When Renato started working as a driver for Every Nation Campus Philippines director Joseph Bonifacio, he would sit in the parking lot and wait for the worship service to end. Pastor Joseph would invite him to come in and listen to the Word, but he would always have an excuse. Prior to that, he sought God in different places, but he would always end up disillusioned and more confused. After two years, he’s had enough; and he stopped going to church. Religion, he decided, was not for him.
Raising three kids with his wife proved to be difficult for them, and they would always fight about their lack of finances. “What would I do? I would always get angry,” he recalls. He remembers being plagued with sleepless nights, and he would resort to his vices of smoking and drinking to make himself feel better.
One Sunday, Pastor Joseph invited him again. This time, he found himself entertaining the idea, and he started talking about it with his wife. They decided to attend the service at Victory Nova, which is near their place. He couldn’t explain what led him there, but he felt a stirring in his heart. He listened to the message, which was part of the Biyaheng Semana Santa, and knew it was directed towards him. “I surrendered wholly to God,” he shares. Soon, he found himself looking for someone that will connect them to a Victory group.
That’s how he met his Victory group leader, Boyet Noroña. He started attending regularly at Victory Nova, and soon went through ONE 2 ONE. A huge transformation occurred in him. His wife noticed that his vices were gone, and he was no longer short-tempered. Their relationship greatly improved, and they realized that they’ve stopped fighting about money. He started sleeping soundly at night, too. “I wasn’t living a victorious life because I was solely dependent on myself,” Renato reveals. Now, he anchors his faith on God’s promises for him and his family. Last year, he declared his faith to the world during Victory Weekend.
During the latter part of 2015, his wife was also baptized during Victory Weekend. Now, they’re both serving in Victory Nova as ushers. Renato also developed a hunger to reach out to fellow drivers. “While waiting for my employers at the drivers’ lounge in malls, I’d share the gospel to my fellow drivers,” he reveals. He would engage people in vulcanizing shops, gas stations, and parking areas. The fire in him burned so bright that even his neighbor, who used to be a drunkard, became a Christian. “I remember praying for him at a time that he was very drunk,” he recalls. His neighbor has long overcome his drinking problem, and now regularly attends church.
When Renato looks back on his past, he marvels at how God saved him from himself. He holds Matthew 6:33, which says “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” close to his heart. Free from the bondage of insecurity, self-reliance, and pride, he became an instrument to advance God’s kingdom and can now fulfill his roles of husband, father, and discipler. Through his story, he showed that God can use the flawed, the broken, and even, the unwilling, to let His name be known to all the world.