Mark Napao (Batch 8-9) C.U.T.E (Christ Until the End)

“I am a beacon of hope.”

I am a graduate of 180 Degrees batch 8 and 9. I could sum up all my learnings in my 4 years of involvement in 180 Degrees by stating that the best way to share Christ is through building relationships and loving them with the love of Christ. Missions is not a one-time concert, one-time evangelism, or one-time church activity but rather a lifelong commitment of being an ambassador of Christ wherever we are.

Aside from being a missionary in 180 Degrees; I was an achiever, multi-talented, youth leader, and an active church member until last year. In the year 2017, I hit rock-bottom and suffered from depression. I quitted my work, my hobbies, my commitments and isolated myself. I was in the verge of giving up everything in life.

3 months have passed, but still he has no idea what I’ve been through. One night, my mother was going to my apartment so we invited her to have dinner with us after gym. I left to buy food and when I went back, my mother has already shared everything. He was shocked. But he then challenged me to share my story since many people are undergoing depression and losing hope. But I was not ready, so I declined.

But 5 months ago, I was given hope and light. In my lowest point in life, I decided to come to God and prayed for help. After that night, I made 3 major decisions in life; I opened to my friends, I set goals just for the day without thinking about tomorrow and started to live healthy. I decided to eat right and exercise every Tuesday and Thursday after my new work. On my first day in gym, I met a guy beside me reading his bible. I found out that he is a pastor and a dentist. He is working out every Tuesday and Thursday so he invited me to be his gym buddy. It became consistent for a month. Then he invited me to attend their midweek service every Wednesday. After a month, he invited me to join their life group every Monday.

The following weekend, 180 Degrees Batch 10 went to the Badjao community in Batangas for their short term mission trip. I joined their trip without knowing what I would do there. I was the one who is supposed to help the community but it turned out that they are the ones who helped me. During the trip, I found happiness and purpose in giving light and hope to the lives and houses of people. A burden was instilled in my heart to go back and help the community.

I eventually founded SOLAR (Sustainable Outreach and Lifelong Advocacy to Rekindle) Hope. It is an initiative to provide solar to rural and poorly electrified communities in the Philippines. It aims to develop sustainable communities. We are currently helping 6 communities. My desire is to challenge other people to join us in this advocacy and become beacons of hope. More importantly, to usher them to the true source of hope.

“Lighting communities. Changing lives. Giving hope.”

-John Mark Napao