Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Siki Plang, Edwin M Cotto
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00062A
00:10 Welcome to Celebrating Life in Recovery.
00:11 I'm Cheri your host.
00:13 It doesn't matter what your addictions are.
00:15 Where you are from, what you are strung out on.
00:18 You can step away from that.
00:20 Come in and find out how.
00:49 Okay the entire series is about
00:51 what happens when you finally
00:52 surrender, when you finally give
00:54 it to God, and you finally say, you know what?
00:56 I can't figure this out.
00:57 I can't figure any of that out.
00:59 I'm going to trust You and hang on to You.
01:01 That is the entire series.
01:02 What the Christian word for that is righteousness by faith.
01:06 Or justification by faith and so
01:07 I'm going to give it to God.
01:09 What I think is the coolest thing is that once we do that,
01:12 there is something that happens every single day.
01:15 Every single day God says, I'm going to pour into you
01:18 every single day, My righteousness so that you will
01:22 know what it feels like not to lie, not to steal, not to be
01:24 pulled away with the same kind of temptations that you
01:27 are always pulled away with.
01:29 That just gets us standing up.
01:30 Once we start standing up, when we start changing our
01:33 desires, it is so fun to see what opens up.
01:36 I am going to introduce you to a couple of people that
01:39 their whole life is different now.
01:41 What they are doing will just bless you.
01:42 So I'm going to introduce you right now,
01:44 so come up and join us.
01:46 Join me and we will meet with Edwin.
01:48 Edwin thanks for coming on the show.
01:50 You have an incredible ministry, but you also have come
01:54 from a pretty intense background.
01:57 So let us know first of all a little bit about the Ministry
02:00 and where you have come from.
02:02 Well we are a Ministry of a
02:04 couple of young people that have
02:06 a zeal to work.
02:07 We found out because of the places we grew up,
02:11 all the young people, nowadays, are involved in drugs,
02:14 getting in gangs and things like that.
02:17 We came out of that.
02:18 So we decided that now that we have come to Christ,
02:21 we wanted to reach out to a lot of those same people.
02:24 We felt that because we came from there we can be
02:27 successful in that.
02:28 Also I have heard you say, before, that there wasn't a lot
02:31 of people talking, you do not have a lot of people talking
02:34 to you and you had no knowledge.
02:36 It was like I did not know that I could step into
02:38 a different life.
02:39 Well the only little bit of knowledge I could say I had,
02:42 was my father.
02:44 The way I grew up, I grew up in a very confused home.
02:46 My dad did not live with us, he visited us on the weekends.
02:51 He would take me to church sometimes.
02:52 I really grew up with my mom,
02:55 and I grew up with my other mom.
02:58 Two women in my life.
03:00 Because of that it contributed to a lot of confusion in my life
03:04 So your mom was gay?
03:06 She was a lesbian yeah, she was gay.
03:08 She was gay and I had a very hard time dealing with that
03:11 because you have your friends telling you, speaking to you
03:14 about your dad, playing ball with your dad.
03:16 I did that sometimes with my father on the weekends,
03:19 but most of the time it was my mom and my mom.
03:22 That contributed a lot to the decisions I made
03:25 when I got older.
03:27 Where do I go now? What decisions do I make?
03:31 I didn't know because I grew up confused all my life.
03:35 Was there a point where you said, this is not like,
03:39 there is something different about our home?
03:41 It is not like what I am seeing from everybody else's house?
03:43 Was there a point where you were aware of that?
03:47 No, I couldn't get it because my mom and my aunt,
03:50 I called her my aunt because they slept in the same room.
03:52 I figured that was just my aunt.
03:55 She probably just need a place to stay and I really didn't
03:57 understand it.
03:59 They were great though, they raised me and gave me
04:01 everything I needed.
04:03 They spoiled me.
04:04 Do you love them?
04:05 Oh I love them and I cannot blame anything on them but
04:07 unfortunately to decisions they made and the life they lead
04:12 had a big effect on me.
04:13 It made me make those decisions I did when I got older.
04:16 So as you got older, what kind of decisions
04:19 are you talking about?
04:20 Well after my mom had cancer, and just before she passed
04:27 away I decided that, because I was so confused, I tried to
04:35 alieve my own pain dealing with a situation in my home
04:39 by trying things, I tried drugs, I tried gangs, and I
04:43 wanted to be the leader in my high school.
04:45 I loved it, I wanted people to follow me, people to do
04:49 what I did.
04:50 So whatever that was going to take
04:52 that was what I was going to do?
04:53 If it was going to fix my problem, which was what I felt,
04:56 I'm going to get that done, I'm going to do it.
04:59 I ended up joining one of the biggest gangs
05:03 in New York right now.
05:04 To the point where I did not have to fight my way in.
05:08 They called it blessed, they bless you in because I decided
05:13 before I had joined the gang that I didn't need a gang to be
05:17 tough in the streets.
05:18 I wanted my own way, people needed to follow me and that
05:22 was the way I was going to be what I thought I could
05:25 be when I was younger.
05:26 So you walked in with respect, so I walked in, you walked
05:29 in and they knew who you were?
05:31 It's not that they knew who I was, they knew what I did.
05:37 I did things I also robbed people and when they saw that,
05:42 they decided this is the man we need to hang out with
05:46 this man to be like him.
05:47 Which is what I wanted, I want them to be like me.
05:49 I liked that, I don't like that that happened
05:53 but I use that today, because I say well they wanted
05:56 to be like me when I was reflecting the
05:58 character of the Devil back then, but now that I have
06:01 Christ, I want them to not only see me, but see Christ
06:05 in me, and follow me now, the way am now.
06:07 But when you say that, what cracks me up, is I've seen you
06:11 work with young adults, at risk kids, and they do have
06:15 that sense that they do want to be like him.
06:18 You are not telling them anything anymore that is going
06:21 to hurt them, you are telling them to step into recovery.
06:24 Figure out who you are spiritually.
06:26 Figure out who God is.
06:27 I watch the effect that you had on the kids around you
06:29 so God is blessing your desire of wanting that.
06:33 Yeah, those kids were great, they are great.
06:37 They come from a lot of backgrounds that I came from.
06:39 They had a very confused home.
06:41 I love your talking, and they are like this.
06:43 You know it is not like a church group.
06:47 Do you know I mean?
06:48 Right! Right.
06:49 I love that, I wanted to get a camera out and just say
06:52 all of heaven must have tears in their eyes right now
06:55 watching these kids relate to you.
06:57 Watching them look at you and say,
06:59 do you really believe that?
07:01 It was so obvious that you believe that.
07:03 God was working in your life but you're not saying that yet.
07:08 You are in high school, you are being blessed into a gang,
07:13 and so how did you get from that to where
07:17 God is even in the picture?
07:20 Well my mom had to die.
07:23 You say that really easy, but her death was not easy?
07:29 I guess that is how far you can go sometimes,
07:34 when somebody has to literally pass away in your life
07:38 for you to actually wake up and look at the situation
07:42 you are in, the mess you are in.
07:43 Do you know what I mean?
07:44 Once she had gotten sick, I remember that day when I
07:48 stepped into my aunt's house.
07:50 She was crying and I didn't know why she was crying.
07:53 She told me she had just came from the doctors office
07:56 and she sat me down next to her and told me,
08:00 I have some bad news.
08:02 I said alright, what is the bad news?
08:05 As she kept trying to tell me, you know how you get
08:08 when you have bad news?
08:11 She couldn't say it.
08:13 She had told my cousin before she told me, my baby cousin.
08:16 As I tried to listen to her and she couldn't say it,
08:21 my cousin just jumped up and said, your mom has cancer.
08:26 That was the point in my life where I thought I was a bad
08:30 person and now it's going to be worse.
08:32 Because now I really had nothing left.
08:35 The only person in my life that made sense, despite her
08:38 decisions, despite the things that she did and went through,
08:41 it was all that made sense in my life.
08:44 That was the stability in your life?
08:46 That's all I had, that's all I had.
08:49 My mom, she had never been in the military or anything,
08:52 but she was strict, she made me the man I am today.
08:54 I believe that!
08:55 Now she is going and I have nothing left.
08:58 So now I decide to solve my, this new problem that
09:02 I have with more things.
09:04 So now I start doing more drugs.
09:06 I start getting involved with more the wrong people,
09:09 the wrong crowd.
09:10 I decided that instead of continuing in the gang that I
09:13 am in, I might as well start my own.
09:15 I tried to do that gained a lot of followers, which was
09:18 what I always wanted because I wanted to be the leader.
09:21 I want to be the leader and didn't want anybody leading me
09:24 except for my mother and she was passing away.
09:26 So it's my turn to step up and be the leader in my life.
09:30 But it was the wrong way.
09:31 But in your very heart it was a desperate thing that this
09:36 is the time to stand up?
09:38 This is the time to stand up but to stand up the way I
09:42 thought would be the best way to stand up.
09:44 Which was completely the wrong way.
09:46 So how does God jump into that?
09:47 It took a verse, it took one verse.
09:51 I do not know really how it came across but it was
09:54 Psalms 116:15 in that verse says, "precious in the sight
09:59 of the Lord is the death of his saints. "
10:02 I read that and I was like what?
10:05 What does this mean?
10:08 His saints precious, I didn't understand that?
10:11 Today I apply that in two ways.
10:14 My mom is not sinning any more, and she was the person
10:18 who just before she died with one tear going down
10:20 her cheek, but she gave her heart to Christ.
10:22 I'm thankful for that.
10:24 She doesn't sin anymore and is ready for the resurrection.
10:27 That is precious in the sight of the Lord.
10:30 I look at it a second way, to die spiritually.
10:32 That is what I had to do, I had to die spiritually.
10:36 I had to release everything that I had and say God
10:40 I cannot fix my problem with these drugs.
10:42 I can't fix my problems with these gangs.
10:44 What do I have left but You?
10:46 He had to take over in my life and I just knelt down
10:51 in the bathroom that day.
10:52 Somebody thinks it has to be this huge thing,
10:56 but kneel down where ever you get it.
10:58 Just kneel down, I was in the bathroom, looking at myself.
11:01 My face was red because I was just crying.
11:03 My mom is dying in the next room and the doctor said
11:05 it was too late for her.
11:06 She was dying in the next room and my family was trying
11:10 to visit her.
11:11 I have nothing left in I had that one verse stuck in my
11:13 head and I looked at myself in the mirror and said,
11:15 what do I do now?
11:17 I just knelt down, I knelt down and let it all out.
11:21 I let Him take over, I let Him take over.
11:25 Instead of me trying to take over my own life,
11:28 I let Him do it.
11:29 Even when you say that, because what you are saying
11:32 is that all my life I knew I had to be the leader.
11:34 I had to be the one in charge.
11:35 What you are saying is right then you knew that you had
11:39 to learn not to lead?
11:41 Yeah, because if I continued leading, I was going to
11:44 put myself more in a hole.
11:46 The hole I was in was big enough.
11:48 I was at a point where I have police taking pictures
11:51 of me in the corner, they thought I didn't see them.
11:54 But they were taking pictures of me.
11:56 I had a cop tell my wife, my wife now and
11:59 warn her about me.
12:01 I had people trying,
12:03 my high school at one time,
12:04 going after me to try and
12:06 beat me up.
12:07 I had to call people, it was terrible the hole I was in.
12:09 This was because I decided to leave my own life,
12:12 and try to fix my own problems.
12:14 Look at what I did!
12:18 I get so proud of God with the way He does us in our
12:22 recovery, is that as you are kneeling down as you're
12:26 surrendering to Him, basically is a surrender.
12:29 I am giving everything to You.
12:30 I do not know the next step.
12:31 I don't even know the next breath.
12:33 I don't even know what I'm going to do when my mom finally
12:36 takes her last breath, so You have to take control.
12:40 So what does that look like?
12:43 That part where God took control and stood you up?
12:47 Well that is when I decided I needed to start making
12:51 better decisions, now that my mom is that the last few
12:54 hours, days maybe hours of her life.
12:57 I needed to be with her in those last hours as an
12:59 example of a changed son.
13:01 I decided to that although she was, you know how the
13:05 chemo did you sometimes where you can't
13:06 even think straight?
13:08 Although she was like that I know she understood.
13:11 As I confessed a lot of the things, the mistreatment
13:14 I did to her, and the things I did to her.
13:17 You are able to talk directly to her?
13:19 Yeah, and she couldn't respond, but I knew because I was
13:22 holding her hands, which were cold, and when she would
13:25 squeeze I knew she was telling me I forgive you.
13:30 I forgive you, and that was such a burden that I know
13:33 came off of her, because I know she felt so bad for what
13:36 she did in her life.
13:37 She was a woman who, her mother used to physically abuse
13:41 her, not sexually but physically beat on her.
13:44 She expressed a lot of that toughness on me as I grew up.
13:48 She was raped when she was younger.
13:50 She went through so much which led to the decisions
13:53 then she made and she thought that was going to make me
13:56 continue to be the way I was for ever.
13:58 But when she saw that change I know she rested in peace.
14:02 God gifted both of you with the ability to set there
14:06 with each other and do that.
14:08 When she died what happened then?
14:11 Well that one moment was two o'clock in the morning.
14:16 I didn't want to sleep all the way in her room,
14:20 I didn't want to disturb her, she had machines on her
14:22 in her room so I was half way in her room and
14:25 half way in my room.
14:26 I couldn't sleep because I was hearing her breathing,
14:30 as I heard her breathing it's got deeper and deeper.
14:33 To the point where I described as marbles in her lungs.
14:37 I knew that that was the moment and I made a couple
14:40 phone calls to my cousins then it was time.
14:43 I knew she was going to pass away right then.
14:46 I woke my dad up and he started speaking to her.
14:49 He tried to reconcile with her because they were
14:52 divorced when I was a couple of months.
14:53 I just remembered that one tear just come down her face
15:01 as she took her last breath.
15:02 I couldn't look at her, I looked away and heard her
15:05 take that last breath.
15:06 I knew they had a least we reconciled and that she knows
15:11 then I forgive her for what she did.
15:14 I will see her again in that resurrection.
15:16 Because "precious in the sight of the Lord,
15:18 is the death of his saints. "
15:20 For a lot of people that do not know, as a Christian we
15:24 believe that God will come back and raise up those who
15:28 have died and whoever is still hanging out and alive will
15:32 actually be transformed and meet up with them.
15:36 So you had that hope and even Christ is comforting
15:39 each other with that.
15:40 That hope that I got was what keeps me alive now.
15:45 It is that hope that one day the I will not only see her
15:48 again, but I will see Jesus Christ, because He is the One
15:51 who did this for me.
15:52 If it wasn't for Him I would have kept making those bad
15:55 decisions and I would have been in a worse place.
15:57 You know what is really funny, because I know that you
16:00 are going to be up there saying thank you so much.
16:02 The Bible says that He is actually going to try and get
16:06 you down as good job well done.
16:09 Do you know what I mean?
16:10 So He said He wants to say the same thing to you.
16:12 I think that reunion is going to be amazing.
16:15 I look forward to taking that crown off and
16:18 laying it at His feet.
16:20 So from that point on, because now you're standing up
16:25 totally new, and how to you than know what to do?
16:29 How do you know what that transform is like?
16:32 What did you do, who did you gather around you?
16:34 In the beginning I did not know what to do next.
16:37 Somebody had told me that God was going to take
16:40 control and change me little by little.
16:42 I didn't know what that meant.
16:44 So I just - do I just sit here?
16:46 I didn't know what to do in the wind blows.
16:49 Somebody told me a story about Nicodemus,
16:52 do you remember that story? Yes!
16:54 Jesus says the wind blows and you do not see it
16:57 coming, you don't see where it is going.
16:58 In the word is interchangeable with the Spirit.
17:00 The Spirit was changing me and I didn't see it.
17:02 I didn't see it happening and He just brought people
17:04 into my life, brought friends I thought I've never had.
17:07 I had to leave all my friends, I was very popular in
17:10 my high school, I was very popular and had to leave them
17:13 all behind, I had to move to another city because of the
17:16 gangs that I was in.
17:17 Because people around you aren't changing just
17:20 because you're changing?
17:21 Even if I tried to help them to change they
17:25 did not want to hear that.
17:26 I tried to speak to them and I started to be looked at
17:30 as weak now, and that was a real prideful issue I had.
17:34 I was this man who wanted people to be like me, I wanted
17:37 them to follow me and now I am this man and to them I am
17:40 weak so that did not work out.
17:44 I was on my own.
17:45 Can you say that in that time come because what is really
17:50 intense in recovery is when I have to learn something,
17:54 I have to learn how to let go of that pride, to learn to
17:58 let go of that part of me that needed people to lift me
18:03 up in that way and you are getting it 100% thrown at you
18:07 that you are losing that image.
18:10 So how did, what was God doing as far as trying
18:13 to teach you to let go, just released that?
18:16 Trust me on this one!
18:17 I just kept waiting on Him and started reading the Bible.
18:20 I had read where it said let this mind be in you which
18:24 was also in Christ Jesus and the image I had before I
18:27 learned had to be replaced.
18:29 Not with a new image that I had to come up with,
18:32 but with His image and I started to let that happen.
18:36 I was fighting it off, although I had given my heart
18:38 to Christ, I still wanted to be that guy in the streets.
18:42 I still wanted followers, I loved it to be so popular.
18:46 It was great, I had a lot of girls but
18:48 I had to let Him do it.
18:52 It's like a drug?
18:53 It's like a drug, you are addicted to it and I believe
18:57 addiction is not only something physical
18:59 but mental as well.
19:00 That is why I like to say how did that look as far as
19:03 the healing, because God doesn't just come in and say
19:06 I'm going to work with your cigarettes,
19:07 I'm just going to work with your alcohol,
19:09 or for the fact that you are smoking weed.
19:11 He says I'm not going to work with one single thing.
19:13 You don't even know how to think yet,
19:15 you don't even know that yet.
19:17 But because I love you I'm going to slowly and as easy
19:20 as I can and we are going to hit all these issues.
19:22 You'll fight him off - - I know.
19:24 You know you will fight Him off, but He does it and
19:27 and you let go and wait on Him.
19:34 With changing you eventually had to move?
19:36 I had to almost disappear.
19:38 My O G, the guy that put me in a gang, he had to
19:44 disappear as well and praise the Lord,
19:46 he came to Christ too.
19:47 What is OG?
19:48 Original gangster, he's guy who puts you in a gang and
19:52 now you are in charge of gathering followers.
19:57 So he starts it off, he moves and starts it off and
20:00 elsewhere, but me and him were like this.
20:01 We were best friends.
20:02 He had to move, I had to move, I had to get away from that
20:07 environment if I wanted to grow in Christ.
20:09 I had to, there was no choice.
20:11 You didn't have to get jumped out, you didn't have to do
20:14 any of that stuff because a lot of times, I watched one
20:17 of the kids I worked with, they jumped her out and beat
20:21 her with irons, I mean it was amazing to see her actually
20:25 be able to walk way.
20:26 You know the type of game that I joined, it's not the type
20:29 a gang you can get out.
20:31 So you just moved?
20:32 I had to disappear, I had to disappear.
20:35 That is where my life started building, my character
20:39 started changing when I was away for those people.
20:44 Away from that environment.
20:46 See if this makes sense to you.
20:48 Because at first when I switched my life,
20:50 even just tell the truth was difficult.
20:52 I would be in the middle of something and would think,
20:54 wait a minute that is not true.
20:56 I'm just thinking was it hard for you?
21:00 Did the Holy Spirit just have to say,
21:04 check you out once you while?
21:05 Yeah, all lot.
21:07 I love the way He does it, because you never
21:10 feel shamed by it.
21:11 I never felt ashamed, I just felt like I so could trust
21:14 Him that He would check me out.
21:18 I started studying a lot about righteousness by faith.
21:21 I started applying that in
21:24 my life and realize that Jesus is righteousness.
21:27 How can I be righteous when I was somebody
21:28 who was so unrighteous?
21:30 So I am going to ask you because one of the things that
21:33 I'm having, it scares me to take a concept that is this huge
21:37 and try to teach it in a way that an addict sitting there
21:41 smoking weed and watching the television can understand.
21:44 So when you start to look at righteousness by faith,
21:47 how did it make sense to you?
21:48 How did you receive that?
21:50 Well I replaced the word righteousness with Jesus Christ.
21:52 Because it's in 1 Corinthians 1:30, it says that
21:56 He was made unto us wisdom and righteousness.
22:00 So what is righteousness?
22:01 It is to the point where I can't do it but He can.
22:05 And since He is righteousness, He can live His life
22:08 through me, He can do for me what I could never do for Him.
22:11 It is never me, if it was I would be, you know.
22:17 I know we keep replaying it because we are players.
22:22 So it's all Him, it's all about Him.
22:25 He did it for me.
22:26 So He says let Me lived in you, let Me give you everything,
22:30 the right behavior that He lived, let Me give that to you,
22:33 and let Me teach you.
22:35 I will be your Father, your counselor, I will be your
22:38 friend, I'll hang out with you and everything you need to
22:41 learn we'll do it together.
22:43 Yeah that is right.
22:44 So what cracks me up is that He stood you up to where you
22:49 had a heart to go tell someone else.
22:52 Well what happened now was I always wanted to be a leader,
22:56 but now I decided that what an opportunity where I could
22:59 be a leader and lead people the right way.
23:02 I decided that instead of leading people towards
23:05 destruction, I can lead them to that same righteousness
23:07 that I am studying, which is Jesus Christ.
23:10 So now my friends back in the streets didn't want to hear
23:14 that I started going to other people who did want to
23:16 hear it, you know?
23:17 I went on the outside on my own, I tried to hand out
23:19 pamphlets, and just invited people for Bible studies.
23:22 I just started teaching them as best that I can what
23:24 righteousness really is.
23:25 God just started maneuvering situations and through the
23:28 Internet I just got in contact with other people and we
23:32 started this Ministry that God is using a special way.
23:35 Can you tell me because I love, even when you start to say
23:39 how God open that up for you, and one thing led to another.
23:42 Even pamphlets, even just walking out, even I know you
23:46 guys have put Bible studies on, cooking
23:48 classes on, and all that kind of stuff.
23:50 It just cracks me up, I can't even imagine
23:52 you in a cooking class.
23:53 Will I do not do the cooking because if I did do the
23:57 cooking but I do to the Bible study in regards to health,
24:01 I can teach a good health message from the Bible.
24:03 Because it is important what we put in our bodies?
24:05 Well it is connected to your mind.
24:07 What ever you eat is going to affect your thinking.
24:10 I truly believe that if you can cleanse your system,
24:12 and you eat the right way you are going to make
24:14 better decisions in your life.
24:15 It's really funny when you say that because see a lot of
24:18 addicts will be having their fourth cup of coffee and
24:20 dingdong or something and trying to figure out how
24:23 to change their life.
24:24 They have nothing, no fuel and so it is cool to me
24:27 that God stood you up and you know that it is all
24:31 important in your recovery.
24:32 What's the name of your Ministry?
24:35 Our Higher Calling Ministry.
24:37 That is way cool.
24:38 Cause it is a higher calling.
24:42 On our next segment we are going to meet somebody
24:45 that works in your Ministry.
24:46 Tell me who it is that we are going to meet and
24:49 then we are going to take a break and come back
24:51 and if you have him up here.
24:53 His name is Siki Plang and he is an incredible
24:57 example in my life.
24:58 He is a person that you can just sit down with and get
25:02 the greatest advice anything where did this come from,
25:06 why did I think about this is so simple.
25:08 He would give you that advice and I know it is the Holy
25:11 Spirit moving that person.
25:12 I'm glad for that person to be involved with this.
25:15 I want to say Edwin is that it is incredibility cool
25:18 to me to watch God stand up, stand you up and work
25:22 in your life in the way He has.
25:23 I think it is amazing and I want to wish you all the luck,
25:28 but there is not luck involved.
25:29 I want to wish you God's blessings on your Ministry
25:32 in one anybody that you guys bring on board to help you.
25:36 Definitely on any of the studies that you guys are doing.
25:40 It's incredible!
25:41 We are going to go ahead and take a break and when
25:43 we come back I would like you to meet Siki Plang and
25:45 you are going to be blessed.
25:46 In this one Ministry there are a number of men and
25:50 women standing up that God is working with,
25:52 that you just want to say how did that happen,
25:55 and they will tell you.
25:56 So we will be right back, stay with us!