Do you trust God, or do you rely on yourself to get you through tough times? What you think about hardship and defeat says a lot about you and your belief in God. Filipino Vince P. Sta. Elena has seen his share of trials. He and his wife of 24 years, Cathy, keep their relationship strong by having weekly Friday dates. Their strength was tested, however, when a heartbreaking loss and a major life event made them cling to their Father in ways they never had before: first, the death of their daughter, and second, the business world Vince found himself in.

Vince shares: “My only, sweetheart daughter, Ysabelle, went back to the Lord, to her Heavenly reward, [three years ago].”

There are no words to accurately describe the heartache that comes with the loss of a loved one, especially a child. Yet, Vince fought to cling to the Lord in one of the darkest times of his life.

Vince with his late daughter, Ysabelle.

His daughter is living with Jesus for all eternity. And he and his wife have a deeper commitment to their Savior than they did before because they chose to depend on God at a deeper level than maybe some of us will ever do.

“When such things happen, and you do not allow it to weaken but instead deepen your dependence on God, it reveals the texture and fiber of your relationship with Him and His established lordship in all areas of life.”

Ten years ago, the business climate in which Vince became a part could have been a deal-breaker for him and his wife in many ways. Yet, his relationship with Jesus helped him to rise above.

“When I got into the corporate arena, I was still walking with the Lord, but I soon drifted a bit with all the temptations at work. So, I retired from corporate life at the age of 35 and started my own business. I am now a financial consultant who uses my business as a means in which to share the Gospel of the Kingdom.

“I don’t see any distinction between my business and my ministry. Everything I do is connected to my commitment to Christ, and to my ministry and purpose. I am having the time of my life serving Him. I realized that it is possible to make ministry, business, and personal life all dedicated to God.”

Vince shares the Gospel at a business conference.

Part of his ongoing ministry has been enhanced by his participation in the second Virtual Haggai Leader Experience held in the Philippines.

“None of us can do it alone. With the team of Haggai leaders surrounding me and our mentors who are committed to us, together we can make a difference for Christ in the lives of the people around us and all over the world.”

As we continue this holy week in the lives of Christians the world over, a few days before Christmas, let us stop to think about how we handle adversity. Do we try to do it all alone? Or do we trust our Savior, born as the baby in the manger? After all, as the Bible shows us, that baby in the manger ended up living through human affliction and dying for the sins of us all. Jesus certainly knows how to handle trials and He is right there with us when we encounter our own.

Written by Valerie Dyke