D R . E L R O I


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas 2012 is Simply Jesus

Happy Christmas to all who follow this blog and to everyone out there! This season is all about Jesus who was sent by our Father God to save us through living for Him and for Him alone. Happy Birthday my dear Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you very much for coming into my life and for all of us. Truly all the honor, praises and glory be upon you and your name be lifted up and exalted to the highest.

“Simply Jesus” was the title of the Christmas celebration in our church. In connection with this, I am so personally grateful to God for allowing me to step up into a new challenge. When the task of EMCEE-ing the event was offered to me with another church friend, I nervously but happily accepted it. With a couple of rehearsals and prayers, people liked and even tagged us as the newly discovered EMCEEs! This was evidenced by the compliments we received at the end of the program. Honestly, my partner and I both enjoyed it and looking forward now for future events to hone this just recently found career LOL!

As for the message for this season, like Mary, Joseph and the inn keeper in the 1st century, we must all make also a room for Jesus especially in our hearts. And for the Christians all over the world, it is about time to take back the lead in celebrating the birth of our Savior and showing the true meaning of this season.

Wishing you all a Christ-centered and a blessed Christmas! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy 5th Second Birthday!

Five years ago today, I was at the lowest, totally hopeless, and darkest point of my life that the only way I can think of was death. With a flickering fear that have prevented me from taking my own life, God have intervened and met me through one of His daughters who happened to be also a “healer” and had been seeing me for almost a year then. That was the day when I have yielded my life to God the Heavenly Father and asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. 

A lot of things have taken place in the past five years of my journey with the Lord. It was not a bed of roses kind of road for some of these events were tough challenges and disciplines. But irrefutably, most of them were huge blessings and breakthroughs in my life. Just to name a few, God have entrusted me a quite challenging ministry on HIV&AIDS through Channels of Hope as His ambassador, which I have done, and still doing very passionately. Sharing or testifying God’s faithfulness, abounding mercy, love and grace in my life was not an easy task but I felt so blessed that God has chosen someone as broken, dirty and unworthy like me to be a channel of His Hope to many. And through this ministry, God made one of my dreams came true and that is to travel not only in the country but also in some parts of the world too, with the blessing of carrying and spreading His words for the people. Presently, who would have thought I would be in a Bible School to study Pastoral Counseling? Is not that amazing? Now I am in my second year and truly enjoying it.

How about my struggles as a Christian having attraction with the same sex and all other sexual sins that are associated with this brokenness? Did it disappear or at least have progressed immensely and turned me more holy than the others? Or have I completely healed or cured from HIV and at the same time have totally become heterosexual? Probably, these are the questions I might encounter from people if ever I will have my own “press conference.”

Well, perhaps you will be sad to know that I still struggle with the same sex attraction and other sexual sins that come with it such as pornography and masturbation. Although, I have to say that God has been so merciful and gracious to me to have more victory over this battle than loss. I am more of in control (or God) over this selfishness than before. More importantly, this brought me closer to and made me hungrier for Jesus for all our struggles in life made me realize that we are absolutely nothing apart from Him. I guess the Lord is not going to take it away very soon but I will never stop seeking Him more and praying to grow more in Him through this. I surmise this, too answers the question on my heterosexuality. Do not fret if I am still HIV+ because I strongly believe that God is healing me on His own way. My viral load count remains undetectable, my CD4 count is still very close to normal and most of all, I am virtually healthy!

Aside from the church and ministry friends I already have, the new friends whom I can be really my self with the warts and all, I have gained from the Bible school were all great blessings and that I am so grateful with the Lord, not to mention all the new learning and skills I have been acquiring from my classes. And like God, the church that adopted me as part of the believing community who remained supportive and faithful to me is something I also should be thankful for.

Finally, all of these did not make me holier than others but turned me into a more mature and better believer in Christ and as a person. Confidently I can say that I am not the person that I used to be five years ago for God has changed a lot in me. God is not yet done with me, He still changing me, working behind my back to make the man He wanted me to become for I am not yet that man. Struggles in life, which is incomparable to the suffering on the cross Jesus took in our place, that comes in this journey with the Lord Jesus is part of the deal for it is the place where God can transform us into His likeness.

So no matter how you feel unworthy or undeserving of your self or of your life, or whatever situation you are in at this moment, just turn to God and entrust your life to Jesus for He is the only way, the truth and the life. There may be difficulties but there are also lots of blessings in journeying with Him and those life events are God’s platform where He can transform us and live this life to the fullness He intended for us.

Like what I always say every time I speak before a group of people in the workshops or training, the past five years of my life with Jesus is much better and joyful compared to my life before I get to know Him. God sacrificed His own son for us to be in the most wonderful relationship with Him. An everyday surrender and small sacrifice from our part to honor and worship Him in exchange to a greater, blessed and full life is nothing compared to the greatest love of all He have shown to us. And all of these make this life wonderful, adventurous and worthy to live! Though I still have dreams and desires, I can say I am happy and contented and will continue live for God’s purposes and for Him alone.

If you have not took that step yet of giving up your right to govern your life to Jesus for He’s far more worthy to do it, you can do it now and begin this amazing relationship with our Creator through Him. It could be the one and only reason why have you come across this blog whether accidentally (though I don’t believe on accidents) or intentionally, and read up to this point so go! He is excitedly waiting for you!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

World AIDS Day 2012 and CoH

WAD or World AIDS Day was celebrated officially yesterday and some sectors with HIV and AIDS advocacy are still celebrating it this week. Information, activities, updates and news on this were all over in all forms of media. It’s good to see that many are still getting involved in preventing the spread of HIV. I just wish that more faith based organization specifically churches will be also part of this and do their role not just in awareness and prevention but also in waning off, if not completely eradicating the HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.

Being a part of “Channels of Hope” or CoH movement that motivates and equips churches on this issue, I still believe that if they got more involve and strengthen the values and principle of “kingdom living” especially to young people, it would make a huge difference.

Last Friday and yesterday, I was in New Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan to conduct CoH workshop for a group of young people who are all HIV advocates and peer educators. This was the first time where all my participants were 95% youth with ages from 20 and below. I was even surprised to have two 11 years old who have participated and was a bit worried though how this workshop, with all the information and learning, will affect their very young minds. Honestly, I have never done this activity with participants as young as them for they are still children and could have been in a workshop of this kind with different approach designed for their age!

Well, I got no choice but to facilitate the event and opted to ask assistance from the older members of the group to guide them thoroughly. Working with young people is truly amazing with all their energy and inquisitive minds and behavior; it was just infectious that I only felt the wooziness after the two-day event. Based on their feedback, they were all just blessed and so happy to be part of this experiential and life changing learning! It was also their first time to see personally a person living with HIV in me. For them CoH is totally a whole new different experience and I am just glad that we have all enjoyed.

In the morning, I was invited to be a guest at their local TV program “Kapihan sa Aklan” hosted by Edwin Ramos. They were also celebrating the WAD and I was there to share my involvement and experience in this advocacy. UNTV and also a media person from GMA 7 who used to be one of my participants were there and asked me to give a brief message to their viewers. This TV guesting, sharing a bit of my life and showing myself to their viewers was the first time for me. And the best part of this, I was able to tell the people that our life must be live for Him and only then we can find the true meaning and purpose of this life He have given to all of us, and only through God that I am able to do all of this. I just prayed that whoever will see me on these interviews would be blessed and this will open the way for me to do this ministry more freely and publicly in God’s perfect timing.

I really thank God for making all these things happen and assuring me of His presence and guidance everywhere I go and whatever I do in His name. Living this life for God through Jesus Christ makes it truly awesome and great! All the praises and honor goes to Him.

Monday, November 5, 2012

5th Western Visayas AIDS Congress

For the second time, I have participated as a guest speaker at the Western Visayas AIDS Congress. It was held at Kapis Mansions, Roxas City on October 29-31, 2012.

Since I have already shared last year about the “Channels of Hope” or CoH ministry that I am doing on HIV&AIDS through this NGO where I used to be connected, I talked about this time “Building a Supportive Community” as a person living with HIV through a bit of my testimony and experience.

The organizer who happens to be a very good friend of mine and also a sister in Christ has given me an specific task to challenge the PLHIV community to be partners and not just as beneficiaries of the HIV&AIDS initiatives operating in their areas. This is the reason why I have decided to talk about building a supportive community through disclosure of HIV status gradually in achieving a normal and fulfilling life despite of the HIV status.

Based on my personal experience, living with HIV can be normal again close to the normalcy I used to live before I got infected through taking a risk of revealing my HIV status to the community where I live especially when a situation calls for it. The community I am referring to is of course the PLHIV community, my family and friends, the people I am working with, the church where I grow spiritually, and now the Bible school where I go. These are where the people I have an encounter regularly and being out just enough in the open makes my life easier and normal without the fear of stigma and discrimination in case they get to know my HIV status. Perhaps I have this courage and confidence because of the trust and faith in Jesus that no matter what happens, He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Pursuing and living my identity in God and cultivating a relationship with Him make this normal living possible.

Of course, I have mentioned that it will require a huge amount of audacity and time to be able to attain this knowing that there’s still HIV&AIDS-related stigma. But there’s no other way to have a truly fulfilling and normal life beyond HIV if I will continue to live in fear. In fact, next to God the reason why I am able to speak and share my experience before groups of people is because of these communities who have accepted, loved and continuously supporting and praying for me. Also, it made me a real “partner” and advocate of HIV&AIDS awareness and preventions program.  I maybe a recipient of the existing HIV programs but I am also a partner.

Also I have shared with them that humans are created to be a relational being and this is the reason why we are constantly seeking friends, companions and partners in life. Since we are relational beings, it is impossible for us to live in isolation without getting despondent and lonesome. And building a real supportive community requires being true to our selves and only then we can all live positively and harmoniously in spite of the hardships, which are part of our earthly life for our growth as a person in a right relationship with our God. Yes, none of these are possible without entrusting our life to our Creator and living in faith, hope and love through obedience in Him.

I do not want to sound so spiritual but I cannot separate it anymore because whether we like it or not, we are also spiritual beings. If we are going to treat a person with HIV or any kind of sickness, it should be a holistic approach and not just addressing the physical, emotional, and social need of the person. It must include the spiritual that constitutes our whole being. Only then we can attain real healing.

So this was the challenge I have left to the HIV community present in the congress, to take risk in achieving a normal and fulfilling life beyond HIV through building a relationship with their supportive community.

During the congress, at the end of the session, we were able to visit Panay church and one of the biggest bell in Asia. After the event, I stayed in Antique where I got to enjoy the beauty of the sea near his house for a couple of days. And before the semester starts next week, I got the chance to visit a friend in Cebu where I stayed for three days to see some places such as the Taoist Temple, Mactan Shrine and food trip in the city.

What a week in the presence of God through all these blessings and events, truly He will always be there everywhere I go so thank you Lord so much.

Friday, October 5, 2012

When You Seek God’s Presence

This morning during my devotion time as I read God’s words in 1 Cor.10: 1-13 with the worship song “Lord I Give You My Heart” playing on the background, unconsciously, I have expressed my very deep longing for God and He came! As I continue reading His words I simply burst into tears, virtually shaking and nervously felt strongly His very presence!

I have been struggling with same sex attraction and sex not to fall for it on a different level for a few weeks now or probably months and it is making me feel to stop my church life and connecting with Christian friends especially now the first semester is over and the school break just started. Then yesterday I found out from a friend that a certain guy, who looks up to me somehow as a “changed” man, gave me the impression that he got disappointed when he found out through this blog about the incident a couple of months ago that happened where my phone was stolen by this psychotic guy. His words according to my friend was, “he is already with Christ and saw the light so why he is still doing such things?” Honestly I got worried and felt bad at the same time. First, obviously he got caught on the false belief that when you became a child of God, all your sinning will stop and you will be living a “perfect” life. I used to have this impression towards born-again Christians that’s why I did not want to associate myself with them only to find out now that I am a Christian that this is not entirely true. The more you get to know the people and yourself the more you know how much you need God, and living totally a sinless life is an illusion! This is especially true for someone who’s trying to break free from the addiction or bondage of homosexual activities like me. Falling into sin once in a while should be not a surprise for we all have our weak moments. We are not okay all the time!

Second, it saddened me the fact that I have disappointed him and now hoping he will not be stumbled because of me. Lastly, I was hurt; just feel hurt because of all this. Inadvertently, I was able to share this during my interview with a classmate friend for her project and it turned out to be the highlight of my day. As I talked about my sexual struggle with her, the past sins I have committed, how difficult it is for me to say no sometimes, explaining to her that when I choose to sin it is because I love myself more than Jesus that particular moment, how I feel after and what I usually do to get right with God again, that I’d rather die than to commit sin and dishonor Him, words of realization just came out that somehow alleviated my feeling of being down. A Christian will always struggle because he loves Jesus and it will always be a part of this walk with Him perfectly or imperfectly. God has reasons we may not understand why He, the God of impossibilities, is not taking away our struggles, addictions, and all other problems we are dealing with for quite sometime now when He can actually take them away in a snap of His finger!

Lately, I do not know if I have mentioned this already in my previous posts, I have started to comprehend and be thankful to God with all my struggles. For almost five years of my journey with Him, struggles are one of the things especially my same-sex attraction and sexual struggles, which keeping me closer and closer to Him. Struggles are reminders who I am before God while gradually revealing Himself how patient, kind, forgiving, gracious and loving our God is. Struggles in life are one of His platforms for many of His goal for us including growth in Him through transformation towards becoming the person He intended us to be. Most importantly, I, including all these struggles, am nothing apart from Him. God loves me, the whole of me, including my struggles, no matter what happens. And this should be more than enough for me to continue holding on to Him no matter what happens! Again honestly, it is not easy but I cannot imagine myself living without God for life is all about Jesus.

Hopefully, that guy and the rest of the confident and “holy” Christians out there will also realize all these and always look to Jesus and not to their Pastors, Leaders, mentors or any human inspiration. Humans are bound to make mistakes and commit sins Christians or non-Christian. We are all imperfect even God is perfect. We must continue trusting and holding on to Him even if we are living an imperfect life. And we must continue seeking God’s presence always.

“We are called to live as imperfect persons in an imperfect world, to have courage to do the best we are capable of right now and to commit ourselves to our life tasks without evasion or excuse, serving others courageously and sacrificially. We walk a delicate balance of striving for the highest calling of perfect life in Christ but realize that we will never achieve this perfection and must continually find acceptance from God not through our worthiness but through God’s forgiveness.” – Jones & Butman

P.S.To my readers, I am planning and praying to take up to 21 units, that are seven subjects, this second semester. The head of the counseling department and registrar’s office are okay with this including more than half of my classmates I talked to while the professor of the most difficult subject from the seven, which is Theology 1, unfortunately told me not to take his course if I have 18 units already. This is also part of the things God have spoken to me this morning.

“It is not my strength but His strength, not my wisdom but His wisdom and all by His grace. It is my desire to finish the program and so it is also His desire.” I believe these are the words I heard from Him and this simply means to trust Him. Honestly I still have some doubts to go for 21 units or not so please kindly pray for me. Thank you guys and blessings.