Shepherding the Black Sheep

Shepherding the Black Sheep

“I debated many things with her,” Kath reveals, “but I couldn’t question her changed life.”

Twenty-two-year-old Kathlene Parungao shares how her close friend and discipler, Kara de Leos, steered her from her self-serving lifestyle to a life that honors God. The two girls met in college in a less than typical way. “I didn’t like her at first because she was dressed in a way that irked me. It’s probably a girl thing,” Kath laughs, “I knew she was a party girl like me.”

Coming from a Christian family, Kath knew about the gospel and salvation but, as with all the other members of her family, her knowledge didn’t translate to a changed life. “I thought Christianity was just about following a set of rules, looking good in the eyes of people, and going to church every Sunday,” she shares, “I never understood that it was about a relationship with God.”

Growing up, Kath would attend church out of fear that she won’t be saved if she missed a Sunday. Her so-called Christian life evolved around a “good works mentality.” For her, God was Someone too far to reach. Christianity was in her mind, but it never touched her heart. She never established the necessary foundations in her Christian journey.

During her teenage years, she harbored anger towards her parents and felt that no one really loved her. She started to fill her need for acceptance through her peers. “I did things that I never thought I’d do just so people could accept me or be friends with me,” she reveals. Soon, she entered into a wrong relationship, learned how to drink and smoke, and embraced the night life. Kath was branded the black sheep of the family.

Victory Group When she entered college, Kath became her worst nightmare. “Because of my rebelliousness, I brought a lot of pain to my family,” she confesses, “I’ve made my mom cry, my siblings, my lola, and probably even my dad! That’s how hardened I was.” She also started influencing other people with her wayward lifestyle.

Every day after school, Kath and her friends would go straight to Greenbelt to hang out and drink. It became their routine, until one day, Kath was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. “I heard a voice ask me if I was really happy destroying my life and lying to my parents, she reveals, “It asked me if I was happy trying to live up to the world’s standards.” Faced with reality, Kath had to be honest with herself and accept that she wasn’t really happy. She knew that if she kept up with her lifestyle, it would only be a matter of time before she crashed and burned.

“I knew I needed help, so I started praying,” she says, “I prayed every single night: God save me.”

Kath eventually transferred to De La Salle University, seeing this as an opportune time to start on a clean slate. Unfortunately, without a strong foundation and by relying completely on her own will, Kath was swallowed by temptations and ended up reverting back to her life as a party girl. In her new university, she felt that it was still her old life.

Until one day, she noticed something different in Kara, the girl in her class who annoyed her. She felt the feeling was mutual. She knew Kara partied hard like her. “But when I saw her again, she was different! She was dressed modestly and her face was radiant,” she exclaims, “I felt that she had a lighter spirit, and that really got me curious. So, I stalked her online!”

Kath found Kara’s blog, wherein she wrote how God saved her life. Being a party girl herself, Kath related so much to what she read. She sent a message to Kara on Facebook and asked her more about her transformation. It was a call for help, and Kara answered right away. She invited Kath to the La Salle cluster of Every Nation Campus Philippines, where students gathered for Victory group meetings.

“I was so shocked because people there were so kind even after knowing my story,” Kath shares, “I didn’t feel judged. I didn’t feel that I had to do anything to be accepted.” It was a far cry from her experience of pleasing people for approval. From her life-changing encounter that day, Kath was connected to a Victory group.

Kara started leading her to ONE 2 ONE, and patiently walked with her in her new Christian journey. “I saw her relationship with God and how she was so deeply in love with Jesus. So, I prayed to God, ‘Lord, I want that kind of faith, too.’”

Kath started reading the Bible, in faith that God would speak to her, too just like how He spoke with Kara. She would read His word everyday, always praying for Him to speak to her. Until one day, she got her answer. “I couldn’t forget the day God finally spoke to me! All my questions were answered. It all made sense, she reveals, “That encounter is the encounter I always go back to whenever I feel the urge to give up. God spoke to someone as small as me. He had me at my worst and still chose to love me. What a personal God!”

This encounter stoked a fire in Kath’s heart. She felt an overflow of love that she had to share with other people. She went back to her previous church to inspire her friends there that it is possible to have a relationship with Jesus. She also started leading others to One 2 One, until she was able to create Victory groups in high school and in La Salle.

Kath VGHer family, who initially persecuted her, also started attending church after seeing the dramatic change in Kath. After years of praying for them, Kath is ecstatic to see them being discipled. Her sister has just undergone Victory Weekend, while her brother just finished ONE 2 ONE. Their mother now attends a Victory group and Kath is excited for her to start ONE 2 ONE, too. “I thought reconciliation was impossible,” she confesses, “But it’s happening now by God’s grace.”

Recently, Kath was given an opportunity to go on her first mission trip to India. She couldn’t help but be amazed at how God uses her for His mighty purpose. Three years after she met Kara, Kath still helps in the campus even after having graduated for a year already. “Imagine, with my previous lifestyle, I was so close to doing drugs, until God sent her to me. She took a chance at me before the world could! If she delayed her obedience, I would probably still be the old me.” With this, Kath realized that every second counts.

Throughout her journey, she learned that the youth can make or break the future of this nation. She admits that it’s not an easy journey to lead other people, but for her, there’s nothing that compares to winning the souls of young people for Jesus Christ. She is in faith that one day, the young people she’s discipling will choose to honor God and stand for what’s right wherever they’re planted. <

“I realized being a Christian is more than having a religion, but it’s a relationship with Jesus. It’s as real as any relationship we have now.” From being a black sheep, she is now sheep of His pasture, a disciple of Jesus who was lost and has now been found.

Youth worship service launches in restricted nation

Youth worship service launches in restricted nation

As a movement, Every Nation has always given emphasis on making disciples of the next generation. We believe in reaching the campuses because we believe that every student has a chance to change their lives through the gospel, and in the future, positively change the world too.

That is why we celebrate this recent milestone for one of our churches in a restricted nation in South Asia. Last June 30, they launched their first youth service, which is also the first worship service catering to young people that happens on a weekly basis. Typically, churches in this nation can only hold a youth service once a month. Scheduled at 7:30 PM, the service aims to accommodate students after their classes, before they end their day.

We believe that God is opening new doors into the mission field for the next generation. We are in faith that many young people will receive Jesus as their Savior, and will be discipled through these services. Let us intercede for our Every Nation church in this restricted nation as they break barriers and boldly preach the gospel.

  • Pray for the worship team and other young people serving as volunteers to the worship services, that they may delight in their work and be refreshed as they serve.
  • Pray for new volunteers and leaders to step out, so that the current teams will be spared from exhaustion and fatigue.
  • Pray for new preachers among the youth, so that the gospel may be preached in a manner that will resonate most with their fellow young people.
  • Pray for protection against any kind of attack–be it physical or spiritual–as our missionaries continue to serve in this restricted nation.

Together, we believe that we can reach every student, on every campus, in every nation.

Our Every Nation missionaries in this creative access nation continue to boldly preach the gospel, disciple locals and raise leaders. If you would like to support our missionaries with monthly or one-time gifts, please click here.

Note: The image used here is from a Buddhist temple in Thailand. It does not represent the nation referred to in this missions update.

ONE 2 ONE Campus Edition

ONE 2 ONE Campus Edition

If you’re a student new in having a relationship with Jesus and want to know what it means to have a relationship with Him, then this book is for you.  With identical topics to our original ONE 2 ONE booklet, this version is specially made for high school students, college students, and LIFE Coaches discipling students. Going through this is best with a mentor who will help you in your walk with God.

Topics inside ONE 2 ONE Campus include:

  • Salvation
  • Lordship
  • Repentance
  • Baptism
  • The Bible and Prayer
  • The Church

The ONE 2 ONE Campus Edition is also a way for you to share your faith with your friends and classmates in school. You can help them know more about Jesus and what it means to have a relationship with Him, and at the same time build real and lasting relationships with others through discipleship.

The ONE 2 ONE Campus Edition comes in different colors and is available in all Victory resource centers and book tables.

New Series: NXT

New Series: NXT

We hear about it in songs and even from our national hero, but how convinced are we that the future rests in the hands of today’s young people?

Join us this weekend as we start our new series, “NXT.” We’ll find out about God’s heart for young people and His plans and purposes for them. We’ll also know our part in making their God-given destinies happen.

Here is the list of our weekly topics:

Week One: What do you see?
Week Two: Who do you see?

Victory is one church meeting in fifteen different locations across Metro Manila and forty-five churches in the provinces. To know where the Victory location nearest you is, check out our national directory.

Do invite your family and friends at our services! See you then!

Pray for Ignite 2011!

Pray for Ignite 2011!

It’s less than a month to go before Ignite 2011: the LifeBox Campus Conference!

Right now, we have more than 5,000 delegates from all over the country attending this student gathering on May 26 to 28 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. Check out this news article to know more about what the students from our provincial churches are doing to raise funds for Ignite 2011.

The Ignite Committee, campus missionaries, students, and volunteers are making preparations on the double to make Ignite one memorable experience. But any preparation isn’t complete without prayer. With this, we invite you to join us for three days of Prayer and Fasting on May 5, 12, and 19, at a Victory location nearest you. Contact your local church to know their prayer meeting schedules for these dates.

We’d also like to ask you to pray with us for the following:

  • Grace, favor, and good health for the event organizers and campus ministers as they prepare for Ignite 2011.
  • For more students will register for the conference.
  • Abundant financial provision for students, especially those that are coming from the province as they travel to Manila.

Thanks for praying with us! Join us on the most exciting campus conference this year: Ignite 2011!

Ready for the Campuses: School of Campus Ministry Graduation

Ready for the Campuses: School of Campus Ministry Graduation

The fifth batch of campus ministers graduated from our Every Nation School of Ministry last April 12, 2011.

This batch, made up of nineteen men and women, is definitely a mixture of many firsts. Eleven of the graduates are from provincial churches and many of which will pioneer campus ministries in their areas. Two graduates are from other Christian churches. This batch is also considered as the youngest the school has ever had, having a nineteen year-old as the youngest in the class and a twenty-four year-old as the eldest.

Our pastors and campus ministers from Victory Fort Bonifacio pose with Rodney Malpaya (first from left) from Life Church Virginia.

According to Migz Tadique, one of the graduates who will serve in Victory Cabanatuan, he thought it was just about academics, but “We learned a lot of things (like perseverance), how to (respond) to tasks, how to relate with one another, (and) how to work together as a group.”

Beaming with great potential and with all lessons that they acquired in that three fruitful months of studying in School of Campus Ministry, these upcoming campus missionaries are now more than ready to go back to their respective mission fields to be used by God in different campuses to reach out to the next generation and be radical for Jesus.

As these campus ministers go back to their respective locations, please pray for grace, anointing, and wisdom to lead the students to Jesus.

 

Fiona Alvero is the Communications and Special Events Coordinator of Every Nation Campus. She’s also a Victory group leader in Victory Quezon City reaching out to the campus of Miriam College.

Congratulations, Real LIFE 2011 Graduates!

Congratulations, Real LIFE 2011 Graduates!

The Real LIFE Foundation held a banquet for the graduates of 2011 on Saturday, March 26, at the Victory Pioneer center. It was Real LIFE’s biggest graduation banquet to date, with a total of forty-three college and high school graduates celebrating their success during the school year.

From the thirty-two university scholars who recently graduated, three of them finished school with flying colors! Kimberly Acuña and Ronnie Chu were awarded cum laude honors, while Faye Madriaga finished magna cum laude.


The graduates, Kimberly, Ronnie, and Faye, along with Real LIFE Executive Director Lynn Nawata and Program Director Vince Bitana

 

In behalf of Real LIFE, we thank you for your continued support. Surely, your generosity will go a long way. Thank you for investing in the futures of these men and women, and their families!