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Finding God in Friendships

Sabi nila, "Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are."

"E, di, Go!"

If your friends pour good things into your life, want what is best for you and guard your soul, then you have every reason to call them friends, and to be proud of them!

Nadz Gawat is surrounded by such friends who are actually more like his brothers and sisters. From the time he joined Christ Youth in Action in 2002, made his life-long commitment to Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community in 2012, and up till now as preacher of Pathways of Hope and Open Door, his friends have all been part of his faith journey.

Nadz with his brothers and sisters in Christ

"It was when I attended a Crossroads Retreat, when I was literally standing at a crossroad, that CYA steered me towards God," said Nadz.

Joined and surrounded by supportive brothers and sisters who prayed for him and with him, Nadz started to find solid ground in his faith.

"I started having a personal relationship with God during my college years. He guided me in my studies. And when I graduated, I made God part of my prayer and discernment on what career to pursue."

"God was also my consultant in choosing my vocation — to get married or be a full-time celibate missionary. When I decided to enter married life and have my own family, God continued to guide and mold me to be the best I can be as husband to Paula and father to Yumi," he said.

... through my friends, I've known Jesus Christ, the good shepherd who guides His flock to the path of life and joy ...

Steered by brothers and sisters

Growing up in Sta. Cruz, Manila, Nadz studied in a Catholic school in elementary and high school but considers himself a nominal Catholic. When he became part of CYA, his way of making major life decisions changed. From just going with the flow, he started discerning and praying, and seeking God's direction.

He sought guidance from God and acknowledged that His direction is always the best way to go.

"Because my family had a difficult life due to bad decisions, I thought my life was going to be the same. But through my friends, I've known Jesus Christ, the good shepherd who guides His flock to the path of life and joy." From a state of hopelessness and lack, the disposition of Nadz turned to joy and generosity.

"As I continued to grow in my relationship with God, I began smiling more, laughing hard at the jokes of brothers and sisters (even the corniest ones!). I also volunteered to share my life story and present talks during prayer meetings and in the Christian Life Series. I was happy serving God and my CYA brothers and sisters."

Despite not having much materially, he was able to generously share his time and talent. Through this simple contribution, Nadz believes he is sharing significantly in the mission of bringing other people closer to God. "May maibibigay at maitutulong pala ako. Di lang pala pera ang maaring ibigay na tulong sa kapwa."

Nadz with CYA

Later on, when he started working in an IT company, he made sure to support his family financially and even help the community.

"I am grateful that God used me to lift my family out of poverty. I'm blessed that I'm also able to give back to the community that was there to point me to Jesus Christ, my Savior and the good shepherd of my life."

Now, with Pathways of Hope and Open Door, Nadz finds even more fulfillment in being able to serve the Lord with his talents and gifts. Through his regular segment in Pathways of Hope he is able to experience God's word in deep and amazing ways.

"I reflect on the readings during my prayer time and hear God speak clearly in my heart giving me His direction like a good shepherd."

Through his preaching in Open Door, he is able to obey God's command to share the good news. As a preacher, he says: "I appreciate having opportunities to share to people how God has worked and continues to work in my life. Hopefully, through my sharing, I am able to plant that seed of faith, hope and truth in their hearts that God loves them and cares for them personally,"

Nadz as Hopegiver

God's love never gives up on us

"Faith in God got me through my darkest times in the past and as I continue to nourish it daily I know it will continue to be my anchor against life's storms," shared Nadz.

He adds: "I always acknowledge that God will never leave me. He is there through all my troubles. There will be countless hardships and challenges in our life. But by setting a firm hold on God and his love, we can live our life victoriously. With God in our life, there is always someone by our side. We are never alone and never on the losing end."

Knowing how true friends brought him to God, Nadz said it can be the same with anyone. "If you make that choice right now to take your faith more seriously in your life, there are people who can help and support you. People who have made the same choice. People who can join you in your faith journey."

At this point in his life, it is Psalm 23:1, 'The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need' where Nadz truly feels God's friendship. Where he is wrapped in God's love and kindness. ###
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