A man who can sow terror would receive more attention and respect. That was what Pastor Ramon Lara thought as he grew up and lived where tough guys ruled and prevailed. He thought that the worse person you were, the more popular you would become and be respected. At the age of 10, he began smoking cigarettes. At 15 he was already a drunkard and a marijuana user. When he reached college, he was already a member of a fraternity. He started selling marijuana in school and his only notebook had a knife inside. His friends told him that his words were always associated with bad words and was never without them.
He always thought that life would be easy as long as he had friends and vices that would keep him excited and alive. But a time came when his vices had ceased to offer him happiness and instead it started giving him doubts, suspicions, and anxieties. Every time he got drunk and high with marijuana, he became paranoid, always thinking that his friends were planning evil behind his back. He realized afterwards that he was already a paranoid person.
From that time, he couldn’t trust people anymore and would rather be alone than be with them. His seclusion became lonesome. He felt deep emptiness that he felt like he was already dead. He felt worried and afraid that one day he might end up his life.
Alone at home one day, he looked for something that could at least help him fill the emptiness. He found a small book and as he opened it, he realized that it was a Bible – a Gideon Bible. He recalled that the first time he opened that small book he was not able to understand the passages. But on that particular day, he was so amazed that he was able to understand the words even without a second look. The verses that struck him were John 3:16, Romans 6:23, 1 John 1:9, and Revelations 3:20.
One night he found himself kneeling beside his bed, tears rolling down his eyes, crying, talking to God and telling Him all that he had done. He confessed his sins and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour.
The following day, he was a new man. His heart is no longer empty rather overjoyed with something he could not explain. His heart has never been empty again because he found his Lord and Saviour.
– Ramon Lara
Edited by The Gideons International in the Philippines