Never Too Young to Reach Out

Never Too Young to Reach Out

AG—a 12-year-old girl from Kids Church—made her own tool to share the gospel to her friends in a language that is easily understood by children.

AG first attended Kids Church when her mother was invited by a friend to attend a worship service at Victory Fort. At first, she did not know that she was attending a church. It was more like a school and a big playground for her. She enjoyed learning new things while gaining new friends. Aside from having fun with other children in church, she was also happy to spend some quality time with her mother and sister every weekend. Going to church became their weekly bonding moment.

Not long after, AG heard the gospel and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. People in church helped her grow in her faith, and AG knew she needed to tell her friends about the gospel, too. She did not know how at the time, but she never stopped praying. The desire to be used by God simply grew in her heart.

Though afraid that she would fail to say the right words, AG resolved to share the good news to the young girls in her group of friends. Inspired by a tool given out at Victory Fort to simply present the gospel to others, AG started creating her own version that she thought would help her friends.

AG’s ‘Best Map Ever’, an evangelism tool she made herself so she could share the gospel to her friends.

According to AG, the image of a map came to her mind one day while she was in Kids Church. She realized that every time we sin, we take a few steps away from God’s plan; we head toward the wrong direction—and the only way for us to get back on track is through repentance. AG believes that each time we repent, we allow ourselves to see the path that God has laid out for us.

Fueled by her passion and desire to share the good news, AG showed her tool to her younger sister and preached the gospel to her. She also boldly shared it to her mother, who was in awe of how God was using AG to make Jesus known. She had never thought it was possible for a girl as young as her daughter to make such an impact.

Today, AG continues to reach out to more kids in school and in church. She knows that being used by God this way is a privilege, and she wants to be a willing instrument of His mission.

Like AG, as followers of Christ, let’s tell others about who God is and what He has done for us. No matter how old or young we are, God can use us to fulfill His plan of salvation and redemption—His mission, His heartbeat.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Accepting God’s Free Gift

Accepting God’s Free Gift

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.

Fear or Faith

Fear or Faith

When we preach the gospel, fear is one of the usual things we encounter. How do we respond to such instances? Let’s find out through the story of Damboo, a Victory group leader from Alabang and a volunteer at our Unashamed conference last August 2017.

After the second day of the Unashamed conference, I rode a jeepney on the way home and found a seat beside Kuya Manuel, a 59-year old jeepney driver who has been a tsuper for 47 years. I was excited to preach the gospel to him, so I engaged him in a conversation. As I talked to him, I realized that the passengers at the back could hear us. I began to doubt my ability to preach the gospel to kuya Manuel. I felt uncomfortable as I became aware of the situation. When I started to feel fear, I suddenly remembered the power of God that enables His children to be witnesses.


“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, ESV)

 

I prayed silently and asked God to guide me. In response, He told me, “Just go and share the gospel.” At his prompting, I immediately did The GOD Test with Kuya Manuel, and by God’s grace, he accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior right there in his jeepney! I was amazed at how things turned out that night. I thanked God for giving me the courage and compassion to preach the gospel to Kuya Manuel. I couldn’t help but praise God for his power to move in our lives and in others. After my encounter with Kuya Manuel, I decided that I will go when He calls me to go. I will no longer give excuses when it comes to reaching out to people.

Damboo’s resolve to preach the gospel continues to grow as he serves. At present, he is preparing to join a Ten Days mission trip.

Like Damboo, we are faced with the challenge of giving in to fear or responding in faith everyday. In these situations, let us ask God to remind us of His power so we can walk in faith and courage.

Never Too Young to Make a Difference

Never Too Young to Make a Difference

God loves using young people to preach the gospel and make a difference in the world. Geoselle “Geo” Dela Cruz, a fresh graduate of tourism in University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and a part of our campus ministry in Katipunan, proves that this is true. After posting her graduation picture on Facebook with a caption narrating her testimony, she was able to reach thousands of people online. It also led her to a unique opportunity to preach the gospel to a crowd she never had the chance to speak to before. Here is her story.


On July 13, 2017, I received a call from an unknown number, which turned out to be the head operations manager of a prominent health and pharmaceutical company in the Philippines. She called to invite me to speak in the company’s training summit for all South Luzon distributors and branch managers. As I heard this, I was surprised and overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that they were serious in getting a fresh graduate like me to speak in front of executives and professionals!

My initial reaction was to reply, “Bakit po ako? Magsasalita po ako sa harap ng mga manager? Sigurado po ba kayo? Bakit po sila makikinig o maniniwala sa akin?” (Why me? I will speak in front of managers? Are you sure? Why would they listen and believe me?) The manager on the phone laughed at my disbelief and said, “Yes, iha! Ikaw ang gusto namin kunin na speaker.” (Yes, dear! We would like to get you as our speaker.) “We read your testimony in the graduation picture you posted on Facebook. We were so inspired, so we would like you to speak to our managers.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! The manager gave me time to make a decision. I immediately prayed about it and asked God if this was a door He intended for me to enter. That night, I came across this verse while reading the Bible:


“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12, NIV)

At that moment, I knew that accepting the speaking invitation was my act of obedience before God. It also became clear to me that the talk wasn’t merely for inspiration, but a chance to preach the gospel to a group of people whom I consider to be older and more successful than me. So with a nervous heart and trembling knees, I said yes to the offer to speak. I was terrified, but I cannot resist God’s call to preach the gospel, no matter who the audience is.


During the day of the summit on July 27, I brought along David Laureta and Nikka Ojerio, two of my friends from Every Nation Campus in UP Diliman, to pray for me and help me reach out to the managers. It became a challenge for us to go to the venue because it rained hard and the traffic was bad. We thought that my talk wouldn’t push through because we were late by an hour and a half. Thankfully, the event organizers moved my time to speak to the latter part of the program. Instead of being discouraged by the unexpected turn of events, the three of us became even more excited and we felt God’s assurance that something great and powerful was about to happen.


I was nervous on the way to the summit. I even continued to edit my outline while we were on the road! But when we arrived, I felt an indescribable sense of peace, confidence, and comfort that could only come from God. It was as if He was saying, “Geo, you have nothing to fear. I have gone to this place before you. This place is mine. The people here are mine. I brought you here to claim this as your inheritance. Go and preach the gospel.” I cried deep inside because of the immediate affirmation from God.


When my session entitled “Dancing through Storms” started, I narrated my testimony and emphasized resilience and personal leadership as requested by the company. While focusing on what was asked of me, I also boldly included the Word of God in my presentation slides with the help of my leaders, namely Liane Silla, Lory Manalo, and Maj Yu. I talked a lot about Jesus. Some cringed when they heard the Bible verses, but I am sure it stirred something in their hearts because the Word of God is powerful.


As I spoke, I felt eyes critically observing me from head to toe. Their expressions seemed to say, “Sino ba ‘tong batang ito?” (Who is this young girl?) I chose not to mind the reactions and continued sharing my story about God’s faithfulness. I prepared an outline, but as I spoke, my words flowed in a way I didn’t expect. Even I was amazed! I felt that God was working in and through me. As I ended my talk, everyone in the audience started to cry! At that moment, I knew it was the perfect time to preach the gospel. I asked if I could pray for them, and they said yes. When I gave them the opportunity to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, six people immediately raised their hands. I felt that some were hesitant because they were shy, so I asked again. The second time I asked, almost everyone raised their hands! Even the organizers, technical personnel, and waiters at the back of the hall wanted to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior! Around thirty people surrendered their lives to Christ that day. I had to stop myself from crying as I led them to a prayer of salvation. It was a beautiful moment!


After I prayed, the floor was opened to questions, so I stayed in front. Things turned out differently though. Instead of asking questions, the managers shared their insights from my talk. I will never forget the old man who was known in the company as the man with a stone heart. During my session, he cried like a baby! He even grabbed the mic during the portion for questions and said in front of everyone, “Geo, you are the first young person who inspired me!” I was close to shedding tears as I realized that no one can resist the love of God once they experience it. It can soften the hardest of hearts! Other managers also opened up about their lives and problems. They apologized to their teammates and thanked each other. They also started encouraging one another as a team! I am grateful for the privilege of witnessing the managers humbling themselves to appreciate their team. It was an honor to be a catalyst of restoration for their relationships at work.


After my experience that day, I wanted to share this testimony, especially to today’s youth. It’s about time for the youth to stop spending countless hours on beautifying social media feeds and living a carefree life. If you are a young person, I would like to tell you that it’s time for us to take a stand, claim our campuses, stand up for our convictions, serve our families, speak life, create a culture based on biblical values, stop conforming to the world, and preach the gospel. We are called to be an example, not only for the next generation, but also for older people.


I am a firm believer that the youth is the hope of the future. Know that we have nothing to fear, nothing to doubt, because Jesus, the King of all kings, is on our side! Take courage and rise up! #ChangeTheCampus #ChangeTheWorld

 

Geoselle’s story demonstrates that God can use anyone, especially young people, to make a difference. It is easy to dismiss God’s ability to move through people for reasons such as lack of experience or young age. We can see the opposite happening in the testimony of Geoselle. People’s judgments, even our own, will never stop God from changing lives and leading people back to Him.

Courage, and Doing the Unexpected

Courage, and Doing the Unexpected

Krishna Garcia is a 17-year old student from Far Eastern University who leads her own Victory group at Victory Fort. Last week, she attended the Leaders’ Camp in Batangas, a three-day out-of-town experience for student leaders, designed to equip them when they return to school after summer vacation. Refreshed, empowered, and blessed, Krishna didn’t waste any time when she got back to Manila.

It was the Saturday night after the camp when she and two of her Victory group members saw Lola Melly. She was hunched over a garbage bin at Family Mart in Market Market. Seeing the old lady’s pitiful state, Krishna and her friends approached her. “I was amazed,” she shares proudly, “it was actually the two girls I was discipling that saw her, and they didn’t hesitate to reach out to her.”

Looking up from her rummaging, Lola Melly was surprised to see the young girls talking to her. “We said, ‘Hello po, lola, kumusta po’ and she was a bit shy to answer,” Krishna recalls. They gave her food and water, and started asking her how she’s doing. Before long, they found out that she only lives with her sister, who has diabetes. She has four children, who each have their own families now. At the age of 81, she is now jobless, and scavenging for food from the garbage bins of restaurants and convenience stores is what she does to survive.

While talking to Lola Melly, Krishna was overwhelmed with a strong desire to share the gospel to her. There were doubts in her head, but they were momentary. “I was filled with a burden to share Jesus to her,” she explains, “so that whatever happens to her in this world, she will be with Him until the end.”

Krishna asked her if she knows Jesus, and started talking to her about God’s love and His promises. Right then and there, the girls sensed the Holy Spirit working. They prayed for Lola Melly, and her sister with diabetes. They shared comforting words, and told her that God is sovereign in every situation. It was at that moment that Lola Melly surrendered her life to God. Before the prayer ended, everyone had tears in their eyes.

“After the camp, we were expecting something like this to happen in campus,” Krishna admits, “we didn’t really expect to encounter God’s grace this way.” Before they parted ways, one of her friends decided to financially bless Lola Melly. They also invited her to attend worship service, to which she said yes. This coming Saturday, they will go to Lola Melly’s usual spot to check how she’s doing, and engage her some more.

As Krishna recounts the incident, she couldn’t help but be amazed at how God uses us to further His kingdom. He used the next generation to reach out to the older generation, proving that no matter the age, the Great Commission is for every Christian to uphold. She is also in awe at the ways that God spurs us to keep the faith and run the race. “My Victory group members are now more encouraged to share the gospel as much as possible,” Krishna says.

For them, it was a simple decision to step out of their comfort zone, but for Lola Melly, it meant encountering God’s redeeming love in the most unusual place.

Stop Giving Lip Service to Christianity

Stop Giving Lip Service to Christianity

In his blog post entitled, “You Don’t Believe In What You’re Saying,” Pastor Paolo Punzalan talks about the importance of practicing what we preach. As Christians, we need to live a life of integrity because we are living testimonies of the transforming love of Christ. Pastor Paolo quoted Matthew 23:3, “Pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach,” which is Jesus’ warning about religious leaders who don’t walk the talk. Pastor Paolo cautions us that outward appearances can be deceiving. Nevertheless, the fruit of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness—will always be evident in a person whose life is truly aligned with Christ—a Christian life that is not merely giving lip service to Christianity. It doesn’t mean we have to lead perfect lives, but it is important to always strive for Christlikeness. Being a Christian shouldn’t mean being adept at Christianity, or knowing the Bible from cover to cover, or knowing the right words to say. The word “Christian” should mean “changed by the

power of the gospel”—repenting of sin and receiving new life in Christ. It should mean, “walking to follow Jesus.”

Finding Freedom

Finding Freedom

emmievictorioEmmie Victorio of Victory Greenhills has a special burden to reach women in prison. Learn how God placed this burden in her, and be encouraged to pursue God and His ways!

 

Jesus calls each of us to go and make disciples . In my case, I felt God calling me to preach the gospel to those in prison.

This started many years ago, when I visited an outreach in one of the women’s jails in Manila. I saw women young and old there, and I felt a great deal of compassion towards them. They wouldn’t be where they were if they heard about who Jesus is, I thought, then I realized that it wasn’t too late for me to let them know who He was.

The more I read God’s Word, the more I fell in love with Him, and the more aware I became of His love for me. I saw how good and kind He is. So when I realized the Bible tells us we show our love to Christ when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison, I saw that people are what are important to Him. He loves all of us, and I want for people to know what that’s like. I want people to know how God is like.

emmie_wedgroup
Aside from preaching the gospel in San Juan’s correctional facility for women, Emmie (first from left) leads a Victory group of women every Wednesday.

Since I live in San Juan, I decided to do ministry in the correctional facility in my city. God’s been faithful to grant me favor there, and I’ve been ministering to the detainees there for the past seven years. I’ve been doing ONE 2 ONE with the women inside the jail; I also hold a Victory group there every Monday morning. I’ve also had an opportunity to disciple some of the jail guards.

Some of the women I’ve discipled have been released from jail, and they are now attending church and making disciples as well. More than that, I’m happy to share that they are walking in God’s ways. Some of them still remain inside the facility, but have their lives changed. One of them, Maya*, has now started her own Victory group inside jail.

Jesus did not come to serve, but be served—and I believe that applies to us as well. We have to trust that He brings the change in people’s lives. When we are filled with His Spirit, He will use us mightily! As long as there’s someone out there who doesn’t know Him yet, we need to be ready and available to preach the gospel to them. After all, it’s His will for each of us to be saved!

emmie_vgroup
Emmie (in green) also leads a Victory group of seniors in her home church.

Share the Gospel NOW!

On March 7, over 10,000 Victory group leaders were equipped and empowered at Discipleship 2015, our annual discipleship convergence.

Every year, we gather our Victory group leaders at Discipleship 2015 to jumpstart a new year of honoring God and making disciples. This happened simultaneously in fifteen Victory Metro Manila locations and our churches in Cavite. For the first time, we held two discipleship convergences in one day, which happened at Victory Metro East!

Discipleship Pasig
Leaders from Victory Pasig are excited to engage, establish, equip, and empower others!
What is the gospel? We learned about what the gospel is all about in Pastor Rice Broocks's message to all the leaders.
What is the gospel? We learned about what the gospel was all about in Pastor Rice Broocks’s message to all the leaders.

Our Victory group leaders heard a message from Pastor Rice Broocks, who encourage each of us to share the gospel to the people around us. He explains that as we do so, we are opening their eyes to the truth of God’s Word. Click on this link to download Pastor Rice’s message, “Open Their Eyes.”

 

Our leaders also had the opportunity to learn about Two-Verse Evangelism and the Two-Minute Miracle. Two-Verse Evangelism talks about sharing the gospel using two key verses that explain what Jesus has done for us. The Two-Minute Miracle, on the other hand, explains how each of us can share our testimony in two minutes!

Two-Verse Evangelism gleans from Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23.
Two-Verse Evangelism gleans from Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23.

 

Our Victory group leaders had the opportunity to receive a free limited edition ESV Bible and ONE 2 ONE booklet!
Our Victory group leaders had the opportunity to receive a free limited edition ESV Bible and ONE 2 ONE booklet!

We are excited to share the gospel NOW!

These parents from Victory Malate are excited to share the gospel to the next generation!
These parents from Victory Malate are excited to share the gospel to the next generation!
How was the gospel shared to you, and what was so compelling about it?

How was the gospel shared to you, and what was so compelling about it?

For week two of #MyVictoryStory, our ongoing blog series for Radical, we asked this question: How was the gospel shared to you, and what was so compelling about it?

Different bloggers from Victory took a stab at the question and recounted how the gospel was first shared to them.

Here are some of the evangelism stories that were shared with us. We hope that you’re encouraged to share the gospel to your family, friends, campus, workplace, and community!

  • Bad News, Good News. In this blog post on evangelism and parenting, Jenn Punzalan encourages dads and moms to share the gospel to their kids.
  • How Will They Hear? “Young or old, churched or unchurched, whatever the background, everyone needs to hear about what Jesus did for them.” Pastor Joseph Bonifacio shares the value of sharing the gospel to different people, and how it makes an impact on their lives.
  • Dare to Share. Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio shares her testimony and cites two reasons why all of us need to be bold in sharing our faith with others.
  • The Great Passion. Pastor Ernie Aragon of Victory Calamba poignantly writes about how God transformed his heart with regard to the Great Commission.
  • The Perfect Christian. In this blog post, learn how Elle Cabiling turned from being an apathetic Christian to a women with a burden to reach her campus.
  • Walk This Way. Karess Rubrico shares how the gospel transformed her life and enabled her to walk with God.
  • It’s Not Rocket Science. In this blog post, graphic designer Jodi Lego recounts how a simple message shared to her as a child made a lasting impact to her, even until now.
  • Do Campus Ministry, a blog for LifeBox campus missionaries, volunteers, and LIFE group leaders, interviews different students and leaders on how the gospel was shared to them. You can read Part One and Part Two of these  Evangelism stories by clicking on their respective links.

Check out how Rey Purawan heard the gospel:

I got to know God at the lowest point of my life. I was a self-supporting student, but I had no money left. One day, I tried applying for a job at a local fast-food chain, and decided to take a different route on my way home from my job application. I saw a LifeBox center on the way, and decided to go inside.

They had a youth service then, and the pastor spoke a message that went straight to my heart. It felt like he was talking to me, and he was saying the most painful (but true) things about my life.

From then on, I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I got discipled, and now I’m working as a tech support staff. God is faithful!

Raul Lecaros also shares his own evangelism story through Facebook:

I used to be so lost and in need of direction. My manager, who attended Victory, reached me out and did ONE 2 ONE to me. Looking back, I believe God placed him in our company so our manager can share the gospel to us. Now, I’m leading my own Victory group. Thank God for His grace and the abundance of His love!

You can check out our previous #MyVictoryStory blog posts on Lordship. Share your Victory story with us by writing a blog post or leaving a comment below!

Leaders attend ENGAGE 2020

Victory Philippines welcomed hundreds of pastors, staff members, and Victory group leaders over the course of two days, July 12 and 13, to “ENGAGE 2020: Igniting a Missional Movement.” Dr Rice Broocks, co-founder of Every Nation Ministries, spoke on evangelism and personal ministry.

http://storify.com/victoryph/hundreds-of-leaders-attend-engage-2020