D R . E L R O I

A PERSONAL JOURNAL OF A MAN LIVING WITH HIV

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Seventh on the Thirteenth


Thirteenth day of this month, twelve days on Christmas seven years ago when I gave my life to Christ and have decided to follow and live in submission to Him by His grace and stubborn love.

Virtually each year around this time, the Lord has never failed in revealing to me about His character and indeed He has shown me something very unexpected and surprising exactly on the day that marked my seventh spiritual birth year as a Christian. It is more of a mystery of who He is and the way He works on the lives of people, specifically with my life.


"Mysteriously for some reasons, God can use even the sin situation of a person to bring healing on a certain degree to another person who are also in the same sin situation." 

Astonishingly, this is a very unique revelation the Lord has shown to me that day. And in the midst of the struggles especially the specific CROSS that God has asked me to take each day of this second chance in life He has given me, this remarkable revelation that happened particularly on THIS DAY encourages me to keep holding on to the real source of LIFE the Lord Jesus Christ even there were a lot of times already that I was ready to walk away from HIM. Yes there have been so many times that I just simply want to give up and not continue this walk with Jesus most especially each time I fail Him from the very thing that He asked me to yield…the same sex activities…and this time I did it again out of killing curiosity. Nowadays young and not so young people are getting hooked not just into sex but sex with drugs either E (ecstasy) or Ice (which is actually shabu that is injected or smoked) and they call it party with an e (so partee) and play or pnp for short. And if you are using ice, it is slam partee, which I have tried. Perhaps you are wondering and asking, “Why? You’re a Christian you should not be doing that! What made you do so?” Honestly, I was asking myself the same questions too after I have reflected on it as I endure the emotional and physical pain afterwards. Aside from curiosity that usually leads virtually everyone into any kind of sin, the grave reason was my unconscious frustrations or anger with God about my situation in the past few months such as unanswered prayers, financial challenges and not seeing things happening the way I have expected it. Obviously it was an act of rebellion on my part that led me to some reflective insights.

As I shared this awful sin to few friends not only to confess but to ask for prayers as well, one of them asked me if I had a moment of asking myself in the middle of sinning the question “what am I doing?” I said I did actually but I just ignored it only to be answered by God Himself. This is where that revelation I was referring to took place. Towards the end of that sinning, the guy I was doing it with suddenly has experienced a flashback of his life from the beginning up to the present, which made him broke down. He thought God showed him how is he destroying his life and relationships. Emotionally, he shared the repeated sexual abused he experienced from his yaya when he was young that turned him later on to be gay according to his narrative, how his relationship to his family went from good to bad, and how this partee-ing is destructing his young life. It was a wake up call for him and he has to stop right after us. All throughout I just listened and then encourage him at the end to go for that change and start rebuilding his relationships. He told me that it was his first time to share those hurts and his life to someone. Still having the effect of the drug, I was able to set it aside just to listen and minister to him! Who would have thought that it was even possible! God has twisted the situation for our favor and for His glory for my sin situation was used by Him to bring healing (by intent listening) on a certain degree to this person who was in the same sin situation. We were both grateful to each other after and I was even ashamed but yet more thankful to God for what He has done. Truly God’s grace is amazing! This was one of those rare moments that I have realized how amazing His grace really is and how stubborn, how wide, deep, and how high His love is for us…sinners. I texted him after a week and he told me he is really decided to alter the course of his life for the better so I am keeping him in my prayers.

Perhaps for some, this may sound absurd and foolish and I am also thinking the same thing for I was under the influence of drug. But even after my recovery, I believe in my heart that this was how God has revealed things to me out of this mishap that I got myself into. I maybe have grown in the Lord after seven years and indeed have been too hard on myself with this CROSS. I am not using this as an excuse but where I am coming out of from is an addiction and it is certainly hard and will continue to be for me to deny myself with the desire constantly…at least according to my therapist. It is only through the power of Christ and His grace that I will be able to do it.

So yes I am a CHRISTIAN but honestly I still struggle with SINS. But may the Lord continue to use the SINFULNESS and IMPERFECTIONS in and of me for His purpose as I choose to continue to walk on this journey and live this calling.


Merry Christmas to everyone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Journey Towards The End

It is semester break however, for the first time somehow I can't feel it or it is
quite hard to feel it probably because of the things I need to finish and start with, not to mention the inter-semester course I got enrolled. Well, that's student life.

As I begin with this journey towards the end of this formal learning phase of my life, I have mixed emotions. There is anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. After the grilling process of thesis proposal defense a couple of weeks ago, the data gathering or field work is now about to start. With no income and depleting savings account, uncertainty of the sampling for this field work, then data analysis and writing, all these bring anxiety. Although, there is excitement for the things that might happen as I perform all these and wait for God's surprises. Of course, anticipation for the fast approaching graduation is there. Taking this Masters degree and enjoying virtually every part of the school training is a dream come true and an answered prayer that the thought of finishing finally also brings anxiety and excitement all at the same time.  Again, anxiety because I do not have any plan yet after graduation though I have been praying and hoping that a door will be open for me to work once again in this NGO that I used to work with. And yes, I am truly excited to graduate and employ everything I have learned in service to God whether in or outside the church setting. But I still love to work on HIV&AIDS and yes I can't believe I am saying this...helping the churches or church community to address their concerns on homosexuality or same sex attraction (SSA) among their members. The stress, worries and other difficulties from all these probably have affected my CD4 count but as long as I am not sick I guess I will be fine praise the Lord!

To all my loyal followers and readers, please forgive me for not writing as often as before. Aside from too much study related works, there's nothing really much going on with my life that is worth-writing in my opinion. In the midst of student life, I still share my testimony whenever I got invitation to facilitate an HIV&AIDS workshop or seminar or on the topic on homosexuality, in addition to church duties and responsibilities as a leader. Thank you for journeying with me and for all your prayers, I really appreciate it. And please do send your prayer requests or questions and I will respond when I am able. Blessings to all of us! Shalom!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Lately...But I Am Good :)

“There is a house, empty, unfurnished that is gradually filled with nice furniture’s until it becomes fully furnished and turned beautifully. It could be real house or you as God’s dwelling place. And there is more to your testimony that God will let you discover.”  

These are the words I have received prophetically last July 22 during our men’s prayer night in the church. Aside from this, nothing much is going on with my life  as a student and full time God's servant although lately I have been struggling a bit more intense with my SSA related issues.

In general, I still believe that I am victorious for I know in my heart that I am and will always be a child of God pursuing relentlessly the life and destiny that the Lord has set for me in the midst of occasional failures (or much appropriate to call it sins) especially in the area of my SSA struggles. Again, I am not saying this like I am proud or something like that but to put a reality of following this calling of the Lord. Honestly, it is pretty obvious that it is very difficult and sometimes frustrating. You will always find yourself in a tug of war within yourself only to fall sometimes.

Long time ago I already made a decision that no matter what happens, I will stay in this journey whatever it takes and never let go. The struggles and hardships especially denying (and dying) to oneself cannot outweigh the peace, hope, joy and love in and of Jesus each day. By His grace and my faith, life has more excitement than frustrations, more real joy than just mere happiness or sadness, more adventure than boring, more victory than defeat, and most importantly…life has more meaning, knowing who you are in God in spite of unworthiness and trying to live the life that God has called you for. This might sound crazy for some but that is all right. I guess, it is just okay and more fun to be crazy with the Lord Jesus in this life.

Hopefully, this will negate the perception that once you are a Christian, you are perfectly okay and not sinning. Unfortunately that is not true especially for someone like who is slowly but definitely coming out of addiction. But what the truth is…a Christian sin less…thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit, for His endless mercy, stubborn love and amazing grace!


Lastly, please do pray for me as I do my thesis and final papers. I am on my last few months of my masters, hoping and praying to finish by March 2015 with flying colors! Also please kindly include financial provisions for it seems God does not want me to work but to focus only with my studies and depend fully on Him financially by faith. To all of my followers and readers, thank you very much and may the Lord’s love, peace and grace be upon you always.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Latest CD4 Count, Studies


After a little more than half a year I was surprised to see the result of my CD4 count. From beyond
normal of 631 CD4 per ml. of blood, it has plummeted to 331. It is a bit less than 50%! This has never happened to me before and I have not seen my physician yet as of this writing. When I shared this to some of my friends, they too were surprised and asked what could possibly be the reason(s) of its drop. Well honestly, I can't think of any except of less hours of sleep than the expected 7-8 hours and probably stress but still that was a lot I guess if these two are the only causes. I have never been sick for a long time already. At first I was a bit scared and confused but I hope, and some of my fellow HIV+ friends affirmed, that this is still normal and eventually it will go up again next time. So dear friends, please kindly pray for me. Although I am really fine as of the moment and the next scheduled visit to my doctor is in October.

As for my studies, my second to the last semester (hoping and praying) has started and I have just begun writing my thesis proposal. I need prayers on this too as well as financial provisions for I am not sure if I can work and do all my studies at the same time. I am working on finding out the barriers in churches and Christians on addressing the issue of homosexuality or same-sex attraction because I want to know the reasons why we are not able to minister to brothers or sisters and people with SSA effectively or not able to minister at all despite the command of loving one another as Jesus loved and accepted us in order to help the readers and other Christians to understand better the depth of this issue and eventually respond in a Christ-like way. Please kindly pray that this will be approved and become successful and eventually will be very useful for the Christians and churches.


Thank you for visiting my blog and God is good all the time. Praises and honor be to Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Me in Kanazawa Port Japan with Logos Hope

 
Mt. Tateyama
Devotion
Last time I mentioned about my mission going to Japan and below how this trip went on.

Truly this trip last May 15-27 was all God’s since day one. From the denial of my scholarship to International AIDS Conference in Australia, to receiving this email invitation from a friend who extended his work at the ship, to the processing of VISA and getting it surprisingly in three days, to the smooth and safe travel, the whole workshop, the nerve-wracking devotion, down to the feedback and heart-warming responses of the people up to the last minute were simply awesome that I have felt God’s hands in each and every step of the way in accomplishing this project.

When I arrived at the ship and met the whole team, they have told me that they were all praying for the VISA and for my safe travel. Obviously it worked! As for the project, which is called S-Project where S stands for Sex or Sexuality, it was a combination of morning devotions and workshop on issues around S such as gender, marriage, purity, lust and other stuff with more focus on homosexuality. We did an approximately twelve one-hour workshop on SSA or same-sex attraction where I have to share my journey and personal struggles with the goal of helping them to understand how a person with SSA struggles from the beginning up to the present. Also we have discussed the practical ways of dealing with people who has SSA as Christians or God’s people. I did the biblical perspectives on homosexuality in my morning devotion where, again, I got wonderful positive responses. Literally, I felt like speaking before nations for my audience were missionaries from different parts of the world. Although, there was a point towards the last few days where I felt the stress of giving out myself through being honest and open with my life journey for more than 200 people that I want to cry. Yes I was getting great feedback and encouraging responses but I realized the this form of “self-emptying”, if done several times in a day or two, can be really stressful! But then again, I felt the Lord was just there to help me go through with all these by sending people just to talk with and pray for me and most of them were couples or families! There was a certain group of participants, the engine men of the ship whom I see as the tough strong men as a man with SSA get usually intimated with, where I got more like of an affirmation from the Lord. One tough guy said, “you are the real man of God” for my openness, honesty and courage to be real to them. I heard exactly the same feedback from another engine guy later on. What an affirmation from God! Young and old, single and married, struggling with SSA or not, came to me just to say how blessed they were, ask questions, seek little counseling, or even just having a mere conversation. There were people who wish to see all, including leaders, to walk without our masks on and it was a blessing for them to see someone as truthful and vulnerable as I am. I have visited and stayed in the ship a couple of times already but it was the longest time I have stayed in the ship and this one has given me a bit heavy heart when I left. God has greatly done an amazing job through us.

According to some of the leaders and few people, my visit was very timely that it was about time to talk about these issues that still apparently affect our life as God’s servants. Understanding the struggle of each persons, creating a safe environment for people to be honest and open, and bearing or struggling with one another were the key messages left in the hearts of people, which will all help to have a victorious walk with Jesus as we serve His kingdom. Truly, God uses our weaknesses and struggles for His glory that is why He is not taking some of them away.

On a lighter side of this trip, one Filipina missionary brought us to this world cultural heritage called Hida Shirakawago, a very nice and peaceful village where a 400-year-old Kanda House can be found. Unexpectedly, she also took us to Mt. Tateyama through Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route where I got to see snow-ice formation up to the top of this mountain very close. Although I was not able to touch it for it was raining when we went there but at least I got to see for the first time snow ice! This was a beautiful surprise indeed so thank you Lord!

Before I left, they told me that they want me back next year to do it again. I guess we all have to wait for God’s signal on that. I surmise, like my friend said few days before I depart for Japan, with this unique calling God will surely carry me through. And like him, they have seen God in my eyes. Thank you to all who prayed for this trip and Lord this was all for your honor and glory. Praise God! Shalom!

P.S.

This coming Saturday, I will be doing the same workshop to this church in Manila for a group of young people. Please kindly pray for me. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

And I Am Going to Japan

Since I stopped working to study full time more than two years ago, I pray each year to God that He brings me to a certain place outside the country.

Earlier this year I applied for a 
scholarship to attend the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia with high hopes as I prayed for this a dream country for me. A month ago I got an email telling me that it was denied so I told myself it was not yet time. Three days after, I got an invitation from Logos Hope to go to Japan where they are presently docked to teach and share my experience on dealing with the most controversial and yet unresolved issue in Christianity and the church...and that is homosexuality. Unexpectedly, I got my visa in just three days after I filed my application and told myself that this is where God really wants me to go and minister to brothers and sisters in Christ from different parts of the world. 

What can I say in awe but “God you are simply amazing!” To all who prayed and still praying for this mission trip you know who you are, thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart. And to the person who paid for the visa-processing fee, God bless you more! I will be leaving in three days praying for His provisions, protection and anointing. Thank you and praise you Lord!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Summer 2014


My vacation has started officially last week right after I have submitted my last final paper. It was a bit challenging school year indeed for it was where I had my comprehensive exam and internship. Both went very well because I was able to pass and hit the target grade I aimed for the exam. While for the internship, visiting the Yolanda typhoon survivors in Ormoc and counseling the youth from the foundation where the interns has placed were great and amazing learning experiences. God has been so good and faithful all through out and I know He will continue to be as I enter, hopefully, my last year in the program. But there are a couple of challenges I am facing on and have to come up with a decision very very soon.

First, now that I am approaching the end of my studies I was challenged to go on for a thesis track and have one. Originally, I enrolled for 60 units Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling non-thesis track but my desire for further studies in the future made me realize that it would be a huge advantage if I have a thesis. According to the people I talked with, most institutions will require a thesis before allowing someone to enroll in a doctorate program. Scholarship, finances and topic are the three major concerns that make me somehow ambivalent but without these issues I would love to go for it.

And second, well, my savings surely will not be enough to sustain me for another year thus; I really need to have a work as early as this month. I guess, I can both work and finish my studies this time if ever I will have a thesis for I have one or two remaining subjects to take. There are a couple of job opportunities that came my way. I just need to hear clearly from the Lord which one or neither of one for they are both far from the type of work I have been praying for.

Most people encouraged me to go for a thesis and get either one of the jobs not only they believe so much in me but moreover, they strongly believe that God will provide and lead the way. Honestly, as embarrassing as it is to admit, this is what I have been struggling with lately but I guess I just have to really trust and believe that God will carry me through with all these for what He started, He finishes. He is good and faithful. In the meantime, while waiting, I will enjoy my vacation and do some things to prepare. Please continue to pray with me if ever you will get to read this…really appreciate it. God bless and Shalom to everyone! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

37th Birthday and Many Others


Several things have occurred since the last time I posted here so let me reflect on them one by

one.


First, I have my first couple counseling from the church that began late last year. It was going well even if it’s a bit challenging for they are my close friends until something happened. One person and then a couple whom they were trusting to betrayed them with one of the issues we were working on. I am the kind of person who highly value trust and confidentiality hence, this unexpected event has affected me. It made me realize that even some devout Christians can be blinded and commit wrong move by confessing someone else’s issue to church leaders that could affect relationship without thinking the effect of their action. And the result…conflict and broken trust and friendship.

Second, I got invited again, that’s second month in a row, to speak before the young people of this small church in Pasig on “Preparing While Waiting” for their Valentine Masquerade Ball. Indeed it was truly a blessing for many who heard God’s message through me, got inspired and felt very happy including the pastor of the church. The young people were still raving about it and the event after few more days according to my pastor friend. Personally, I was also blessed by the message the Lord has led me to prepare. This was followed immediately by a very fruitful and heart warming conversation over coffee with my newly found BFF from the school just sharing some deepest core of our lives. All these deserve honoring and praising God!

Third, finally I was able to meet one the followers of this blog who was in need of a brother to share his life with now that he is HIV+ like me. Similarly it was a blessed time for this young man for he is carrying this new challenge in his life very well. Thank you Lord for using this online journal to help and inspire other people. This is all for your glory Lord.

Fourth, truly when God use you as a channel of His blessings, the enemy is always at work to bring you down. The cross of SSA struggle was a bit difficult for me these past few weeks in the midst of all these events and school stuff. Whether in thoughts, in heart or in action, sin is sin and I have not been victorious in any of these three areas. But there’s no turning back…I have committed my life to Him and as long as His grace and mercy and His forgiveness flows, I will never ever give up on myself for I know Jesus will never give up on me. I have been dealing with some disappointments from the church aside from the above-mentioned incident. I learned I was not part of the church leadership anymore without giving me enough reasons. I know my shortcoming if there is but I just wish it was explained. I guess I need to apply my own teaching in “Dealing with Disappointments” early this year and have to wait on this and watch myself out from unhealthy thoughts and feelings. Well, God has a purpose for everything and that I put my trust.

With all these that have happened, I actually broke down to tears when a good friend of mine from the church simply asked how was I a couple of Sundays ago. I surmise everything has bottled up inside that I needed to let it out so thank God for his shoulder to cry on and for the comforting hug. Bless you brother!

And lastly, well it is my 37th birthday today! Thank you God for the 37 years of gift of life. I did not realize that I could reach this age after what happened to me eight years ago. The best thing that ever happened to me was getting to know the Lord and be chosen in spite of my unworthiness to be a part and be in service of His Kingdom. Thank You Lord for everything especially for continuously upholding me in your right hand.

And to all the followers and readers of this blog…thank you and God bless!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

When God Prompted Me...and The Reality of His Love


Early last week, I gave a talk on Dealing with Disappointment at a camp of this Christian school of high school students, without much preparation (in cramming mode actually) and just letting and trusting God to lead. I have never planned to share how the Lord has called me through my testimony and just discuss the usual disappointments that young people encounters nowadays and explore the healthy ways of dealing with it. But God has His ways that is sometimes mysterious but this time, it was inevitably surprising! And it came towards the end of my talk when we were in time for questions.

When a student asked me "Sir, what your biggest disappointment in life is and how you were able to deal with it?" and immediately, I recognized that it was the Lord who prompted that question and urged me to share. Honestly I was not ready and like I have said it was not planned. So I paused for a very brief moment, hoping I was wrong but surely I was not hence, I did and we were all blessed! I must say that it was one of the shortest versions of my story I have ever did but I guess it was just enough. It was not an HIV&AIDS workshop anyway. I know and I am sure there were young people who were touched and really blessed if not all of them.

Truly the Lord never ceases to surprise me like that. Thank you Lord for reminding me that it is not my story to tell but only yours...not meant to be kept but share. Praise God!

The only challenge whenever God uses us for His kingdom is that the enemy is not happy with it. Therefore they will do whatever they can, targeting our ultimate weaknesses to destroy us and dishearten us with our journey with the Lord Jesus. They know exactly when and where to attack. What I am trying to say is that…after a little more than six years of being a Christian, I still struggle with SSA, sexual desires and other selfish stuff. Sometimes I am victorious but there are times I am not to be honest. But God is so merciful and abounding in grace. That even when I fail (or much better to admit I have sinned) and seemed unfaithful, He never fails and stay faithful. Hey, that’s the best way of dealing disappointments and failures…turning to Christ!

Oh dear Lord, thank you for stubbornly loving an unworthy person like me. Only You can truly change me so I will forever simply put my trust in you.