D R . E L R O I


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Forty “@40 I Thoughts” @10

(October 4, 2017)
I thought of writing these thoughts or realizations in life in celebration of my ten years journey with the Lord. For the reason that after all these thoughts have happened, I thought I would feel or think what I thought I would feel or think before they happened. Unfortunately, most of the time I was wrong. So here we go.

I thought when I finished college, I will be successful.
I thought if I landed a good-paying job, I will be rich.
I thought if I am able to help my family, I will be fully happy.
I thought when I quit my job, I will be a businessman.
I thought when I pursued my dreams, I will be fulfilled.
I thought if I have lots of money, I can do and buy anything.
I thought when I am old enough, I know more than enough.
I thought if I am older enough, I can conquer the world.
I thought if I tried everything, there will be no regrets.
I thought when I embraced and live who I really am, I will be free.
I thought when I was diagnosed with HIV, my life has ended.
I thought I could ignore it, but I could not.
I thought I could kill myself, but I could not. 
I thought God is simply up there.
I thought all Christians are self-righteously judgmental.
I thought all Christians are nice and good. 
I thought God does not talk to us.
I thought a human can only love you for what you have.
I thought Christ-like love is impossible.
I thought when I have sinned and sinned, I will be unforgiven.
I thought when I failed, it will be the end of it.
I thought there will be no life after HIV.
I thought I would not be able to travel.
I thought I know myself already.
I thought I could not speak in public and teach.
I thought the Bible was boring and hard to understand.
I thought I am done with studying.
I thought I am done with master’s degree.
I thought another professional license was not going to happen.
I thought putting up a counseling center is just a dream.
I thought living freely is a fantasy.
I thought 24 years ago, I will be married and have children by this time.
I thought I believe in a miracle, not until I experienced it myself.
I thought when I was a child, a 40-year old man is really old.
I thought when I reached 40, I am really and will look old.
I thought aspirations and dreams are for young people.
I thought when I finished my studies, I will stop learning.
I thought when you get older, life is much easier.
I thought it is impossible to attain joy and contentment.
I thought I would not be happy.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Teaching – An Honor and A Responsibility

It has been a couple of months since my last entry here.
Workshops, teaching, and seminars took most of my time in addition to school readings.

Last August, I conducted two HIV&AIDS workshops. One in Cagayan De Oro City for two and a half days. The other one is at this private company in Quezon City through a pastor friend’s invitation and connection. Since it is just a half day, I have decided not to share my testimony as first planned. However, I was moved (by the Holy Spirit) to share it towards the end. People who were so grateful with what I shared! Some were touched and cried but mostly were blessed. Last Sunday of the month, I was invited to preach at this house church in Caloocan. The message was about “Embracing the Pain.”

Early of the following month, I was given an opportunity to share “How to love our LGBT neighbors as we love ourselves?” at this forum. Then I traveled to Pangasinan for another Channels of Hope HIV workshop and another with the staff of this private hospital in Tondo. All were great and blessed experiences, a testimony how God can turn things around even the worst situations into our favor when we trust Him.

The month was capped off with teaching on “Understanding Depression and Positive Psychology” at this college in Munoz, and “Stress Management Workshop” at our counseling and training center. I believe that Mental health should be focused on including wellness through stress management especially nowadays. This has become part of my advocacy since I got a calling into helping profession of counseling and psycho-education. Thus, motivated me to pursue my doctorate degree in clinical counseling.

Counseling and teaching on topics that address our total well-being are truly my passion and calling. Truly, speaking the truth in love is both an honor and a responsibility especially doing it all for the honor and glory of our Lord Almighty! And there’s more to come. In the meantime, as I have mentioned already about my studies, coming middle of this month my classes start. It is time to be a student again and focus. Shalom and God bless!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

HIV, Homosexuality or SSA, and Me

In the past couple of months, and again this month, the Lord has constantly placed me in the forefront of His works through these ministries. This explains why it took me a while before I make an entry again in this journal after some time.

Nearly after nine years of working and praying through Channels of Hope (CoH) for evangelical churches to get involved in the HIV&AIDS advocacy, it has finally happened! Well, that was said by my very close friend and mentor of this work. In fact, she supported my travel to Davao last July to share God’s faithfulness, His story of grace through me, to His anointed leaders from all over the country. At the 32nd Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) national assembly, I was given a 45-minute opportunity. Fully relying on God’s wisdom and guidance, I must say that it was the most satisfying, short but precise, and most powerful message I have shared in my entire HIV career! And I thank and praise Lord Jesus for that. 

The issue of homosexuality or same-sex attraction (SSA) is never too far to be a part of the message. It is the cross I got to take daily. After receiving truly mean and outrageously judgmental comments during and after my guesting at DZAS the following week, it became a very strong issue at the CoH workshop that my friend and I have facilitated. Together we went to her best friend’s church somewhere in Camarines Sur to conduct a two-day CoH HIV workshop for their pastors. Regardless of these “tensions”, as always, God never fails to end His works on a very positive, heartwarming notes. The leaders were all grateful for the enlightenment and knowledge they have learned and moved to do something about these issues in their respective areas. God is amazing, is not He? 

Two more things are worth mentioning. Prior to our trip to that workshop, another CoH workshop was held in Naga City for this particular LGU. What amazing was, for the first time, a mayor of the town has not only attended! He also participated in the whole two-and-a-half-day event! Truly his presence graced this learning event. 

Of course, this journal would not be complete without talking about the wonderful experience that my friend and I have experienced. Before that workshop I mentioned above, our host – the best friend of my friend, and her family have treated us to an island hopping in Caramoan! Despite the sunburn and tiresome road trip, witnessing and enjoying the wonderful creation of God was all worth it! What an awesome way to spend that weekend! And what a privilege and a blessing indeed, which comes along with these services accomplished ... all for God’s honor and glory!

Towards the end of August, I will be sharing again God’s story of love, grace, and work in and through my life. Your prayers and support are highly appreciated. Shalom, everyone!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Faith, Tithing, and Me

(May 12, 2017)

As a freelance counselor and resource speaker for workshops, seminars, and training, earning comes apparently in uncertainty. At times, it is purely service, which means gratis. In short, there are times that I have, but there are also times that I don’t either working or not. Not that I am complaining about for it is work God has called me into. In fact, I am just simply amazed how the Lord truly works with my faith in this area of my journey with Him. Yet, there is one thing I find difficult not to do...worrying. I worry when uncertainty seems long enough and the resources look emptying out slowly.

However, this fear of running out with resources never happens. And as long as I continue to believe and hold on, I guess it will never happen. Okay, maybe you are one of those who always says that money should be the last or should never be a problem for someone who believes. I totally and completely got that. Believe me! But hey! I am just being honest. This is the reality. As fallen human beings, we have this proclivity to worry all the time. But this is not what I wanted to point out.

What the Lord has made me truly recognized through this calling and career ... is the joy of being able to give my tithes for every blessing I receive. Each Sunday when the time for tithes and offering comes and I have to hold the offering bag to pass it on to the next person, sometimes, I could not help but feel bad when I have no envelope to put in it. I remember when I used to have a regular salary a few years ago. It is so easy to take the tithe out and keep it for the coming Sunday. For you know that after a couple of weeks, there is a certain amount to be already received. Is there joy? Absolutely.

After five years of relying fully on God-given opportunities through these ministries and not knowing but somehow expecting that I would receive something ... the joy is quite different when finally, I would be able to give ... again after some time! There is more joy in it! In fact, lately, I realized that this has become my first thought – finally, I could give to God again! – especially when I received unexpectedly. More importantly, after nearly ten years in my journey with the Lord, this whole experience made me truly acknowledged one reality. That everything comes from God, whether you believe and like it or not. Even the smallest and almost ignorable talent, gift, skills, or abilities that we possess and use to earn, including the capacity to give ... is all because and comes from Him. For apart from Him, we are nothing (John 15:5). So don’t you dare take any credit for yourself, even if you pridefully feels like it.

Apparently, faith really shines and increases when you do not surely know that an opportunity or a blessing is coming. And when there is a tithe to be offered, which came through continuously “giving yourself” to others, the joy is even more and heartfelt. And then me, oh well ... let’s just say that I could not be any happier and contented despite tolerable worrying at times.