Written By Eva Niña P. Sta. Ana, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
“Kung lagi na lang akong ganito, saan na lang ako mapupunta. Ibigay ko ang aking buhay dahil Siya ang may- ari ng aking buhay [If I will stay like this, I don’t know where my life will go. So I will give my life to (God) because He owns my life].”
These are the words of Edito, a young man from Northern Samar who used to wear dresses and call himself Marianne.
Edito Echinique, age 20, from Barangay. Colab-og in Northern Samar shared these words of conviction with the Operation Blessing mission team who held a Bless-A-Child program in the said province last August 9 to 11. Edito was not only a passionate volunteer for Operation Blessing. He was also an inspiration to all who heard his testimony of redemption and restoration. Jesus Christ turned his story of darkness into light, his blindness into sight.
The Battle Within
Edito was thirteen years old when he realized that he was a “woman trapped in a man’s body.” He was attracted to his fellow males.
At the age of fifteen, he went to Manila to find a job. He worked as a waiter, a house helper, and even a baby sitter. He “came out of the closet” and became a cross dresser, growing his hair long and having relationships with several male friends. But through it all, there was a voice within that stopped him from going all out as a homosexual.
When he was seventeen years old, he was forced to return to Northern Samar to attend the funeral of a close relative on his mother’s side. His friend Joana invited him to come to a worship service at Grace Bible Community Church. He only went once but afterwards he was convicted. He realized that his life was not only shallow, it was going in circles. He decided to listen to the still small voice within and started to read the Word of the Lord. He started attending church every Sunday and grew close to Pastora. Genita, the lead pastor of Grace Bible Community Church. She invested much time counselling and praying for Edito. She let him stay in the church. In exchange, he served and worked for the church.
At first, fighting the battle to become a man inside-out was not easy. But it helped that he served within the confines of the Christian community and was constantly fellowshipping with Christians. He also constantly meditated on the Word of God. Finally, he began to win the battle within. He decided to cut his hair , throw away his female clothes, change his wardrobe. When he looked at himself in the mirror after his haircut, he found himself saying – “Ka gwapo ko naman pala! [I look handsome after all].” The days, months and years passed. Through Christ, Edito managed to overcome his inner struggles and shrug off ridicule and persecution. He continues to cling to the truth of who he is in God’s sight and that truth has set him free.
“Wala na si Marriane. Patay na si Marriane. Si Edito na ‘to [There’s no more Marriane. Marriane is dead. I am Edito].” Edito loves to boast in the Lord, to tell everyone how God changed him from the inside out. The process was not easy, but he is happy to share his story of triumph and fulfilment with other people.
“Salamat sa Operation Blessing. Nagkakaron kami ng pagkakataong maging volunteer at mapaglingkuran ang mga tao.”(Thanks to Operation Blessing. We are given opportunity to serve other people) For Edito, one way of giving thanks to the Lord for his new life is by helping the needy, transforming their lives through Christ, and expanding the Kingdom of God in his province. With OB, he continues to be blessed and be a blessing.
You too can be a member of the growing family of volunteers of Operation Blessing! Visit our website and sign up in this link– http://www.obphil.com/home/volunteer/. Let’s bless and transform our nation, one life, one community, one province at a time!