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A Sailor's Voyage To The Light Philippines by Julius Provido I was born and raised in CEMBO, or Fort Bonifacio, a residential area for military men and their families in Manila, Philippines. As the second of four kids, I grew up with other army children, listening to stories of military encounters and adventures. Being tough was instilled in me from a young age, and I engaged in many fistfights. In my world you had to be tough to earn respect from your peers, friends and enemies. At home we had rules and discipline. My father was a man of principles, many of which he learned from the army and through experience. ough not a religious man or a regular churchgoer, he never went to bed without first praying. I loved and admired him very much. In grade six I remember playing cards with a friend whom I caught cheating. A er I beat him, he ran to my house and complained to my grandfather. Fortunately for me, my father was away and grandfather only pretended to punish me with his thick leather belt, just to appease my friend who stood outside listening and smiling. I knew that if my dad had been there, I would have been disciplined for real. Essentially, our family viewed itself as Christian. My mother took us to the Roman Catholic Church Sunday and Wednesday where we recited the rosary and practiced the novena, a devotion to the Virgin Mary. I also remember once being dressed in a dark red robe for the Feast of the Black Nazarene. On church days, I abstained from alcohol and gambling, as that seemed like the right thing to do. If anyone had told me I was not a Christian, I think I would have punched him in the face. One day a former classmate came knocking on my door. I hadn't seen him for many years, and a er catching up, he began sharing the message of Christ with me. I had never heard it that way, but I liked it. Still, I was not ready to accept the free gi of salvation. At 18 I le home to join my first ship as an Apprentice Marine Engineer. It was there that I embraced the motto “Wine, women and so long.” Despite this, God had other plans for me, consistently putting Christians in my life. e third engineer on my ship, and others, persistently shared the Gospel with me, even though I tried to avoid them, favoring my sinful life. I narrowly avoided committing murder during a drunken knife fight, and twice I was sent home for fighting. In 1987, while in Dubai, I finally surrendered to the Lord, clearly knowing I was a sinner bound for hell. I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, and God continued to work in my heart, changing me. Seven years later, I was baptized at the International Christian Church of Dubai, Baptist. Looking back, I realize that God had planted a seed in my heart many years earlier when my classmate first introduced the message of Christ to me. God can change you too, if you'll let Him. W Reprinted with permission from “Finding Your Way,” published by Metro Baptist Church, Burnaby, British Columbia. MBC is pastored by BIMI missionary Russell Mackay. Number 1, 2013 BIMI WORLD 19