I have lived in darkness before, but God brought light into my life. And from then on, I am forever changed. I admit I am a sinner. I don’t deserve even a little amount of His love and attention. I believe in Him, but I do not care whether He exists or not. Yes. That was God to me before, but after that life-changing moment, I was enlightened. In an instance, I felt completely loved, and in spite of all the problems I had, I feel blessed. God became my best friend and I will never trade that relationship with him for anything else. I am Sheree Ann Rosal Cruz, 18 years of age and this is my story.
My life has always been a total happiness – my family is complete, I have a huge circle of friends, I relatively excel in my studies and a lot more. In short, my life seemed perfect in the eyes of everyone and of my own. But still, I did not know there was one thing missing… When I entered high school, I joined into the same organization that my sister was in to, the Youth for Christ. Actually, I never thought of joining so. But since membership in many clubs in our school meant higher grades which I needed to sustain my academic standing, I decided to sign the registration sheet.
After all, almost everyone in our class joined, including my closest friends. I never thought of worshiping God that time (which they said what YFC is all about). All I wanted was to be with my friends. I can still remember those 3 days – October 25-27, 2006 in Glory of the Gardens, Antipolo. During the youth camp, there were talks, discussion groups, activities, games, etc. but I felt nothing special. It was only on the second day during the third session when my mindset changed. The speaker ended his talk with a video clip taken from the movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’.
I admit that I am a shallow person. And so, I cannot help but burst into tears as we watch the crucifixion scene. Afterwards, it was time for siesta. However, my ‘discussion group leader’ asked me to go with her at one spot in the venue. I don’t know what was happening, but as far as I remember, she was asking me about my general state of life, like “Kamusta family mo? Friends mo? Acads? ”. She was even asking for my concerns and so on. I thought it weird for her to ask those questions, but anyway, I felt at ease with her and shared a glimpse of my life story.
Later on, I found myself crying as our conversation dug deeper. To cut the long story short, that ‘sister’ made a really big impact in my life. During the night on that same day, I was ‘baptized’ into the YFC community and I would certainly not forget those cheerful words the ‘service team’ gave me: “Congrats Sheree! Welcome officially sa YFC!!! ”. I never knew that night will pave a way to a much more beautiful life for me. Eventually, I became active in YFC. I’ve always attended the gatherings and worships. I also joined the YFC chapter in our village and became participative in the community-based activities.
When I entered college, I also joined YFC UST, became an officer and attended campus-based events. Furthermore, I annually attend the Metro Manila Conference and I am so happy to say that on April 1-7 this year, I will attend my first ever International Leaders’ Conference which will commemorate the 20 years of YFC all over the world. In an instance, my life became more meaningful. In YFC, I’ve experienced an extraordinary kind of fun, friendship, freedom and faith – and most of all, a love that I cannot give, but now I have received; a love that made me open up myself to God; a love which I never thought would bring change into my life.
I may have joined for the wrong reason, but I know in my heart that I am staying for the right one. 6 years and counting – about to turn 7 on October 26, 2013! So blessed that I can’t contain it! Indeed, God works in ways we cannot see. In my life, he worked through the YFC family. It is not necessary that we change through the Church, or by reading the Bible or saying our prayers every day. Yes, it helps a lot, but I believe that feeling God’s love is way greater than knowing it.
And that love can be felt when others make you feel unconditionally loved not for romantic purposes, but for a brotherly/sisterly love. God never gave up on me at times when I almost gave up on Him. He never closed a door for miracles when I already thought he did. It was never my plan to change through YFC; it was His will. When you are in darkness, never give up. Find God. But even if you don’t have the urge to do so, don’t worry, for God’s light will always find its way to you.