Breaking Free

Abet Mateo is an IT professional and serves with the Liturgical Ministry. He is also the head of his Light Group and attends Sync with his mother every Sunday.

Peace that was Shaken
September 13, 2009. My Kuya Arnold called my mom saying, “Ma, hindi ako makahinga.” That time, he was living in Pasig because it was near his work, while my mom and I resided in Manila. He worked night shift for a BPO company and had a busy lifestyle. Whenever we’re together, we normally noticed him coughing hard, but he wouldn’t mind. Until that day. We rushed him to Medical City; he kept on complaining that he could not breathe and that he was exhausted. He was confined for two weeks. My dad, who’s working overseas, had to rush back home to be with us. In September 27, my brother died. He died of AIDS.

It was very painful for us, but I didn’t cry until his burial. I didn’t know that his death would shake my peaceful, ordinary life.

Falling into Sin
I did not grew up with a permanent father figure since my dad worked abroad. I also did not have a close relationship with my brother because he was a homosexual and I didn’t like what he was doing. But after his death, I found myself swimming in ocean of sins. I entered numerous illicit relationships and got addicted to pornography and other sins of the flesh. Every night, I was out clubbing and drowning myself in alcohol. I was too proud and I thought I could please everyone. I never went to church and this dark phase of my life lasted for around 3 years.

Focusing my Eyes on God
In June 2012, I was browsing through different TV channels and chanced upon Bro Bo’s Feast session on Channel 13. That time, I was praying to God to help me change for the better, and I felt that He answered my prayers. On June 24, my mom and I attended The Feast for the first time and we found ourselves crying during worship. After that, I joined a Caring Group (now, Light Group). I started serving by January 2013, and I attended several formation programs like Jesus Encounter and the Lovelife Retreat. Slowly, God was shedding light to my dark life, and I started recovering the loss of my brother.

It wasn’t a smooth ride, however. In April 2013, I once again fell into sin and found myself in wrong relationships, one after another. I thought I was okay. I questioned God why such things kept on happening. I was attending The Feast, I had my support system, but I kept on sinning. And then I decided to end my last relationship in December 2014. Once again, I found myself drained and empty.

I went to an Adoration chapel, prayed, and had confession. I started reading the Bible again, and meeting my life coaches as well as spiritual guides. Slowly, I was starting to feel whole. I went back to serving God, and my relationships deepened. Now, I have three families who I am very grateful for — my biological family (my mom, my dad, and my brother who’s now my guardian angel), my Feast community who supports me all the time, and my Rewind family who are my closest friends here at Sync. Every day, I never forget to thank God for saving me. By His grace, I had a breakthrough from sin, and my heart is just overflowing with love.

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