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Inspiring Christian Life Stories – Part 2

Victim

At one time or another, all of us have been a victim of another person's selfishness, greed or hurt. It's how we deal with the resulting sufferings that makes or breaks us. All are victims of sin, but not all are broken. Some do make it to healing. Others who don't became even more severe with their own victims. A broken person is someone with a hurtful experience that has not yet been healed. He becomes self-centered with tendencies to anger, from covered-up irritation to uncontrolled violent acts.

I remember at three years old, hiding by the side of the bed and after running away from my father's mad anger, my father throwing his slippers towards me. I don't remember now why it happened but I do remember the pain even though I was young. Already in Grade three, I remember him forcing me to swallow the paper I was practicing my handwriting on. I made one mistake too many with my penmanship. At that same age, he bathed me with very hot water because my brother, sister and I were playing instead of getting ready for school.

I wasn't the only one who suffered. At kindergarten age, my sister was hit at the mouth when she was sucking food instead of chewing it. Among the three of us, my brother was the most abused. He was very thin, asthmatic and very sickly but this didn't stop my father from often biting him. Sometimes it seemed like his neck would break due to the big blows that he received from my father. But my mother suffered the most. Emotional, verbal and physical. Even her inheritance money was stolen from her through manipulation. She lost more than a million pesos worth of her inheritance money. We would go hungry with little food on the table, yet he had money for gambling. He would throw away a hundred thousand pesos without losing sleep over it, and knowing we hadn't eaten. He had many women. I know of at least four or five stepbrothers and sisters.

My coping mechanism? “Livin' Ia vida loca.” Being broken myself. At high school age, my father owned two night clubs (bars); I promptly lost my virginity with a prostitute, of course, with help from and approval of my father. I got into drugs; uppers, speed, marijuana and shabu, whatever was available then. After college, I dabbled in black magic, played with and used girls, and got drunk with alcohol. With the greater freedom of work, I got more drunk, but this time with the power and control I had over people. I was young, an executive in my father's firm, living in a house provided for by the company, had plenty of money and sets of new powerful friends - mayors, police officers, custom officials from Cagayan, Bataan and Olongapo. I was known in every bar in town. I was living it up - man about town - known to have what I want. I became very proud. But, I was a broken man.

Now, after my father abandoned us, we learned how it is to tighten our belts. Oftentimes we are unable to pay our honest debts. Our land tax has already zoomed up simply because we couldn't pay for it all these years.

But amazing as it is, the 'life' I knew before can never compare to the inner joy I experience now. I must confess it was a long struggle. But through all those years, I was a searching soul. In spite of everything I've done, I joined several Christian activities - cursillos, retreats, LSS and even a Youth camp in Vancouver, Canada. In 1996 I joined Singles for Christ due to the prodding of Tito Larry and Tita Chie Castillo of CFC Bataan, whom I found difficult to say no to. I tried to think of countless excuses to miss the CLP. Sometimes I considered to just pass by and stay for only a little while, but ended up finishing everything. Then, it struck me. I realized that all my life “HE” was there all along, just waiting for me to open the door of my heart to “HIM,” the King of Kings.

A year later, God works in His mysterious ways and timing, I found myself working for Him as a YFC Fulltime Pastoral Worker.

Soon after, my mom entered Handmaids of the Lord. She is now a very committed leader. Except for my father, everybody joined the community. My sister just had her new baby welcomed by her SFC friends. My brother and his wife are looking forward to joining CFC after recently getting married. Every now and then, we even have our own household on Sundays at 7 pm. Now we can really raise a family.

Although I am now free from the bondage of worldly pleasures, I still had a hard time forgiving my father. But because of constant prayers and God's healing power in me, I finally found it in my heart to forgive him and to understand that he too was a victim in the past.

The broken person that I was, however, is not one any longer. I've realized that to be happy and to be whole I need to stop making excuses for my life. I know what it's like to live a victim's life. I now have Jesus in me and through him I've learned to rise above whatever situation I'm in, decide to stop being a victim and instead live the life of a victor. Like my favorite passage Gal. 2:20 says, “I have been crucified, put to death with Christ on His cross, so that I am not the one living anymore but Christ living in me. By Big Shot Piega

Continue to Part 3

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