Sipha Yoshiko Okubo, 24, single, holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. She works in a web development and telemarketing company.
She lives in Baguio City.
In her teen years, Sipha wanted to be “cool” so she would be accepted by her classmates. This way, she got into vices and church became unimportant for her.
I GREW UP in a Christian family, but as I grew older, I struggled with my Faith.
I entered high school at the age of 11. I was much younger than my classmates, so I felt I would not be accepted by this group. I desperately wanted to blend in. At the time, a “cool” person in school was supposed to be one who was smoking and drinking alcohol. I wanted to be cool, so I got into these vices.
As time passed, family and church became unimportant to me.
By January 2012, I realized I had hit rock bottom of my dilemma. I felt so alone, so abandoned, so useless that I turned to drugs to ease the pain in my heart. At first, I thought it would be enough to kill the pain— but I felt even more depressed.
I left my job without telling anyone. I went to look for something or someone to fill up the emptiness in my heart.
“More drinks, please,“ I remember telling my friends as I drowned myself in alcohol for weeks. But nothing eased the pain.
One day, I woke up, found myself on a friend’s bed wailing like a baby, desperately longing for my mother.
Finding The Feast
My messed up life hurt not only me but my family as well— especially my mother. She worried so much about me that she got sick and was confined in the hospital several times.
Later, I got to have a long talk with my mother.
She asked me, “Do you love yourself, anak?”
I thought I loved myself but the truth was I didn’t even value myself at all. I thought I didn’t need to shape up because nobody really cared about me.
With my sorry condition, I then thought no one could ever love me or even just like me.
But an aunt kindly told me, “It’s not you I dislike. It’s the things you do.”
My aunt invited me to attend The Feast. She and her husband encouraged me to join a Caring Group and so I joined one.
What I love about The Feast the most is how Bo delivers each message in such a simple way. Also the praise and worship session is so uplifting and it feels so good to be singing out loud.
The Feast is HOME— if you want me to describe it in one word. The Feast made me feel accepted.
I am so blessed! With all the love around me, I no longer have time to be depressed. More important, I know I will be able to overcome obstacles to my spiritual growth for now I’m back with my family, I have great friends, my Light of Jesus Family, and above all, God is with me.
Today, the truth is clear to me. My family loves me, and God loves me. It was I who rejected their love. It was I who built a concrete wall around my heart. I was the one who made my world miserable because I thought I was miserable.
Of late, I have opened my heart and my mind. I have learned to respect, value, and love myself. I have learned to smile even during bad times, to think positive and be patient. It feels so good to be able to focus more on my ambition, on how I can improve myself and how I can help others more.
Back to the Church
Before finding The Feast, I did not attend Sunday Mass regularly. I was too busy with being depressed and going out with people I considered “friends”.
Now, I love the Catholic Faith for its openness to understand other religions.