“Frats, drugs, alcohol, and pornography,” twenty-year old JD Perez enumerates, when asked what ruled his life before he met Christ. Violence was so ingrained in his character that hurting other people was the norm for him. “I would beat up a guy just to prove I’m not afraid of him,” he shares.
His temper and misguided behavior estranged him from his family. His relationship with his siblings deteriorated, and he was disrespectful towards his elders. Instead of attending classes, he would spend his time at a computer shop to play video games all day. The rotten condition of his heart manifested through his words and actions. “I would chain smoke, get drunk, curse a lot, and beat up other people out of spite,” he shares, “I was the perfect example of immorality.”
With no regard for his future, JD exploited various vices and lived a hedonistic lifestyle. He became such a troublemaker that his neighborhood started treating him like a criminal.
His turning point came during his third year in high school, when a friend invited him to attend a worship service for young people. That’s when he met Jomari Badiong, the guy who would eventually disciple him and become his mentor.
When he heard the gospel for the first time, JD discovered God’s radical love. “He completely took hold of my hardened heart and He taught me how to love and forgive,” he says.
Through <a href=”http://facebook.com/one2onediscipleship”>One 2 One</a>, JD learned of a Father’s love that is unconditional, steadfast and eternal. Faced with such overwhelming truth, JD couldn’t help but share how God transformed his life radically. He started preaching the gospel to other people, risking persecution and being called a hypocrite. After all, he was the neighborhood troublemaker.
“The gospel changed my life inside out, but I wasn’t content to be the only one experiencing God’s life-changing love,” he shares, “I had to share it to other people, no matter what.”
With encouragement from his mentor, Jomari, he felt empowered to start his own Victory group. Today, JD leads two Victory groups, and mentors college students aged 17 to 19 years.
He considers discipleship very important and stresses that a healthy relationship is a big part of it. “When you disciple someone, you discipline them because you love them,” he says, “After all, God doesn’t just want to see us saved, He wants see us changed, too.”
In the future, JD yearns to lead more people to Christ as he pursues his dream of becoming a Mechanical Engineer. “My mentor is so passionate in sharing the gospel, even in public places, that it rubbed off on me!” he exclaims. He is in faith that if God can change his hardened heart, He can also change the lives of his brothers and relatives, who have yet to know Christ.
“Discipleship is a catalyst of change!” he declares.