Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Siki Plang, Edwin M Cotto
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00062B
00:14 Welcome back!
00:15 What is amazing to me about God as I'm listening to Edwin,
00:18 and his testimony, and how God stood him up in Ministry.
00:21 I am just amazed!
00:23 I go to Jeremiah 29:11 which is my favorite text.
00:25 It was my favorite when God did this same thing
00:28 in my life, but when I watch Him over and over and
00:31 over and over again stand someone else up it reminds
00:33 me of this text again because it says, "for I know the
00:36 thoughts that I think towards you says the Lord,
00:39 thoughts of peace and not of evil, and thoughts to
00:42 give you future and a hope. "
00:44 For a lot of kids coming from the streets,
00:46 for a lot of kids coming from gangs and drugs
00:48 and all that stuff, they don't have a future and a hope.
00:51 We don't even think about tomorrow, yet God says I have
00:54 always thought about tomorrow for you.
00:55 I just trust that.
00:57 And Siki I know that you work with Edwin.
01:00 Your story is not like his.
01:03 Yeah in a way!
01:05 Yeah it is so tell us a little bit about where you
01:08 came from and then how you guys joined up.
01:13 I grew up in an Adventist family.
01:16 I thought I knew God.
01:19 I thought I was living what He wants me to do.
01:25 Doing the right thing?
01:26 Doing the right thing!
01:27 Yet I wanted to do my own thing.
01:32 So it wasn't hard for me to choose between those two,
01:38 I chose my way.
01:39 God is so good because after all these years of choosing
01:46 my way, He still gave me another chance to
01:50 realize that my way is not the right way.
01:55 It didn't work!
01:56 When you say you grew up in an Adventist home,
01:59 your foundation was good, you're very bright?
02:01 I don't know about the very bright thing.
02:04 Well I talked with you so I know you are very bright.
02:10 You know I will agree with you in a way because
02:15 I believed that I was number one.
02:20 I did everything just like that.
02:22 Everything was easy for you?
02:25 I was smoking pot when I was 12 and yet the top people
02:33 in my class was just ahead of me by two points.
02:41 An average grade I'm so I thought I was okay.
02:44 So even you using drugs, your folks don't know it
02:47 and you are doing great in school still?
02:49 Oh yeah, I was, even on the last day I stop doing drugs,
02:55 which was like six years ago, I always believed that I
03:00 live the biggest lie ever.
03:03 I was showing something to somebody, like me being a
03:08 physical therapist, I showed everybody that I was the
03:13 best physical therapist and yet I would sneak into the
03:18 bathroom to do my drugs and nobody knew about it.
03:24 For me to lead that kind of life.
03:26 So you had this double life?
03:28 Did you feel like a fraud?
03:30 Did you feel like somehow...
03:31 now looking back yes.
03:33 During those days I thought I was okay, because I didn't
03:38 steal, I didn't kill for my drugs, I was working hard.
03:44 I was getting paid.
03:45 I was using my money.
03:46 I thought I was just doing good.
03:50 What is really interesting and a lot of people don't
03:54 understand is most of the drugs trafficked in the world
03:57 our trafficked by recreational drug users
04:00 that are working full-time.
04:02 And they are looking great.
04:03 So we think it is the gangster that is moving the drugs
04:06 around, more than that, and it is actually the guy
04:08 that is working or a woman that is working.
04:09 I used to believe that it was just a weekend addict,
04:16 I would binge me and my friends would binge on the weekend.
04:19 He grew up to like I said, bringing my stuff to work
04:24 and doing it there every half an hour.
04:26 That I would see another patient and
04:29 do a professional thing.
04:31 I would get away with it.
04:33 When you're habit gets to be like that, no one can
04:37 really tell, I mean you are still looking and not
04:41 shaking, you are not acting crazy, you are pretty much
04:45 doing the amount of drugs you need in order to be
04:49 normal for that day?
04:50 It made my conviction that I am doing good because
04:53 nobody is knowing it.
04:57 I'm working I'm still pulling this off.
05:00 I can still pull it off and I am okay.
05:02 Let's go on.
05:04 I want more.
05:05 So if you are so okay what changed?
05:07 Well there comes a time when you are so high strung
05:14 and then you hear a small voice telling you that you are
05:20 killing yourself and then you do another drug and the
05:26 voice is still there.
05:28 Then you have to somehow...
05:30 it's just God saying Siki you are killing yourself.
05:35 You are destroying every single thing about you.
05:39 Of course, God is so good that He will send people,
05:43 people, people that you hate, people you don't believe
05:48 is in your league, people who you believe are dumb,
05:53 to make you realize that you are wasting yourself.
06:01 For example, I met this guy and I had been doing drugs
06:07 with him and he is so hung up, so drugged out,
06:12 and I was taking my board exam for the physical therapy.
06:18 When I take my boards, I drop off all my drugs
06:22 and pray to God.
06:23 That's right God help me with this test.
06:26 If you make the pass this I'm going to be a pastor,
06:29 I'm going to do whatever You want.
06:31 How can we play God?
06:33 Isn't that a crazy thing that we play Him?
06:36 What is really interesting to me and always has been
06:38 about God, and I think I want to kiss Him on the face
06:41 when I see Him for this.
06:42 Is that He knows we are playing Him and says if you have
06:45 to go through that, go through that.
06:47 I am not leaving you.
06:51 I can even understand that kind of love.
06:52 Because if you played me as often as you played God,
06:56 I would have walked away and said,
06:57 you know what I'm done with you.
07:00 Now that I am a father, I now understand what kind of love
07:06 that is and yet I am man, I'm human.
07:10 I was telling my friends earlier, while we were driving
07:13 here, what more God can do to us,
07:16 how much He really loves me.
07:17 To be long-suffering and patient to me.
07:21 To play Him every day, every minute promising Him if I
07:26 Pass this, if You make me get out of this trouble,
07:31 I'm going to do everything that You want.
07:33 Everything, everything.
07:35 I like it that you said if I pass the state board,
07:37 you get me through this one I'll even be a pastor.
07:39 That is a funny thing that you said to Him.
07:41 The most funniest thing is that after I pass the board exams
07:44 I ended up in the hospital, do you know why?
07:47 No, why?
07:48 Ten days of doing drugs, I was celebrating.
07:51 I was celebrating because for three months I was clean.
07:56 Studying and kneeling down everywhere I can saying
08:00 Lord please I know you will make this happen for me.
08:07 After I passed the test, the first thing I did was
08:10 hooked up again with all my friends and do the same thing.
08:13 Did you hear that voice during that time?
08:15 Oh yeah, oh yeah!
08:19 I thought you told Me you were going to give Me your life?
08:22 Well I'm a physical therapist now, I'll talk to You later.
08:26 I have money now, I have a job, I'm going to be successful,
08:32 I don't need You right now.
08:35 I grew up, like I said, having that kind of mentality that
08:40 I create things around me.
08:42 You set them up so you can break them down
08:47 or put that back again.
08:49 There is no picture of me submitting to God or to be
08:57 more realistic with my mom.
08:59 She was the only one there for us.
09:03 I didn't have a father figure.
09:06 So your mom was a single mom?
09:08 Yes, but she prayed all those years.
09:11 Now she has passed away, but now I believe that her
09:17 prayers, in fact if she was alive right now and she would
09:21 see this segment with you and the things I was doing,
09:26 I'm sure she would drop dead.
09:29 She would weep.
09:31 So don't you want to say to somebody listening,
09:35 if they are mother praying for somebody out partying?
09:39 Keep on praying!
09:40 Never give up, never give up.
09:47 Because even in your drugging you heard that voice.
09:49 It had to be your mom's prayers.
09:51 That voice never let go.
09:53 The thing that drives me now
09:57 is the fact that nobody besides
10:00 my mom really told me to stop.
10:03 There is a better life and I want to be that person right
10:08 now, I want to be that person that would serve God,
10:11 to tell the next person beside me that what you are doing
10:15 is really not good for you.
10:17 It's taking everything, it's destroying you.
10:21 Maybe just maybe it will make an effect on them.
10:25 It may change them I don't know how, just to put a seed.
10:30 Let me say this and you can hit me if I am out of line.
10:35 I can see that you probably were a little arrogant?
10:39 Very, very!
10:41 Very arrogant, and I can do what I want to do.
10:44 I am not getting into anybody's way and I have the money.
10:48 I'm successful and things are happening..
10:52 So how did you let that go?
10:55 So you hear the voice of God and hearing all that stuff
10:57 but arrogance is a tough one.
10:59 God can get through almost everything else but that is a
11:02 tough one, that pride stuff.
11:03 It was very hard for me, in fact it is my everyday battle.
11:07 It's a thorn in your flesh?
11:09 Yes it's growing up and having everything my way and then
11:14 suddenly giving it up to some body, God who is in the Bible,
11:20 who you cannot see but you know He is doing
11:24 something for you.
11:25 It is very hard and every day is a challenge, giving it up,
11:30 giving it up, giving it up for my friends.
11:33 Okay you speak first, you do it first.
11:35 I watched you do that.
11:36 I watch you and I watched the battle that happened first.
11:41 Then you say, why don't you speak.
11:46 Did you see it this morning? Yes!
11:50 Yes because I want to.
11:51 Exactly I want to praise God.
11:53 I believe I had the best story.
11:57 Me too!
12:00 It is humbling to be a people that has a better story,
12:07 maybe not a better story, but God has time for everything.
12:14 Time for everything so to me to submit to that,
12:19 to really humble myself to do that is exciting.
12:27 I wish we had so much more time.
12:29 When you talk about that, coming to God and not only,
12:33 it sounds like giving up the drugs and binges and that
12:36 kind of thing might have been a little easier then giving
12:40 up it's about me.
12:42 So God is just saying, let's give up some of that stuff and
12:47 let Me teach you how to submit, so what was that like with Him?
12:52 Is there any, when you are talking to somebody that
12:55 says why would I want to do that?
12:58 Anything cool about that?
12:59 Well that is so hard for me to understand first.
13:08 I set myself to understand that God is teaching me right
13:12 now a lesson, an important lesson that unless I will be
13:16 the last, I will not make there.
13:22 It was the example that He gave me and He is the only One
13:26 that I am looking up to now.
13:28 I love when He says, so weird, but He says humble yourself
13:32 and let Me lift you up because it is different.
13:35 You don't even know what part of you is so cool.
13:38 You think it is cool that you can out smoke someone.
13:41 You know when I was doing it, I always prided myself with
13:45 everybody being knocked out already and I am still the
13:49 voice of the group, I can still drink.
13:53 If everybody is strung out with weed, I would still be
13:58 the last one smoking.
14:00 I would be the last one doing everything.
14:02 If everybody was drunk I would be driving because I
14:05 am not drunk, you guys are drunk, I'm not.
14:08 So unless you had a Breathalyzer,
14:11 with a Breathalyzer you may have been drunk.
14:15 You are just saying that with God He is saying that you
14:21 think that that's cool and I cannot teach you what is
14:27 good about you, what is cool about you, what is cool about
14:29 life until you submit that, because that is twisted.
14:33 I mean you actually were twisted, and I want to untwist
14:38 you and bring healing into your life.
14:39 When you allow God to untwist you, like I am allowing Him
14:45 to untwist me now, you will see wonderful changes.
14:48 It's not, some will be instantaneous, some of them take
14:55 time, and I asked God when is it going to happen?
14:58 I wanted to happen now.
15:00 Like always we want it now.
15:03 With my friends, with my family, with anybody I talk to,
15:10 or make a relationship with.
15:12 Sometimes or most times my being, I'm Siki, I'm going to do
15:19 it my way, sometimes it shows and then I realize that
15:27 to what, you want God in you,
15:30 you want Christ in your life.
15:33 Then submit yourself.
15:34 What is really funny Siki is that it is cool sitting next
15:41 to you and hanging out with you.
15:42 You have such a neat spirit about you.
15:45 I know that is the Spirit of the Lord.
15:47 You know I know that is the God and so what God is saying
15:51 to you and to me or to anybody is that I want to put
15:55 that Spirit in you.
15:57 I want to develop that part of you so when you laugh,
16:00 when you share with people, when you hang out that
16:02 you are really affirming and lifting each other up.
16:05 You are not using each other or playing each other.
16:07 So He is trying to teach us, and we are like these addicts,
16:10 and He is trying to teach us.
16:11 He is trying to teach us that He does have a better way.
16:14 Yes, He has a better way.
16:17 This makes me look back, there were times even when you
16:21 are talking with a group of people and out of drunkenness
16:25 you just talk about God.
16:27 I would always make them, this is God, this is God.
16:36 Because coming from an Adventist family,
16:39 growing up in the Adventist school,
16:41 so I know something but not really the right thing.
16:46 I always thought I could still teach them.
16:49 Now that I'm really trying to know God, how cool is it
16:55 to be here with you, talking with you about these things,
17:01 and with my friends here with the same background.
17:03 Exactly, we are going to open it up to Edwin.
17:07 I want to bring you back in because we are talking about
17:11 what God has done in your life in Siki's life.
17:14 The people that you influence as a group.
17:19 It is funny because you are from different places yet
17:23 God is working with you on the same issue of arrogance
17:26 and pride and those things.
17:28 You guys are both standing up together,
17:30 is that getting in the way ever?
17:33 Well that is so hopeful, that I have somebody next to me
17:36 who I could share my problems with.
17:38 I can talk to him and he can talk to me and we can grow
17:41 in Christ together.
17:42 I am thankful for that.
17:43 It's like you both in the struggle that I saw in his eyes,
17:47 I see that your eyes too.
17:49 What is really funny is that you can be setting next to
17:51 each other and who is going to go first, and they both
17:54 want to, they both looked at each other like you go first.
17:58 Normally I want to go first, and he wants to go first,
18:00 but have to humble ourselves.
18:03 Which is way cool.
18:05 Yeah it is.
18:06 So do you have anything you would like
18:09 to add to Siki's testimony?
18:13 Sometimes I have to thank God because although we make
18:16 many mistakes in our lives, and we do bring about our
18:20 own problems, a lot of people blame it on God but it is
18:22 really our fault, the things that we have done too.
18:27 But I'm thankful that God takes those and twists it and
18:31 He teaches us that through that.
18:33 What I lack in my wisdom He did for him while
18:38 he grew up and taught him so when He puts us together
18:41 what I lack he can supply, what he lacks I can supply
18:44 and that is how we grew together as a church.
18:47 Isn't that incredible?
18:49 I thank God for the problems because He gets me out
18:52 of them and teaches me as He gets me out.
18:54 The next time you stand in that very same spot
18:57 you are stronger. Yeah!
19:01 Well Damien, we have had you on another program,
19:03 but you are a part of this group.
19:05 As you are hearing Edwin and Siki speak what do you
19:10 want to add to that?
19:11 Well it is a wonderful thing to see everybody here
19:16 What I can add is just this was calling I believe God
19:21 calls me for.
19:22 There is nothing about me but...
19:24 you are the baby of the group?
19:27 Oh really.
19:29 Aren't you, you are like 22.
19:31 Yeah I guess in a sense, but being I guess with
19:35 the youngest age, even though my wife is younger than me,
19:37 I keep them together.
19:42 That is not a high though, I keep them together,
19:45 I'm pretty influential in that, I calling them up.
19:47 I call him and make sure everything is going down right.
19:50 We worked together on that.
19:53 Something I can add about Siki is that he taught me
19:57 practical Christian living.
19:58 Not just sounding good when you speak, it's necessary,
20:02 but actually going out there and doing what you say.
20:06 One time we were at a church and he just said come on
20:09 let's go out there and go to the Journal Square in
20:12 Jersey City and let's bring this bread to some people
20:15 that needed it and we went out there and
20:18 did it without hesitating.
20:19 He was the one that came up and just lead out.
20:22 So you're saying is not just about teaching?
20:24 If you are not daily living what you teach.
20:27 Never, you are an actor, you are reading a script
20:32 that sounds good, but you are not actually living it
20:37 out in your real life and that is a problem.
20:40 That is what he has shown me because some of us
20:44 tend to do that straight off.
20:45 We sound good and we want to go first to speak,
20:49 but at the same time are we really exhibiting those
20:52 characteristics we uplift so high.
20:54 That is so very important.
20:56 The same thing with Edwin to he has taught me a lot of
20:59 things, he brings a lot to the table about his computer
21:02 graphics skills where he designed the website
21:05 and everything.
21:08 So God really knew who he was getting together to just
21:12 keep a tight knit between us and how we use each other's
21:16 talents that He has given us to just become
21:19 this Ministry, Our Higher Calling.
21:20 That is incredible!
21:22 You know what is incredible, thank you Damien, what's
21:25 incredible Siki is as he was saying that you guys are all
21:28 coming from different places but working on the same
21:33 issues and keeping each other accountable as you learn
21:38 to stand up and minister.
21:40 I'm thinking that is so God.
21:42 In fact our most, if I can say this, our most beloved
21:49 topic is Jesus Christ by faith.
21:53 Explain what you mean by that?
21:55 We cannot do anything without Him.
21:57 Everything that we do now is to glorify God.
22:02 Everything that we say, think.
22:04 Let me just say, I am going to come from a kid that,
22:08 I came from 10 years on the street,
22:11 drugs and all that stuff.
22:12 If I would have heard you say that I would have said
22:14 that sounds so lame, what are you talking about?
22:16 So saying in a way that I will not say that.
22:18 Do you know what I mean?
22:19 Because any Christian knows exactly what you just said.
22:22 A non-Christian doesn't.
22:23 A non-Christian person who just like me, because I never
22:28 called myself Christian when I was doing those things.
22:35 The biggest thing that kept me back from it is that it's
22:42 not, you don't see it in most people.
22:45 You hear it but you don't see them doing that.
22:50 So the biggest thing for them is to see it in me.
22:54 So when you hear what they believe about their spirituality
22:58 or what they believe about the Bible, but if you watch
23:00 their life you wouldn't think that they actually.
23:03 My life right now is my biggest testimony.
23:06 Like my brother Damien here said, we can talk the talk
23:09 but do you walk the walk?
23:12 So somebody here is recovering, I am still in recovery.
23:18 Every day of my life I am in recovery from what
23:20 I have done to myself.
23:22 So you are taking care of yourself, you are resting,
23:24 you're eating well and doing all those things that
23:26 you need to do in order to be in recovery?
23:28 You are connecting with God because you believe Him.
23:31 Not because it is the right thing to do, I believe Him.
23:34 I believe He is my life.
23:35 What I am doing right now doesn't earn me anything.
23:39 God doesn't look at me like okay Siki you are much
23:43 better and I'm going to give you this gift.
23:45 Siki you are not doing drugs now, I'll be nicer to you.
23:51 I'll give you a car because, it is not that way!
23:54 And I wish it was I need a car.
23:57 The reason why I'm doing this now, I saw how sinful I was.
24:02 When you realize that these things, which I first taught
24:07 were okay things, normal things, but when you realize
24:13 that it is not that you asked for forgiveness.
24:17 Then realizing, knowing that He has forgiven you,
24:21 then that makes a change.
24:23 That makes you want to do things
24:27 He wants you to do.
24:28 It was a burden to me to go to church before.
24:32 But now I love it.
24:34 It was a burden for me to do good things before.
24:40 But God made it happen to me.
24:43 So when you look at Christ, when you say it is all about
24:49 Christ, what you are saying is that I so saw His character,
24:53 who He was and I know it is good.
24:57 I know that it is right.
24:58 So it is not that I'd just surrendering because it is God,
25:02 I'm surrendering because I saw His character.
25:03 I saw who God is and I believe my life is wrong, it is
25:08 hurtful, is dark, is twisted, and the only way I am
25:12 going to untwist is if I hold on to You.
25:14 Once you realize how much of a lie your life is, then you
25:21 will wonder if they are on another life, is there a flip
25:27 side to this?
25:28 Then if you taste it, you'll never thirst, you will just want
25:34 that, that kind of life.
25:37 I have got to say that I just have been blessed watching
25:40 you work, I've watched you guys work with at-risk youth.
25:43 I watched you stand up and minister to them.
25:47 I've watched you stand up and minister with me when we
25:50 first met, with who you are, and then I watched you keep
25:53 each other accountable in Ministry to each other.
25:55 I want to say don't let anybody get in the way of that
26:00 hold on to God no matter what.
26:01 And thank you for sharing with us.
26:03 It has been amazing.
26:05 We are going to take a break and come back.
26:08 I pray that you have seen the difference in these two
26:14 testimonies and how God individually stepped in.
26:18 He didn't look at them as two separate,
26:20 it didn't look at them as the same person,
26:22 or that I'm going to come in with all the same stuff.
26:25 God came to Edwin in a certain way.
26:27 God came to Siki in a certain way and every single
26:30 day when their needs come up, He specifically,
26:33 individually meets those needs.
26:35 I love that about Him because I feel like that is the
26:37 same in my life and I know it's good to be
26:39 the same in your life.
26:40 We will be right back! Stay with us!