Before I came to know the Lord, I grew up in a simple life. We had a small business of shoe manufacturing and I studied in fine schools. From the world’s standard, I knew I am religious and devout but tolerant to other faiths. Growing up, I remembered I went to mass every Sunday. I experienced serving as a sacristan, a passage reader and a commentator for our school mass and even a member of a choir team. I followed numerous church traditions like praying the rosary, attending prayer vigils and religious processions and making offerings to icons. In the eyes of the people around me, I was a good child, responsible and trustworthy, but at the back of this good image is a child that was longing for something more.
Year 2001 was when China products entered the Philippines and overwhelmed the footwear industry. This unfortunately had a big impact on our lifestyle. We lost our income and because of this, almost every day I would hear my mom and dad yell at each other. I would see my mom crying and I saw the changes in my dad. He started coming home drunk and the fighting would start again. I started to hate my dad. Because of the financial difficulties, I started to work to help my family when I was in Grade 6. Every afternoon after school, I would go to the market to sell footwear. Lucky enough I would sell one to two pairs of sandals. Just enough so my siblings and I would have food to eat in school the next day. This situation lasted until high school.
In my college days, I learned different kinds of vices. From smoking, alcohol to immoral sex. There were times that I would even spend my tuition fee on my vices. Year 2008, after I graduated from college, something happened that I will never forget. My older brother was accused of rape. Because of fear in the hands of police, our family decided to keep my brother in province. It’s hard for me cause that meant I will never see my brother again. A year after, my other brother was accused of a murder. But because of lack of evidence from the accusing party, the case was dismissed.
I started to work in Alabang for a BPO Company. Since I really wanted freedom from our problems in the family, I rented a boarding house and decided to live away from them. That was the time I experienced coming home almost every day drunk. There were times I would go to work drunk or sometimes I would even miss work because of alcohol. I thought I could find the happiness in my vices. I never visited my family, not even on weekends and I became irresponsible, not just with them, but with my work as well. One time I decided to visit them, and I never imagined that I would hear these words from my dad. “Wala kang kwentang anak, dapat hindi kana umuwi dito”. It was then that it really hit me hard. I asked myself, what then is the value of my life?
August 15, 2010, I was invited by one of my boardmates who was working at CCF to attend their Sunday service. September 11, 2010 for the first time I met my Discipler. He shared to me the gospel, the love of God, John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. and I realized how sinful I am Romans 3:23 say “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. I cried everything to the Lord and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. After I accepted Christ I went home and talked to my family and asked for their forgiveness. My life became different and Jesus Christ filled the void in my heart that all of my life I have been longing for. But the consequences of being irresponsible came and the company decided a force resignation to me. I put my full trust on the Lord and prayed. I believed that He had a plan for me as stated in my life verse Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
And God has been faithful to me because on my last day at that company, I got news that I was to start my new job the day after. God blessed me with a high salary, position and time. I was given the chance to attend Wednesday bible study. I also joined the ushering and prayer ministry. I started discipling other men from tagalog youth.
But Christian life is not easy. I lost the job that I dreamed of because of my prideful heart. I resigned even though I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. I failed in my test of faith. Those times I would feel the anger in my heart and I lost my confidence with God. I started to live based on my own decisions, financial problems with the family followed and it was then that I felt hopeless. I lost touch with the singles ministry. I stopped attending service and dgroup meetings, and my disciples moved to other groups because I didn’t have time to them. I was jobless for almost 6 months and I really thought I would never find a job. For the longest time without praying, without talking to God, without reading His word, I decided to talk to Him in prayer and ask for forgiveness. I recommited my life to Him and after 6 months I got the chance to go to CCF again one Sunday morning. Indeed, we have a God that gives many chances.
After a few days, I accidentally saw one of my boardmates and we talked. He said that the company where he finished his OJT was hiring. I prayed about it and applied and I praise God that I eventually got the job offer. I also included in my prayer that He will send me to a company where I can be with fellow believers. And behold, God answered my prayer beyond my expectations Almost all of my co-workers are Christians and all of them are being used by God to grow more in faith. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. Today, God is still faithfully using me in the ministry where He placed me before, which is the ushering and prayer ministry. And it is my heart’s desire to lead my own small group again in God’s perfect time. I praise God as well for blessing me with a wonderful D-group who’s always there to support, encourage, guide and prays for me regardless of the circumstances. This is my life story of God’s faithfulness. My name is Vinz Salvador, A lover of God and a sinner saved by His amazing Grace. To God be all the Glory.