D R . E L R O I


Sunday, May 7, 2017

The CD4 and Me

CD4, if you would visit my first few entries several years ago about HIV information, is the part of our immune system attacked by HIV. It serves as the host where the virus replicates itself.

As part of the monitoring and treatment, CD4 test is being done every six months. Last March, I had this test in one of the Social Hygiene Clinic in Quezon City. The result read 489. It went up from 469. On April, again I got tested at my official treatment hub. It went up several notches to 539. Not bad I guess for a less than month interval. There was a time that it only increased by three points after six months. Well, like we always say, it is just numbers. As long as I am not sick and perfectly healthy, then there’s nothing to worry. After virtually eleven years from the time I was diagnosed, next month would be my tenth year in ARV treatment! For the second near death experienced I had early last year, I got miraculously healed and here I am ... still alive, happy, and contented in the midst of life’s daily cross.

When it comes to HIV Channels of Hope, I got busy conducting the workshops from December to March to different communities in Luzon and Mindanao. As for the counseling work in our center, I got a client now whom I see regularly a few times in a week. Also, I got counselees from our church. Next month would be class time again for three weeks. Wait, I think I have not shared yet here that I have started my doctorate degree in Christian Clinical Counseling last January. Yes, by God’s grace, I was able to get a scholarship at Asia Graduate School of Theology in which has become my deciding factor for not choosing La Salle. Please do pray with me for financial provisions for my studies, wisdom and good health as I do simultaneously all these work ... all for God’s honor and glory.

Looking back at my journey, I was like, “Who would have thought I could be doing all these after HIV?” Truly with God, everything is possible as we continue this life journey in union with Christ our Saviour. Shalom dear readers!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Surprise at Officially Forty

Two months ago, I have written whether if life does really
begin at forty. Today marks my third day as an official forty-year-old guy.

Honestly, I am not really fond of celebrating my birthdays. Especially when I became conscious of my fear of getting into geriatric age. So I just let them passed like any ordinary day. However, the Lord has His ways that any man could not stop, including the birthday celebrator himself.

My family and friends spent some time and effort in the past to remember and celebrate it in simple ways. Mostly, I planned to spend this time with family and just stay at home. This year, I chose to be in Bohol and have decided to lead the facilitation of a three-day “Channels of Hope” workshop. The day I thought would pass off like any workshop days I have done previously did not happen. Something I was not expecting took place to my surprise!

At the end of the workshop during the closing ceremony, my dear friend and co-facilitator surprised me with the very thing I exactly instructed her not to do. With the help of the event coordinators, she announced that it was a special day for it was my birthday! Together with the participants, they sang the Happy Birthday song and prayed for me with the chocolate cake on my hands. Truly and sincerely, I was surprised! My plan of lamenting over reaching the age of forty did not materialize. It was exactly the opposite. I was and still overjoyed! Well, it is not every birthday I turned forty and far away from home. Thus, I must say God has made it special somehow and I am grateful for that.

It was not the kind of celebration I have dreamt of a few years before on my fortieth. Only if I have enough finances, I would love to do a mini concert of my own. Accompanied by a full live band, with simple food and drinks, I have imagined myself performing in front of my friends and family in an intimate venue. Oh well, perhaps this could happen in the future. Nevertheless, my turning forty remains special. Like I said earlier, I have lived more than I have expected so praise the Lord for the gift of life!

Arriving on another decade is something to look forward to and get excited for the rest of what God has in stores for us. In fact, I am thrilled to see how this year would unfold with the prophetic prayers I received early this year. I would share it on my next post. Shalom!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Staying Single – A Choice or A Calling?

“People are always in a rush for everything that’s why perhaps we are called the human race. But when you finally realized that you are in the right place and at the right time, things get to slow down and you start living your life while enjoying each moment.” – From the movie, The Switch

The movie where the lines above I quoted from is not about singleness. In fact, it is about settling down with your best friend after an interestingly chaotic journey. However, the great lesson I got from the story is the reality of these lines as a single person.

Some, if not most people think that if a person is single, either they are not happy or incomplete. Women suffer this kind of stigma the most. For this reason, some women make desperate moves if not pathetic, just to avoid these labels. Well, I knew a few who actually did. Nonetheless, they are happy now and enjoying their married life. However, deep down inside, it is truly more than this stigma, but the curse of being “single and lonely.” For men, if you were still single in your late thirties or forties, people would assume that you are gay in the closet. That is usually the untenable judgment. Oh, and there is another thing that single people have to deal with. There is the endless question from one person to another of “why, how, and the epic, when.” Not to mention the idea or dream of having a family or children. All these realities in our culture and some I have not mentioned affect the single men and women differently. It could be positively or negatively but mostly the latter.

Whether we like it or not, our society largely conforms to the concept of getting married and creating your own family as the ultimate goal in life that would surely make one happy and satisfied in life. I guess not anymore. Failed marriages, suffering children out of divorced parents, and broken families somehow contradict that idea. And unfortunately, they are all over the place. Thus, we need to recalibrate this kind of perception about singleness. Not every man or woman, whether they have chosen to stay single or viewed it as a calling, are not happy or living a miserable life. There are a quite number of men and women out there who are single and yet able to live a life with enough amounts of joy and contentment. “Is that even possible?” if you may ask. The truth is, yes it is indeed possible.

When a person finally realized that he or she is in the right place and at the right time, he or she starts living a life while enjoying each moment. When I say “each moment”, it means finding joy not only in good times but also in tough times as well. How? “Pursuing Christ and the path He has placed before us today will not leave us wanting” (Johnson, 2016), but only wishing or requesting. And whether these wishes or prayer requests are granted or not, we remain hopeful and yet contented at the same time!

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6: 33, ESV).” At first, I thought these words of God were easy. However, when I finally realized and truly understood what it means, through nurturing my relationship with Him, that inner peace, joy, and contentment in life no matter what, is something I have never imagined I could possibly have! For a number of years now, I actually did. The Lord may or may not bless us with the things we’ve been asking for. But even if He does not, “what he has chosen to give us is His best for us, at least for today. If we are in Christ, nothing can compare to what He has already given and the grace He pours over us daily” (Johnson, 2016).

Staying single may or may not be a calling or even a choice for me and for every single men and women out there. Only God and His time will tell.  And “when we embrace this reality, choosing to trust He will give us everything He has ordained, we can receive the fullness of joy as we count all the ways He has given us His best today.” (Johnson, 2016)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Does Life Really Begin at Forty?

Past twenty-five years of age, there is always this dreadful feeling of hostility towards the season of Christmas and New Year since then. Worst traffic, heavy crowded malls and transport stations, and other unusual things that occur only during this period are all part of it. But on top of all these, I have another source of antagonism.

Christmas and New Year indicates that a year is coming to an end. As the following year enters, it also means another year has passed. And very soon, I would be a year older! One of my fears in life is getting old. Although I was able to resolve and still in the process of resolving this issue, I felt it again this time. Maybe it has something to do with reaching the age of forty. In two months, I would be. Believe me, I guess I have lived now longer than I have expected.

Inevitably, a few number of people have already told me that I should be excited this time because my life is about to begin. But come to think it, does life really begins at forty? I have no clue where that idea actually started but personally, I have to say that my life has already begun nine years ago. I have started to truly live a life back on December 13, 2007. This was the day when I have yielded my whole life to Christ and declared Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour.

“Everything is meaningless” according to Ecclesiastes 1: 11. When we say everything, it is everything in life. That includes dreams, career, wealth, pleasures, achievements, success, and even relationships. However, everything in life turns out to be meaningful when you started to live your life all for the glory and honour of the one who created us…our God. How? Through pursuing and building a relationship with Him through Jesus makes everything that we think, feel and experience, and do or pursue in life…meaningful.

Looking back on that day, I was at the lowest point of my life. In the past couple of years, I have learned to be grateful to God for allowing me to hit hard that rock bottom. Lost and extremely despair, I searched for the meaning of life for it was useless to continue on that time. Then He came into my heart as I have decided to give my life to Him. It was the beginning of living a life towards in its fullness. It led me to discover who really I am, my passion, career, gifts, and my calling. It led me to where I am today…a life with a purpose.

All the riches of this world I may not have. For I only have enough for what I need for the day. I may still be living with the consequences of my past. There will be more pain and suffering through the “cross” I have to take daily. Struggles and “dying to myself” would be continually not fun and may get even harder. However, nine years ago I have made my decision to FOLLOW and OBEY Him. There will be no turning back. Mysteriously in spite of this situation, life can never be any better than having the sense of purpose, contentment, inner peace, and joy each day. Is not that we are all searching for? All of which can be found only through Jesus. For He came to give us life and have it to the full (John 10: 10b).

In a couple of months, I will be turning forty. I believe in my heart that my life has begun already several years before hitting the final year of my four decades of existence. This marks the beginning of the tenth year of my journey with the Lord. And I am quite sure there will be more beginnings for this year and the coming years. Who’s counting? Me, for it says, “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

So, does really life begin at forty? Be the judge. As for me, I don’t actually think so. Have a blessed 2017!