Rising Up Again
As I look back and examine my past to inculcate to my young mind the lessons of life, it slowly but firmly establishes my growing principles today. And if I would recount the events in my history, everything that has to do with being saved by our Redeemer, a thousand-page article would be insufficient, because Jesus Christ is constantly at work with His ministering angels to fulfill His plan of redemption in very numerous and many small ways of which we are sometimes very unmindful.
My youthfulness quickly passed to accommodate the trials and challenges that an adult experiences. I hurriedly sprinted my way into the real world with insufficient preparations that could have overcome my very unchristian ways of living. As early as my teenage years, I had learned to drink alcohol and smoke tobacco, in addition to partying and bar hopping almost every night, with intimate relationships that only lasted for a night every now and then.
At the age of 21, substance abuse was the name of the game, specifically methamphetamine hydrochloride and rarely THC (marijuana). As my dependency deepened, my conscience loosened. A series of mischief and criminal acts that were not premeditated but acts of impulse occurred. A lifestyle that consumed nearly $30,000.00 (US Dollars) was the ticket for a life like a hurricane that eliminated everything on its path within half a year. My family was saddened with what was happening; and as a remedy, my grandmother suggested and encouraged me to be with my father in Panguil, Laguna, (Luzon, Philippines) who was at that time a Seventh-day Adventist Bible worker in a home church that is situated on an easily accessible mountain highway.
Truly our Lord is good in His acts of mercy for His erring child. As voluminous lights enshrouded the family study room, a voice deep within my soul was whispering to me to take a walk with God like Enoch. A life in the service of our King as a medical missionary relieved my misery with true happiness. From the northern to the southern Philippines, the work continued to demand my calendar days: teaching and giving lectures, training medical missionaries, attending seminars and workshops at times, and at other times curing the sick from their maladies through God-given methods like massage, hydrotherapy and fruit and vegetable juices. Simple ways, but they have proven to be effective until our modern times. The joy and happiness that encompassed my heart were an overwhelming testimony that every word from Genesis to Revelation is the only safeguard of our soul. This is Jesus Christ our loving Redeemer.
After almost four wonderful years of being converted in the seventh-day Sabbath, an opportunity that would serve my purpose to help my aging grandpa and grandma in the family business and at the same time to work and earn a decent living seemed to be advantageous. Like the flourishing Jewish economy, the secret of which lay in their strict obedience to the counsels and guidance of our Lord, so was every success that I attained at the local and overseas markets that our financial venture thrived upon. But the temptations that surround our daily life can seem more and more attractive, and this can entice us to hold less to the sure Word of the Lord and depend more upon the wisdom of men. I began to enjoy again the dance music of the lustful earth, as step by step I walked far from the light and merrily swayed and did whatever pleased me in the dark alley of sin. My responsibility went down the drain as my enthusiasm heightened to achieve greater heights for myself and family. Because of my unwarranted spending, I needed to gain more by procuring a personal business that would divert my full attention and at the same time would jeopardize my family’s interest. As a result, I applied for a $12,000 loan, payable within three years, from a business associate, with my grandmother as the guarantor. As more stress built with these events, I leaned more unto my own understanding and found relief from bottles of liquor and sticks of tobacco. Eventually my priorities shifted, and I found myself being driven by my own desire that plunged my spiritual life and family to rock bottom. Observing with a grieving heart, my grandma and grandpa continuously talked to me for a solution, but I chose to retreat by running away from them and leaving them with all the consequences of my actions. It was easier to be a coward rather than face the harsh realities of life that we induce freely upon ourselves.
As months flew by, nothing could be said to indicate that I was happy and content with the way things were going. After seven months of wandering to and fro, I found myself again dependent on substances, which I knew would not be the answer. As I tried to redeem myself by my own power, the Lord permitted me to experience firsthand the fruits of my own doing. Two of my business associates in Malaysia and Canada entrusted me to handle their requirements for their shops. The amount of $6,000.00 was transmitted to my account, but a sure profit of $1,500.00 was not enough for me, and with closed eyes I planned to invest it first for a short time while I found a way to still deliver the goods to my clients in their respective countries. But at the back of my mind I knew from the start that it was a hoax because of my addiction and served me right that nothing good came out of my venture. Adding insult to injury, my relationship with my mother was shattered to pieces to the point that the community officials and police needed to be dragged into our misunderstanding, and that made our family the talk of the town for a time.
One night, with nowhere to go, I found myself on the bus going back to my father. With a contrite heart, I was hoping to be forgiven and accepted into the family. It was not an easy ride to face the circumstances that my lifestyle had brought. Trying to change myself without trusting the Word of the Lord fully, choosing only the counsels that fit my liking and neglecting others that would put strain to my muscle and appetite—as expected, this did not help me to reach the joy and true happiness for which I was longing. The Lord continued to chastise my soul like an earthly father corrects his stubborn child. After two years of fighting against the will of the Lord, I am now surrendering myself to His wisdom and plan.
As of now, I am returning to the church and will continue to serve Him as a medical missionary. At the same time the Lord has rewarded my humbleness with a blessing. The provincial government of Laguna through the Department of Education designated me to be a Massage Therapy Instructor for the Out of School Youth and non-government organizations of Laguna under their alternate learning program and at the same time for the Provincial and Social Welfare and Development Office’s Centers (1—Male Drug Dependent Rehabilitation Center; 2—Women’s Crisis Center). This qualifies our students for a certificate that could be used for local and overseas employment if they would register and pass the oral, written and practical examination. It is a real blessing, not just for them, but also for me. In fact, we have incorporated my massage training with our health message, such as the eight laws of health, hydrotherapy, herbs for medicine and mixture of massage oils and, of course, with our gospel and my father as our Bible worker.
“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Proverbs 29:23.
As of now we are in need of your prayers and financial help to aid our work with proper equipment like portable massage tables and chairs, a laptop and projector, massage oils, herbs and hydrotherapy apparatus.
By Jeffrey Baluyot. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Support for the work that Jeffrey and his father are doing can be marked “Baluyot” and sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.