Welcome to the Philippines today for our 2nd Advent testimony. The Philippines is a unique and colourful place. To the casual visitor, the Philippines appears a wonderfully happy place to live, but there is rampant poverty, corruption at every level of society, natural disasters and other challenges that the people face daily. Many young women turn to religion for help, but in a metropolis like Manila, it is not easy to find the narrow way that leads to everlasting life (Mt. 7:13-14). Here, one Philippine young woman, Ren, shares her story:
‘I was born to hard-working parents and raised in Tondo, Manila. Due to the nature of their work and our financial need, my parents were rarely home and I was raised by my grandparents. I grew up shy, finding things to do within the home and was around seven when I was first exposed to pornographic material.
‘Family life was difficult. Though my parents did the best they possibly could to financially provide, the few times we spent together were times of non-stop fighting with abusive language thrown around. Shouting and fits of rage became the norm. For years I locked myself in my room or threw myself into my grandparents’ embrace, crying in anguish each time a rare family dinner would turn into a war-zone, sometimes with furniture being thrown.
‘As I grew up, my loneliness and hurt turned into hidden rebellion and I began what would become more than a decade of immorality and sexual promiscuity. Desperate, I even contemplated taking my life.
‘In the darkest time of my life, I begged the God of all creation to prove Himself to me. I wanted to know if He was real and to show me that life was still worth living. Sure enough, the Lord answered. Shortly after I challenged God, an acquaintance invited me to a retreat. Hesitant but running out of options, I went along. It was then that I heard the Lord speaking directly to me. I felt the void in my heart being filled and my biggest questions being answered.
‘Understanding Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross for someone like me both broke my heart and changed the way I saw my life. God’s sinless Son allowed Himself to be beaten, spat on and nailed to the Cross to die in the place of sinners, so that I could be saved. I felt both unworthy and deeply loved. It was then I made the decision to repent of the sin I had committed against my body, against others and ultimately against the Lord, and accept God’s gift of salvation. I committed to leave the old life that I had tried desperately to control and welcomed the start of a new, full life in Christ. Since then, my life has never been the same.
I felt both unworthy and deeply loved.
‘Today, only and unimaginably by God’s grace, I am smoke-, alcohol- and drug-free, pursuing a life of purity. I am blessed to be plugged into a community of believers, who pray for and guide me in my walk. Amazingly, the Lord has also entrusted to me ladies whom I disciple, and who have also started doing the same for other women. I now rest my life on 1 Timothy 1:15-16 and praise my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.’
Pray for the Philippines:
- that young women like Ren will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and be a faithful witness for Him
- for believers to stand against corruption within all parts of society
- for vulnerable people to be freed from verbal, physical or sexual abuse.