Be Not Afraid.

Hello Everyone,

Here is a copy of my personal life testimony that I shared at church last year and have time to upload now:

Be Not Afraid.

Key Verse:

Genesis 15: 1: Abram Promised a Son: After these things the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear Abram, I am a Shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”  (Updated New American Standard Bible aka my Grandpa’s Bible).

The temperature is warm, but is quickly nullified by a gentle breeze. I remember playing Power Rangers outside with my friends until sunset. It must have been over 14 years ago. How I miss the days of childhood. Those times were simpler back then. I grew up a Catholic and completed all my sacraments up to Confirmation. I also attended Lutheran school growing up. I was always surrounded with Bible lessons about Jesus, which intrigued me, but I eventually grew up to view church and Bible classes as part of daily life. Jesus became just a sacred icon rather than a personal savior.

Now, I am 27 about to turn 28 years old next month.   While attending Queens College, I met a man named Joseph Kim who helped shaped my view of an otherwise iconic version of Jesus. Through his Bible studies, I had learned that having faith in Jesus was something far more personal than I had believed. I always used to pray to Jesus when I was in need, but then I began praying for more deeper things, such as life direction and spiritual understanding of God’s purpose for my life.

One night, I remember praying to God for me to use my talents for media for HIS Purposes, especially seeing as I was worried about my grades that semester. Then, as I was finishing my prayer, a shooting star streaked across the sky. I took it as a sign that God had heard my prayer and was then going to lead me throughout my life to Him. Eventually, I had passed all my classes with all A’s. That was then I continued my college career in media to create films that would serve God’s purpose.

As I kept with studying the Bible and attending UBF services I grew to know Jesus as more than just a religious icon. He was no longer just a god that lived in Heaven and was too important to care about me, but rather loved me so much that He sent His Only Son Jesus to die for me. However, Jesus still had competition to deal with, because I was trying to combine my faith with other ideas from my academic studies and even those presented on television, especially with heroes such as Hercules, Superman, and so many others.

The time came for me to leave QC and I decided to attend Hofstra University’s Documentary MFA program. I had a huge list of goals to accomplish before I can get a professional career in media. Those were the toughest four academic years of college I had ever done, especially seeing as my friend and Bible teacher, Joseph, had left for Korea. However, by God’s Grace, I had completed my studies and had accomplished more than what I had on my list of goals. I felt that I was more than ready to take on the “real” world. I had overcome every obstacle and won every race to get to where I was then.

However, I did not realize that I was in for the toughest year and a half for my whole life. I was unemployed for a year and every day was the same. I kept trying to prove myself to the world, but to no avail. I couldn’t understand what went wrong, how could an MFA graduate not find a single job in NY? I kept asking God why I was being prevented from finding a job. I did not realize what was lying in wait for me during that time.

I was introduced to a new obstacle that was lying dormant from childhood. Its name is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. Now, I was up against an enemy that was more powerful than me, because it was a part of me. How could I fight against something was a part of me? The first symptoms began when I started pulling out my sofa bed multiple times a day, then it was putting on my shirt, and then it was putting on my shoes. Soon, I couldn’t even leave the house. That didn’t matter, because I was unemployed for that year and all I had done was stay at home. I go to bed at sunrise and wake up at sunset.

However, slowly, but surely my compulsive rituals began to dominate my life. The true culmination of OCD came a week after my father had returned from trip to New Orleans in September 2012. I remember going to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet to do my business. When I was done, I tried to get up, but couldn’t. No, it wasn’t something physical holding me back, but a single thought. A thought about a car accident entered my mind when I tried to get up and for the first time for all my life, I had never experienced so much fear and anxiety before. I tried to be patient and wait it out, but no matter how hard I tried or how long I waited, this fear of death would not go away. It only intensified as I could feel something inside my body touching my kidneys, which felt like the touch of death. Eventually, I called my parents for help, but they were powerless to do anything.

That’s when the screaming started. I began screaming out of rage for my unemployment, rage at the fact that I worked so hard only to be passed up for job after job, rage at the struggle my parents faced in this country just to buy a home, rage at the whole world and everyone in it who knew happiness. My dad came with my grandmother’s urn telling me to pray for her dead spirit to intercede with God on my behalf.

Finally, after hours of what seemed like Hell, I was able to get up from the toilet. I went to the bathroom at 7 pm that night and did not get off until 7 am the next morning, which amounts to 10 hours of being stuck in the bathroom. Eventually, I would end up sleeping in a corner of my parents’ room, with only my underwear on, because I couldn’t even put on my clothes. Every movement I made felt like death was stalking me. I CRIED out to Jesus most nights begging Him to lift this curse that He placed on me. At the time, I did not know this illness was OCD, so as far as I was concerned, it was a curse of craziness from God for all of my sins and for not continuing to read His Word as much as I should have.

Eventually, I was lead to a therapist named Keith who was able to diagnose my psychological condition as OCD. Now, that demon that cursed me finally had a name. However, he could not treat me so he recommended that I visit Mount Sinai’s OCD Treatment Center. I did so and given an official diagnosis and put on medication and offered behavioral therapy. I was hesitant to accept the therapy so I told my psychiatrist to give me a week to think about it.

The very next weekend, parents had convinced me to come shopping with them on Roosevelt Ave. Surprisingly, there was good mood I was experiencing that day so I decided to join them. While leaving the Indian supermarket, I was drinking some mango juice while walking with my parents. Then, out of nowhere, something or some Force opened my eyes and my mind and for the first time ever, I had experienced true personal freedom. For a 15-20 minute window, I was completely free of all my rage and anxiety. This must have been a message from God to go ahead with the therapy. I visited my psychiatrist the next week and he was surprised about how quickly my attitude had changed about therapy. I went through a year of behavioral therapy with a student therapist whose last name, ironically, was Moses. Each session, I confronted my anxieties about death and the rituals that I used to rely on to protect me from it. Each time I conquered a ritual, it brought me a step closer to knowing Jesus as my PERSONAL savior.

Since then, I have met up with Missionary Maria Kim again and continued my Bible studies with her now. I remember our study of Genesis and the story that intrigued me the most was Genesis 15.  It turned out to be one of the Bible studies I did with Joseph before he left.  What made the story so intriguing was that God alleviates Abram’s fears with a Promise of descendants.  Abram’s obsession was having children and his greatest fear was not being able to continue his lineage.  However, it’s how Abram responds to God that truly puzzled me.  He just believed Him!  How did he know this Being was going to keep His Promise?  The truth is, he didn’t at first.  It wasn’t until verse 5 where God showed him the number of his descendants by comparing them to the number of stars in the sky.  That’s what I realized what Abram probably did.  If this God could create those wondrous stars in the sky, then He must be powerful enough to carry out His Promises.  From this story, I learned that faith is a two way street, but it is up to me to have the humility to BELIEVE GOD AND HIS WONDERFUL PROMISE which he must have for my life not to be meaningless and cut short, but to be useful in glorifying Him through my talent of film-making!

One Word:  Do not fear Abram and do not fear Jason.  I, and nobody else, am your Shield.  Your reward will be very great.

I pray that this testimony will of great help, service, and inspiration to all of you, especially those of you who suffer from mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual disorders, and especially to those who are homeless in which they have been known to be affected by mental illnesses also.  Amen.

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