Growing up in a Catholic family in the Philippines, Aprubertito served as an altar boy at his family’s church. But he abandoned the church after suffering abuse from one of the priests.
“I was traumatized,” he remembers. “My relatives didn’t understand why I stopped being an altar boy and going to church. I did not tell them my secret because I was afraid.”
His heart hardened, Aprubertito found solace in the companionship of other teens like him.
“They were broken internally and spiritually also,” he says. “The only way they cured their pain was by using drugs.”
He continued using drugs and committing crimes with his friends until his grandmother brought him to live with her in the United States, hoping to quell his rebellion. But it didn’t take long for him to find a new group of friends with the same habits.
“I was stuck on the road of destruction for the rest of my adolescent life,” he says. “I was like a junk car stranded on the roadside that’s been abandoned forever.”
His brother, who had begun attending a Christian church, invited him to join him at a service. Although their relatives didn’t approve of their attendance at a non-Catholic church, Aprubertito enjoyed the services and the friendliness of the congregation. He continued attending for several years, participating in Sunday school and a weekday Bible study as well.
But after entering a toxic marriage, his life veered off course again.
“The devil really took my soul,” he says. “I was back in the material world, totally lost, busy getting high.”
A few years later, he wound up in prison, guilty of murder.
Locked up in county jail, he started to realize how far his life had gotten off track. “That was my first experience feeling loneliness. I was hopeless and afraid,” he says. “One day, a correctional officer stopped by my cell and asked me if I liked to read books. When I said ‘Yes,’ he left and came back with the Bible in his hand. I found hope in the Holy Bible and learned how to ask for forgiveness from God.”
Aprubertito is no longer on the destructive road he followed for so long. With God’s loving guidance, he has discovered a better path and experienced healing.
“I now realize how many times God was trying to save me from that road of destruction,” he says. “I really regret what I’ve done in the past. But I am no longer easily tricked by Satan because I communicate daily with God.”
In 2012, he signed up to study the Bible through Crossroads Prison Ministries. He successfully finished Tier 1 last year and will soon be paired with a personal mentor in Tier 2.
“Crossroads correspondence helps to feed my hungry soul,” he says. “I am very thankful for Crossroads mentors for continuing to support me spiritually.”
Aprubertito anticipates an opportunity to see the parole board soon. He is hopeful for a second chance at life and wants to give back by helping others find the right path.
“I will continue serving God outside and assisting people who need help spiritually and emotionally,” he says.
Crossroads students like Aprubertito are waiting to be paired with Tier 2 mentors who can offer them consistent guidance and encouragement. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in journeying with students in Tier 2.