I was exposed to many vices and bad things of the world: cigarettes, liquors, barkadas, and even marijuana. The path I was walking on was a road of confusion. There weren’t any clear signs but only detours and lost ways.
by Leonard Grape
Imagine a universe without planets, a sky without constellations, an Earth without air, a sea without its ebbing and flowing, a song without melody, a heaven without the moon and the sun; can you see how gloomy and dark life is? That is how my life was seven years ago.
Early in my life, I was exposed to many vices and bad things of the world: cigarettes, liquors, barkadas, and even marijuana. The path I was walking on was a road of confusion. There weren’t any clear signs but only detours and lost ways. Young as I was, I felt how blinded my soul was and how I was on the verge of totally ruining my life. It was almost a stale mate. It was almost reaching a point of no return.
Then in the midst of drowning in a dark pit, mercy was bestowed upon. There was light beyond the horizon. I never thought it will be a guiding force that will change my life forever. That was when I met Bro. Eli Soriano.
It was first my father, Alejandro Grape, who heard Bro. Eli on his tv program Ang Dating Daan when it was still in SBN 21. I didn’t have any idea that he had changed his faith and religion. But it was obvious that something drastically changed in my father’s heart. He stopped all his vices.
I wasn’t hearing him curse anymore. He was more hopeful despite all the hardships we were facing in life at that time. Next thing I knew, my mom was already with him attending the Church and every evening, I would see my father watching this man preaching the word of God, with all courage and passion. I learned his name was Bro. Eli Soriano.
In the beginning, I was annoyed by the fact that we couldn’t watch any tv shows while my father was still watching him. I never was interested in religious matters. I was a Catholic but I only went to Catholic Church when it is my birthday, not even consistent at that. But every time I get the chance to join my parents in the Church, every time I hear Bro. Eli read and teach the words of God, there is always in an inexplicable feeling deep down my heart, something I couldn’t easily fathom, something joyous, something that brings out tears from the windows of my soul, something that gives me clarity, a sense of purpose, a sense of direction, the clear sign I knew I needed this. I was being called to the Church of God, the true Church in the Bible.
It was November 17, 2006 at the peak of the sun – 12:01 PM, a day I will never forget in my life - I received the Holy Baptism and was renewed in Christ. Ever since, with God’s help, everything changed, from the way I think, to the dreams I wish to chase, to the way I mingle with my friends, to the kind of leadership I was applying in my academic career, and in all other things in my life. It became so beautiful, like sitting at a hilltop while watching a never-ending show of shooting stars. But most importantly, it was like having the Bright Morning Star in my darkened life, receiving the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father.
The Lord died for us. God gave us the brightest star. It is only but fitting that we do our best in living a life for God’s glory. Thanks be to God!