I'm Greg Alfred Odicta. I'm 26 years old and I'm currently serving a full-time mission in the Canada Edmonton Mission as a Tagalog speaking Elder.
I was born into the church and was raised by my mother along with my two sisters.
When I was 16 I stopped going to church. I started to hang out with the wrong crowds and started getting myself involved in things like stealing, drugs, alcohol and all sorts of other things. I became very prideful, even towards my own family. For the next few years, I was in and out of my home until I started to live on my own.
During that time, I was trying to do everything myself by working two jobs to support myself. I felt I needed no one’s help and decided that I would cut myself off from my family.
As I worked, I found that I was going nowhere so I had the idea that I would try and fix my life by working full time at night and going back to school in the day.
I became sleep deprived and had trouble sleeping. I started to struggle in my work and at school. I soon found myself in a stressful situation and I could not handle it. All the problems I was running away from had finally caught up to me and I fell into a deep depression. I felt worthless and that all the things I had done had amounted to nothing.
I tried to take my own life. As I tried to do that my whole surroundings became quiet and I heard a voice telling me not to do it. I ended up getting scared at the last second and found myself even more depressed.
I moved back home with my mom, stopped working and going to school. I wanted to disappear slowly and wasn't motivated to do anything. I felt nothing could get me out of what I was feeling.
After they left I felt like I should have let them in.
A week later they came again. I felt a strong prompting to let them in and talk with them. After we had introduced ourselves I opened up to them and told them what was going on with me.
They told me about the Atonement and talked about the Jaredites going in the barges (Ether 6: 5-8), and how they went through harsh winds and under the deep depths of the ocean, but if it weren’t for the harsh winds they would never have made it to the promised land. That scripture was something I needed to hear.
They invited me to church, but I was hesitant to go because I was afraid of going back to a place where I would not know anyone or they wouldn't welcome a guy like me. So, I told them I'd try but no promises. I didn't go that week.
After they left I felt my burdens were made a little lighter and I had hope that I could get out of the rut I was in.
Another week passed before I met with the missionaries again. As they worked with me I started to gain more confidence in myself. I began to pray more often asking for the Lords help.
I finally decided to go to church. I was nervous, but I was determined to go because I wanted to feel more of the spirit.
I was welcomed by people who knew me and got to know some people who I didn't know. I was astonished by how loving they were to me and how happy they were to see me there. My feeling of nervousness was gone instantly.
I began to read the Book of Mormon, I prayed constantly to understand the things I read. I had never read the Book of Mormon before so it was hard to understand.
I had to give up many things I was used to doing. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. There were times I was ready to give up, but I knew that as I kept praying, reading, and going to church the Lord would help me through it.
A couple months later I was ordained a Priest in the Aaronic priesthood.
I gained a better relationship with my family, and with the help of my mom, uncle, the missionaries, and the church, I was finally able to feel worthy and started to build a foundation on Christ. I gained my own testimony of the gospel.
I decided to pray about going on a mission and read the scriptures. As I read the story of Alma the younger and how his conversion happened. After he had repented he decided to go and serve God. As I read this the spirit hit me like a ton of bricks. I had found the answer to my question!
I told my mom that I wanted to go on a mission and asked if she would support me. She said yes with no hesitation. I told my uncle at the next meeting we had that my goal was to go on a mission, so he and the missionaries helped me prepare for it. I went out with them to teach and I also prepared myself to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
I've been in the mission field for six months now and it's been an amazing experience. I've been so blessed to see miracles work through us as missionaries. I have witnessed first-hand the power of the Lord.
I'm so thankful to the Lord and my family and the missionaries who helped me get here. Every day I learn something and I've never been so happy to serve others and help people to come unto Christ.