Real Treasure

Real Treasure

What are the things that you are willing to let go of to find what really matters? In this article, Angelie shares how she obeyed God and found real treasure in His all-satisfying love and grace.

My boyfriend and I had been living in for over seven years. I was only 16 when I decided to move in with him. After a year of living together, I gave birth to our son, Vince. My family became very valuable to me.

Since we were already living under one roof, the idea of getting married never became a priority for us—for me. There was so much love between us, and we were so secure about our feelings for each other that we felt there was no need to validate those feelings by getting married.

But after I had an encounter with Christ, my mindset about the whole thing gradually changed.

I have been attending a worship service for a while, but it was only in July this year that a friend from Victory Santa Cruz preached the gospel to me and helped me know God more. After accepting Christ in my life, I immediately got convicted of my sin and realized how much I was hurting Him. I realized that I was breaking His heart all these years because of my relationship. I also finally understood how precious marriage is. It dawned on me that it is not really about me or my partner. It is not about our love for each other either. It is about Him ultimately.

Wanting to honor God in my relationship, I began to sincerely pray to Him. I wanted to set things right—not in the eyes of men—but in the eyes of my Lord. Right after my Victory Weekend, I asked God to move in my life and in the life of the person I love.

Just a month after that, my boyfriend and I got married; we had a civil wedding. I never thought it was possible. I never thought I would be that happy. Celebrating our renewed union with our son was one of the happiest moments of my life.

I thought God was done working in my life and in my relationship. But I was wrong. After our wedding, my husband also began his journey with Christ. One day—out of nowhere—he asked me to go to church with him. My heart swelled with so much joy knowing how he resisted the idea of going to church in the past. I knew it was God working in his life. He is currently going through ONE 2 ONE  and eagerly desiring to know God more.

I always thought I found a rare treasure when I met my husband and gave birth to our son. I was wrong. My real treasure is Christ. Nothing on earth compares to the all-satisfying love of my Savior—not my possessions, not even my family.

Now, we are both part of our church in Victory Santa Cruz. I am an usher and a Kids Church teacher, and I am also studying again to finish college. It is amazing how things fell into place after I surrendered my life to God. He is my rare treasure.

Indeed, there is more to this life than the things we have or the people we love. God is our ultimate treasure. As we seek Him first, we will see His hand at work in our lives.

Finding Hope Amid the Rubble

Finding Hope Amid the Rubble

What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:9) See how this promise continues to manifest today in a world where things often fall apart. Find hope and assurance in God as Tehz recounts how He worked in her life and restored her once broken marriage.

1986. It was a significant year for me; it was the year I married my husband, Gary. It was supposed to be a happy year for me—for us—but instead of joy, bouts of shame and guilt crept up on me.

I was pregnant when Gary and I made the decision to get married. It was not out of love nor commitment for each other. There was no solid foundation right from the start. After the wedding, we fought several times and even agreed to throw away our marriage. We were so immature. Our relationship was full of issues.

In 2002, we faced our greatest challenge. My husband lost his way and began a relationship with someone else. That, for me, was the final straw. Though unable to bring our children with me, I left our home to stay with my family in Olongapo. I was torn apart inside.

In Olongapo, I tried my best to support myself. I wanted to prove that I could stand on my own, so I took whatever job I could get and soon found a place in a music bar owned by a relative. While I was there, I got involved in relationships that were not pleasing to the Lord. I tried so hard to justify my actions, but God never got tired of reminding me of His love—no matter how much I was hurting Him and myself. He loved me too much to let me stay in that mess.

One day, for some reason, a pastor reached out to me. He found out that I was a Christian—something even I had forgotten for a long time. He listened to my story and encouraged me to go back to God. I did not know why, but amid my hopelessness, he made me realize that God had a better plan for me and for my seemingly irreparable marriage.

I made a bold move and started praying for my husband. I knew it was a long shot.

While serving in church, I held on to that small hope in my heart and kept praying that God would heal me and Gary. I told God that if it was His will, my husband would find his way back—even though it had been years since our marriage had fallen apart.

Beyond my belief, in 2011 (almost a decade since we had separated), my husband reached out to me through our children. He talked to me and asked for forgiveness—something I never imagined he would do. I cried out to God. I knew in my heart that it was what I had been praying for, but I wanted to be sure that things would be different. I kept praying while braving the uncertainties in my head.

A year later, God answered all my questions.

I learned that while trying to restore our marriage, my husband had also been actively seeking God with his Victory group. His resolve to follow Christ took away my fears and doubts. On March 22, 2012, I made a decision to start a new life with him again. Gary and I remarried.

It is a sweet thing to be married once more to the man I’d loved all these years, but it is a far better blessing to honor God with a man who had been powerfully transformed by His love and grace. Gary and I are now growing together in our faith in God while serving in Victory Subic.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

Indeed, only God’s power can heal our wounds and pull us from the rubble of pain and heartache. Only He can change hearts. Our job is to trust Him and hold on to the hope we can find in Him. Nothing is too hard for the Lord!

God at the Center

God at the Center

Dennis Poliquit first met his wife Monica at the radio station where he worked as a DJ. “I remember her having a pixie hair cut, but I was not attracted to her then,” he laughs. “We became friends for a long while before we became an actual couple.”

Dennis found Monica’s company irresistible. “I found that I could talk to her about a lot of things,” he recalls. “From politics to history, and most especially, movies and pop music. She has this jeepney horn kind of laughter you’d recognize from afar, and strong opinions about anything. I mean, a beautiful lady I can talk to about a wide range of topics. That was pretty attractive.”
Dennis became a Christian in 2000, but did not take his relationship with God seriously. He and Monica soon became intimate, and in 2003, Monica gave birth to their first child, a daughter. Deciding to move in together shortly after Gaby was born, it wasn’t long before they became parents to their first set of twins. Because they moved in together so soon after becoming a couple, they realized there wasn’t really much of a discovery stage, and had to learn more about each other as they went along.

“It was a roller coaster ride,” he admits, “with ups and downs, loops and twists and turns. It was crazy. We had great conversations. We had so much laughter. And we also had arguments like you wouldn’t believe.”

Dennis and Monica’s fights became more frequent. Over time, financial issues and the fact that neither of them was serious in pursuing God, found them drifting apart.

“We both let our pride overrule everything else,” he says. “Often, those arguments came from misunderstandings. Stuff we could have avoided only if we chose to actually listen each other instead of just waiting for our turn to speak or get loud.”

Monica’s strong personality, which was the initial thing that attracted her to Dennis, also made him hesitate about marrying her right away. “We both did not want to back off from anything. We were both stubborn in our opinions,” he says, “and I think it was mix of fear and indecision that made it take a while for me to decide to marry her.” He pauses, measuring his words. “I regret making her wait for me to ask her to marry me. If I really loved her, I needed to love her for who she really is, and not who I think she should be.”

Ephesians 5:22-33, in particular, spoke to Dennis. He identified with the Christ-like love that the verses encouraged husbands to give their wives, and he knew God was telling him something: getting right with Him meant getting right with Monica. Still, he was hesitant to take the initial steps.

“Then Monica threatened to leave me and take the kids with her. That jolted me wide awake and opened my eyes about what I had been doing.” Dennis consulted his Victory group leader, who advised him to seek God first.

In 2006, Dennis and Monica decided that they needed to get right with God, and began to pursue God in earnest. They soon began to see changes in each other. “Our relationship got way better,” he says. “We agreed that when we did not see each other eye to eye on matters, we should consult His Word and what it says about things. We also learned to forgive and let go as we get to be forgiven too.”

“I am pretty certain things could have turned out differently if I tried doing things on my own,” Dennis says. “Truth be told, it’s what I did before and it led me nowhere but to more trouble. I have learned my lesson.”

Realizing he desired to honor Monica in the best way the Bible says how, Dennis formally asked Monica to marry him, and they tied the knot in May 2006. “I wanted to honor her,” he says, “for her love for me and our children.”

“We lived together for almost three years without the covering of marriage,” he adds, “and I wanted to make things right.”

“I’m thankful for God’s grace,” he says. “Like myself, Monica was struggling with a lot of stuff, and yet, she ultimately still chose to stay with me. Yes, we still have arguments for both serious and petty stuff but by God’s grace, it does not escalate into a raging fire.”

Looking back, Dennis sees how God lovingly yet consistently called him to passionate leadership in their marriage. “There was a time when I was whining to God about my marriage,” he recalls, “and His Word was to love my wife. I cannot always be stubborn and see her as the enemy in the argument. I learned that we were both coming from a place of love, and to listen more and more to each other.”
As he honors her, Monica, in turn, respects and takes good care of her husband. “Monica has become more patient and understanding with me,” he says. “I still make many mistakes, but now a quiet word from her would be enough. She has learned to pause and ask me to clarify things to make sure she understands what happened or what I said.”

“As a husband and for one who has been and is forgiven, my role to is to love my wife and forgive her as often as needed, just as she needs to forgive me as often as needed. It is not my role to change my wife, nor should she expect me to change for her. It is God’s role to change both of our hearts.”

Today, Dennis and Monica are parents to five children, including two sets of twins. Fueled by their love for God, their passion for each other and their marriage continues to inspire others in the church, especially couples who are experiencing what they have. Their advice? Go back to God.

“Monica and I tried our very best to solve problems on our own,” Dennis says, “and while it helped for a while, we eventually went back to old habits. The only real solution for us was to go to God. He is our arbiter. He has final word on things my wife and I cannot agree on. Even how we treat each other, His Word is our ground zero. It is the only way to live married life. Respect, honor, love and most of all, the pursuit of and obedience to God will ensure a storm proof married life.”

Believing for the Impossible

Believing for the Impossible

Claud's weddingTheo Cañeda didn’t expect to meet the love of his life during the time that his business was going bankrupt. When he was introduced to Claud by a common friend in church, he was smitten. “I found out that she works in the church,” he shares, “and I was attracted to how devoted she was to her calling.”

Without a regular job, his finances were in shambles, which made him hesitant to court Claud. Nevertheless, he prayed for her, gathered his courage, and pursued her. The two started a relationship, and eventually talks of marriage started coming up. By the end of 2014, they were engaged.

“We decided to get married,” Theo says. “Despite the challenges, we knew we wanted to get married.” At the start of 2015, the couple prayed and fasted for an overflow of provision for their upcoming wedding happening in a few months. Amidst their preparations and several months prior to their big day, Claud was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and a benign tumor called myoma. This is a condition that imbalances a woman’s hormones, leading to the formation of ovarian cysts.
Claud and Theo

Claud was crushed. She was about to get married, and was hearing of the very real possibility she would never have children. Theo was heartbroken at how the news saddened Claud so much, but he never lost hope. He comforted his future wife that he loved her, no matter what, and reminded her that God is sovereign. “A lot of tears were shed,” Theo reveals. “She even asked me if I want to push through with the wedding.”

This ordeal brought the couple closer than ever. They cried, prayed, and fasted together for God to deliver them. Faced with Claud’s condition, and with their wedding day approaching, Claud and Theo also realized they didn’t have enough money to cover their wedding expenses.

The couple cried out to God, and He responded. Two months before their wedding, Theo’s business bounced back from bankruptcy and started doing well. Provision started pouring in, and before they knew it, they had more than enough to pay for the wedding they want. “Everything was covered,” Theo exclaims, “We were able to have a joyful, debt-free wedding!” Pregnant pic

After their wedding, the couple was in faith that they would have children, despite Claud’s condition. They consulted different doctors, who recommended procedures to make pregnancy possible for her. To their dismay, the procedures were very expensive. “We were on our knees believing God for the impossible!” Theo reveals.

There were times Claud would think she was pregnant, but they turned out to be false alarms. The couple experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. Then suddenly, the couple’s world rocked further when Claud’s father passed away. Amidst their grief and frustration, Claud and Theo clung to God more. “The Lord will replace anything we’ve lost,” Theo declared.

It was a slow and painful journey, but God soon provided a silver lining. A month after Claud’s father passed away, the couple found out that Claud was pregnant. The two were ecstatic, but they decided to keep the information secret until a doctor confirmed their discovery. After her check-up, the doctor did confirm that Claud was indeed pregnant, and they weren’t having just one baby, but two! Claud was pregnant with twins! twins

In a few weeks, by faith, Claud will give birth to two healthy babies. “I have just experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God first hand,” Theo declares, “He made me experience a miracle only He can make! Indeed, we can dare to believe God for the impossible!”

Update (June 27, 2016): We are so excited and pleased to let you all know that Claud gave birth to two absolutely adorable baby girls! We celebrate God’s faithfulness and pray for the continued health and safety of the twins. Congratulations, Theo and Claud!

When His Grace Changes Everything

When His Grace Changes Everything

Ken Regala was on the verge of calling it quits.

She didn’t imagine that her relationship with her boyfriend, Choi Sanchez, would end up this way—with a young son, yet not settling down as a family. “I never expected that this would happen to me. It felt like it was straight out of a TV drama.” The situation left her helpless and confused.

Meanwhile, Choi lived a reckless life before meeting Christ, neither acknowledging or bearing the weight of his responsibilities as a young father. “I was into vices, too, even if I already had a child,” Choi admits.

One day, Choi’s sister, Bealyn, encouraged the couple to a join a Victory group led by her best friend, Jorella. She and her husband, Mike, led a couples’ group in Victory Caloocan. “Choi was hesitant to join the group at first, but he still joined me at the group meetings and eventually became part of it. That made me happy,” she recounts.

Mike and Jorella took time to disciple Choi and Ken through regular Victory group meetings and ONE 2 ONE sessions. What started with persistent invitations eventually became something Choi and Ken looked forward to weekly. “They both made the decision to know and follow Christ,” Mike remarks.

Choi and Ken, with Mike and Jorella's Victory group
Choi and Ken, with Mike and Jorella’s Victory group

As Ken continued to pray for her family and attend Victory group with her boyfriend, God was at work in Choi’s life. “I asked God to give me a heart for Him,” says Choi, “because I no longer wanted to live this kind of life. Little did I know that Ken was praying for me, too.” He committed to change and center his life on Christ.

In 2015, the couple went through Victory Weekend together. Their story, which had a challenging start, would soon move from glory to glory.

When Choi decided to surrender everything to God and change, he realized that he needed to start anew as a family according to God’s Word. He decided to finally ask Ken, his girlfriend and his son’s mother, to be his wife.

Choi and Ken would face another hurdle, in the form of finances. Funding the church wedding was initially a challenge. “We were supposed to have a civil wedding, but a pastor suggested that we hold a church wedding.” They heeded his advice and pooled their finances—but it seemed impossible to make it happen. The wedding date was December. It was already November. Nonetheless, they decided to take a step of faith and tied the knot two days before Christmas.

By God’s grace and a miracle they can’t explain, they made the wedding happen—and despite their financial limits, didn’t owe anyone a centavo after the event.  “We don’t know how it happened—we just know that God provided for us,” says Choi. We’re so amazed (at) how God moved through it. All we know is everything was perfect the whole day.”

Ken (left) and Choi were married in December 2015, surrounded by family and friends
Ken (left) and Choi were married in December 2015, surrounded by family and friends

Mike, the couple’s discipler, describes the Sanchez’s story as, “from darkness to light,” quoting lyrics from Victory Worship’s song, “Grace Changes Everything.” He adds, “They had a long journey, went through a lot of trials, but they put in maximum effort in their spiritual lives.”

From being irresponsible and reckless, Choi is now, according to Mike, “a changed man”—someone who takes responsibility for his family, and leads them according to God’s ways.

Indeed, grace does change everything. God’s grace transformed their lives and turned what was a seemingly dead-end relationship to a glorious and God-centered marriage.

Marriage is deeper than love

Marriage is deeper than love

“Every time you are unfaithful to your spouse, you are breaking the covenant of marriage.”

In this video blog  entry, Victory Greenhills senior pastor Dennis Sy discusses why marriage is considered deeper than love, and what this concept looks like in the covenant of marriage.

How to Find the Right Life Partner

How to Find the Right Life Partner

Ask any married person how they knew that their spouse was the one they wanted to marry, and most of the time the answer is, “I just knew.”

That answer irritated me so much while I was single. How does that help me now? But now that I’m married, that would be my response as well. I knew that I wanted to marry Carla.

But while that’s true, there are some qualities that we can look at to help us discern the true character of another person. It doesn’t have to be a total mystery or shot in the dark.

In this blog post, Joey Bonifacio shares some thoughts of his son Joseph, Every Nation Campus National Director, on how to find the right life partner.

What Makes a Woman Attractive?

What Makes a Woman Attractive?

“We in faith and protect our families with the Word of God.” In this blog entry, Marie Bonifacio, the wife of Victory Fort senior pastor Joey Bonifacio, shares one real beauty secret that erases those frown lines, puts a sparkle in your eyes, and a smile on your lips.

Who do you love first?

Who do you love first?

“The right kind of love will enhance and strengthen the other loves in the right order. My love for God fuels my love for my wife, which strengthens my love for my son, with so much left over for my family and friends, making me love and give my best at work.”

In this blog entry, Pastor Joseph Bonifacio writes a thoughtful blog entry brought about by an Instagram image posted by his wife, Carla, that elicited an interesting reply from one of her followers.

Let’s stay together

Let’s stay together

“God knew what He was doing when He made man in His own image – and made them male and female. It’s her hand, her voice, her smile, her kindness, brought forth by the unfading beauty of a gentle, quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Pastor Joey Bonifacio ruminates about loneliness while paying tribute to his wife, Marie, in this heartfelt blog entry.

New Series: Will You . . .

New Series: Will You . . .

We are kicking off our February series, “Will You…” After this series, we look forward to having a biblical perspective in every season of a person’s love life. May each of us have Jesus in the center of all our relationships!

Here is the list of weekly topics for “Will You . . . ”:

Week one: . . . be my Friend?
Week two: . . . be my Valentine?
Week three: . . . Marry me?

Invite your family and friends to a Victory location nearest you! We are one church meeting in fifteen locations in Metro Manila. We also meet at various congregations across the Philippines.

Let’s know more about love this February! See you at our services!