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Inspiring Christian Life Stories – Part 1

Strangers No More

From 1996, when CFC (Christians For Christ) Berlin started, to 1999, there are now six CFC German communities. There were many instances that God showed His hand in the events.

Since opening CFC Berlin, Mila and I had always followed up on prospective couples referred by the CFC brethren. When we made contact with them, we always felt their hunger for the Lord.

An Unseen Hand

For instance, for two months, we kept getting 'wrong number' or 'person not available' with a couple living in the capital city of Mainz in the state of Rhineland Palatinate. However, when the correct contact address and phone became available and we got through, this couple was open to the urging of the Lord; they organized a group to start a Christian Life program.

A young couple in Hamburg did not know a thing about Couples for Christ. Yet, they wanted to organize a CLP (Christian Life Program) for their friends. That's not all: this couple encouraged us - complete strangers at that - to visit them in Hamburg.

Near Cologne, a Gummersbach couple invited us to give the opening talk about the Christian Life in their LSS seminar.

A Siegburg couple invited us to stay with them so that we may visit with the SVD priests in St. Augustine. All were strangers yet the Holy Spirit led us to them and comforted us - we were welcome and safe with them as they are with us.

The Effect

And the results you say! That CLP in Mainz went on as desired.

That CLP in Hamburg didn't push through as planned. Probably thinking they needed to make up for not gathering their friends for the CLP, the Hamburg couple placed us at the Hotel Intercontinental - complete with a city tour. We thought that was that. But the Holy Spirit wanted a CLP that 1998 - the Year of the Holy Spirit - and provided us an angel through the couple's mother who was in town visiting them.

It happened this way. Not wanting to be impolite to our hosts, we sought and paid our courtesies to her in her hotel room. When she asked us what we were doing in Hamburg, Mila and I looked at each other for that grace of opportunity provided by the Spirit. We explained to her our plan of starting a CLP in Hamburg. As we explained all about CFC, her eyes twinkled and, together with a friend, started calling up people. Before the afternoon was over, we had walked out of her room down to a function room she had requested her son to provide for us.

By dinner time, we were explaining to a group of a dozen people what Couples for Christ was and what the CLP intended to do. The group broke up that evening with excitement and a lot of promise. The following day, we received a knock on our door with another invitation in the afternoon to talk about CFC with another prospect That got us jumping up for joy, thanking and praising the Lord. From no one to someone! We could not have known any of these people that we were meeting.

Who else could be responsible for all this! By Nolet Ladrido

The night I Was Forgiven

4 children: daughter Fritzie, sons Paul, Tom-Tom, and Kersey. My home is at peace nowadays. But it wasn't so in the 3 decades before the 90's.

I have mestizo blood: half-British - my father has Anglican missionaries parentage; and half-Filipino - my mother is a Waray (Iloilo). My looks have been a blessing to me - landing me movie roles in 3 Visayan films: Sabrina, Ikaduhang Bathala and Bohol-anon Kan-yo, and would have had more films, but my story would be a lot different. But these looks have also been part of the cause of my addiction.

True, I was into gambling, drinking and the 60's drugs - marijuana, LSD, amphetamines. But though I avoided girls in the office, even when they flirted with me, I would have girls outside of work. I never did have a hard time with girls; in my grade school days, I already had my first girlfriend at Grade 4. In my college days and early work years, I had an average of 4 girlfriends at the same time, none knowing the other. In fact, that is why I never fooled around in the office. I needed my pay to finance my addiction. Add to that my other vices, you can see, I really needed to work hard.

Worked hard I did. By own choice, I had learned to fend for myself; I know how life operates. At 2nd year in high school, I left (house) Cebu for Davao where I did the rhythm guitar, vocals and the drums for our travelling band - nearly made it too to Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War to play at their honky-tonks. Back in college and Cebu, I had my share of deadly mistakes that I thought was fun then, not knowing any better. I worked at Philippine Airlines for 14 years, after getting my management college degree.

I had married young at 19, but the first 4 years of marriage were bliss. Other than a year or so of quiet, it was always a life of honky-tonks, and in them, drinking, gambling, and womanizing. My first threat from Nolie to leave me, I transferred to another town to avoid the other woman.

In the later years, my lifestyle was taking a toll on me. I became more violent, picking a fight whenever I'd go drinking. All the alcohol I drunk couldn't make me sleep; I had insomnia. In my drunken stupor, I would see the demon himself - slimy, ugly and smelly. With the next and final threat, Nolie was all ready to leave me.

At her last counseling before deciding, however, the priest asked if she would still want me. It took a while for her to answer, “Isn't he the father of my children? Of course, I do.”

“Then,” he said, “you should repent.” She was taken aback; there was nothing she remembers of to ask forgiveness from, especially, from me, of all people!

“Repent of the hatred you have for your husband,” he said.

I came home at 3 in the morning, ready to pack my bags, ready to be bawled out of the house. She was there alright, but she was at peace.

Are you hungry? I cooked your favorite dish, you know.

… Do you want your slippers?… Do you want me to accompany you while you eat?

My first thoughts were the food must be poisoned! Serious talk from her came to dispel the doubts.

Regardless of what happens to us, you will always be my husband. The children will always cherish you for being their father.

Curious at the prayer meetings she had been attending the previous days, I met up with the lay leader. Leo Sevilla for the next 2 weeks patiently pastored me almost daily. The first 3 days he was doing all the talking.

Though I was politely listening, I mostly clamped up. By the 4th day, I opened up to him, and, whenever we would find any major wrongdoing I've done, reconciled to God with the priest in the confessional. During the baptism in the Holy Spirit later, all wet from perspiring after expelling probably all those sins, I was slain while making the loudest noise, shouting for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“Bill, Bill,” I heard the Lord say, “you must forgive.”

I decided to forgive all the people who have wronged me, and, for good measure, asked again forgiveness for my own wrongs.

Thus began my road to healing. That was 1988. By 1991, I went to a Christian Life Program. My spiritual life was even more strengthened. “I will teach you to be a father, husband, parent to your children,” the Lord said in my prayer time. Between those years, I was struggling in my Christian life, but by the later years I was seeing great progress in living out my Christian vocation. Since I was more consistent, my credibility to my own children came back noticeably. They saw my sincerity in my service: I worked with higher and higher job responsibilities Mondays to Fridays, but come Saturdays and Sundays, I was at Bohol. I was a weekend missionary, yet wanting to do more. So last July 1998, I became a fulltime pastoral worker. (For 2 years before that, my own son, Paul, was already a fulltime worker for the SFC (Singles For Christ) and YFC (Youth For Christ). It must have been his example. Like son, like father!)

I have made my peace with my God, opened to a fuller relationship with Him. I hadn't known Him before. Despite my unfaithfulness, I hadn't known He would wait for me. As my relationship with Him developed, so did my relationship with my family, especially Nolie, my loving wife. Because I was lost, wallowing in my sins, I hadn't realized her love. I know I love her, too.

I know my God died on the cross. Honestly, I don't know how to repay Him. The best I could do is to serve Him - with all my life! And to pass that on to our children. By Billy Price

Continue to Part 2

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