Conversion story – From a drug dealer/addict to a missionary/temple worker

A true-life story of Earl Corcilles from the Philippine. His story tells of a young man struggles with life and how he became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Earl Corcilles

I was born on February 17, 1992. At an early age, my parents got separated. I grew up without a father since papa died when I was 6 years old. I love playing anything while growing up just to please myself and feel happy.

When I turned 10, I was sent to an orphanage because mom and grandma couldn’t afford to raise 8 children of different fathers (where everyone grew up having no father beside us). The orphanage was nice, I studied there, the Priests taught us how to pray in the Catholic’s way. We also got soccer games as well and a lot more. It was anticipated that we will be studying there from Elementary to College.

When I reached 15 years of age, I had already a lot of vices. I was in 3rd-year high school when I was involved in stealing with my friends intending to get out of the Orphanage. We stole stuffs from the priests. At that time my mom was working abroad and grandma was very sad about what I did. I got mixed emotions when I was sent home, first I was so happy I escaped life from there; I already didn’t like the way they handle us and second, sad because I didn’t know what to do in life, where I am going and where will the endpoint be.

Life outside the orphanage felt like it was a new world to me. I still continued my studies, I got a lot of friends, several of them were not good. Because of poverty, I had to help my grandma in feeding my younger brothers and sisters. Whenever I get high, I made a lot of accessories; to earn money to sustain our food. I also took care of them.

Too many temptations came and I got more involved in worldly vices. I made a lot of wrong choices. Problems and trials came to me and my family. Life became miserable. My uncle used to hit me when he was so high due to drugs, either just a trip or out of anger. Sooner, I acquired a nervous breakdown. Life continued to roll as I worked hard for myself and family. Due to selling accessories, I came to know someone and she became my girlfriend. She was a nice woman with a decent job, but we broke up. I was so depressed for I was the one who ended our relationship. Drug served as a band-aid to my depression

A time came when life was full of fear and anxiety due to my wrong choices. My body became very dependent on drugs. It was hard because it was what my system wanted. Until I was not just a user but also a smuggler of the said drugs. I became a very worldly person. For how many years of taking drugs, the point came where I started to experience seeing unnecessary illusions, talking to myself alone, drink my own urine, got eating disorder, full of sleepless nights, hit the street lights due to anger, anger that I didn’t know where it originated from. I felt like I was already not insanity. People in our place also thought I was already mentally ill. Friends left me. I started walking down the streets without knowing where I am going.

The Start of Change..

One day, at the age of 23, I saw two Sister missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was the time where life was so dark and I felt like I was in hell already. These strangers were shining and so bright. Since then, I started posting in a specific part of the road nearby our house to wait for them every 2:30 in the afternoon. It was seeing them that made me feel happy and bright. However, they will just pass by and go to their appointment.

Finally, the day came when they started talking to me. I was so happy! They introduced themselves as Sister Ramos and Sister Balagtas. I asked them why did they approach me, they said they’ve been finding people to teach at that specific time in the afternoon but they were not able to teach anyone. They prayed for teaching opportunities and when they passed me by, they suddenly heard the whisperer of the Spirit start a conversation with me. At first, they felt the existence of fear, for as what they can see I looked like a gangster. A tattooed man, with huge earplugs, smoking by the roadside. The good thing is, they didn’t listen to fear, instead they kept on talking to me until it became regular visits every afternoon.

It took a month of teaching before I finally came to church. Prior to that, they invited me to attend an FHE or Family Home Evening. I reasoned out and told them I can’t because of this and that. But when I asked, what is an FHE? The then answered it’s a “PARTY”. Curious about what a Mormon party looked like? All I know they’re just reading the bible all the time. So, I run to my room to change clothes and go with them. They introduced me to their mission President and His wife, President, and Sister McCurdy. They shared their life story and the life of Jesus Christ. They were so kind and loving. After the program was done, Sister McCurdy asked me if She can hug me. The moment she hugged me, I felt God’s love towards me. I returned home with a smile on my face and when asked by my family where have I been, I smiled and said: “at the Party”.

From then on, I started coming to church, and eventually on the 3rd Month of teaching and visiting, I got baptized. I didn’t stop coming to church, I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon, joined activities, and went working with the missionaries. Even though I started those things, I still got tempted by my friends and take those prohibited substances. When they knew about it, I could not forget the words that the McCurdys told me “WE DON’T WANT TO LOSE YOU”, and I saw in their eyes the sincerity of uttering those words. I felt deep in my heart the Love of God. In order to get rid of my vices, I asked for a Priesthood blessing, I gradually fasted and prayed. Eventually, I lost the desire for vices.

I was ordained to Melchezideck Priesthood, I entered the Temple and got endowed. I served a full-time mission in the Philippines Davao Mission and I became an Assistant to the Mission President. When as I got home from my mission, I continued with serving in the Temple as a Temple worker, getting my college degree in Informatics and BYU pathway.

I dated and got to know a lot of Sisters. Until I came to know a good woman, we became in a relationship and it didn’t work out for some reason. But I didn’t stop there. I still looked for someone to marry in the Temple until I came to know Josephine. She’s a returned missionary who served in the Philippines Tacloban Mission. I am so grateful for she is a woman of faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, I can see her love towards God through serving her fellowmen. She’s so nice, beautiful, a happy person and a responsible woman. A referral from Cagayan de Oro. I prayed and fasted if she is the one, then I received a revelation that I have to work it out. We saw each other in the Temple at the Temple Marriage of her friend. I then got to know her, went to Cagayan de Oro, visited their family and ward then eventually we got engaged last year of 2019. Right now, we are waiting for our papers to be completed and will have our Temple Marriage soon after COVID-19.

Our goal is to have a multi-generational gospel-oriented family. We love the Lord and I love Her so much, and she loves me so much too. I know and testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ can help us to feel happiness and Joy. By keeping the commandments of The Lord, we will receive a lot of blessings.

I feet grateful for the missionaries who taught me, the leaders who fellow-shipped me, and everyone who became part of my conversion. I know that Jesus Christ is the son of the living God, He atoned and sacrificed for all of us. I know that He lives and He loves us. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the Prophet Joseph Smith was the Prophet of the restoration, President Russell M. Nelson is the living Prophet of our day and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Kingdom of God here on earth. I share these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Earl Corcilles

Lahug Ward, Cebu City Stake

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