Dhez was raised in a loving home in the Philippines. She had good friends and could have anything she asked for. But, she took it for granted. “I was bored with my life and I left my family,” says Dhez. “I thought I could stand alone and I wanted to find what the world could offer me.” Dhez enjoyed life and almost forgot about God.
She woke up alone one morning in December 2008 in a prison cell in Macau. She had been arrested and charged with drug trafficking; her identity became prisoner 428. Besides still being very young, Dhez was six months pregnant. “I felt incomparable depression and that the whole world had turned against me,” she remembers. “I wondered how my family would accept this—the conviction, the jail sentence and the pregnancy.”
She describes her first few months in prison as being like hell. “It was very hard to cope with everything: new environment, new faces, new culture and new language,” she says. “I cried a lot and almost lost my faith.”
Dhez considered killing herself, but knew she was now responsible for another life. She gave birth to her son in March 2009. “I was so happy to have my son, and yet sorrowful that I could not be with him to watch him grow,” says Dhez. Her family came to get her son and assured her that they would give him all of the love and care they had given Dhez. “I was so grateful,” she remembers. “I had expected them to curse and blame me. Instead, they accepted and encouraged me.
“I was deeply thankful to our Father Almighty for the wonders He had done for me; giving me a wonderful family and a most precious gift—my son. I believe He gave me my son to encourage and inspire me, so I would look at the brighter side of life and what it has to offer. I realised life is wonderful despite my troubles.”
Dhez was shocked by her response, as this was the first time she had uttered simple praise to God since being detained. She responded in worship rather than cursing and blaming God. A couple months after giving birth, Dhez joined a Christian fellowship group in prison. At first she joined to ease the boredom, but she soon realised that she really needed it.
“I need God in my life,” she says. “I’ve received so much encouragement from my fellow Christian inmates. It helped me realise that there are a lot of people suffering, but instead of giving up, they strive to reach the main goal—to get closer to God—and do not lose faith and hope. I realised there are lots of people more miserable than I. Starting to read the Bible, I learned more about God and His unconditional love for me. I felt comforted and I discovered my identity once again—the ‘newly born Dhez’, through Him.”
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