Living with HIV: The Prodigal son of Binondo

Darwin was a prisoner of addiction, prostitution, homosexuality, unforgiveness, rejection, and shame but today, he is a soldier of Jesus Army aiming to spread the word of LIFE, forgiveness, peace and setting the captives free.

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The testimony of Darwin Chong

Who has been watching THE WALKING DEAD? Literally, I felt like a dead man trying to live a normal life like everyone else. I’d say that depression is an understatement to describe what I have gone through over the past few years of my life.

Pride kept me going
I was raised in a Chinese family and grew up with unforgiveness towards my father. I lived life the way I wanted it to be. I had a lot of friends, I had my work, I was living a life where I was the God of myself. The rebellion took over my life in the form of drug addiction, prostitution and practiced homosexual activities. I reached a point in my life when I knew that I can do everything on my own. My pride kept me going, but deep inside was a growing bitterness and hatred in the family.

Yes, I pray to God, but it’s totally different when you have a relationship with HIM. Yes, I knew HIM, but I do not do what pleases HIM.

Free to choose, but…
Truly, I tell you, we are free to choose whatever we want, but we are not free from the consequences of the decisions that we make. Until I received the worst news that I never wanted to hear and made my whole being paralyzed thinking of all the things that I have done in HIS sight.

And I quote Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.”

HIV Positive: Fear of dying

When I tested positive for HIV, my world stopped. I was overwhelmed with fear, Fear of dying as well as trying to convince myself that it was all just a dream. I was down on my knees asking for another chance for HIM to create a miracle for me to be healed. I said to myself that I would do everything, that I would change, but asking for forgiveness and forgiving those who have wronged you were not that easy.

And I quote James 4:6 “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.”

Disgrace in the family

I shared about my sickness to my family and my father even told me that it would be better for me to end my life to avoid SHAME and disgrace in our family. My mom even started introducing me as her nephew.

How can I even start forgiving after hearing all these painful words from my parents? Hearing all these made it more difficult, I could not describe how rejection filled my heart and condemnation took over my mind.

Lost everything
I also lost my friends, my work, shelter, I lost everything but I had to start from somewhere, I had to forgive.

And I quote Mark 11:26 “But if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.”

Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is an act of obedience. Having faith that God will change your heart. Time does not heal, Jesus does. The moment I started to forgive was the start of my freedom, freedom from shame, condemnation, regrets, and rejection.

Jesus, my healer

Yes, physical healing is important, but what keeps me going is the healing I have received when I started accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. People are so focused on medicines, trying to get healed physically but what more can you ask for when your soul is being purchased by the blood of Jesus who died for you saving you from the pits of hell.

My daily life isn’t easy but I cling on to God’s promises and I quote in Jeremiah 29:11 that God has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

HIV is not a gay disease – it’s also not a punishment or a curse simply because I am attracted to the same sex. The virus was a consequence of wrong and sinful choices I made. But God in His mercy used my brokenness to receive what HE has been offering me all those years, a life of peace in the midst of the storm, salvation and becoming a child of God. There have been many medicines prescribed for me to take, but nothing can be compared to the spiritual healing that I have received through Jesus.

CCF Healing Grace HIV counseling ministry support
The healing grace of God, “brotherhood in action”

I will boast in the hope I have

I understand that not many people could speak boldly about their sickness. And if it is just me, I never have imagined myself speaking in front of many people sharing how broken I was, but how can you contain the joy, peace, and forgiveness that God has given that I do not deserve. Hence, I will boast all the more and encourage those who are going through the same sickness and share the hope that I have in Jesus.

And I quote Ephesians 2 “God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Today, I am serving the Lord as a certified HIV Counselor as well as continuing my walk through attending Christian services, bible reading, and bible studies. Joining Christian small group is also important to make you feel that you are not alone in your Christian walk, receiving encouragements and prayers from your brothers and sisters in Christ. How I wish that all hospitals would allow people like me to share the gospel with those who are sick.

They too need Jesus.

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