It’s really a humbling experience to share my testimony here.
I’m blessed to speak and share to you about how God works in my life. And how God changed me from being a self-centered, people-pleaser person into a person secured of God’s love.
My name is Heider, the youngest among the three children of my family.
I came from, in some way, a poor family.
My father worked for a living mainly on driving. He drove tricycle, which is basically just a motorbike with a sidecar and is a
common means of public transportation in the Philippines. My father has the biggest impact in my life when I was young.
Although he is just a high school graduate, I’ve always wanted to be like him because I see him as a very wise, talented,
and charismatic person.
My mother is an engineering graduate but she ended up being a housewife. Although she is a housewife, my mother is the most
hardworking person I’ve seen in my life. She worked nonstop in our house and served tirelessly to cooked for her family, feed her children and do neverending house works. And sometimes, she even wants to work right after recovering from sickness. And
because of that, we sometimes tease her and call her “Mama-martyr”, which literally means “sacrificing mother”.
My parents were the most influential persons in my early childhood years.
I grew up in a Christian community because there happened to be a Christian church near our house. When I was young, we
would always go to Church to attend the Sunday Service for kids. Back then I remembered there was already a God-shaped
vacuum inside my heart that longs to know Him. I remembered a time when my brother was reading to me a stories in the Bible.
And I seemed to be very fascinated to it to the point that even though he already is finished, I would cry and beg him to continue
reading to me stories. I was very active in our church during those days.
I was also a very ambitious kid, full of dreams and hope. I remembered back then, my biggest dream was to become a very
famous superhero with very cool superpowers. I was imagining scenarios where in everything was in chaos and everyone needed help. Then after that I would come in the midst of that chaos and save everyone. Then of course they will thank me and
applause me and so on and so forth.
And when I get a little older, I got a more realistic dream which was to become the president of the Philippines. And just like the
previous one, I wanted to be a very famous and a “savior-like” president that would save all the problems of my country.
Then as I go a little older, I would dream of becoming a lawyer, who is very rich and of course very famous.
So when I was in my primary school, I excelled a lot. Every year, I was the top student of my school batch. I wanted to see my
parents proud. So you see, every weekday I was a good student then every Sunday, I attended church. I seemed to be a very
good kid, right? Well, far from it.
Somewhere between my primary school days and secondary school days, my sinful nature has begun to manifest.
I started to get addicted to pornography and computer games. Almost every night, I would come home very late because of
playing computer games with my classmates. And going home, I would tell lies and alibis to my parents.
I then started questioning life, fate, and other things that brought curiosity into my life. My perspective was gradually changing.
I started believing that maybe our life was not designed as I think it was designed to be. Maybe all of the things that happen to us were just like some random things. Maybe some people are just lucky and some people are not. Maybe after all, there is no God who sees us. So I thought, everything was pointless.
Then I became a less-than-average student barely passing any exams.
Then I tried looking for the love and the approval I needed the most. I started playing with women’s feelings. I would get attached with girls hoping to fill the void of loneliness in my heart. Although I was still attending my church during those days every
Sundays, my life during Mondays to Fridays were just computer games, pornography, flirting, hanging out with friends
and the cycles continued.
But I was still an ambitious person deep in my heart during those days. I remember there was a prestigious school in my country
that I really wanted to enter as I go to college. When I was younger, my parents would always tell me that someday I would study on that school because I deserve to be in that school and all the successful and intelligent students go in that school.
Not to mention that my both my siblings were also studying in that school. So at that time I was so pressured but at the same time, I felt entitled to study there.
Then after taking the entrance exam examination, I failed. We still tried and tried to enter other branches of my dream school, but still, I failed.
I was so depressed at that time. I felt so unhappy when I see my parents tell me that it’s just okay and everything will be alright.
But deep in my heart for the first time, I really felt like a failure. My dreams were shuttered. I became tired of everything.
I was even tired of going to church.
My life was such a mess and pointless that it’s hard to imagine. But His grace is even more unimaginable.
One day, months before graduation from my high school, my school organized an event and invited a pastor to talk. I didn’t
remember the whole talk. But I remembered that at the end of his talk, I was at the back row of my class crying a lot and sobbing a lot. Then as the pastor slowly approached me, he tapped me in my shoulders and said “God loves you brother, God loves you.” That day, I was given a wonderful opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I felt how real it was to encounter
God at that time. Until know, I haven’t grasp the understanding of how wide God’s love is. And at that time, I was wondering how
can God loves me even though I am a failure and sinned a lot against him. He filled the void inside my heart that I know only Him could fill.
But my transformation was not that easy. I entered an engineering college, and studied Mechanical Engineering. There, I found
myself going back to the old bad habits.
But then God’s grace and God’s mercy reaches even the deepest part of my sinful heart.
During my early college years, God introduced me to some brothers and sisters in Christ who helped me a lot in knowing God
more and more. Like a child begging for his brother to tell more Bible stories, I started to become fascinated again in reading
Until now every time I read the Bible, it just speaks to me as if it is alive. And the Word of God is really alive.
I also started reading Christian books too and became more interested in knowing more the greatness and goodness of God.
There I learned how to put my trust and hope in the Lord. I realized that putting your trust on things like your ambitions or to
people like yourselves makes you a slave to something. But when you trust in the Lord, it sets you free. It’s feels so liberating.
I started to see things differently. I started to find meaning in my life.
I was able to graduate from my college with honors. I have traveled to four different countries for short-term mission trips,
spiritual and academic leadership conferences, and my family didn’t spend a single money on those trips. All those expenses
were provided by God through the support of other people. And right now, God is working in my life as he brought me here
in Japan to study for my masters and hopefully share His amazing love and wonderful plan to our fellow Japanese brothers and
Before I end, I just want to share to you this verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I know God is not yet finished with me in transforming my life. There is still a lot of work that God is doing in my heart.
But I am secured that He will always be there for me, and I am not the kind person who I used to be because of His love.
Before, I was just a child trying to gain the approval of my parents. I was just an ambitious kid trying to achieve my selfish and
arrogant ambitions. I was just someone looking for love, affection that no one could give. I was a lost soul.
But God, in His mighty powers, turned my messy life into a meaningful one.
Jesus is the real superhero.
In the midst of chaos when we needed Him the most, He came and gave His Son Jesus Christ to rescue and save us.
And He did that for us to experience Him and His liberating love forever.
I’m really excited to see what God has in store for me and for us in the future. I’m looking forward to grow with you in Christ as
I stay here in Toyama.
Please pray for me together with my friends as we enter the university for our Masters early next year.
Again, I’m humbled to speak in front you sharing my testimony. Thank you for listening.