Karl Zafra, 48, single, holds a Bachelor of Science degree, major in Medical Technology. He works as executive director for one of the pioneers in computer education and largest network of technical vocational institutions.
He lives in Quezon City.
In his younger years, Karl was a member of the Legion of Mary and served as an altar boy and catechist.
Later, he became a bar manager, and at age 41 years old, he found himself living a wanton life.
Exhausted, he cried to God for help.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
This quote from American author Mark Twain applies well to me.
The year 2010 was a turning point in my life. Early on, I had no direction in life. I was broke. Down. Desperate. Depressed. Sick and weak. Single.
“Wow. Is this mid-life crisis?” I asked my-self.
And if I’d compare my life with my college batchmates, I must say their’s were the opposite of all that I was.
You see, I’d lived a fast life on the fast lane. A boy’s life. Yeah, right… at 41. Pathetic.
Just like the Prodigal Son in the Bible, I squandered all my riches in vices and bad relationships.
Having been given a fine education, being a member of the Legion of Mary, a sacristan, and catechist at one point, I never would have thought I’d end up working in a bar that of-fered women to guests.
What do you expect with a night life like this? Vices one after the other. Sin after sin.
Not only did I sin. I made others to sin as well.
Eventually this all caught up with me. Name it, I was into it. Issues of infidelity. Pornorgraphy. Unreasonable temper. Web of deceit. Weakening health. Debt.
The year 2010, at age 41, I was in my rock bottom.
Finding The Feast
Early that year, I was simply exhausted with my wanton life. One day, as I was working with my computer, surfing the Internet, I cried out, “Lord, I give up. I surrender. I need help.I don’t want to end up like this. I need healing.”
Then, as if on cue, an advertisement popped up on one side of the computer screen: Awaken the Healer in You by Bo Sanchez. Free Admission at The Feast at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
That fateful morning, I decided to check out Feast PICC, now called Feast Bay Area, led by Bro. Bo Sanchez. I decided to just stay at the balcony, just to observe. In truth, I was simply too proud to admit that I needed healing.
In Bro. Bo’s talk, the message was so powerful I could feel God was like a father welcoming me.
In that defining moment, I remembered my own father who passed away when I was 24 years old. And I realized how much I missed him and needed him to help me out of my rut. But that day, without my Dad, I felt it was God Himself who embraced me. There I was, crying uncontrollably. Not of sadness, but in utter submission to God and whatever was His will for me.
In 2010, as Mark Twain put it, next to my birth, the second most important day in my life happened: I realized why I was born. I realized God created me because He loves me. I then surrendered my next 41 years to God, and even asked for a bonus— to let me live up to my 100th year to be able to love Him back and serve Him the best I can.
Back to the Church
After the Feast talk, I thought the event was already finished. But I decided to stay on my seat to blow my nose, wipe my tears, and compose myself. I was like, it’s so embarrass-ing for big guy me to be going out to the lobby with my eyes soaked in tears. Nobody told me to bring shades.
Then, to my surprise, a Mass started on-stage.
“Hmmm, okay, perfect,” I told myself.
It was a Sunday, so it was just as well that I heard Mass in The Feast, rather than go look for a church some place else.
The Mass. OMG.
Never had I attended such a beautiful Mass! The music that so tugged the heart. The homily that was so clear, easily under-stood, and so edifying. Words are not enough to express the feeling I experienced about the Mass that morning.
All I told myself, “I have to be back.”
Since then, Sunday after Sunday has been a blessing, a priceless learning experience for me.
After six months of attending The Feast, I joined my first caring group, now called Light Group, led by Sis. Corney B. The Light Group is totally different from my group of drinking buddies. I now have gone through a cycle of Light Groups and the more Light Groups I joined, the more true, good, whole-some friends I have gained. Up to this point, I still am being mentored in a Light Group led by Bro. Rudy Mallari, a Feast Builder.
Since 2010, The Feast has blessed me with mentors as well as training opportunities on practical Christian living.
I joined the Jesus Encounter, The Feast version of the Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS), where indeed, I felt the Holy Spirit engulfing me, and Jesus meeting me with a tight em-brace.
I have joined Feast ministries — Medical and Pray Over ministries.
I have also joined the School of Leader-ship and Radicals, a group of men being trained for leadership in Feast building. The Feast Builders conducting the training as well as my classmates in the School now com-pose my circle of friends who care enough to guide me and pray for me.
I am truly grateful to Bro. Bo and the Feast Bay Area Council for discipling me.
I now help in the Feast Video ministry led by Bro. Rudy. We record Bro. Bo’s Feast talks and distribute the videos to small groups who use the videos in mini-Feasts in their home, neighborhood, schools, or offices.
Yes, this former bar manager, who used to toast beer with friends and customers, is now raising a Bible to build Feast Videos around the world.
Today, I appreciate more my Catholic Faith. Whenever given the opportunity, I now attend Mass in Catholic churches aside from the Mass at The Feast.
And I must say my transformation hap-pened not by my own strength but by the un-conditional love of Jesus who said, “I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abides in me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
To God be the glory.