How God Found Me

All throughout high school, I was pretty alone. Sure, I had "friends" around me, but they were not very deep friendships. My first few years of college were pretty much the same story. All throughout my first four years at UCSD, random people would come up to me and invite me to their church, or to a bible study. Of course, being the typical apathetic college student I was, I would always say no. At one point, I even got upset because I was being "shared with" quite often. It was January, around the time of my birthday in 1997 when someone invited me again, and I was going through some rough times; my roommates and I were at each others' throats, I had four days to figure out where I was going to move, midterms were going on, and no one remembered my birthday. I tried to get away with my usual "no thanks", but this guy just wouldn't quit. So I told him off, right in front of a passing crowd. I wasn't shared with at UCSD ever again. However, I did feel kind of guilty for telling that guy off.

A few months later, I was deeply unhappy. I was back living at home with my parents. I was working the same old crummy coffeehouse job with the crack-addict boss and the abusive co-workers. It was my last week working at the coffeehouse on that fateful Wednesday morning in late May (May 28,1997 to be exact.) I wasn't even supposed to be working; I was filling in for some girl that didn't feel like coming to work, and I had been called in at the last minute. A customer whom I had served came up and handed me his empty coffee cup, and I automatically went to refill it. However, he didn't really want more coffee, he just wanted to compliment it. Then he invited me to church. At first I was hesitant, and ready to reject his invitation. Then he started telling me about how his church was very "real" and about what he had read in his bible that morning. I figured, "Why not? I have nothing to do this Sunday." And so I went. And I was blown away. This wasn't your standard "traditional" church where you just sit there and mumble along whatever you're supposed to say. This wasn't a place where it seemed like a big drag to be. Everyone here seemed happy to be here; everyone was singing and everyone was shouting words of encouragement to anyone who was on stage. And I was truly cut to the heart by the two messages that were preached that day. After the service, I was greeted by many eager faces, then whisked off upstairs to the food court for lunch and a bible study. I was truly blown away by the plain and simple truths that were shown to me that day. I was shown the truth I had always wanted to know: how to know whether I was right with God or not. Because I had never opened a bible before as a Catholic, I had never known such elementary truths. It took me 16 days to study the bible and learn everything it took to become a TRUE Christian. I learned that there are many who call themselves Christians who were not, and I learned to use the bible as my standard for my living. I was baptized into God's kingdom on June 17, 1997.

Later, it grew clearer and clearer to me how God had been trying to reach out to me for years. At least 10-15 people from this church had shared their faith with me over four years' time. I had had a roommate that claimed to be Christian but slept with his girlfriend everyday. I recently found a harshly-worded poem about my roommate and his hypocritical life that I had written on December 31, 1996. It reminded me about how earnestly I was seeking God. Also, before I was baptized, I found out that Bryan (the guy who had invited me to church at the coffeehouse) had planned to go diving, but had hurt his back that morning, so he picked a restaurant at random and just picked me to share with. Knowing those factors, plus the fact that it was my last week working there, and that I was filling in for someone else shows how God works. In Acts 17:24-28, the bible says that God works out the specific times and places for us to be for his plans to go forth. This is just one proof that God is alive, and he works in our lives if we earnestly seek him.

Eric Aniversario, 6/16/98.

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