV antibodies are much cheaper and easier to perform.

There are three types of tests for HIV antibodies. They are the ELISA and Western Blot tests. Recently the newly developed Rapid test replaced the first two tests as a screening test for HIV. With a Rapid test, it is not necessary to draw blood which then needs to be sent to a pathology laboratory. A smear is taken from the inside of the mouth or a small sample of blood is taken after a finger prick. Using these samples, the test provides a positive or negative result within 20 minutes. Recent developments made these tests accurate and trustworthy.

It is very important to note that the tests used to determine if someone is infected with HIV are not testing for the HIV virus but for the antibodies that are formed as soon as the body detects the presence of the virus. If we therefore say someone is "HIV positive," it only means he tested positive for the presence of HIV specific antibodies. The limitations to this test are; it does not tell you when you were infected, how you were infected, what the viral load in your blood is and what your CD4 count is.

The period from the time a person is infected until the antibodies have been manufactured, is called the window period. During the window period there will be no antibodies present in the blood, and a person therefore tests negative even though the virus is already in the blood. Usually these antibodies form within 2-6 weeks, but sometimes it can take as long as 3 months.

Another test would be the CD4 count. This test does not test for HIV or HIV antibodies. It counts the number of CD4 cells in your blood and gives a good indication of how strong the immune system of a person is. This test is normally used to determine if a person is eligible to start with antiretroviral therapy or ARV. In most countries the protocol is to only put HIV positive people on ARV once their CD4 count is below 200.

According to my doctor, the protocol now including the Philippines is below 350 coz the side effects of the drug is much lesser. I have started my ARV last June 2007 because my CD4 count was 331.

If you want to get tested for HIV antibodies or HIV itself, you can visit San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. The HIV antibodies test costs around 400-450 pesos while the viral load test is around 6000 pesos. I would suggest the HIV antibodies test for it is much cheaper.

Note: Information was excerpt from the "Channels of Hope" facilitator's manual.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

HIV Progression and Testing Part 3

Relationship Between Health Status, Viral Load and CD4 Count

It is very important to know the CD4 count and the viral load to manage a person living with HIV and AIDS effectively. A high CD4 count and a low viral load implies that the person may be in an earlier stage of HIV infection and thus likely to remain asymptomatic and looks very healthy.

As soon as the viral load increases and the person's CD4 count decreases, he may start to experience symptoms in the form of opportunistic infections. At first it would be infrequent and mild infections such as skin infections or mouth infections, but as the viral load goes extremely high and the CD4 count drops to below 200, the person is likely to become ill with more severe opportunistic infections. Now the person has AIDS and death normally follows within 16 months to 3 years, unless the person has access to ARV or antiretroviral drug therapy.

There are two things to note at this stage. A person with a high viral load (shortly after infection and in the final stage), would also be likely to have high levels of HIV in their semen or vaginal fluid and therefore they may be more infectious. It is also important to note that if a person's CD4 count drops below 200, it does not mean they will become ill; it simply means that their chances of becoming ill are greater. Some people remain quite healthy until their CD4 count drops as low as 10-20!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HIV Progression and Testing Part 2 - CD4 Test

Impact on CD4 Cells (T-lymphocytes)

Another test that is very important in the management of a person living with HIV and AIDS is the CD4 count. CD4 is a protein molecule found almost exclusively on the surface of the T-lymphocytes. For this reason, these cells are also called CD4 cells. The terminology is very often used interchangeably.) This molecule is crucial for HIV's attack on the body - the HI virus attaches onto this molecule to enter the T-lymphocytes cell.

Before being infected with HIV, a person would normally have 800 - 1200 T-cells or CD4 per milliliter of blood. Shortly after infection, this number drops dramatically due to the high number of HI viruses present.

As the viral load is brought under control, the CD4 cell count returns close to normal. But over the next eight to ten years, there is a gradual reduction in the CD4 cell count as the HIV manages to destroy more and more of these cells.

When I learned that I am positive with HIV and asked to have my CD4 count test, it was 331 only as of February 2007. It was my baseline and I never had my CD4 test again yet after a year of taking ARV. An HIV positive person with 350 and below CD4 count is advised to take the ARV or antiretroviral by the world standard to lessen the side effects of the drug. You will learn more on that on my next posts. Well, I will have my test next month.

Note: Information was excerpt from the "Channels of Hope" manual.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

HIV Progression and Testing Part 1

Understanding the HIV Viral Load and Antibodies

We often think tend to think that if someone gets infected with HIV, the number of HI viruses will slowly increase until the person's death. This is not the case. Immediately after a person has been infected, the virus multiplies very quickly in the blood. Within a few days there will be a million HI viruses per milliliter of blood. This implies that there is now a very high concentration of the HI virus in the person's blood. We also call this a high viral load.

About a week to ten days after having been infected, the person's body starts producing antibodies. These antibodies are designed by the body to attach only to the HI virus and basically operate like mini-landmines. They attach to newly formed HI viruses and "blow up" the viruses. Partly as a result of this, there is a severe drop in the initial high concentration of viruses. The antibodies remain in the blood in high concentrations.

During the next eight to ten years the viral load remains at a relatively low concentration of between 1000 to 10000 viral copies per milliliter. During the following two to three years the virus starts winning the battle in the body and the viral load increases dramatically. This is the stage at which AIDS starts to develop, and at which the person starts to become sick.

Note: Information was taken from the "Channels of Hope" manual. I am so sorry if there are topics in between that are not related to each other for sometimes I really need to write my thoughts and feelings about how's going on with my Christian walk.

Friday, May 23, 2008


The past two weeks were not normal for me as I have been sick for a week, I am so lost with my Christian walk that I have found it hard to trust and know God with all my heart, my sister have chosen to live with her boyfriend without getting married making my mother felt very bad with it and then only to lose the baby thru miscarriage last night. All of these predicaments made me feel so low emotionally and spiritually.

Totally I have felt so lost with my Christian journey for I don't know myself anymore and I can't seem to fathom what's going on with me. I am reading the bible everyday and yet it is still hard for me to know God by heart, my prayers were left unanswered and still trying very hard to be patient thinking I am still in my own "three days" and feeling lost that I have no idea what am I gonna do with my life. It feels like that I am in the middle of nowhere and afraid to take big steps and decisions in life. Then yesterday, I think God has spoken to me through my dear friend J.

J asked me how I was and I said I am physically alright but emotionally and spiritually devastated. At first, I refused to open up myself because I am sick and tired of being comforted by other people which makes me feel useless in some ways since I became a Christian but eventually I have decided to pour out myself to him. I am glad that I did it for he made me understand very clearly what I have been going through by telling me his personal story.

I have learned that knowing God through our own mind is not enough to put our full trust to Him. It's hard to trust someone you do not know by heart and it will take time and leap of faith to do that. I told J that part of my everyday prayers is asking God to reveal himself because I want to know Him more, to trust Him more, to serve Him and to love Him more. My friend said that God is listening to my prayers and all I need to do is to allow Him to reveal himself on His way and not on my terms. I must admit that I am asking God to speak to me through my dreams for I am having a hard time discerning His words through the bible and people around me sent by Him. The silence I am receiving from God made me feel at lost with myself and alienated in this world for I have no idea what to do and where to go.

God is not like a genie who will grant our prayers instantly. He has his own ways of answering our prayers. Sometimes God wants us to open a door to receive the answer to that prayer or He would ask us to clear some paths before us able to get to the answer God has prepared for us. Instead of direct answer to our prayers, God sometimes gives directions and guidance for us to get what we asked for.

When J told me his pains and sufferings with his own journey and relating them to all these things, he made me understand what faith really is. Trusting God does not mean simply knowing Him with the mind, submitting ourselves to Him and praying. Faith is seeking God with all our heart and taking bold steps and doing something that we are truly unfamiliar with and lifting them up to the Lord. Getting involve into something we already knew is not faith. Faith is stepping into the unknown and allowing God to work on it.

Upon learning that my sister lost her two month old baby last night, it ripped my heart for I know how my sister wanted to have a baby to the point of committing a lot mistakes just to have it. I grieved for the lost but this time instead of feeling disheartened to the Lord, it made me feel closer to Him and simply lifted up this to Him. I have prayed that God will give my sister enough courage and strength to get through with this and hopefully this will become the way of giving herself to the Lord. I must admit I am still weeping right now for I know how it is hard to lose something that you really want just like that. I hope God has something better in store for my beloved sister.

I am so glad and thankful that God has sent people that will help me understand all the things that I've been going through like J. Taking a leap of faith is not easy but nothing is impossible with God.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

HIV Opportunistic Infections

A person with HIV is very vulnerable to different illnesses or infections especially if he's unaware that he's HIV positive and not taking any treatment such as ARV or simply having a healthy lifestyle.

There are all kinds of infections that can attack a person whose body has been weakened by HIV. We call such infections opportunistic infections because the HI virus has destroyed your immune system, they have the perfect opportunity to attack your body. These infections will not usually be found in a person with a normal, healthy immune system.

Opportunistic infections can include swollen glands, mouth infections, skin conditions, brain infections, lung infections and serious weight loss. Let's take a look at these in more detail.

Swollen glands or enlarged glands can occur in the earlier phase of infection, but then disappear again completely. This swelling is an indication that the person's body is fighting the HI virus and is not due to the glands being infected. During the fourth phase however, lymphomas or glandular cancers can develop. There are different types of glandular cancers. The types of lymphomas most commonly associated with HIV infection are called non-Hodgkin's lymphomas or B-cell lymphomas. In these types of cancers, certain cells of the lymphatic system grow abnormally. They grow rapidly growing into tumors.

Thrush is an ailment that commonly occurs in perfectly healthy babies. But when the effect of the HI virus seriously affects their immune system, adults also tend to develop thrush. It is quite normal to find these yeast-like fungi in the mouth, skin, intestinal tract and vagina, but they usually do not make people ill. However, when a person's immune system is suppressed, these fungi can start growing like wildfire to cause thrush of the mouth. The infection can even spread the body and result in death.

People with AIDS may develop brain infections, including meningitis, toxoplasmosis and tuberculosis. Others contract infections which attack the eye nerves, causing the person to gradually go blind. One of the most feared brain diseases is dementia. It is a disease most commonly found in older people, but people with AIDS also suffer from it. The symptoms of dementia are as follows: the person's mental state deteriorates; they have a very short attention span and cannot concentrate or remember.

A wide variety of condition affecting the skin can occur. These vary from athlete's foot in the early stages of HIV infection (it is very common for people with a healthy immune system to get athlete's foot - people with HIV infection are affected much more often and severely) to Kaposi's sarcoma - a kind of skin cancer resulting from AIDS. Shingles is another opportunistic infection. It is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox in children and is extremely painful.

Most AIDS patients die as a result of one lung infection or another. The most common lung infection in developed countries is pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or PCP. More than three quarters of all people with HIV will develop PCP if they do not receive treatment to prevent it. It is characterized by chronic fatigue and exhaustion from the slightest exertion. It can easily be identified by X-ray. TB also commonly occurs as an opportunistic infection. Not everybody who becomes infected with the germ that causes TB will develop the disease. Someone who has healthy immune system and becomes infected with the TB germ has a 10% chance of developing TB as a disease during the course of their life. Someone who is HIV positive and who becomes infected with TB however has a 10% chance every year of developing the disease TB because of his weakened immune system.

People with AIDS tend to lose an enormous amount of weight. Weight loss is due to an opportunistic infection. However, some people develop what is known as "wasting syndrome." The HIV wasting syndrome involves involuntary weight loss of 10% of normal body weight, plus either chronic diarrhea (two loose stools per day for more than 30 days) and documented fever (for 30 days or more, intermittent or constant) without the person having an illness or condition other than HIV infection that would explain the condition.

Just remember that these infections are because of a weak immune system - just because someone has some kind of infection or is very thin does not mean he has AIDS! These opportunistic infections or OI can be avoided by means of the ARV or antiretroviral treatment; it gives the HIV positive person a chance to live a normal and much longer life. More information about ARV on my next posts.

Note: Information was excerpt from the "Channels of Hope" manual.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Stages of HIV Infection

AIDS is the fourth stage of HIV infection. A person is said to have AIDS when he has HIV infection and subsequently develops one of a long list of conditions that usually only occur in people with a severe immune deficiency. A CD4 cell count below 200 per milliliter blood in the presence of HIV infection also constitutes an AIDS diagnosis.

The period between infection with HIV and the onset of AIDS averages 8-10 years. In some cases, it is longer, in others, shorter than this. People with AIDS often suffer infections of the lungs, brain, eyes and other organs, and frequently suffer debilitating weight loss, diarrhea and a type of cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma. Without antiretroviral treatment or ARV, most people with AIDS die within 2 years of developing infections or cancers that take advantage of their weakened immune systems.

The World Health Organization or WHO divides the course of the disease into four stages. Primary HIV infection is the first stage. From the time of infection with the virus until the antibodies are manufactured in the blood. A mild cold, night sweats, etc., could accompany this phase. This phase also covers the window period which is 3 months.

Asymptomatic stage is the second stage. The person is as healthy as can be, as his immune system is still strong enough like me. This stage can be prolonged for more than 20 or 25 years or sometimes even longer with the help of ARV. The person takes this lifetime medication to live a normal healthy lifestyle.

The third stage is the symptomatic HIV infection. Person has occasional mild mouth sores, skin infections or night sweats. The person receives treatment for the infections and they are completely healed. Months later, he may pick up another infection. These mild infections indicate a slight degree of immune suppression. It means the HI virus has already damaged the immune system to the point that it can no longer perform its normal functions.

The last stage is the progression from HIV to AIDS or AIDS stage; regular incidences of serious opportunistic infections such as TB, PCP or serious opportunistic lung infection, diarrhea and Kaposi's sarcoma which is a kind of skin cancer. There is a progressive deterioration in health, ultimately resulting in death. In this last phase you could say that the person has AIDS.

It is only in the last phase that a person's condition deteriorates to the extent that he will no longer be able to work. This phase lasts about 16 to 18 months. With some people this period is even shorter. The media have created the impression that the deterioration continues for years, with the person having to remain at home or in hospital. This actually only applies in the last few months of the fourth phase. For most of this period the person is healthy enough to continue working. It obviously varies from one person to the next. Some people are inclined to be chronically ill for longer, while others display the symptoms of AIDS for a long time while still being able to function normally.

There are also cases where a person positive to HIV has very low CD4 cell count and yet still looks healthy and very normal, while some suffers from different infections. I will discuss about testing, opportunistic infections, and treatments on my next posts.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How Does HIV Attack The Immune System?

Our body is protected by the immune system made up of white blood cells or WBC. These WBC have only one job and that is to keep us healthy. We could say that they are our body's army or police force.

We are surrounded by all kinds of viruses and germs that attack our body and make us ill. The WBC fights these viruses and diseases, usually manage to keep us healthy and protect us from disease. Sometimes though, in the case of more serious illnesses such as pneumonia or tuberculosis (TB), we need medication to help the white blood cells destroy these diseases. However, these white blood cells, with the help of the medication would normally get us healthy again.

HIV is totally different. It does not attack the body but it attacks the white blood cells that protect us. So what happens is that HIV slowly but surely kills our whole army or police force. After some years, our body will not have enough WBC left to protect itself; which means that it has no defenses against all the other diseases such as pneumonia, TB, cancer and skin infections that can make us ill. When that starts happening, we say that someone has AIDS. He now has an acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

But if he dies, what does he die of? Not of AIDS. Yes, he may have AIDS but that only means that his body no longer has an army or police force to protect itself. That is why he will become ill easily, and why it is diseases such as pneumonia, TB or cancer that will ultimately kill him.

For much deeper explanation, your blood contains different types of white blood cells: T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, killer T-cells and macrophages. The most important WBC in the body is the T-lymphocyte or the CD4 cell. The CD4 cell or T-lymphocyte basically acts as the commanding officer or commander of the body's army. If any virus or germs arrives in the body, it is the CD4 cells that identify these viruses. They emit a chemical signal which activates all the other WBC. The other WBC reacts to the chemical signal of the CD4 cell and destroys the viruses or germs.

The HI virus is different. The moment it enters the body, it begins to attack the T-lymphocytes or CD4 cells. It penetrates the CD4 cell and uses them as a factory where it manufactures hundreds of new viruses. These new viruses are then released into the blood, in the process destroying the CD4 cells.

The longer a person is HIV positive, the more rapidly the HI viruses multiply, and the more CD4 cells are destroyed. Your body is constantly manufacturing new CD4 cells, but the virus multiplies so rapidly that there ultimately comes a time when the CD4 cells are destroyed more quickly than your body can manufacture new ones.

This process can take up to 8-10 years, but it means that the body's defense system is gradually being worn down. In other words, the commanders of the army, the ones that give the command to attack are being destroyed. The body's alarm system is being switched off. All the other WBC are still there and they can still do their job, but now there is no one to tell them to attack. So the body's immune system is neutralized.

Your body is now susceptible to all kinds of diseases, because there is no longer a defense system to protect you. Now all the other diseases can cause chaos in the body. This condition is AIDS. In other words, your body is susceptible to all sorts of opportunistic infections that will eventually become so serious that you will probably die of them.

A normal person has between 800-1200 T-lymphocytes or CD4 cells per milliliter of blood. When an HIV positive person has fewer than 200, there are no longer enough CD4 cells to set off the chain reaction. The person falls ill easily. By definition, this person now has AIDS.

Note: Information was excerpt from the "Channels of Hope" manual.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Many people view HIV and AIDS in the same light, and therefore have the underlying prejudice that someone who is HIV positive could die tomorrow.

Well, I must admit I used to believe that way two decades ago. Also, I never thought that I would have become a victim of this pandemic a couple of years ago. Believe it or not, the victims nowadays are younger like college students and young professionals. Unlike in the early years, the victims usually were OFWs but now it is being transmitted locally like in my case. I have never gone out of the country and yet I got infected. I was about to migrate that's why I got detected. But where did HIV or AIDS originated?

Research shows that HI virus originated in Africa. A particular kind of chimpanzee is known to carry a virus quite similar in structure to HIV. This chimpanzee virus (SIV) is a great deal older than the HI virus. In certain areas of Africa, the monkey and chimpanzee are considered a luxury food. Possibly the first human was infected by eating some uncooked organs, or through an accidental cut while preparing a carcass. The disease may have begun in this simple, quiet manner, spreading to others from this point through sexual intercourse and later through shared needle use.

Many African government representatives are sensitive about this view. Understandably so, as it is often phrased in a way that seems to blame Africa for the appearance of the virus. While scientific events are not themselves racist, observations and reporting of them may be so. It is important to remember that no one person, nation or population is responsible for the development of HIV and AIDS. We must all share the responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus.

Though currently, HIV is considered to be the worst kind of sexually transmitted disease or STD; let us also considered that a person can be infected through shared needle use, blood transfusion, or direct blood contact via open wounds or cuts. Many people still don't understand the important difference between HIV and AIDS. Let's start with HIV.

HIV stands for Human Immune-Deficiency Virus. After a person has been infected, the virus starts breaking down their immune system. After sometime, the person's immune system is so weak that they become susceptible to a variety of illnesses. So, a person who is HIV positive has the virus in their body, but does not yet have AIDS. As time passes, their immune system will deteriorate as the HIV multiplies and destroys the CD4 cells that compose our immune system, and the person develops AIDS.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Acquired implies that you had to get the virus causing this syndrome from someone else. To "acquire" anything, you must "do something" to be exposed to it. The virus is not transmitted through the air. You can only get it through unprotected sex or direct blood contact with a person who is HIV positive.

Immune deficiency means, after some years of being infected with the HI virus, your immune system will have been destroyed to the point where you have no defense system left in your body; a total lack of immunity or an immune deficiency.

Syndrome means, if your body no longer has a defense system, in other words you have an immune deficiency; you become an easy target for all kinds of diseases like skin and mouth infections to TB or cancer. It is called a syndrome because the person with AIDS does not become ill from only one disease, but from all kinds of diseases caused by a weak immune system. It is very important to remember that AIDS is the fourth stage in a very long process of deterioration, and it is caused by a virus called HIV. I'll talk about more of the stages and how it gradually attacks our immune system.

Note: Information was excerpt from "Channels of Hope" Manual.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Dengue is one of the possible illness experiences by someone who is positive with HIV if he has a fever that keeps coming back for a certain period of time like in my case.

I started to have a fever last Saturday night and the highest temperature I have registered on the thermometer was 38.9 and last night I had 38.4 probably because I was exposed to a very cold temperature in the bus on my way home after my check-up. My last CBC lab test result is ok especially my platelet which is very normal now, that's why my doctor and I is wondering what could be the reason why I have a fever. Anyway, as of the moment I don't have a fever and I am feeling alright. In fact, I was able to do my regular work-out this morning and other household chores. Probably God have answered my pleading prayers last night to heal me and spare from this disease for I have lots of preparations to do with the Channels of Hope training for Bagong Pag-asa.

I am just kind of a bit afraid coz there are patients in the hospital where I have my regular check up who have dengue and experienced the same kind of fever I've got. The difference only is that, mine is not very high and my CBC result is far better than theirs though it's a bit off from normal. Well, I just hope and pray that God will spare me from this and He continues to heal me physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. Of course, even I am sick I still have to continue my walk as a Christian and this is one of those tough times that I need to go through and it's fine with me. The Lord is always with me and will never abandon me.

Living with HIV is difficult in such a way that whenever you got sick even a simple cold and fever, you need to be alarmed and find out the reason why especially if it's repetitive. Unlike when you are normal, you can easily never mind a simple flu or fever. The worst part is aside from the ARV or antiretroviral drugs I am taking, there are lots of other medicines I need to take like antibacterial or antibiotics to prevent the disease from taking place that sometimes I feel nauseated due to these oral drugs.

In my next posts, I am going to share my knowledge on HIV and AIDS for you to be able to get basic information and prevent from getting infected with this wicked virus.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fly Like A Bird

Since Saturday I've been sick and feeling kind of sad. I had fever last weekend but now it's gone. My doctor asked me to do the CBC lab test yesterday and the result was a bit off from normal. She asked me to do it again today and the result has a very little improvement, some of the parameters were ok while the others were not. Though the important parameters were within normal limits such as hemoglobin, I look pale and feel weak probably because of some irregularities in the result. I need to get plenty of rest.

Normally after Sunday church service, I am spiritually uplifted and strong but last Sunday was different. The answer to my prayer for a job has not come yet and I am running out of money. Yesterday my sister has confirmed that she's pregnant without the father planning to marry her for a stupid reason that he's not the first guy who had sex with her! I told my sister that, that stupid moron does not love her coz if he does her past should not be an issue. That is a fact that my poor sister can't seem to understand. I don't want to think that she's stupid or crazy but she knew from the start all of this and yet she got herself pregnant by that stupid guy! I have prayed this to God even before but perhaps God has other plan and now, we don't know how are we going to deal this stupidity in time. Currently, I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually weak and drained. Last night, I cried for all of these to God and begged Him to talk to me while I was talking to my good friend doctor on the phone. She even prayed for me and reminded me that I need to take care myself and not think too much stressing myself.

"Lord I know you are well aware of everything about me and all of these sufferings and it's ok; coz I have you and you're with me. Please give me enough strength and wisdom on how to face all of these. May you oh Lord show me the right direction to take and please forgive me if I was disheartened by your silence even though you already informed me two Sundays ago that I am in my own "three days" and I have to wait. This is a test of my faith to you oh God and I am very sorry if I am becoming impatient. Please heal me from my sickness for you are a God of healing. I am lifting up to you my Lord all of my needs and all of me, in Jesus name I prayed. Amen."

Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Trust Him. Somehow I know that there's a place up above with no more hurt and struggling, free of all atrocities and suffering. Because I feel the unconditional love from one who cares enough for me. To erase all my burdens and let me be free to fly like a bird, take to the sky. I need you now Lord, carry me high. Don't let the world break me tonight I need the strength of you by my side. Sometimes this life can be so cold, I pray you'll come and carry me home. He said, "He will never forsake you or leave you alone." Trust Him. I need you right here right now, Lord. I need you right here by my side. Keep your head up to the sky, with God's love you'll survive. Carry me higher Jesus.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Testimony To Church

This will be my testimony to our church when they are prepared and ready to hear this. The first time I told my story in front of people was during the workshop of "Channels of Hope" by this Christian NGO last April. This is the longer and complete version.

A couple of years ago I have contemplated suicide several times but it never happened. I stand here before you today by God’s grace because He has a purpose for my life that I almost failed to see. Perhaps some of you noticed that, every time you ask me questions I can not give a direct answer. The reason is I am a bit scared of your possible reactions should I reply with an honest answer. I don't know how church people would react to someone in my situation. Now that I have experienced God’s redemption, I want to be free in this congregation by sharing with you my story.

January of 1999, 3 months after passing the licensure board examination for electrical engineers I was blessed to be offered a job and got employed by one of the multinational manufacturing firm as a production line engineer. I earned good money that I was able to help my parents financially and sent my younger brother to college.

June of 2001, my younger brother took his own life with a gunshot leaving us with no reason why he did such thing.

July of 2002, I have decided to leave the company I am working for and accepted the early retirement pay. I enrolled myself in a modeling institution for two years and did modeling projects for less than 4 years though this career did not really took off.

Early 2003, I started to put up my own business with my friend. It’s a food retail business that lasted only for less than a year leaving me with a couple of hundred thousand peso losses. In the same year, I lost more than half a million pesos in a pyramiding scam together with my friends who persuaded me to invest. This was the first time when I thought of committing suicide.

September of 2005, I have decided to apply for an immigrant visa to Australia to start a new life with the hope of recovering everything I have lost.

Early 2006, I got myself employed in a call center while waiting for the result of my application.

March of the same year, the immigration services informed me that my visa was ready to be released but I need to do my medical examination first. I had my medical exam done and then a week after, I received the most unexpected and worst news I could ever receive. The result of my HIV screening test was positive! The doctor called me on the phone and asked me to come back for another blood sample to repeat the test for confirmation. It did not surprise me that much but it was the last thing I have expected! I knew I had a few unprotected sexual encounters before, the reason why it was really possible. My initial reaction was to cry and suddenly I was so furious at God and asked why me? I have not stepped on anyone just to get what I wanted. I showed respect and kindness to people especially to my family and friends, I have stolen nothing, and I never killed anyone. I prayed every night to give thanks to God, and asked for His forgiveness for the wrongs I have done. Why do I deserve this? There are many people out there who I think have done far worst things than I did but why me? For a couple of minutes I was so furious at God that I even swore at Him! I was trying to emerge from a great misfortune and migrating seemed to be my last hope for a better life. But now I can no longer migrate and work in another country for greener pasture as they say. My life seems to be a series of unfortunate events. My dream of giving my family particularly my parents a well-off kind of life has been shattered and I felt like I was broken into million pieces. That's why I was so furious and I felt like God was punishing me for all the sexual immoralities I have done. Then I realized that I was wrong and I immediately asked for His forgiveness, and asked Him to take care of me. I then cried for hours until I fell asleep hoping that when I wake up it was just a nightmare. The next day after work, I went to the hospital for confirmatory test and the doctor told me to wait for a month for the result. It was the longest one month of my life. October 2006, it was confirmed that I am positive with HIV!

At first, I had no idea what to do with my life and how would I tell this to my parents. I disclosed to a few trusted friends about my condition and I am blessed that they accepted me and did not judge me. I have decided to continue with my life as if nothing happened; but I felt like I was a dead-man walking for the next couple of months. I felt hopeless. Life has no value. I saw no way out; death became very appealing as I contemplated suicide for more than a dozen times. The problem was I just can't do it coz I know it would really hurt. But the biggest reason why I can't do it was; I have seen how my parents suffered emotionally when my younger brother took his life. If I did the same thing, I don't know how my parents will handle it this time. So, I told myself I can’t go on like this, I need to do something!

December of 2006, I decided to seek a medical help. I was referred by a friend to an NGO that supports People Living with HIV. The doctor I talked to told me that there's an organization consists of people living with HIV or PLWH who can relate to me and give me the moral and emotional support that I need. From there I was linked on how to access free medical check-up at San Lazaro hospital where I met Dr.P. After the lab test determined how strong or weak my immune system was, the result indicated that I needed to start taking medication or ARV. Thus, a series of pre-trial counseling sessions with Dr. P ensued. She discussed how the medication works and its side effects and the details about HIV. Because the drugs have fatal side effects, Doc. P insisted that I tell my parents about my condition.

At first, I was so firm with my decision to handle everything all by myself and not to tell my family about it. I was eventually convinced, realizing that they have the right to know for the simple reason that they are my family no matter what. So 8 months after my diagnosis, I told my sister first about my condition of which she cried, and requested her to give my letter to our parents. I can't bear to see them hurting because of what happened to me that's why I opted to mention the details through a letter, in that way I won’t miss anything. I came home a week after. We didn’t talk about it but I was surprised to receive their letter of reply; understandably because, we don’t vocalize our thoughts and feelings to one another. Suffice that we know that we loved each other. The content of my parent's letter was enough for me to face this dilemma dauntlessly. The line where my father told me that he's willing to take my place if that disease can only be transferred brought so much tears to me coz for the first time, I felt that my father really loves me and my mother reassured me of her love. I was so thankful to God and felt so blessed with a very understanding and loving family!

August of 2007, I have started to bum around; Dr.P asked me to quit from my call center job coz it will gradually kill me. I left Manila and just stayed at home with my parents. It was during this idle season of my life when I began to contemplate about everything I have been through. I came to realize that all my actions and decisions have been motivated by my ambition to become wealthy and to be recognized. I wanted to give my parents a luxurious life after all the sacrifices they had done for us, to travel and visit parts of the world and the country with them, to have my own condo unit and a car, and probably my own business too. There's nothing wrong with that I guess, but I was so consumed by all of these desires that somehow I forgot about God! Yes I have thanked Him and asked forgiveness every time I prayed to Him every night, but it was obviously not enough.

Late 2007, my visit to Dr.P became frequent and every time she asked me how I am doing, I always tell her that I want to make something good out of my condition. I told her that I believed God has a reason and has a different plan for me why He did not allow my plans to succeed and let this tragic thing happen to me. I have started to look at the brighter side because that's the best thing that I can do so far about my situation. I began to ask not only myself but her as well as to what is the purpose of my life, why am I here and still alive if God will only hurt me by not giving me all that I have wanted even though He witnessed that I worked so hard for all of it. I thought my parents’ support was enough for me to move on but as the days passed, death became very appealing to me again. Out of desperation, I talked to Dr.P and then she took that opportunity to share me the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She told me that the Lord wanted me to completely surrender my life to Him and leave the kind of life I used to have and dreamed about. She prayed over me and instructed me to ask forgiveness with all my heart, and to accept Jesus Christ to be my personal Lord and Savior. I was very emotional that time that I cried for like half an hour coz I have felt I have nowhere left to go but only to Him. I am sick, out of job, homeless and totally destitute; it looks like God allowed all these things to happen to leave me no choice but Him since He knows that I am scared to commit suicide. And last December, I came to this church.

Being HIV positive became the turning point of my life. Through it I became a Christian. Now, I want this unexpected consequence of my sinful actions into something beautiful that will affect change not only to me but to others as well.

I prayed that God will use me and give me ministry that will help stop the increasing number of people infected by HIV, and He answered.

April of this year, I was so happy and blessed to be invited to participate in the workshop for Channels of Hope - HIV & AIDS program. It was a facilitators training that aims to educate faith leaders on HIV and AIDS and eventually have them lead the de-stigmatization of the community and this country about this pandemic. This is a big task because we are tasked to educate faith leaders and the community as a whole about HIV and AIDS and the Christian response to this pandemic. Christian living is the answer to this problem, which is now my ultimate goal as a Christian with HIV. There are lots of patients out there who still continue to walk in darkness for reasons like they believe that they are sinners and God hates them. They want to approach church people but they are afraid that they will be mistreated and condemned; or perhaps they don't know how to approach God and children of God while the others simply choose to live their life on their own apart from God. I hope that our church will be one of the congregations that will embrace PLWH and help me or us to carry out this ministry as it entails a lot of work, planning and funding.

If you are going through a time of terrifying darkness and despair, or are plagued by doubts that are slowly eroding your hope that things can get better, I urge you to surrender it all to God; give Him full control of your life. It is the only way to live.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What Is Bagong Pag-asa?

Bagong Pag-asa is a Christ-Centered Ministry designed to help people struggling with homosexuality leave their past lifestyle and to fully embrace their true identity in Jesus Christ.

Bagong Pag-asa or BP has two principal goals. One is to rescue which means to present the truth to all who listen. It means to nurture those who will surrender to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ, befriending them and pointing the way to change. Two is to prepare a place which means to educate the church on how to meet the needs of those making such a life-altering decision through special seminars for counselors and Christian workers.

BP upholds God's standard of righteousness and holiness which declares homosexuality is sin, but also affirms that His love and redemptive power is able to bring wholeness and restoration to the entire individual, including his or her sexuality.

It is BP's wish that former homosexuals find a home in the Christian family called the church. There they will find new relationships to replace those relationships that were so destructive to their lives.

Group meeting for men provide support, new friendships and godly healing relationships, not built on sensuality. Support group meetings are run regularly.

BP began at the 1990 Exodus Conference held San Antonio, Texas when Frank and Anita Worthen were appointed missionaries to the Philippines. The ministry began in 1991 and was turned over to Filipino leadership in 1994.

BP Ministries is located at: 10-M Burgundy Corporate Tower
252 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. Makati City
(632) 886 4441

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sinner's Prayer

Whether this is the day of your salvation or the day of your rededication to Jesus Christ please let me share and join with me in this sinner's prayer. This can be found on the last chapter of Frank Worthen's book entitled "This Way Out."

"Our heavenly Father, against You have I sinned. I now confess in my heart, and I will confess publicly, that Jesus Christ is Lord, the risen Son of God, raised from the dead to bring me new life and deliverance from the Evil One.

I now accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

I renounce Satan and the power he has exerted over my life, to make the changes You desire to be made. I ask that your Holy Spirit will come to dwell within me bringing me strength and giving me all the power I need to resist temptation.

I declare now, that having asked You this and having received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, that I am no longer the person I was, I am a new creature in Christ, I am no longer controlled by my past.

I have been reborn. I have a new life. I have been freed from my sin. Praise You Jesus! All this I ask and declare in Jesus' name. Amen."

Now your past need not control the present or your future. You may right now feel release. All your sins, even those of just a few minutes ago, have been forgiven. You have a fresh start. Even if you feel nothing, something has happened; you are not the same person. God has declared you righteous in His sight. You are as clean as a newborn baby. God has said, "All that lust, all those sex acts, all the shabby things you have done, I have thrown them into the sea of forgetfulness. I see you as pure; I have restored your virginity. This day I declare you unspoiled, untouched, a virgin."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Personal Letter To You

This is a letter by Frank Worthen to a non-Christian gay which can be found on the 16th chapter of his book. Let me share it to you.

Dear friend,

Like you, I have had a lifelong struggle with homosexuality. I know what it means to be different, to be rejected and to cause pain to others because of your orientation. Despite what some may think, we didn't just one day decide to be homosexual. Your opinion of how you become gay may differ from mine and that's okay, but I think you will agree that you didn't ask for it. We live in an imperfect world and unfair things happen. No doubt you fought a battle with homosexual impulses, then give in and decided that you could never win. It was impossible to change, and you had to accept what you are.

Yes, for us it is an impossible battle one will never win. This has caused us to make several mistakes that have widened the gap between us and the heterosexual world. The first mistake is in accepting our orientation and defending our way of life.

To accept one's affliction and champion its cause is to call good evil and evil good. It is counterproductive and locks us into a lifestyle that brings unhappiness and defeat.

As our sexual interests developed and we looked to people of the same sex to meet our needs, we encouraged our responses and widened the scope of our affliction. We must bear responsibility for nurturing our problem. Another mistake is having closed the option for a heterosexual life. We have embraced the chains that bound us and have abandoned any idea of freedom. Most of us have avoided all social interaction that would have encouraged a heterosexual development.

So where are you this day? Perhaps you have found your adjustment; you are relatively happy in the gay lifestyle. You may think that you are no different from your heterosexual counterpart, no better or no worse. If offered freedom from your homosexual lifestyle, you probably first, wouldn't believe it, and second, would not want to make an adjustment now that things are comfortable with you the way they are.

We do learn to live within parameters we are given. Until motivation for change comes into our lives, we continue as we are. But there is someone who does break into our lives, who calls us when we are at that special point in time where we can listen to the caller. The One who calls is the One who made us in the first place. Scripture says that God knew us before we were conceived. Whether you accept this or not, God did not create us gay. It is not His design that we continue in a lifestyle contrary to His pattern for mankind. God saw that we all were living in poverty, poverty of spirit as well as poverty of peace and joy. He sent Jesus to live in this world. Jesus saw our condition and He wept over it. It is so far from what He intended to be.

Jesus saw that we couldn't help ourselves, that left alone we will self-destruct. He knew for us it was an impossible battle. This is why He called us to Himself. He said that He will walk beside us, providing the strength and power we need to turn back to His perfect way. He did not say that we would not suffer while the changes are being made, but He did say that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will guide us throughout the difficult times.

At sometime in your life, Jesus is going to call you. It may be now, it may be later. But He calls every person at some point in their life. To answer the call means to surrender all, to acknowledge that you need help and to humbly accept His hand as He pulls you up out of the pit.

Jesus did this for me many years ago, and I have never regretted it one day since. When we live without fulfillment and inner peace, we become indifferent to its existence. But once we have found it, we know that we have been missing something very important in our lives and would never go back to our old life.

Does becoming a Christian frighten you? Do you immediately fear the thought of having to give up sex? Of course it's frightening; facing the unknown always causes anxiety. All ex-gays have had to face this. Many, however, have found that their fears are groundless. God has given them a new experience, that of sex within the will of God: Sex in marriage. Others have found that "celibacy" is not a dirty word. God provides a gift of celibacy for those who are not ready for marriage. Up to now, I have found peace and joy in leading a celibate lifestyle. This may sound strange, but God takes care of His own. He does not torment us, but pours out rich blessings from His heart.

I encourage you to seek out a Christian friend and ask him about Jesus. Find out what it means to have someone whose love for you is eternal, someone who did not come to condemn you and to judge you, but to lift you up, not put you down. Jesus is the brother we never had, the lover we could never find. He is the One who cares. You may reject Him but as long as you live, He will never reject you. He offers a new way of life, on His terms. Consider it, I did and I am going to be eternally grateful to Him for it.

In His Love,
Frank Worthen

Frank Worthen is now happily married to Anita Thomas on November 24, 1984.

Homosexuality Part 14

Walking In The Light

Now that I have shared to you every chapter of the book "This Way Out" by Frank Worthen as well as my own "gayness", I hope you will have now a better understanding why you have become queer and why do we need to step out of it and restores our original sexuality. We're down to the final step which is walking in the light. In this chapter, I will talk about Jesus so if this may sound or read religious and preachy it's inevitable this time.

Jesus is known as the "light" as He is the "light" of men. Walking in the light has much to do with the conduct of our lives. If you have believed everything you have read in this blog about homosexuality and decided to leave it, ask forgiveness and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior; it must be your heart's desire now to be like Him. If we walk in the Holy Spirit we will not gratify the flesh. This is a walk of faith, trusting that God has provided for us a way out for all temptations and trials.

Walking in the light is like desiring to be like Jesus and being faithful and loyal to Him. It is also seeking to become a mature Christian, shrinking from sexual vice, controlling one's body in purity and ordering our conversation.

We must know how to handle temptations and build new responses on it. When we are tempted, it is important that we stop everything and ask ourselves these questions: What am I doing? Where will this lead? What do I really want? In doing so, we will be less likely to make an unwise and impulsive decision that we will regret later. We will find that we really don't want to jeopardize all that God has done for us by engaging in some personal sexual encounter. The agony of temptation is in the indecision. We want it, but we can't have it. If we build a pattern of indecision, we will always have to go through the torments that ambivalence brings. There is always a split second where we can accept or reject the temptation so we must make a very fast judgment.

Speaking of sexual encounter, of course we must avoid that now and any form of sexual activity including masturbation. Since masturbation is usually fueled by lustful thoughts and dirty fantasies, it automatically becomes a sin. There is a natural build-up of stored fluid in the reproductive system and it brings strong desire for sexual release, so how on earth are we going to do that with no sinful encouragement behind it? God designed our bodies and He has provided natural way for release of these fluids. It is not mentioned in the book what natural way but a friend of mine told me that it could be the wet dreams and the other is sex in marriage when you're ready. If we are walking in the Spirit, we will have the patience and self-control we need during those times. As for me, I have chosen to celibate and somehow I am happy about it. Like I have said, I don't know until when I can do this but I think God is working on it.

Receiving affirmation from same sex Christians is part of walking in the light and it includes affection but up to what extent? For us coming out of the gay lifestyle, touching means stimulation and sensuality; which stems from a non sexual root from early childhood when we're denied this form of affection. For this reason, we might avoid at all costs any kind of intimate relationship. Affection is a vital part of the healing process so we must face the hugging or any skin to skin contact without sensualizing it. All we need is to trust God that He is going to make it possible for us to receive this kind of affection.

Our goal now is to grow up as a Christian struggling in same sex attraction. This is the only way to find inner peace and joy that will carry us through many hardships and it only comes from obedience. If we did not grow up, we are in great danger of slipping back. So expect suffering for being obedient coz it will help us grow mature. Walking in the light is walking in wisdom, forsaking the easy way and doing what pleases God. It is trying to be Holy for without holiness no one will see the Lord. Holiness is obedience to God.

You will be called now a new name; it is no longer "slave" or "prisoner" of this world but a "freed man." Walking in the light means now you are under the authority and the power of God, controlled by the Holy Spirit. We don't have to wait until we no longer have any response for same sex people for God has broken our relationship with the past. Things are different now and will never be the same again.

Walking in the light is acknowledging that God has changed us, is in the process of changing us, and will continue to change us until we stand beside Him. We are to rejoice in what God has done for us.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Homosexuality Part 13


Sorry for the interruption of the series on homosexuality, I just can't ignore everything that happened to me yesterday so albeit I'm a bit tired and sleepy I have posted it here last night.

After submission, displacement is the next step. It means putting off old ways that will affect the change that you want and putting on new ways or things that will greatly help us to really change. Displacement is the idea that one thing pushes out or dislodges another.

I know it is impossible to simply put something out of our lives without another thing taking its place for there is no neutral ground; we are in a battleground of two opposing forces. But please also think that you have the brain to determine which is right from wrong or which is evil from good. Since you have decided to leave homosexuality, you need to remove all things in your life that has something to do with this lifestyle and replace it with something new. Yes it will definitely include leaving gay friends which I exactly did, especially those who are saying that I can not do it. I have replaced them with new Christian friends who are in the same situation like mine; who will help me to be triumphant in this walk with Jesus Christ.

You need to stop chatting through guys4men or other gay websites, throw away all your collections of gay porn magazines, DVD or VCD; stop cruising in the mall for SEB and going to gay bars. You need to remove in your life everything that contributes to your gay lifestyle and replace it with new things. What are these new things? I think I have mentioned them in Part 6 and these are bible study, prayer, fellowship and service, concern for others, and scripture memorization. It is God's words that we used against temptations. It is also vital that we have both spiritual and social interaction with our fellow Christians. Social times must not be neglected but only with the right people.

A change of mind must also be done. Feed your mind with stuff that will help you grow as a new you to displace your old mind frame. Returning to old haunts, listening once again to gay conversations, remembering past sexual encounters; all this brings on hopelessness, a feeling of failure that things will never really change. Even if a sexual encounter has not taken place, just returning to the old environment exposes one to vibes which can strongly influence and reinforce old attitudes and desires.

Remember always that God always forgives us when we stumble, but this does not waive the penalty that our actions have brought upon us; displacement is clearly our responsibility. Ambivalence must be seen as an enemy to change so the option of homosexuality must be firmly closed.

The book also said that the music you listen to should be replaced also, at first I disagreed. But when I listened to Christian music that expresses praise, joy and the power of God, there is a great healing. It gives new positive associations that build our faith. Just give up worldly music that contains explicit sexual languages and just listen to wholesome songs ok? As for me, I love and enjoy Christian music now whether you believe it or not.

Self-pity indicates self-centeredness. You should wholeheartedly follow the first commandment which is to love God above all. Put God on the throne and not our lives for putting self on the center destroys our lives. God must be our first priority and His interests. If that happens, much healing takes place.

Immaturity must be changed to maturity. We should not avoid the trials that bring growth in our lives, tough decisions must be made. Maturity is standing for the Lord against others at times and often against our own selfish desires. Yesterday our pastor in his preaches told us that in this world, everybody is in two kind of suffering. You can choose to suffer for the Lord just to live righteously or the world suffering which is more of suffering for yourself.

We have not been given a spirit of fear, so fear not for the Lord is with us. We have been given the power over the enemy which is the power of Christ. We are to use this power and not hide in fear, we need to take charge.

Lastly are resentments. Forgiveness includes forgiving others and ourselves as well. Anger, hostility, resentment and the desire for retaliation have no place in the new life that we want which is the Christian life.

Perhaps the hardest thing to put off is the homosexual identity. Remember that we have chosen this identity because this is what we think who we are; but deep inside of our hearts we are really against it. If you think that the gay identity held comfort and security, I don't think you can let it go but it must go now. It must be cast off and the identity "Christian" put on.

Displacement is about building a new lifestyle. As long as we look to the old lifestyle as a source of pleasure, acceptance, entertainment, or an anchor for our identity, change will not take place. The new lifestyle is built on simple things like having a positive spirit and welcoming Jesus into all areas of our lives. It takes more than a small amount of courage to walk into the unknown, face tough decisions and build a dependent relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our lives will change to the degree that we encourage growth, filling our minds with the things of God. If we lack wisdom as to what things need to be changed, God will amply supply that also.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Who Am I?

This is actually a title of a Christian song sung by Casting Crowns. When my good friend J, whom I've met during the Channels of Hope training, asked me this question today and of course he said "who are you?" I can't find the right answer. We spend the whole afternoon together at the mall in Mandaluyong after the Sunday church service. I was telling him about what I've been through the past three days that I feel like I am having a shabby walk as a Christian and how I have contemplated the idea of going back to my old self. It's like I am living a double life, well, that's what I thought but today God has spoken to me thru J and our church Pastor.

Yes I must admit that at this point of my life, I can say that my trust to God is not whole and He knows that and I am well aware that it should not be the case for I have entrusted my life to Him. I still have the tendency to take control over things in my life. Since I have wanted to obey God to show that I love Him, I keep on waiting and I always pray that He'll wait for me too to make that trust full. All these confusions in my mind were enlightened by God today that's why I am so thankful and happy.

The preach was about Saul and the three days in the history of the world in which the famous is the death of Jesus Christ and when He lived on the third day. All of us will experience or currently experiencing our own three days in our life. This is the waiting period from where we asked something from God until the time He fulfilled it. It could be three days or three months or three hours or even three years or most of the time, longer than that. In this period where our faith is being test by God, is the time when He is preparing us for something before He finally gave what we asked for. He's teaching us to be patient during this time. God wants us to be ready to accept what we actually prayed for. During this period, God wants us to give Him time for He can do a lot in three days. Our prayers will be answered directly or indirectly in His time; it could be exactly what we prayed for or it could be a direction the path He wants us to take. All we need to do is to give Him time and be patient.

Another thing is we need to pray for a change. Most of the time, we think we are actually praying but the truth is we're actually complaining about our situation. We should pray that God would change our situation instead of being crabby. We must discern the reason why God is delaying or allowing other things to happen instead of giving exactly what we prayed for.

Finally, God is teaching us to be humble. Humility is a virtue that every people should carry. We need to be honest with God when we pray that we can't do it anymore and we need His help. Remember that God wants us to be fully dependent on Him. Unless we have learned what God really wants to teach, He will keep delaying the answer to our prayers.

When I have become a Christian and decided to leave homosexuality behind, I always pray every night that God will stop my sexual desire on attractive men and He will keep them away from me. Also, I always pray that He will immediately change my views on men coz I don't know until when I can do this celibacy. I don't want to commit mistake again but the temptation is everywhere and my prayers remain unanswered. I keep praying that He will continue to work in my life for I have given all of me to Him and use me according to His purpose of my life in this world. It includes the job and ministry that I have asked for, though something is happening but for me it's taking too long. All these issues were answered today praise the Lord!

My friend J do not use the term homosexual or gay to someone who has left it and became a Christian. He said that when a person was born again spiritually and became a Christian, the old person has died and the new one is trying to emerge. I think I have mentioned this in my first few postings but somehow it slipped off my mind. So when he asked me the question "who are you?'" as a person in terms of sexuality, here's the right answer.

I am a man and a Christian with a struggle in same-sex attraction; presently on my three days learning humility and discerning God's direction for my life. Actually, I answered J first that in scale of 1-10 and 10 being the real man and 1 as gay I said I am in 2.5 or 3. My reason was that I can still feel same sex attraction and lust though I can turn my back away from them to avoid sex but it's really a struggle, then I said I am still gay. Then he made me realize that now I am an ex-gay, that's the reason why I don't use this term on my postings here regarding homosexuality. If the person chooses to leave the gay lifestyle and decided to walk in light with the Lord, that person is identified as an ex-gay and a Christian man struggling with same sex attraction. That's me, my true identity.

Who are you?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Homosexuality Part 12


It means yielding and surrendering, or to resist no longer or to give way and to yield to authority and admonition. Submission for a gay person who has decided to step out of it means surrendering himself to God. It means yielding our total selves to Him including our body, our hearts, our mind, our will, our goals and our desires for ourselves. It means allowing God to work on our lives, to take the wheel and lead the path He originally planned us to take. Yes it also means letting Him to take charge of our homosexual issue to make the change we want possible in His time for we cannot do it on our own.

When I had my first sexual encounter, I have felt a sudden guilt. My conscience told me it was wrong and that's the role of our conscience; to make rightful judgment with what we're doing. I just tend to ignore it because I let my flesh desires to take over me and control me for the past 6 or 7 years. Simply I did not obey God and still continued to indulge in lots of casual sex and look what I've got, HIV. It's ok coz it's a consequence of my wrong actions and I need to take responsibility for it, all of us need to. At first I must admit that I have blamed God for letting this to happen and ruined my whole life, but now that I have become a Christian I realized that if only I did not disobeyed Him this horrendous thing would not happen.

Having said that, obedience is also submission. We all know from the start that we should follow God's commandments and His words; instead we opted to live with the standards of this world. We tend to take control of our lives and make self-rule. Based on my experience, my self was not a good ruler and I have learned that our self-rule is far more destructive than our sexual entanglements. Probably you cannot see this for now coz you might be successful or relatively happy as a gay person; but this the reason why God allows us to wallow in our sin until we come to the end of ourselves. That was exactly what happened to me.

Submission is also to acknowledge that we are all God's property; unless you believe that you have evolution from a monkey that I cannot force you. Since we're His property, our lives are His problem and not ours. We stop controlling our lives and letting Him to be responsible for it. It does not mean avoiding responsibility to our selves but it is trusting God.

This may sound scary for you but its quite understandable for stepping into an unknown area is really uncomfortable and really scary. But why do we resist absolute submission to God and refuse Him to allow directing our lives according to His plan? We don't fully trust God and we are sinners. We don't want to give up sex, going to gay bars, watching gay porn movies, cruising in malls or parks and other things we love to do even though we're aware that it was wrong. In short, we want to settle for garbage. These things do not make me really happy and you can ask yourself, so I am trying my best now to avoid all of these. We are worried coz we think that if we do submit ourselves to God and walk with Him, we will have an unhappy life. Well, I cannot say that I am happy now but I can say that I have never felt free and peaceful in my entire life as an adult. Probably because I have some issues that I need to resolve but I am alright and not sad. If you submit to the Lord and obey Him, it means returning some of the love God has showered on us.

So what will happen when you submit? Will you always walk in victory? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Some have surrendered to the Lord and have never again engaged in homosexual practices or any sexual activities, it was final. God took control, and although they felt temptation from time to time, the power to resist was there in ample proportions; temptation had lost its control. This is true coz sometimes I get tempted to hook up but for some reason, I will avoid it in the end so I won't do it.

Not only are we to submit to God but to His representatives as well like our pastors or spiritual counselors. It's important that we hold accountability to others for they are part of the church that will help us to make this change possible.

Look, all of us will be called by God at a certain point of our life. It's up to us if we're going to respond whether we will accept Him and walk with Him or not. When that time comes, you cannot bypass submission and go on your independent way. Submission is death to self-interest and birth to God's interests. As we build a love relationship with God, obedience will flow from that relationship.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Homosexuality Part 11

The Belief Principle

When you have decided to change and leave homosexuality, you have to believe in yourself that you can do this through God and not with just your own self. After you have received God's forgiveness and accepted Him as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to believe that the change you want is possible. You need to have faith and hope in yourself and in God; yeah I know it sounds easy to say than done but for me it's the only choice I've got if I want to live a happy and normal life. If Frank Worthen have done it, so can I and you.

You need to believe that God has really spoken about homosexuality as a sin. If you are going to open up your bible and read Leviticus and Corinthians, you will find that it is mentioned there a couple of times so believe that it is indeed a sin. I always go back to this bible verses which I mentioned in my previous postings, every time I am being tempted to think about having sex with a guy. Then I will pray that God will continue to protect me.

You also need to know that belief comes from a simple hope, a hope that things might possibly change. If that hope grows, it will become reality. We do not have what it takes to bring it about only if we will place it on Jesus. Hey! I really hate to sound or read so preachy or religious but this is a serious matter. When something is serious, most of the time we turn to Him especially if it is a matter of life and death. So I guess you better live with it man!

In the health services field, it is known that a severely ill patient who is filled with hope has a better chance of survival than a slightly ill patient who is depressed and has lost all hope. Believe it for it's true.

When I have accepted Jesus Christ into my life and asked Him to take charge, I know that I have to change my lifestyle and abandon homosexuality. Did I turn from homosexual to a straight guy in a matter of a few minutes? No, but the foundation was laid and I was filled with hope. I have experienced the changes in me when the Holy Spirit began to work within me. Whether you believe it or not, my sexual desire with men became less that I can manage now to turn away from them when they approach me. Yeah I still tend to get attracted to good looking guys especially with well-built physique but it's just end there. I can now resist the temptation to pursue them and simply just walk away. One day I believe that my prayers to God of changing my view with men will happen.

If you have decided to change but do not believe that it is impossible because of the temptations out there, then it will not going to happen. Disbelief will block all the changes we want to take place and at the same time, it also blocks all that God wants to do in our lives.

Be firm in your belief especially during the tough times for it tests our faith that we can do this with Him. Trusting God with our lives, being assured that change will come and that God will do what the world considers impossible is the kind of belief that you and I should have.