The author is a businesswoman, now 55 years old. We decided to withhold her identity to protect her privacy and the privacy of the people involved in her harrowing life. We also changed names of the people and places in this edifying story.
IN 1998, my husband Bob and I separated and I was left with three young children to raise. Six years after, in 2004, I found a boyfriend, Carl. Seven years after, in 2010, we separated. Then my business deteriorated and I faced a P20-million debt. I wanted to die.
How did I hit this rock bottom of my life?
In the beginning, I thought I was just a simple girl, one of three children in our family. My father ran a furniture business. It wasn’t easy so he wanted me to study Nursing so I could go abroad, earn dollars, and live a better life.
So I studied Nursing like the rest of humanity hoping to earn dollars. But by the time I graduated, the once lucrative Nursing field was just about saturated. I couldn’t find a job so I settled to work without pay in a hospital— just to be able to have a better credential in my resume that should snag that job abroad my parents wished for me.
After a year, however, I realized Nursing was not for me. I quit my job and for lack of something better to do, I helped out in my father’s furniture business.
After just a year or so, I realized doing business was what I wanted to do. I was good at it and I eventually learned the best way to prosper the furniture business.
By this time I had already married Bob. Alas, Bob turned out to be a bum and a drug addict. We quarrelled a lot and the bitter fights led to our separation in 1998.
With three kids to raise, I didn’t have a second to grieve over the collapse of my marriage. I quickly moved on, concentrating on succeeding in my business.
A Charmed Life
Six years after Bob and I separated, I met Carl, a married man. We fell in love and he took good care of me.
And I must say at this point, I enjoyed a charmed life. Aside from my happy relationship, I was also doing great as an entrepreneur. I expanded the furniture business to lumber and construction, and other businesses.I had some 700 employees under me. And business was so good, in no time, I was able to buy units of heavy equipment, a condo, and a couple of townhouses in Manila— plus seven luxury cars, with chauffeurs at my beck and call.
Money came pouring unto my office, my staff had to stuff them in various bayongs or native baskets before we could deposit them in banks.
I had so much money I shopped in high-end stores, pampering myself with imported, branded clothes, bags, shoes— name it, I had it.
I also had been able to send my children to good schools. Dan went into medicine, Earl in culinary art, and Fiona in medical technology.
Then suddenly, all these good things came to an end.
Falling Rock Bottom
In 2010, on the seventh year of our relationship, I noticed Carl was getting chummy with his secretary, Genna, 55 years old, and a married woman.
To my horror, I found out Genna had been engaging in the occult and had used some kind of devilish power to separate Carl and me.
Relentlessly, I fought for Carl — even to the point of learning some occult practices myself to counter Genna’s attacks.
But to my despair, Genna succeeded in snagging Carl from me.
This evil battle so drained me, I just didn’t have anymore energy left for my businesses. I did not feel like meeting with suppliers and clients or fulfilling my commitments to them.
When my staff came to my office to refer something about our work, I simply could not respond to them. They found me just staring to nothingness.
As a result, one by one, my businesses deteriorated.
All that was viable was my furniture company. I had to let go of my employees, leaving only a skeleton force to get the furniture business going.
Worse, I found myself buried deep in debt. The banks and private groups I was transacting with all sent me demand letters to pay up loans which, with accumulating interests and charges, bloated to a whopping P20 million!
That meant I must earn at least P700,000 a month in the next three years or so to pay up my obligations— which was simply impossible as I had only the furniture business as my source of income.
I wished my life to end. But I didn’t even have energy to contemplate suicide.
My hapless life then so paralyzed me I just stayed at home most of the time watching TV— which, on hindsight, I can now say was a blessing in disguise.
On television, I chanced upon the program of Bro. Mike Velarde and hearing his preaching, I began to realize how empty my spiritual life was.
All throughout my human existence, I really had no connection with God. I hardly prayed. I was Catholic but I did not go to Mass.
Of course, with my material possessions, I simply had no need for God. I could just have everything I wanted by my sheer intelligence, talent, skill, and sweat.
But, with close to nothing, in this, my emptiness, there was now a space for God.
I began to yearn for Him. I called on Him to come and help me.
Finding The Feast
Also on television, I chanced upon a program of The Feast, the prayer gathering being led by Bro. Bo Sanchez at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Among Bro. Bo’s Feast talks what most impressed me was his teaching on financial literacy. That money is not evil. That what’s evil is the love of money.
Bro. Bo explained that when bad people become rich, they use their money for bad things. So, he said he is preaching to good people to strive to be financially abundant because good people will use their money for good things, especially sharing their wealth to spread God’s Word and help the poor rise above their misery.
For me, that was a mind-blowing perspective about money. Because all my life, I had worked only for my own aggrandizement!
So, I believe in response to my plea for God to fill the emptiness that pained me, He eventually led me to meet Bro. Bo.
It happened one Sunday.
Earl, my second son, was to go abroad for his on-the-job training to finish his culinary course. I had to drive for him to the airport. Yes, I had to drive myself because by this time, I had no more chauffeurs.
After I saw Earl off, as I was coming from the airport, I realized I was on Roxas Boulevard, the road leading to PICC where Bro. Bo led The Feast.
Promptly, I made a turn that was to change my life forever.
The first floor of PICC’s Plenary Hall where The Feast was being held was already filled so I went up and found a seat at the second floor.
Since I was way far from the stage, I watched the program on the big screen onstage. Then, at one time, to my surprise, I saw my face flashed on the screen!
And I was like, of the big crowd in that huge hall, was God singling me out, focusing on me, welcoming me?
The Holy Mass, the moving Worship, and Bro. Bo’s talk— they all awakened me to God’s Glorious Presence, reducing me to tears.
Then, as the band played the closing music, I saw people swarming around Bro. Bo, shaking his hands, taking pictures, even asking for his autograph.
Quickly, I went down and joined the crowd. I didn’t need to shake Bro. Bo’s hands, or take his picture, or have his autograph. What I needed was to pour out my woes to him. And that’s what I did. At the top of my voice, I called out to Bro. Bo.
To my amazement, above the din of the crowd, not to mention the blaring band music, Bro. Bo heard me, turned to me, listened to me, and comforted me.
I went back to The Feast the next Sunday, and the next, and the next… Even as at the time, I was already scrimping on money to be able to pay my loans. Wretched me, who had seven fancy cars and was served by chauffeurs, now had to take the bus from my house in Quezon City to Feast PICC.
Anyway, every closing time of The Feast, I scampered to Bro. Bo just to talk about my sorry life. When I could not catch him by the stage, I even sought him backstage, in his holding room, asking him for a way out of my miserable situation.
Bro. Bo patiently listened to me and shared with me practical steps to pay up my loans. In time, I attended his Truly Rich seminars and learned more steps to gain back my losses.
Back to the Church
Maybe the sub-title of this portion should not be Back to the Church because I was never really a practising Catholic, right?
Maybe, the title is Back to God, because without me knowing, I’ve been with God— or all along, God has been with me. I strayed away, but He never let go of me, and He drew me back to Him through The Feast and Bro. Bo.
Since then, I have been practising everything Bro. Bo says about following the teachings of our Lord Jesus— to the letter, mind you. I now attend the Holy Mass regularly, I have a non-negotiable prayer time, just basking in God’s Loving Presence, and I share a portion of my income for the poor.
And I must say when you believe and trust in God, when you follow Christ, everything in your life will fall into place.
Since attending The Feast, I have gradually cleaned up my act. Following Bro. Bo’s practical advice on managing my finances, I now have just a few loans to pay.
I am now good and ready to resuscitate my crumbling businesses. But on second thought, I am making a new decision. I know that if I work again on all my businesses, I won’t have time for The Feast. So I am turning my back on those bad businesses. I am just continuing the furniture business so I can live a descent life, have time for The Feast and deepening my relationship with Jesus —which is now my top priority.
Anyway, with Jesus in my life I believe that everything else I need will follow.
I actually now see God working powerfully in my life.
To my pleasant surprise, I am blessed with suppliers and clients — coming to me much easier than in the olden days when I was struggling on my own to build my businesses.
My children who had to suffer with me throughout my bankruptcy have eventually recovered too. Dan is now a doctor, and Earl an executive chef. Both are working abroad. Fiona, my youngest, will soon finish her Med Tech course. She still lives with me and she goes with me to The Feast.
Most important, with the spiritual nourishment I get weekly at The Feast, I have decided to turn away from my old ways and I now trek nothing but the road to righteousness, especially in my business dealings.
Friends who knew my old life are so impressed by my transformation they have been inspired to join me at The Feast.
The Feast has brought me back to God and to His Holy Mass, and to my Catholic Faith which I fervently pray I will never ever lose anymore.
To God be the glory.