TALENT OF HOPE
I am Joy, 19 years old, and was living in Carbon Public Market together with my family. But unfortunately I lived in a broken family. My father chose to abandon us to raise another family. Our family has gone through difficult times where in fact, we experienced scarcity in food and even financially. We also don’t have a comfortable place to stay and live. My mother doesn’t have a stable job; she worked hard as a laundry woman in our neighborhood. The money she gained from work was not enough to buy food for a day or two. This was also one of the reasons why my other siblings would not be able to go to school and finish their studies. And I myself had not even a chance to go, too.
At the age of 5 I learned how to find ways to help my family. I worked and strived hard to help sell homemade foods from our neighbor. I even once tried collecting plastic bottles, cans, and newspapers to sell it. But yet still I don’t get enough money. At a young age I suffered the hardships that my family has been through. Little did I know, I started to feel hopeless and began to think where my life will take me. Many thoughts were sinking down of what I will become someday.
Until that day the outreach program of CFAI (Christ for Asia International) came to our place to help to cater the less fortunate street children. They came there to feed us, take care of our wounds and even share the word of God. They became more open by giving encouragements, advice, and even motivating us when we are at stake of problems. I was encouraged to pursue life and knowing more about God. My mother came up to the idea of sending me to CFAI because of the misfortune life we had in our family. With good grace CFAI opened their doors to accept me and secured me in the shelter. I knew at that point that my mother has a difficult decision to make by sending me far away from her. But she was brave and selfless by considering of giving me a better life.
For 12 years of staying in CFAI I am able to enjoy three meals a day and a 24 hours secured shelter I call ‘HOME’. I also can go to school and will be able to finish my studies until College. God has blessed me with people to help me out in a miserable life and has used CFAI tremendously to bless other people. He opened a new door for me to start for a better life. CFAI does not only provide for my basic needs but was also sharing God’s goodness in my life in exposing my talents for the greater use in God’s calling. I am honored and blessed at the same time that He entrusted me having the capability to perform such talents like singing, dancing, painting and even more. It is clear for me that He purposely given me such talents for His glory. I believe that God will use your life to touch somebody’s life whenever you are willing to be used and be a servant for His greater cause. God does not need only your capabilities but also your availability to serve Him and to His people. You can be a blessing to other people if you allow God to work in your life. In God, I found my hope and my strength. My talents are one of the hopes He has given me. I pray that you would also find your hope in Christ Jesus.
CHOICES AND CHANCES
Joseph is such a talker. He is just 15 years old but he seems to have gone through so much in poverty as in life already. So that when he talks, the 16-year-old teenager brags about many crazy things he has done and been through. Every time he joins the bible study during the CFAI Feeding time in their place at the fish market, he catches his teacher’s attention but the prankster and annoyance he brings his classmates. His teacher, a CFAI street worker, observes Joseph even joins the group when drunk. He is usually present which the teacher appreciates but his presence means also a lot of distraction during class. There are times when his teacher would spend extra time to listen to his story. Usually, he is swollen with pride to speak about what party disco he’d been through, how drank and crazy he was with his friends, how he hates his father, why he is living in the same house with a homosexual man. For many times, Joseph was reminded by his teacher of God’s great love. And Joseph was not very open about how he is in relationship to God. But he just shows himself up during feeding time listening to God’s Word and craving for attention from anyone.
The New Year comes and the feeding team once again drives to the feeding in the area where Joseph lives. But somehow when they arrived in the place, some faces of kids were missing and some kids broke the bad news that Joseph died on Christmas day last year.
Joseph was shot by some unidentified group of young teenage gangs in a dark alley. He was in this disco party and a riot broke out. The gang had its grudge against one of Joseph companions and that identified Joseph together with the grudge. He was shot in both legs but one followed through his bloodstream complicating his wounds that he died in the hospital. The youth gang who did this to him was not yet identified until now.
Joseph was gone now. And his teacher can’t keep asking if really Joseph had a relationship with the Lord. And it is difficult to tell. Joseph was not so vocal about it. He was young. His life was short.
However, it made his teacher ponder more about the young souls loitering around during the feeding time. People do have choices and they are given chances. It is the mission of Christ for Asia International to represent the character of God to this young generation which means to give them a chance in life to choose a life of purpose and destiny in the foundation of God’s great love to all despite one’s circumstance in life.
From Misery to Complacency
I am Paul, 22 years old. Before, I used to live in slum areas with my family in Cebu City. I grew up without knowing my father and I also have been living my life in a broken family. I was once a victim of child abuse. I was living a miserable life in which I had responsibilities at home whenever my mom was at work. I did household chores like washing dishes, washing clothes and even taking care of my little brother. I had three siblings, two older brothers and one little brother. Before, my elder brothers were not used to be at home, because they have been at school and there, at times, they found sideline jobs to help our family financially. My mom was the only parent who supported us through it all. She worked hard every day and it seemed like a burden for her to do her responsibility being a mother. She used to work as a gym instructor but her carrier didn’t flourish, and so she had a part-time job during the day as a laundry woman and at night as a product seller of lotions, soap, and everything about hygienic products. She was a bread winner of the family and always had a heavy heart to care for her children. She behaves violently whenever she got home from work because of the burden of being a single parent with four children. She sustains us with food, shelter to live in and even letting us go to school.
Until the time when she was cussed and she beat me up whenever she got mad every time I made simple mistakes or not even having one. She had beaten me until I got unconscious. She even had tried to kill me by drowning me in a barrel full of water and I can still remember back then, she was holding a knife out of her anger. I escaped from her when my brother came when I was shouting for help. I tried to get away from her and with that I kept on running away and was looking for a shelter where I can find peace and harmony. I was that young boy who was a full of confusion, regrets and anger at the same time when I was in the middle of that situation. I was once a homeless child who begs for food, clothes, money and a shelter for me to stay. At that point, I asked my self-worth, my purpose in life and even the reason why this all happens.
I believe still in God even in my worst situations, leading me to the point of realization that He never leaves my side. God used people such like CFAI from the time when I begged for help and the need for me to stay away from the discomforted life I have gone through. Bit by bit, I came to know more about God when I started to live in CFAI (Christ for Asia International). My mom never supported me to stay there for good and she was too eager to get me back from there. She was too mad when I got away from her. I used to hate her for what she did to me but God made me realize to forgive her even though it was not that easy to forgive her and to move on in life. I took me five long years to forgive what she did and accepting her for being my biological parent. Meanwhile I settled the problem with her and there was a time she came to ask for forgiveness - though the healing process took more time.
For almost 15 years in CFAI, I have overcome my struggles in life and live a life full of hopes and dreams, a life that I couldn’t ask for more. Now, I’m just too blessed and grateful that I almost made my dreams come true. I had finished my studies in University last year, graduated a Bachelor of Elementary Education. I started to work as a teacher last June but then God called me for a greater purpose in which He called me to do a one-year internship in Germany. I knew from the beginning that everything that happens is part of God’s good plan for my life.