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.