Year-end testimonies from Courage Philippines members.
Bro. ANP’s Testimony
Since 2010, my journey with Courage towards healing has been good so far. Since then, I had no sex with others and I was able to manage porn and masturbation. Frequent attendance on sharing meetings, Sacrament Sundays, Eucharistic Adorations, film showings and lectures had helped me to feel secure and that I was never alone in this struggle. The Lord is always there to lift me up every time I fall. The lecture on HIV provided an eye opener on this dreaded disease and encouraged me more to live a chaste life. The lecture of Dr. Melvin Wong and the self-taught books provided hope that I can be transformed into a man that God created me to be. The sports activities, camping and gym workouts that I joined with my friends had affirmed my masculinity. By revealing my SSA struggle to some of my select friends, it provided great help at times when I’m not with my Courage support group. I would like to thank Kuya Rollie for the constant reminder of our Courage activities and for being a good company. Looking forward to a great 2012. To God be the glory and praise forever!
Bro. C’s Testimony
2011 has been a healing year. Jesus led me in my struggle for sobriety. Courage has been a big support. Attending the meetings and fellowship with the brothers and sisters has been a joy. I can’t imagine how I could have survived the year without Courage. I was also able to attend the Living Waters – the 25 week program and the leadership training. Both have been an “aha!” experience. I have found a home in these two communities and with God’s help I have been sober from homosexual acting out since January 14 of this year 2011.
M & M’s Testimony
Noong una akala ko walang katapusan ang mga di magagandang karanasan ko. Pero thank God kasi “natapos na”. Natapos na ang mga araw na akala ko hindi matatapos dahil na rin sa mga tulong at dasal ng buong Courage family. Bagama’t hindi ako nakakarating ng madalas sa mga fellowship at sharing meetings, pasasalamat dahil alam kong lagi nila akong sinasama sa mga dasal. Sa ngayon, masasabi kong tapos na lahat ng mga agony ko sa SSA kasi I’m a resurrected person. As of now, I’m happy with what is happening around me. Everything goes well with my work, with my family, but with the grace of God I know I can overcome them. I have my greatest fear – myself. 2011 also marks the beginning of nothing. I have plans this year that were not accomplished, but I promise myself that for the coming year I can accomplish them. Thank you for the support of my brothers and sisters in Courage.
Bro. D’s Testimony
For the year that was – 2011 – blessings and graces have been poured out to me by the following Courage events. They have left deep spiritual imprints within me:
Courage Fun Run at the CCP and Fun Swimming at Taytay Rizal
· The Theology of the Body “Freedom to Love” by Christopher West at the Ultra
· The Courage Annual Retreat at the St. Joseph Retreat House in Legarda, Sampaloc Manila
· The NARTH Conference at the Philippine Heart Center
· The Catch Fire Evangelization Rally
· Teachings on the following topics:
o Shame and its effects on persons
o The Reality of HIV/AIDS
o Developing our Personality
o Overcoming Sexual Addiction
· Film showing of the following:
o Tuesdays with Morrie
o The Three Idiots
The sharing meetings, reparation and Sacrament Sundays, fellowships have all been sources of spiritual strength, perseverance and patience especially during moments of frequent falls, trials and struggles. The outreach to Hospicio de San Juan de Dios and the visit to Sister Boggs made me more conscious of others apart from myself and my SSA issues. Also, I have been blessed with two communities in our parish and the guidance of another priest counselor.
For all of these blessings and graces for the Courage year 2011 I am truly grateful to the Lord. They have been the sources of my harmonious relationship with my family, relatives, friends and benefactors.
Thanks be to the Blessed Mother Mary, St. Joseph, and all the holy archangels, angels and saints for interceding for me during the year that was.
The foundations of my spiritual and religious life had been strong since I was a child; however, during adolescence, because of my discoveries in sex, like masturbation, it became less strong. Later on, people started getting involved in my sex life. Partly because of shame, partly guilt, partly confusion, and partly rebellion, from being lukewarm towards my religion, I started to drift away.
Because of friends, friends who were maturing, friends who matured, friends who have been touched – I started coming back to God. But it was still off and on. It would come and go, with different intensities in between.
Today, I’m still in one of the greatest trials in life. Several painful incidents have led me to where I am right now. Instead of rebelling, I chose to cling to Him. Since I had no more job, I had more time for myself. More time to reflect, more time to be at peace with myself, and more time for prayer.
I go to mass every morning, visit the Blessed Sacrament, and read about spirituality and religion. At the same time, because of what happened to my job, I have been praying novenas to St. Jude, St. Anthony, St. Therese, St. Joseph, San Pancracius, St. Pio, St. Josemaria Escriva etc. To make my petitions and my prayers more pleasing to the Lord, and as a pledge of sincerity in making these novenas, I had to go to communion everyday. But how could I, if I was sinning everyday – several times a day. I was an addict to masturbation. And I was only addicted to that. It was my sleeping pill, my wake-up pill, my sedatives, my outlet for frustration, loneliness, pain. It calmed me down, it was my warm-up, my exercise – you name it.
I just had to give it up so I could receive the sacraments. I had to give it up for the love of God. It was a struggle. Together with that, I had to give up doing it with people especially my very special someone – a woman.
There were several struggles. Big, small, medium, painful, some were nakakasira ng ulo. I felt the graces come. I was also invited to enter a religious society and from there, I was introduced to a support group and we all thought was Courage.
On my own, upon learning about Alcoholics Anonymous, I just wondered if there would ever exist a sort of Sexaholics Anonymous, or Homosexual Anonymous, or whatever of that sort. Little did I know that soon, it would exist, and it really existed.
It’s a good idea that when we are being tempted we can call on our brothers in Christ to pray for us, or to join us in prayer as we struggle to not do it, or to comfort us in our loneliness.