Wide Awake




As a pastor’s kid, Junel Liwanag thought that he had always been a Christian. He believed that he was a Christian, but, at that time, he never really had an encounter with Jesus.

At the age of fifteen, like a prodigal son, Junel left their home thinking that fame and the richest of the world could give him contentment. He entered the fashion world and became a fashion model working for various well-known brands with different designers across Asia. He sought after the things he thought could satisfy him. Five more years and Junel had already tried all sorts of drugs: heroin, cocaine, and shabu. As an eventual result of using drugs, he soon had a breakdown and reached the rock bottom of his life. 

He had money, fame, women, clubs – he had the world on his palm but still felt empty.

Until one day, after being awake for six straight days, Junel found himself inside a hotel contemplating killing himself with a gun. He then asked God, “Would you do something in my life?”.

Junel wanted to rest and sleep, and the only help he could think of was another marijuana. So, he took the green Bible on the lampstand next to his hotel bed, tore a page from it, and used it as a rolling paper. And in all His mercy, God and His Holy Spirit focused his gaze on a verse in the Bible. There he saw Ezekiel 36:26, where it reads, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Upon reading it, the Lord touched his heart. Junel cried and knelt before God. With the Bible in his hands, he called unto the Lord to change him. As it was revealed to him, he then realized that his heart had always been empty because his spirit was empty.

Like the prodigal son who realized all his deeds, Junel came running back home to the Lord and his family in Pampanga. He left everything in Manila and never came back again to his old life. 

Junel, once a prodigal son, is now Pastor Junel Liwanag. He is now living with his wonderful family and pastoring a church with two outreaches – City Sanctuary Church and El Shalom Full Gospel Ministry – a church with 2,400 people!

Pastor Junel is now part of God’s work after being restored by God through the Gideon Bible he found in a hotel room. Glory to God!

There’s Power in the Word

Wide Awake

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