D R . E L R O I


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Going Four Years - God's Enabling Grace

Yesterday December 13 marked the fourth year of my existence as a born again Christian!

My Pastor and I had our not so regular accountability meeting finally after several months because of our busy schedules with our own ministry work. Only then I was able to give him an update on what's happening or what I have been through, also now is the only time I will confess these things on my blog.

Everything started when I came back from Busan when my curiosity got opened again to the new things for me on gay sex which I found out from casual conversation with my gay friends and new people I met during this conference in Korea.

I told myself I will just try it once or twice then that's it and I will quit, so I joined again on this gay website just to find out that many people are really now into party (or partee) and play or pnp for short. It's having sex after taking E or ecstasy and for some I also learned that they use "ice" or shabu instead. And my roller coaster journey began.

The promise of doing the pnp once or twice did not happen though for the fact that what I've heard is true. That the feeling when you are high with its effect makes the act very pleasurable that you will definitely ask for more! It's kind of addictive that you want it whenever you want to have sex. Later on I met a Dutch guy who asked me to have a pnp with him and we unexpectedly hit it off which started from what we have in common and that is being HIV+. For the first time he never felt that accepted and comfortable with someone after a very long time according to him. He shared a lot of pain in his life which he have hidden in his heart for quite some time that I can relate to mostly and he said he never felt that free to be himself when he's with me. As for me, I honestly felt his pain and God's love flowed through my heart for him as he shared that we became even closer than we expected until he offered me the life once I was dreaming of as a gay person before! He was planning to marry me and settle in Europe!

Well I must admit that was very tempting, flattering and honestly I love it too but it also reminded me that it was not the path towards the realization of God's promise to me more than a couple of years ago. I have to choose between him and Jesus! Knowing all the truth from His words and through the guidance of my church, friends and Pastor, even it was too painful for me to choose the Lord and die to my desire, I did choose Jesus. Yes I broke his heart and mine as well twice with this decision. It hurt me that I have hurt him and it hurt that I hurt myself. It was almost an unbearable pain that I was crying for two days. I never thought I would fall for and miss someone whom I have been "together" for only two weeks.

I know I made the right choice and I have done a favor for both of us. This was confirmed by my Pastor last night. He also made me realized that God was crying also in pain with me that very moment and that God poured so much grace upon me on this to come up with the right decision! My Pastor, my boss at work and a very close girlfriend of mine were all very proud of me. But the best part, God is also very pleased. By the way, I have deleted my account on that gay website two days after "breaking up" with him to end all these foolishness.

Also it made me realize how He loves me and still I can't believe how I can allow myself to go this far. Indeed this event thought me a great lesson in my journey with the Lord that no matter what, I have to stand right with God.

When we choose to go either to the right or the left instead of walking straight to the path God set for us, things happen such as meeting people. Unexpected things happen in the process of knowing them and sometimes ending up liking or even loving them. As Christ's follower, we are mandated to love him and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Hence, even these people we meet does not conform with our beliefs and principles based on God's words, we have no choice but to love them still even to the point of hurting them if necessary and even more painful....to the point of hurting ourselves by leaving them for a certain period of time just to stay within His will. But the saddest part is that, that the person might go astray more from Him. Truly dying to ourselves and to our own desires can be our greatest sacrifice for Christ, though it's incomparable to His suffering on the cross just to save and transform us, as evidence of our love for Him. Lord please forgive this son of yours and may these people forgive me too.

All these happened in the past five months in the midst of doing the ministry and now I am moving towards my fifth year in this journey with the Lord Jesus, excitedly looking forward to great things that God has in store for me. I am so grateful that God saved me and always faithful to me so thank you Lord so much.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

World AIDS Day and CoH

It's more than three years I have been serving the Lord through the CoH or Channels of Hope ministry. I can say that I have grown so much as an HIV positive person and as a Christian in doing this as I tell how the Lord has changed my life and turned my world around and how He is still changing me as a person up to this very moment.

Last week, the team conducted a two day workshop after more than three months and twenty colleagues have participated and finished the learning event. Once again for most of them, it was a life-changing or life transforming event for it not only altered their views on the issue itself but how are they as God's children too. They were so grateful that finally they were able to attend this workshop.

In relation to World AIDS Day theme for 2011 which is "Getting to Zero: Zero new infection; zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related death", Channels of Hope can greatly help to make this ambitious goal into reality. Thank God for this ministry that truly help faith based organizations and churches to respond in a Christ like way on HIV & AIDS.

It's high time the faith leaders must be involved in addressing this issue.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

4th Western Visayas AIDS Congress

Attending this conference in Talisay, Negros Occidental last week was my first time in the country and second time as a speaker to present the ministry that God has entrusted me and helped me to be where I am right now in this journey of life.

Similar to my experience in Busan less than three months ago, I was a bit nervous prior to my session, which was cut from 90 minutes to an hour only. It was the third largest audience I had since I began this work, approximately more than a hundred crown including some town councilors and a mayor!

At first, I was thinking of presenting my organization and our HIV ministry which is Channels of Hope and then I will tell my story in the end. When I stood in front, I believed with the leading from the Holy Spirit, I started in reverse. I told my story first and then the technical information of CoH which turned out very good and well received by the audience!

One delegate even told me that it was the best message and session in the whole congress! It was very fortifying, something new to them and truly inspiring! Many people were really blessed especially those who are also living with HIV. Once again, I cannot believe that what God has done and still doing in my life has such a great impact to people. It's like an affirmation that I am a man of hope as my friends calls me. I deemed God did an amazing job again for the nth time!

Prior to my talk, I was given the opportunity to see the city and the famous historical love mansion called "The Ruins". The love story behind this structure was absolutely romantic and sweet. Also I was able to taste the original Bacolod Inasal! Another blessed and wonderful trip indeed!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

E21 Jakarta

Indonesia is the ninth country I have visited and was able to see some spots in the city of Jakarta last week.

The reason why I went there was to attend and participate for the first time in a gathering of Christians and Christian Leaders all over Asia. The conference was called Empowered21 Asia which aimed to call God's people to live a Spirit-filled life in this time.

Eight tracks were featured in the three day event with revival night each evening lead by the likes of Cindy Jacobs. I participated mostly in the Empowering the Young Generation Track led by my Pastor and once in Worship Track where I got to see and hear Sidney Mohede of Indonesia, a well-known worship leader and musician in that country. Truly it was an overwhelming and hair - standing experience to worship and praise God with fellow believers from different nations.

The Lord also has given me a chance to share how He changed me and still changing me for a few minutes in one session and I heard that many people were touched and blessed. In fact, one delegate approached me to ask help and guidance on what to do with his friends having the same sex attraction or SSA.

My friend and colleague from Jakarta brought me to city and visited its landmark which is called the Monas, a tower at the heart of the city. We also went to the National Museum to see some relics from the Borobudur Temple, to the fountain monument, and to a couple of malls to do some shopping.

Though I have to be honest that I was not that excited when I am about to go to this trip but then I still had a great time there and realized this was still a blessing from the Lord that I should be thankful for! Even if I did not have a special moment with Him on this trip, which I have expected, I can say that God is always good indeed!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Abundant Grace

My Pastor have invited me to share my testimony to this Christian gathering called Empower 21 to be held in Jakarta on the last week of this month.

This was mentioned to me few months ago and I said yes already because I actually had a plan of going there for a business meeting at work. Two weeks ago this trip was cancelled and now I have to shoulder all my expenses. I have wanted to back out because the ticket was quite expensive already. But my Pastor really wanted me to be there and I asked him why.

God's grace that I have, according to him, is pretty abundant that people need to hear someone like me who's struggling to live righteously in the name of Jesus. To cut the story short, I have finally decided to book a flight and be there as originally planned.

When I paused for a moment and think about what he told me, only then I realized that he was absolutely right. God has given me and continuously pouring out His abundant grace. Considering the sexual falls I had in the past several months, yet I am still here standing with my faith in Him and firmly holding on to the hopes and promises He has in store for me!

God has been faithful and will always be even when I am not. That's why I cannot brag about my love for Him simply for the reason that I fail Him every day over and over again. But I can brag about His love for me because He never fails. I need Jesus every second of my life for this life is not only for Him but it's all about Him.
He always picks me up whenever I fall. He always forgives and wipes away all my transgressions and encourages me to continue running the race He set for me.

So even if I am unworthy, I will go there to testify to the gospel of God's grace because that is what the Lord wants me to do exactly, stand in His name and bring hope to many. For this life can only be lived righteously and possibly with God's abundant, amazing and ocean-like amount of grace!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First CoH Annual Forum

Two weeks ago, 28 out of the 51 Channels of Hope Facilitators in the Philippines gathered for an annual forum. It's the first ever meeting of all the trained and certified "channels of God's hope" for people living with HIV and AIDS since it's launching in 2007.

The event served as a reunion of the first batch, second batch and those who were trained outside the country. It was also my first time to chair an event like this and I thank God for taking care of everything very well. From the preparations, program, sessions and until closing God was there! Truly when you entrust everything to Him, nothing can go wrong.

Everyone who attended had a great time. Re-commitment was done and plans were made to keep this God-given ministry going and continue reaching out more churches and other sectors. Hopefully, more and more will be sensitized on HIV & AIDS, empowered and will do their part to eliminate stigma and discrimination, help to prevent HIV infection and bring hope to those who are already affected and infected by this pandemic.

For with God, nothing is impossible.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

10th ICAAP 2011

It was my first time to attend a conference on HIV and AIDS such as ICAAP or the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific and this time it was held in BEXCO, Busan, Republic of Korea last August 26-30, the eighth country I have visited.

God has been gracious to send me there. I just sent an abstract which was fortunately chosen for a poster presentation. At first I have no intention of going there for two reasons, my project has no budget for this trip and I do not want to incur another absence from my class. But God obviously wanted me to be there, the budget was provided from another health project and I found out when I returned that our class was canceled!

Only few people were interested to know more about my poster which was about churches as channels of hope for PLHIV but still felt glad and blessed to share it with them! I went there not just for the poster, our counterpart office in Korea asked me to do a skills building workshop on "Channels of Hope" with my other colleague and friend. It was well received by the people who have attended and all I got were all very positive feedback! One participant even thought that now he just found the missing piece in the puzzle of this ministry! I kind of agree with him because what I learned and realized from participating in this conference was I guess....all the works for HIV are meaningless unless God is included. It seems almost everybody is missing the whole point. Christians are also very few. Well this is just my opinion though that's how I see it.

One thing was sure, God did not fail me for He was there I know during my whole session and trip. But the good news ends here because I have to admit that I failed Him once again the night after that victory! Yes and I am very sorry. There were so many attractive guys out there and I fell into one. In conferences like this, I have learned that gay men are everywhere and it's easy to meet new men from different places and make friends with them. What drew me to him aside from physical attraction was his religiousness and the spirituality he shared with me then later on in our conversation, I found out he's married to a man too. And then it happened. I knew God has forgiven me but I still feel very bad about myself. Thankfully, God has spoken to me this morning through the message at the Sunday service. He reminded me of His love and presence. Truly I can no longer live without God even in the midst of this SSA struggle but still I have to do my part in this process of change. I am so glad Jesus came for all of us. It's only by His grace that I can humble myself before Him whenever this sin or any other sins I make happens.

With the exception of that peccadillo, the whole trip was generally great and blessed. We were able to visit places and bought some good stuff for friends. Busan is a nice city to visit. Food is good too and the Haeundae Beach is a nice venue to relax, talk with friends. It's a beach beside a busy road of the city. Nampo market is a place where you can buy clothes, shoes, accessories and other gift items at a reasonable price though I must say they are a bit more expensive compared to market places in Bangkok. Places can be reached by a metro train but if you are going to a nearby mall like Lotte Department Store, a taxi with GPRS navigation will do at a affordable price. Korea is a well industrialized beautiful country I surmise. But the best thing happened of course were the new friends I met from this event and the fellowship. God is always good no matter what so all the praises be upon Him!

Friday, August 19, 2011

CoH in Maasin

This week the team from Leyte and I conducted a three day Channels of Hope workshop in Maasin, a town that is four hours away from Tacloban City.

Not as well attended and as good as the previous workshops I've done but still another victorious and blessed event. Seventeen new channels of God's hope for people living with HIV and AIDS were grateful to participate in this uniquely life-changing experiential kind of learning.

Praise the Lord for the wisdom, strength and confidence He had given to us. Also thank God for the good weather and traveling mercy as we went there and home.

Next week, I'll be going to Busan, South Korea to present my chosen abstract and to speak in a skills building workshop on behalf of my organization.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Iloilo and Church Partners CoH, Confession

Last week we had a three day Channels of Hope workshop in Iloilo and just yesterday we have concluded the two day workshop for church partners held at the office chapel.

God has done great things once again in both events. More than twenty five participants were blessed and became channels of God's hope in Iloilo and there were sixteen church partners have participated and finished the workshop despite of the storm "Juaning" on the first day this week.

All these people were touched and deeply moved with what God has accomplished so far in my life when I shared my life-changing experience to all of them. Whenever I do this, which is not easy I must admit, the Lord keeps reminding me that He can really use anyone for the purpose of His kingdom. It was an eye opener for them especially to the church workers and leaders and made them realized their imperative role in the HIV ministry; that they should be the spearhead as God's people in eliminating AIDS related stigma and discrimination and in reaching out not only to those who are infected and affected by this pandemic but also to all the marginalized people of the society!

Through these recent events, I have proven that no failure or I must say sin, can hinder God's plan and purpose. I thought I won't be able to stand and speak about God's love, faithfulness and hope in me at the workshop after I have failed and committed the same mistake again. The frustration, guilt and shame I felt were still in me but I said there's no turning back. I can't live without Jesus anymore so I chose to pick myself up again and turn to God for His forgiveness, grace and mercy for the strength, wisdom and confidence I needed to continue the work He has entrusted me.

Times like this still makes me wonder when will I ever get to the point of my life where I'll be strong enough to resist the same kind of temptations, more focused on Jesus and be able to walk strongly right into the promises He has already set before me. Well I guess, only God knows. All I have to do is to incessantly trust and have faith in Him and ask for His life transforming grace each and every day of my life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

CoH for Colleagues in the Ministry

A little more than two weeks ago, it was the last 2 days of June to be exact; the team conducted another Channels of Hope workshop to our colleagues and few church and NGO partners.

Praise the Lord for this batch produced the second most number of staff who attended and finished the 2 day activity since its launching three years ago. There are 19 of them out of the 25 who have participated! This was also the second time that the person used by God to bring me back to His kingdom was with me in facilitating the event. The used to be doctor and the HIV patient were together again and firsthand experience always works!

Lots of positive feedback was received and most of them have really enjoyed and never regretted attending this unique, touching and life transforming learning event! For our church partners, it was an eye opener for them to learn HIV and AIDS and realize their calling as a church!

I will never get tired doing this ministry, sharing my life on how God met me, turned my life around, has changed me and still changing me and forever I will be grateful to the Lord for allowing me to be a beacon of hope to people who were truly touched by the life that God has given me. Thank you Lord for these new "channels of hope" and may their light shines wherever they go.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A New Endeavor

This could be the beginning of the consummation of one of God's promises in my life.

How God works in my life or to anyone's is pretty awesome and I must say funny sometimes. Why did I say that? I remember when I became a true Christian I told the Lord that He can ask me to do whatever He wants me to do for His kingdom except to serve Him as a Pastor. Besides, I am really enjoying the ministry He entrusted me. In fact I am willing to be a channel of hope for the rest of my life to many people.

Early last year I do not know what occurred to me, I woke up one day with the desire of becoming a Pastor! Perhaps not a preaching type because I am not sure if I have the gift of preaching but more of a counseling kind of Pastor. Counseling has been in my heart ever since I have recovered from the tragedy of being HIV+, so it became my dream and desire to be a professional in this area.

After three years of serving the Lord in the HOPE ministry, He had given me the opportunity to start something on this new desire and dream. Currently I am enrolled at Asian Theological Seminary to pursue the MA program in Pastoral Counseling! This week will be my third week at the school and so far I am having a great time and always looking forward to my next class.

Please allow me to say this to people out there who might be in the same health condition like me or to those who have lose hope already. This is clear evidence that being HIV+ is not an encumbrance to God's plan in my life. All we have to do is trust Him, continuously surrender our lives to Him and allow God to take over no matter situation we are in right now!

God said in Psalms 32:8, I will instruct and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. In Isaiah 41:10b He said, I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Lastly in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Camiguin and Cambodia Trip

The past two weeks were a busy but blessed days! It made me realize that God is truly gracious to put me in this work ministry to serve His people.

First, the team where I belong in the Philippines had a meeting and team building for three days which was held in the beautiful and peaceful island of Camiguin. After we finished the day's schedule, the team was able to visit the sunken cemetery and enjoy and feel both the cold spring
and hot springs! It was a very relaxing and wonderful experience.

Then the following week I have to go to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to p
rovide technical assistance to the HOPE people there on their implementation plan and to learn about one project on improving the quality of life of people living with HIV in Battambang province, which is five hours away from the city capital. I felt very fortunate and blessed to meet those people and I really learned many things from them and about the project. I wish we have the same kind of project for PLWH in the Philippines.

When I found out more tha
n a month ago that I have this trip to Cambodia, I was hoping to see the famous Angkor Watt Temple which was located in Siem Reap, five to six hours away from Phnom Penh. Learning this fact, I gave up the idea of seeing it but to my surprise.....the project team had decided to bring my colleague friend and I to Siem Reap on our way back to the city from Battambang province! Of course, I was so thrilled and elated in anticipation for this was really unexpected! I said God, you are simply amazing!

So I must say that God is more than gracious enough to turn this temple in my Asian history into a reality! In addition to that, back in Phnom Penh, my friends brought me to the Royal Palace, Genocide Museum and Russian market to buy gifts and souvenirs.

Indeed truly another great experience from this South East Asian country, Cambodia, the seventh nation I have visited. Thank you Lord for this blessing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kalibo CoH & Boracay Trip

Last week was indeed a blessed week for me! After almost three months of absence from doing the "Channels of Hope" or CoH workshop, the Lord brought me to Kalibo for the first time to do it for three days.

Once again, God did a marvelous job to all of us there especially to the participants! My co-facilitators were very good and virtually all of them were touched, felt very blessed and deeply moved with God's work in my life. It's really amazing to be a vessel of God's divine gra
ce and truly an honor to be chosen to serve Him no matter how unqualified and unworthy of me as a dispenser of God's hope!

The Lord allowed my Pastor friend and me to see Boracay at the end of the workshop. It was our first time both to see this beautiful God's creation, a small island at the northern part of Kalibo, Aklan. We're not able to see its real beauty under the sun because the weather was a bit cloudy with occasional rain showers. But it was good enough for us
to feel the very fine white sand and ocean water! At least we did not need to apply sun block protection.Also I was able to experience para sailing finally! A little bit expensive but I must say it's worth it.

When you're approximately 200 to 300 feet up in the air and have the view from the top, it was simply astounding! I can't help but to praise God and thank Him all the time while I'm up there and at the same time praying for His protection for the whole fifteen minutes! My fate during that moment relies on the rope holding me under a parachute on the boat.

Side trip such as this was indeed a blessing from God. The Lord was really with us all throughout this wonderful experience! Living a life for our Creator through Jesus Christ is exceptionally a blessed life!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

CoH in Dumaguete 2011

My first time in Dumaguete City was in 2008, also the very first time I have conducted the Channels of Hope or CoH workshop to 13 Pastors in the area.

After 3 years I returned to this city to help out my colleagues in doing the same workshop, this time not only with more improvements and developments from the very first one but we have 39 participants! Also this was the first time I did not share my testimony because I only joined the last day but it was alright. I believe it's about time somebody has to fill in my shoes once in a while.

But what I really liked about this trip is that even though I was not able to share God's goodness and faithfulness in my life to many, He led me to share it with one of the participants when we dined out after the workshop! This young lad was so blessed because he said he needs some inspiration. He's so grateful that we were able to spend some time for I was mentioned already to him by a common friend who also attended the CoH and heard my testimony.

Of course how can I forget their famous mouth watering Sansrival! They gave me 3 boxes as a gift. It was a short but a hallowed and prolific trip.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Malaysia Experience

Malaysia is the sixth country I have visited. The training was about understanding Islam and it was held in Seremban, an hour away from the capital city Kuala Lumpur.

Before this trip I have prayed to God to be with me and I want to have another wonderful experience of His glorious presence! He actually did praise You my dear Lord!

The training was really good because I have learned a lot about our Muslim brothers and sisters and somehow gave me confidence to relate with them. Since it was an eight day program we were able to visit this church on a Sunday, which is a day off from the training, in Kuala Lumpur where we attended service. Then we went to Central Market to buy some stuff for family and friends and of course the famous Petronas Towers. Unfortunately, we were not able to climb up the tower because according to our tour guide we have to line up as early as 3 or 4 in the morning to ensure entry and be included in the 1080 persons allowed to climb in a day. So we enjoyed ourselves taking photos in and around the twin tower.

Included in the training is a field visit and I believed it was the highlight of this trip for me. The experience I had back in India last year was repeated and this time with a Pastor working with young Muslim refugees! It brought tears into my eyes, was deeply moved and truly touched, as he told us how God worked in his life through these people! I saw Jesus' heart in him! I saw Jesus in him! We just need to be more like Jesus in reaching out to people especially to people of other faith like Muslims. That's what I have learned and realized.

Prior to this visit to the ministry of this pastor, we were blessed to pay a visit and see the Batu Cave near his place. Also we have visited a mosque where we have witnessed how the Muslims prayed inside. Then we finished the day visiting these Muslim women to learn more about them.

God has been truly good for making this stay in Malaysia a productive, happy and blessed time! I also had great moments spent with the Lord and felt His great presence! The Lord also gave me an opportunity to share my journey with two people in the group and now we are really good friends! Once again, a gazillion thanks to God for all these blessings. Praise be to Him!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Holy Week Visitation

This year's holy week was really a memorable one for me. I strongly believe that I had a visitation from the Lord Himself! A few things happened since Palm Sunday and the joy I felt in my heart is quite uncontainable that I almost scream.

Not all things that happened were actually good. There's one which is shameful and put my life in peril at the same time but the Lord somehow turned it into something good.

It was Palm Sunday evening when I was praying and asked God why He has chosen me to serve His kingdom despite of my sinfulness and weaknesses. Truly I felt that it was God speaking to me when I read the devotion for that day and told me that He needed someone to carry His plans through lowly instruments like me. He looked down from heaven and said, "Where can I find the weakest, littlest man on earth? Then He saw me and said, 'I've found him. I will work through him and he won't be proud of it. He'll see that I am only using him because of his insignificance.'" These are words of Francis of Assisi but it's more like God talking to me for I can't explain the joy in my heart that moment.

Probably the Lord knows I am so tired in dealing with my SSA struggle every day, the longing that comes along with it. It could be the reason why God let me read the book "Dancing with God" by Irene Alexander. It was Holy Monday, in one chapter which she talked about the deeper desire that each human has, I was really enlightened and understood why I have these longing for intimacy and sexual relations which characterized my spiritual journey. This longing may lead me into byways and errors but is, in the end, a God-given and profoundly good desire which only God can truly satisfy. I just need to learn how to channel the desires to God's by staying into it which she describes a hunger, a thirst that can be quenched only by the One who brings the living water. The Bible said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst." Moreover, we need to articulate our desires, stay with our longing, pain and emptiness to find your presence in God.
Philip Yancey said that the Bible reveals a God who is "hopelessly in love with us". I felt the same joy in my heart when I read this and astounded with the fact that my Creator is really pursuing me!

Speaking of desires, I must admit that I gave in the following day. I did not know what took me over. On my way home I met this guy and brought him to my place without even asking if he's a call boy, which was a huge mistake. After the lamest sexual encounter I had in my entire life, the guy demanded money for the lame service he rendered. When I refused because I don't pay for sex, he threatened to humiliate me in public. I was really terrified inside for it was my first time to encounter someone like him. Afraid of losing my life in a shameful way, I gave in to his demand and let go. Still I am scared that he might get back at me for I did not give all the money he wanted. He knows where I live!

After confessing to God and asking His forgiveness, I prayed for protection and peace of mind. Also I prayed that this will become a very good lesson and discipline for me to finally stop giving in to obviously sexual temptations. Feeling troubled still the next day, I asked the Lord for the assurance of His protection from the guy. I flipped the channel on TV and again that joy in my heart came over when I read in this local channel the verse Isaiah 41:10! I took it as God's answer to my prayer for it incredibly washed my fears away. God is indeed faithful to His servants no matter what! He will never give up on me! Somehow this daunting event made me realize that it is God's second warning to me and walk faithfully with Him.

On the evening of Maundy Thursday, again I felt it was God speaking to me and not me reading from the same book, He confirmed my prayer the other day about learning how to abandon myself in Him and live under His amazing grace! He helped me comprehend the presence of my struggle in this spiritual journey which the book describes as the shadow, the brokenness or the darkness in me. All I have to do is the admission of all these, to come to Him in nakedness knowing I am still loved by God will I be able to live out in vulnerability and freedom. Learning to accept this as part of my ongoing life and embracing it is the only way to become whole! God's operating medium in this life is grace. We are only to live nakedly in it!

Black Saturday morning right exactly after I woke up, God told me (Yes I strongly believe it's Him for he granted my prayer of meeting me through a dream that night and it happened! Also for the fourth time in a week I felt the same joy in my heart!) that all these are His ways of visiting me. A visitation from God can you believe that? I prayed for this during my retreat in Baguio and now it all cropped up praise the Lord!

Then Easter Sunday came. God's presence was as powerful as well as the message that it made me cry while singing "Amazing Grace". It was a colossal realization how much our Father loves us, me. Definitely I will never look at Christ's resurrection the same way again.

I thought the Lord was finished with His visitation. Monday night while uttering the usual prayer I have before going to bed, God's presence came! I felt it and can't help but to cry while praying because of the fullness of joy in my heart. Our God is truly great, amazing, wonderful and awesome God. He's the best! Praise the Lord Almighty!

"Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 11:16

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baguio Retreat

Lately, I have been feeling the stress and pressure with my work and ministry which led me to the thought of simply quitting because I've never been that tired in all areas of my entire life!

This was the reason why I have decided to take a personal retreat by attending the Nazirite training given by Jesus Revolution movement which is led by my church Pastor last week held in Baguio City. It was my second time to attend the Humility and Holiness phase, the first two of the three phases of this training.

I am glad that God allowed me take a break from the ministry work and spend time with him during that whole week. Even though it's a refresher for me, it's like a whole new experience once again! First day alone, God moved me already and reminded me of my real purpose in this life which is to live by conforming to the image and character of God in humility. At the end of the day, it's all about the Lord. It's all about Jesus.

He also gave me the opportunity to share His goodness and faithfulness in the past three years of my Christian life in which according to my Pastor and elders in the church, have maturity and confidence in Him. This was also the moment where God have bestowed courage to people who have the same struggle like me to speak up and testify! Truly the Lord is rising up a generation of Nazirites!

Most importantly, I was able to achieve the main purpose of this break. Now I feel refreshed, well rested and somehow on fire again to continue doing what God wants me to do in this season of my journey with the Lord Jesus Christ.

I also thank God for the new friends I have gained during this retreat. Really it was a week full of blessings and experience of God's holy presence! Now I am excitedly looking forward for the things that God is going to do next!

God does not call the qualified.....He qualifies the called. Shalom!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Week in Singapore

The fifth country I went to is Singapore. Last week I have attended training on Mass Media Communications held in the city of lion.

Every evening the Lord has allowed us to go around and see the beauty of the city. First tourist destination my friend and I have visited was the Raffles Center, the Merlion, and the Marina Bay. It was a great place to admire the structures around the river, definitely a must see place! If you're going there, get off or alight at the Raffles MRT station and walk from there so you will see the old bridge and buildings of Singapore going to Merlion and Marina Bay. You will end up near the City Hall MRT station.

Then we walked along the Orchard Road to see the high end malls and stores. I was able to visit also the Little India and bought some stuff at the Mustafa Center then my friend and I had a wonderful dinner in one of the restaurants in Chinatown. I explored this small community of Chinese people the following night where I satisfied my cravings for a Hainanese chicken in one of the food centers along the way. It became my favorite dinner during my stay there!

Also I took the courage to explore alone the Night Safari. I enjoyed the Creatures of the Night Show, the fire dance number and of course the sightseeing of those endangered species including the 50 million years old rhinoceros!

My best friend lives and works there for more than three years and we spent the whole Saturday before I left the country quarter past midnight. We missed each other a lot so we spent the day laughing our hearts out together like old times while seeing the whole Sentosa and experiencing the rides available such as the cable car, the Sky Ride and Luge and the bus tour to three Sentosa beaches namely Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong Beach.

To end the day, we had a coffee together and talked more. It was truly a great and brilliant time spent updating each other. The best part was when I was able to share with her how the Lord changed my life and why I am so happy and contended at this point, looking and anticipating things to happen that God has in store for me with excitement!

Personally I thanked God and very grateful to the Lord for this amazing blessing He had given me. Not only I have learned so much from the training and have seen Singapore for the first time but the excellent part of this trip was the time spent with my best friend whom I have not seen for almost four years and share about Jesus!

Truly praise God!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Consequence

We always thought that because God is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6), we can get away with the consequences of the wrong things we have done in the past not to mention that we have confessed it already and ask forgiveness for it.

If you are thinking that way then I have to say I am sorry but you are wrong. We need to remember that our Almighty God is also JUST (Psalm 9:16, 11:7). The consequence of that wrongdoing may come sooner than we think or may come later, like after a few weeks or several years. We'll never know for only God knows.

Well, I am able to say or write this because it's very true. If you can recall and go back to my previous posts last year where I confessed my sexual fall, now I believe I am reaping its consequence. Prior to this post I mentioned that my skin rashes were not PR or Pityriasis Rosea. The cause of these rashes is secondary syphilis which the doctor confirmed more than a month ago.

At first, I was so upset and thought that God was so unfair to discipline me like this but I realized a little later that God is God. He can do whatever He wants and I have sinned against Him. I thought He's unfair because for quite some time I've never had sex and when I fell into it, it happened only 2 or 3 times that year alone which is quite a progress for someone who used to live with that as a lifestyle and still in the process of moving away from it!

One of my closest friends accused me of not walking the talk and I really felt bad because there's a truth in it. She's referring to my advocacy of correct and consistent use of condom when you can't control yourself. She understands my SSA struggle and she's quite disappointed because of this. But I am grateful to her for having the guts to confront me and tell it to my face which reminds me that I am slipping away and must have to pull myself back together right away!

If you're disappointed too I am very sorry, I hope you can understand and be able to forgive me as well. That moment when I failed to use protection, it scared the hell out of me too and utter to myself that I will never do it again. Actually I asked the only two guys I have sex with and they both told me they are negative to syphilis that's why I am still wondering from whom I got it? In addition, I used protection for both of them though with the last one, it's not all throughout. Both of them are HIV+ also which makes it even more dangerous! What on earth was I thinking to do that? Alright, enough with the details because this is what I've got. Now I am almost healed from this infection after a month of medication thank God.

According to Hebrews 12, God disciplines His Sons and ask us not to lose heart when He rebukes us because the Lord disciplines those He loves and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son like a father (v5b-6).

It took me a lot of courage to confess it to my Pastor and mentor in the church for it's truly embarrassing but I have to, and also here. And I am glad that he's thankful for my honesty and promised to be there for me whenever I need him, is not that great? God has really blessed me with people who can journey with me unconditionally in this life no matter how many times I fail. The Lord is always there all the time for us for He'll never let go even if we chose to let go of Him. That's how He amazingly loves us!

This recent event made me realize that truly I do not deserve to serve God in His ministry. But I asked for it 3 years ago and He has chosen me, a chief sinner and a very unqualified broken person saved by His grace. There's no turning back now so I have to bounce back and continue what He asked me to do but this time only with more submission to His power that will carry me through.

I thank the Lord for giving me the courage to live this life and to move forward. I chose to stay with Jesus for it's the only way to live.

Jehovah Shammah!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

34 Years of Existence

Last Thursday was my 34th birthday. There's no special celebration or whatsoever. In fact I spent the whole morning at the hospital where I have my regular check up before I went home in the province to take my leave and rest.

Since I became a real Christian, the Lord always does something memorable on this day. On my 31st birthday, I have Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. On my 32nd, the person used by the Lord to bring me back to His kingdom surprised me by visiting me at home. Then on my 33rd birthday I got informed to have the job I have right now which has seen by many as God's appointment!

This time God simply overwhelmed me with love! I have never received so many greetings in my entire life only until my 34th birthday. With face book alone, I got more than 130 wall post greetings! I have even received a lot of good wishes from people I thought would not even remember including the new friends I have from my Bangkok trip!

Also I got heaps of SMS birthday messages before, during and after the actual day counting some of my friends who work and live outside the country!

For some people this could be an ordinary thing but for me I do really felt overwhelmed by all the people who remembered to greet me on this day. Honestly, I can't help but to feel so loved by so many especially those who surprisingly gave their best wishes!

This is more than enough to replace the tiny worries from the situation I am currently going through. The skin rashes which was first diagnosed as PR as I have written here was actually not Pityriasis Rosea. It's worse than that which I am not yet ready to share it here. And because of this disease my CD4 count went down from 521 to 378 though my viral load remains undetected. Well, these are just a test of time and everything will be alright.

Good times and bad times, I will be forever indebted and thankful to God for everything he has done, what He's doing and about to do in my life. Thank you Lord for the 34 years of existence!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jehovah Shammah in Bangkok

It's my first trip abroad for this year and my third time to visit Bangkok, Thailand. Almost exactly the same time as last year when I visited this foreign land for the first time with the same purpose which is doing the "Channels of Hope " Training the Facilitators as part of the training team, only this time I acted as the lead trainer instead of being an assistant trainer!

For me this is some sort of promotion from the Lord. It was nearly three years since I was trained to be a facilitator and now I am taking bigger responsibilities. I really thanked God for the wisdom, confidence, strength and guidance from Him as I took this role. God sustained all the training team members for the whole duration of this learning event.

Once again, all of us there experienced God's presence. On the third day when I shared my testimony, it's more emotional compared to my previous trainings. Even prior to that session, the Lord was there or "Jehovah Shammah", for some of the participants realized how broken we are as a human being and only God can break us on His own unique way!

Since that day up to the last day of the training, God's presence was there! Twenty four new facilitators of God's hope went home grateful and felt very blessed! They were from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, New Zealand, US, Finland, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

The Lord has also allowed me to take some time off after this strenuous training. I went with my friend to visit this disco club where most gay guys in Bangkok hangout. I know this was some kind of putting myself in danger and it was an unwise decision but I have proven that God is with me everywhere I go.

I have seen different good looking guys from different parts of the world and most of them are my type kind of men. But He made me realized one thing, it's not worth to have all these guys for He have shown me that all these people are His lost sons who need His light and love! Also I realized that my attraction to men has been diminished that I can just let go of them. Hopefully this will continue and lead to something I am actually destined for which is becoming the man that God wants me to be.

Well, God's name has been exalted and praised in this event once again and I am giving back all the honor, praises and glory to Him in the name of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Jehovah Shammah!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CoH in Surigao

Belated Happy Valentines Day to everyone!

After God blessed us with a victorious workshop two weeks ago in Ormoc City, He did the same thing in Surigao City last week.

I called it an "answered prayer" week for the Lord has granted all my prayers for that particular week. First He gave us a sunny weather for it was a pretty rainy week prior to the event. Secondly, we had a very relaxed and enjoyable flight back and forth.

Lastly, it was another successful workshop! Twenty eight new channels of God's hope we're so blessed to become a part of this learning experience. Moreover, the team was able to enjoy the delicious food the city offers!

I just want to thank the Lord and give back all the honor, glory and praises to Him for all these blessings! You are really a faithful God!

Next is Bangkok, Thailand.

Monday, February 7, 2011

CoH in Ormoc

It's my first trip for 2011 last week and first time to visit Ormoc City but for "Channels of Hope" or CoH it was the second time already.

We had thirty two participants who attended and finished the first phase of the HOPE program which is the sensitization. Once again God has touched the lives of these group of people on how He pulled me out of darkness, gave me a new life and continuously changing me to become the man He intended me to be.

This time I can say it's one of the best testimony I gave, I felt that I have said all the right words that these people needs to hear. I was also blessed how they responded and really experienced God's presence.

God is truly with us always; like my pastor preached last Sunday, Jehovah Shammah which means God is there!

The picture shown in this article is the photo of the hotel lobby where we stayed and did the workshop.

Friday, January 28, 2011

First CoH for 2011

Last week, I led the facilitation of the first "Channels of Hope" workshop for the year 2011.

Originally it was intended for my colleagues at the office but unfortunately only nine have attended. We invited church partners and representatives from other NGO or non-government organizations and the event yielded twenty five new channels of God's hope to those who are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

It's also the first time that somebody from my own church have witnessed what I actually do in this ministry. Perhaps it could be one of the reasons why I got a little extra emotional during my testimony but I was thinking more of my devotion in the morning that day. God made me realized how much He loves me through the parable of the prodigal son.

My tears just flowed freely and I thought I can't stop crying. That usually happens when God really touched my heart.

Anyway, the workshop was indeed a success praise be to God. I am serving the Lord in this ministry for almost three years now and God has remained faithful and good whenever I do this.

Sometimes I still ask Him why He has chosen me. A chief sinner with a quite difficult struggle to deal with but being used by God mightily to bless His people, how ironic isn't it? But for God, it's not for He always choose the most unlikely.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

God's Trick

I guess the PR or Pityriasis Rosea which I considered as God's trick that will keep me from acting out my sinful desires did not work after all.

How stupid of me to think that this skin rash all over my body will keep the guys away from me. Last week I have decided to meet this guy in person finally with the thought of just plain talking. We had a good conversation over the internet and the more he knows me the more he's interested to see me. Also there's attraction and desire to meet him that I can't ignore which pushed me to end up seeing him.

In short, I fell into the enemy's trap. He insisted that I pick him up at the office where he works only to find out that we were alone in that place. And it happened right then and there.

Again after several months of clean living I have failed Jesus and it's killing me. But there's one thing I realized, I thought that if I did it again I will go back to my old sinful lifestyle. I will backslide.....but I was wrong. I realized that I cannot turn my back on God. Instantaneously I have confessed and asked for His grace and forgiveness. I thank and praise God for that.

Knowing that I can no longer live this life without the Lord Jesus Christ caused me to hold on to Him more. When you experienced God's love and faithfulness in unfathomable way, you will realize that you really need Jesus to live this life righteously and that's what occurred to me.

God affirmed me through Lamentations 3:22-23. His compassion fails not for they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. Everyday is a brand new start for us to get ourselves right with God. Truly our gracious God is a God if second chances!

Not only have I failed Jesus, also my Pastor and my mentor, and probably some of you and my friends. God has forgiven me. I am sorry.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pityriasis Rosea

Two weeks before Christmas last year, I started to have a slight fever every afternoon and evening then I'll be normal on the following day. After all the laboratory tests and x-rays, nothing was found.

A week before Christmas, the low fever was gone but then I started to have small red spots on my skin, chest area first then it proliferated to arms, legs and neck and some parts on my face gradually. By the way, it's not me on this photo.

I was thinking of allergy at first or probably my CD4 has gone low that's why I have these rashes. After seeing the dermatologist last week, the diagnosis came out and it's PR or Pityriasis Rosea.

According to the doctor, it's a common rash that can occur to any young adults (majority occur to ages 10-35) and has nothing to do with my HIV status. It usually occurs more often in the colder months.

It resolves on its own but the doctor asked me to take erythromycin for 2 weeks, put clobetasol and aveeno on infected areas and get some UV rays for at least 10-20 minutes every day. The rashes will disappear six to eight weeks.

I just hope and pray to have my skin back to normal, good health as I take new challenges in my work and ministry and a victorious journey with the Lord this year 2011! I guess this is one of God's trick for keeping me from acting out my evil desires, I hope not.

A blessed year to everyone!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Year 2010 in Review

The past year was indeed a very good and fruitful year for me. If I am going to enumerate each and every blessings God has poured unto me, the space won't definitely be enough so I'll just mention the major ones.

As early as February, I was given an opportunity to be a part of the training team in Bangkok for the Training of Facilitators. It was the second country I have visited. That was also the time and place where a job I have prayed and applied for was offered to me by my future boss then and mentor.

June came and I went on board as the Coordinator for Asia Pacific Region and the Philippines for this non government organization. The remuneration was more than I've expected as well as the amount of time I have to spend traveling.

Two months after God sent me to India, the third country on my list and then after another a couple of months I went to Kenya, Africa all for the same purpose of learning and being a part of the training team. Only in India where God have shown me the bigger picture of what I am doing currently for His kingdom but all these trips were very memorable.

Also I was able to see and visit Zamboanga, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo and General Santos, gained new friends while doing the ministry in the country.

Above all, a good health in spite of the busy schedule and traveling, the restoration of my relationship with my father, very supportive church and friends and co-ministry workers, and time to relax and rest in between are some of the major things I am very grateful and thankful to our dear Lord.

God has been and will always be good and a loving father. I am sure He has a lot more in store for me and for everyone else. Let us just continue to yield and entrust our lives to Him, do our best to obey Him and deepen our relationship with Him.

Have a very happy and prosperous New Year brothers and sisters! God bless you all!