Music is not what I do but it is who I am. I was exposed to music as long as I can remember. I grew up in a Christian family who was passionate about all sorts of music and ever since I was young I've learned to love it. I started out with playing the guitar in 6th grade. My uncle and brother didn't really have the time to teach me so I had to learn it on my own. I bought songbooks and all sorts of materials that will help me learn. I remember even buying a chord chart that enabled me to memorize the various finger positions. It was hard at first but I was determined. The first song I learned to play was "Now and Forever" by Richard Marx. I loved that song. I must have listened to that song a hundred times and I was so excited when I learned to play it.
As years gone by, my love for music grew. I became more passionate about it and started to compose my own songs during high school. I recall a time where I brought my guitar at school and just started to play songs during class. I sung a few of my favorite songs by Richard Marx and Bryan Adams. I didn't want to stop because of all the attention I got. Then, another guy stole my spotlight when he sang one of his compositions. He was great and everyone was mesmerized by his song. I was so jealous of his talent. But I allowed that feeling to motivate me to improve in my skills. He actually inspired me to write my own songs. In a way, he challenged me not to be better than him but to be better than myself. I told myself that "I want to be a singer someday and I want to be known." Those thoughts remained within me throughout high school and college.
I majored in Architecture during College but I had to stop due to the long commute from my home to school. Either that or I just got lazy (hehe...). During my vacation, I was introduced to a church called Blessed in Christ Evangelical Church. I became actively involved with their youth group - YSC (Young Sowers of Christ). Then I joined their music ministry as a bass guitarist and eventually became a worship leader. I was 17 at that time and I began training some of the youth to play some instruments. Our youth band was called Salt & Light and we consistently played during our worship services. It was a memorable experience and a true joy to be used as an intrument by God to bless others.
A few years later (1999), my dad petitioned my older brother and I to reside in the United States. So I had to start all over again. Thankfully, we found a church nearby named Praise Christian Fellowship. I felt at home right away and within weeks I was involved as a back-up singer in the Worship Team. There were times where I would play the instruments as well. As time went by, I started to lead the worship during the Sunday evening services. Then a group of guys and I started a band called "Celestial Noise." The members of this band were truly a blessing they had the same passion in music as I did. We "ministered" during services and sang some of my compositions such as Praise HIs Name, All I want to Do, and I'm Free. It was great jamming with them and they were great people to work with.
But then, I felt God leading me to another path and so of course, I had to obey. My best friend, Merl Balmas, and I attended a special gathering at Heart of Worship Community Church (HOWCC). The senior pastor was Pastor Kevin Ramientos and the church has only existed for 3 years. It is a small church with a BIG heart. Since they were just starting out, Pastor Kevin did almost everything - from preaching to songleading to teaching bible studies. The Holy Spirit was instructing me to help.
But I struggled. It was hard to leave PCF. It was hard to say goodbye. But I knew I had to follow God's calling in my life. And so, I moved once again.
After a few Sundays of attending HOW, I was asked to sing and so I introduced some of my own songs. Upon hearing my composition, Pastor Kevin asked me to submit a song that he can include in HOW's very first Worship CD. It was such an honor and I felt I was getting closer to my dreams. I submitted my song "Lord of All." He had to revised some of the lyrics and changed the title to "Jesus, My All in All." It was great to have 2 different versions of the song.
Pastor Kevin became a reliable friend. Even in his busy schedule, he would take the time just to get to know me as a person. He is a godly person that I can truly trust. I recall one particular time we were having coffee and I told him I was interested in ministering at HOW and becoming actively involved. His reply was that he and his wife have been praying for that and have just been waiting for me to express my interest. So that in itself was a confirmation. So, once again, I was involved in the music ministry and I even help with the youth as well.
I have been blessed and changed through all these experiences. God used many people to challenge me and to inspire me. It is such an honor and privilege to be used by God to bless others through music. I remember the thoughts I had in high school"I want to be a singer and I want to be known." Well God did answer those prayers. Now I am not only a singer, but a worshipper. I am not known by all men but by God Himself. And to me, that is all I need, that is all I will ever want. And as one of my song declares "As long as I breathe, I'll sing my praise to You and tell the world about Your grace."