John 15 : 12 - 13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

I grew up in a Christian household where I always attended Bible studies and different church activities. I served our church and was very active in the youth group. Despite being so involved in the church, I typically only did these things because my parents told me to or because I had a selfish desire. I knew that by doing these things I was choosing the “right thing." I was still living in sin and tended to follow my selfish desire in many situations. I told lies to everyone, had lustful thoughts, and made really inappropriate choices. I was living for myself and didn’t truly know the real reason why I was going to church.

In August 2015, I moved from the Philippines to San Antonio with my family. I felt relieved that I had so much distance from the things in my past. My heart and thoughts were driven by selfishness and I just wanted a new start. When I got to San Antonio, my cousin started inviting me to hang out with his friends from church. When I met his friends, they welcomed me like I was their best friend. I had never met anyone who was genuinely that interested in being my friend. They were able to have a lot of fun together while also having good conversations that showed love and kept them accountable to each other. At first I thought it was weird, but then I was curious about why they acted the way they did. We all said we were Christians, but I felt like I was missing something they had. I realized that I didn't have Jesus in me and I wasn't sure how to love Him the way these guys did.

So I began to spend more time with my cousin and his friends to watch how they walked with Jesus. Around this time, I started to go to Chi Alpha services as well. With the company I was surrounding myself with, I slowly began to see that I was not living as a true follower of Christ. I could see selfishness in me, while I saw the selflessness in the lives of my friends.

During a Fall retreat held by Chi Alpha, God really began to work on my heart. My cousin and I prayed that God would shine a light on the dark areas of my life, and that's exactly what He did! I finally had decided to follow Christ with all my heart. I surrendered everything that broke God’s heart. God had transformed my selfishness into selflessness. By committing my life to Him and putting others above myself, I found the true kind of love that we all desire. I am no longer living for myself, but I am living for Christ! He continues to teach me how to love like Him and how to love others selflessly.

-Riego River