Marc, 20, Texas, USA
I rejected Christ at a young age. I grew up in the Philippines, in a very legalistic, hypocritical Catholic family. My parents followed the Word, but never lived it out. The love and selflessness just wasn’t there. When I recognized my family’s hypocrisy, I began doubting the faith. In middle school, when my parents divorced, I turned from God altogether.
Around this time, I noticed that I was attracted to other boys. When I acted on my desires, I felt a conviction of sorts — but, because of my family’s hypocrisy and my own distance from God, I was able to ignore it. As I rebelled, I fell deeper and deeper into a dark spiritual and mental place.
In ninth grade, my mom left for America. I eventually obtained a visa and followed her to the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma, where my mother met and married a drunkard. I witnessed his verbal abuse of her on the regular. I’d already been in a dark place, but now that I’d left my comfortable life in the Philippines for a crappy life in America, I was totally depressed.
The peak of my depression came during the last two years of high school. To cope, I sought satisfaction wherever I thought I could find it; I was consumed by lust. When I wasn’t involved in sexual sin, I was gossiping. I didn’t merely engage with rumors — I started them. As a result, I gradually began losing friends one-by-one, and then senior year, I lost them all. This loss came alongside the expiration of my visa, which prohibited me from getting a driver’s license, a job, or doing much of anything else. In my eyes, I had nothing to live for. I wanted to end my life, but for my mom’s sake, I didn’t. Instead, I graduated and left for college.
On the first day of college, a pretty girl named Savannah sat next to me. When I later found her on Instagram, I learned that she was a Christian. I quickly came up with a plan: I’d pretend to be one, too. I followed a bunch of Christian accounts on Instagram and made up stories about my “faith.” I followed Christian Instagram pages and made up stories about my “faith.” I told so many lies to grow close to her, while secretly thinking her faith was foolish.
Then, in 2018, I came across a Bible verse on Instagram that struck me as true. I was so moved by the words; it freaked me out. I remember trying to backtrack and remind myself that God wasn’t real and that the words were just words. But, as much as I tried, something stuck with me. Soon after, one of my new Christian friends played me the song “One Thing Remains” by Passion. Again, I was struck. I’d only ever heard traditional hymns; it had never occurred to me that worship music could be so enjoyable.
Thereafter, my friend invited me to a fellowship meeting at a large church. I’ll never forget the day. As soon as I stepped into the auditorium, I was overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how I knew it was the Holy Spirit, but I knew. Midway through service, the leader invited anyone who wanted to surrender their life to Christ to stand up. Distracted, I only heard the “stand up” part. As everyone turned to look at me, I realized what I’d done — and I also knew I meant it. God had been chasing me down and, in that moment, He finally caught me.
When I heard the song “Reckless Love” at service a week later, I was moved to tears. The lyrics rang true: “There’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up coming after me” — God was doing exactly that. The Lord had never left my side. He’d been with me through all of my sin and had even used my lust — and my deception — to bring me back to Him. He left the ninety-nine to find the one (Matthew 18:12).
I went home that night and shared my new faith to my mother. Overjoyed, she exclaimed that she’d spent years earnestly praying for the Lord to touch my heart and lead me back to Him. Clearly, He heard her!
Shortly after, I was baptized. When I stepped into the water, I knew my life would never be the same. Sure enough, when I came up out of the water, I felt totally new. Transformed. My faith in the freedom bought by Christ on the Cross was solidified. The pain, the depression, and the anxiety was gone and in their place was the unexplainable peace of God. Later on, I felt Him embrace me and I so clearly heard Him say, “Thank you for coming back. I’m never ever going to let you go.” I remember just sobbing; in Him, I had finally found the satisfaction that I’d been seeking for so long. Nothing — no boy or girl — could ever take His place.
I’m now walking in my purpose with full confidence that God is with me. Even in the middle of storms like the one we’re in right now, we as believers can find total peace. God is sovereign and His love for us is unchanging. From the beginning of the world, He knew the troubles that would befall us. We should never lose hope, for Christ has said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).