It’s a long shot being here and brave enough to stand before you this day.
I came from a family who struggled in life because of poverty. Also my father was irresponsible. I have 11 siblings living in Mindanao that I never met again since we we were separated when I was little.
I witnessed how my mother suffered in every situation. But the worst thing my father did was sexually abuse me several times. Since then I became quiet and I never told anyone because I felt better if no one knew. And I kept asking myself how a heartless father could do this to his child. He was supposed to protect me but I felt like he was killing me softly.
These experiences resulted in my violent reactions when I saw girls of my age being bullied. Then one time I seriously injured my male classmate by stabbing his left eye which caused him to be blinded. Then his mother sent me to jail for four hours just to give me a lesson but it didn’t help.
The population in my house was growing and we didn’t have enough food to eat. My father didn’t have stable work. Sometimes we only ate one meal a day. So my mother decided to send me to my aunt’s house thinking that I could have a better life if I stayed with my aunt.
What she didn’t know was that I lived miserably while at my aunt’s house. She treated me cruelly like a slave. Almost every day I experienced physical and verbal abuse.
The worst experience I had while living with my aunt was when my older cousin sexually abused me. I felt confused and had no one to turn to. I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere.
I kept going back to my mother’s house but she resisted taking me in, telling me to go back to my aunt’s because she couldn’t support me. I cried but nobody listened to me. I felt all alone, until one day my mother sent my sister to live with me so that I would not feel alone.
But my sister did not live with my aunt very long. My aunt treated her badly also and my sister ran away. I learned that she lived with my other relative. That was the last time we saw each other. I continued to strive in my aunt’s house because I had nowhere to go.
After I graduated from high school we moved to Cebu and lived together with my other relative. Sexual abuse happened to me again with the husband of my other relative. I asked myself why God allowed my innocence to be abused this way. If there is a God why am I surrounded with evil people?
As days passed I continued to go on with my life pretending to be okay. I pretended that everything was normal for me.
During my high school days I had a lot of bad experiences. Finally, one day I became rebellious. It was no longer me; my respectful behaviour was gone. My anger and frustration were growing and I didn’t understand myself. I satisfied myself by doing evil acts. I got arrested and detained for one day because of shoplifting and that caused my aunt to let me go.
That was the greatest thing I had ever done because finally I had become free from living in hell. The moment I got out of my aunt’s house I fely like I was free from prison.
Then I started building up walls between me and my family and I changed my identity to become a lesbian just to hide the fact that I had been abused. Then I moved to Manila and found a family who really cared. They showed me love and I worked for them as a babysitter of their child.
At first it was good enough, but I was still feeling empty. My past kept haunting me and most of the time I ended up alone and crying. I still burned up with anger, insecurities, bitterness, jealousy and hatred.
My past had tremendous impact upon my life. It opened doors of evil for me. I had a drug addiction, a smoking habit and I was having a relationship with another woman. I became one of the boys until one of my friends dared me to have one drink with him, so I agreed. We both got drunk and things that I did not expect to happen, happened.
So now he’s the father of my two kids. Although the father of my kids had never left me I was still living in my past. I had no satisfaction and my anger was still there. All the things that had happened to me —all those nightmares — kept coming back. There was still emptiness in my heart and I still did evil acts. Three times I had an abortion.
In 2011 I worked in Singapore but felt out in the middle of nowhere and I still had no satisfaction. Inside of my heart and my mind was an emptiness and hollowness. My life had no direction. I always got terminated from jobs because I always fought back every time anyone corrected or criticized me.
In October 2014, I moved back to the Philippines and stayed there for two years. Then I applied for a job in Europe. In the midst of August 2015 I got a message request on Facebook asking for my real name. The person told me that I looked like their sister who was lost long ago. I replied with my real name. Then she called me up. That was the quietest talk I’ve ever had with my sister because we couldn’t stop crying. We both understood the feelings of intense longing we had felt for each other for almost 28 years.
She wanted me to go to Hong Kong but I said no because I had an employer waiting for me at the time. I was scheduled to go to Europe but it was not meant for me because my employer backed out. So I agreed to go to Hong Kong. I had no idea that it was God’s plan to bring me to Hong Kong all the way from the Philippines.
On August 10,2016, I arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport. And finally, on August 21, 2016, I was reunited with my sister for the first time. She told me that my father died three years back, but my anger burst out again and I told her that it didn’t matter how many times he died; he could never repay the damage that he had done in my life because I was still suffering from the pain that he had caused.
My sister told me that I needed to forgive my father, so that I could live freely. One evening, on September 24, 2016, at Victoria Park, while sitting alone, I talked to God. I told him that I was tired and fed up with this kind of life. And I asked God if he could send someone to me who could bring me into His hands.
God answered right away. He sent Riza, and from that moment on Riza started sharing with me her experiences with God. I was astonished at what I heard. After she spoke with me, she prayed for me, and she invited me to accept Jesus Christ as my savior and that was the beginning of my journey to God.
Then I started to attend a group of fellowship. I knew that I needed to be saved, to accept Jesus, and that His work was sufficient to assure me of God’s love for me and a place in heaven. God is able to take the mess of our past and turn it into a message. He can take the trials and tests and turn them into a testimony. I was no longer empty; my life was filled with a sense of purpose.
I am amazed by God’s grace and forgiveness. There was also a huge difference on the inside; for the first time in my life I knew contentment. God will continue to give me the grace to resist and overcome sins. I no longer live my past because God lives in me. My name is Lisa — once lost — but God redeemed and found me.
Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.