Nelson Sanico was an abandoned child barely six months after his birth. With the sudden death of his
father, his confused and grieving teenage mother left him with his grandparents. She was never seen and
heard from again.
Nelson grew up Awo, a small community in Palompon, Leyte, about 950 km from Manila. Awo was the
perfect place for breeding future drug dependents, especially for young boys like Nelson. A poor
neighborhood, most of Awo’s male residents worked the area’s limestone factory, earning below the
With wit and grit Nelson surpassed others his age. He eventually became a big time drug pusher.
“As an addict, I had so much money, more than I ever saw my entire life. But they just slipped through my
fingers like sand. I could not figure out why I never got rich. During my ‘high’ moments, time seemed
suspended. Day and night were the same. I could not sleep no matter how hard I tried. I walked like a
zombie. This is the reason why addicts want to stay ‘hihg”. I wanted to remain that state because it
numbed whatever pain, loss, bitterness I felt “, Nelson said.
One exceptional day, when he was sober, a friend invited him to a Christian church where he heard the
gospel. Nelson accepted Christ when the invitation was given. The changes in his life were so
unmistakable that his neighbors noticed. He tirelessly invited and brought others to church. He spoke to
them about Jesus, charming them with his contagious smile. Where he previously sold drugs, he now
faced taunting by friends, “Ano nagbebenta ka na ngayon ng Bible? (Are you selling bibles now?)
In April this year, when a team went to Awo for the Operation Jabez mission outreach in Eastern Visayas,
Nelson brought half of Awo's children to the Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS). In the whole five-day
DVBS, he went around the community with his usual infectious smile, reminding the kids to attend and
helping them carry school benches.
It was not surprising that at four in the morning on the last day of the project, Nelson made the rounds to
wake up the new believers who wanted to be baptized, leading them to the nearby beach where the CCC
team awaited them. Everyone was touched by His love and zealousness for God.
Nelson wants to become a pastor someday. Like Andrew, the apostle Peter’s brother, he will no doubt
bring more souls to the Savior.
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