Last week, we had our recently concluded event titled: LIVE – Get Wired to the FULL LIFE. It was a great event which hosted 160+ LaSallian and St. Scholastican students. We hold events like these to invite first timers to Church and help them get to know how to live LIFE to the FULL. People had fun at LIVE and at the same time got to know about the one true light of the world: Jesus Christ.
Another thing that happens whenever we conduct events like these, is we see students maximize their giftings and talents for the sake of advancing God’s kingdom. Many new student’s talents were discovered during the planning and execution of this event. Students also grow in their leadership skills since they had to deal with other people together in accomplishing a goal. One person whose leadership skill was tested the most is Paolo Santillan.
Pao was the overall project head this time around. That means he had to lead different committee heads for this event. Pao did an awesome job for this LIVE and has grown tremendously in character, skills and leadership. I’m really so proud of him and you would be too if you just knew more about his story.
I met Pao around 4-5 years ago at KFC near our church in Victory Malate. His sister introduced him to me and was totally NR. I tried to engage him but he wasn’t responsive, it felt like he wasn’t interested in meeting new people in Church. I got his number so that I could invite him to our discipleship group, however, he didn’t reply to me that time. 😦 Siguro may pinagdadaanan siya back then. (Hi Pao Santi!)
Everything Happens for a Reason
After that initial encounter with Pao 4-5 years ago, I didn’t see him as often anymore in Church. I’d catch him once in a while but he’d still be NR to me. Little did I know that he was undergoing a tough time during that season. How’d I know? Check out his testimony below:
As Pao said, those were the times where he started to walk away from God because he blamed him for all the bad choices he made. He had so many unfortunate events that happened in his life, he started to drink, stopped going to class and hanged out with people who couldn’t help him. Pao would later drop out from DLSU and transfer to CSB.
God of Second Chances
For many people, that could have been the end. Getting kicked out from a school would probably make you feel like a failure. The good thing though is that life’s always full of second chances. Failure is just an event, it’s not a person and God will always give us another shot of getting it right with Him. We’ve all been there, we’ve all failed at one point but we thank God for the continuous outpouring of his forgiveness and grace.
Pao started to go back to church back in 2012. He mentioned to me that he saw church as an opportunity of trying to get back in good terms with his family. He attended a youth camp with his sisters and the rest was history. In that camp, Pao encountered God and finally took his walk with Him seriously.
The youth camp was summer of 2012 and when the school year came, that’s when he started doing 121 and growing in his walk with Jesus. By 2013, he started leading his own life group in CSB and people started to notice the gift of leadership in his life. He started exhorting in our youth services and discipleship meetings encouraging others students with God’s word. The gift of wisdom is very evident in his life. He also started leading and organizing discipleship meetings for our campus ministry in DLSU and CSB.
Last March 11 he was able to lead a successful event: LIVE. One of the biggest he’s ever handled. From the person who didn’t like making new friends in Church to the person that he’s now become, clearly this is one unique turnaround story by God. 🙂
Also, as much as he’s leading events in our campus ministry, he doesn’t forget his other priorities. Pao today continues to disciple others, grow in his relationship with his family and excel in school. A few weeks ago he told me how he got the highest grade in class from a subject that’s known to be difficult in Benilde. God is indeed gracious and can help turn around someone’s life 180 degrees. It’s really true what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We have millions of stories whose lives has been turned around by Christ. Pao’s story is just one of them. The reason why Pao Santi’s life has turned around is because of one person: Jesus Christ.
LIVE – Get Wired to the FULL LIFE isn’t just a nice title for an event so that we can get people to go. It’s an event ran by students whose lives has been personally changed by God himself and are all now living life to the fullest. 🙂
I know that Pao still has a long way to go. There’d still be more challenges to face but I just know that as long as he continues to walk in Christ then he’d always be living life to the full. Pao is one of many world changers who’d continue to affect other people’s lives one person at a time. 🙂