God reaches out to us in ways we often do not expect. Janevie, one of our Kids Church teachers in Victory Sta. Rosa, experienced this when a friend invited her to join a small group a few years back. Here is her story.
It was a casual invitation. A good friend invited me to meet with her for dinner—her treat. As a high-school girl with limited food allowance, the idea of having free food for dinner sounded really appealing to me. I said yes and hurried off to our meeting place, not expecting anything.
The minute I arrived, though, I sensed that something was different. Aside from me, there were other high-school girls flocking to my friend’s table; they were all eagerly sharing stories about their faith in God. It was too late to back out when I realized that it was not a simple catch up dinner—it was a dinner with my friend’s small group (or what’s known as a Victory group).
Since then, I found myself joining them every week. At first, it was all about the free food and the idea of not having to head home right away. (It was a convenient excuse for me not to spend time with my family.) Though my heart and my head were never really there, I found it a good way to let the hours pass while half-listening to their testimonies.
But things changed quite unexpectedly. God gently nudged my heart.
As the months passed, I found myself suddenly becoming curious, eager to know more about God. I started attending regularly with a sincere interest to grow in my faith. I would spend hours meditating on the Bible every single day, meeting with people who were also hungry to hear about God’s promises. Not long after—that same year—I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and surrendered my life to Him.
Slowly, things began to change in my life. From a high-school girl clueless about Jesus, I turned into someone passionate about her Savior. From a daughter who was indifferent about her parents, I turned into someone who values her family and honors her elders. I was never the same again.
As I grew deeper in my relationship with God, He—at the same time—was also planting a new desire in my heart. One day, I boldly stood in front of our class and preached the gospel to my classmates. Never had I done something like that before. Suddenly, I became so eager to talk about Christ and became really passionate about reaching out to “old Janevies,” students who knew nothing about His goodness. The heaviness to spread His Word and reach out to young people just swelled in my heart—until I finally said yes to another “invitation.”
By January next year, I am making a commitment to reach the next generation by being a full-time campus missionary. I will heed His call and preach the gospel to more students who were once like me. It will be an honor and a privilege to do something I have grown passionate about—something that is exciting yet humbling at the same time.
It has been years, but I will always look back to the day I got invited for a free dinner. It was, after all, a free dinner that led me to God’s FREE gift of salvation—a gift far more valuable than anything else.