True to His Word

True to His Word

Jowhell Villegas found out that his mother’s health condition worsened as he was preparing to go to graduate school in Japan. While torn between staying and going, God assured Him with words that would come true later on. Read the rest of Jowhell’s story and God’s faithfulness to His word in this piece.

 

I received a scholarship grant to earn a master’s degree in Japan on May 2015. As I prepared for the trip, I was greatly troubled upon discovering that my mother was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease. Her health condition made me hesitate to study in another nation. I worried about going to Japan because I feared that something bad would happen to her while I was away.

During the midyear fast in 2015, I sought the will of God and prepared myself for whatever direction He set. God responded to my act of faith and assured me by saying, “My son, I have a beautiful plan for you in Japan and I will heal your mother. You will graduate and see your mother alive when you return.” His words quieted my fears and encouraged me to follow the path He laid out for me. When I obeyed, God pulled through.

On September 27, 2017, I successfully graduated with a Master of Engineering degree at Nagoya University with flying colors. I was chosen to represent the graduate school for the university-wide graduation. It was an honor to be the only graduate student who wore an academic gown during the ceremony. My research was also published in two international journals!

 

Jowhell earns his master’s degree in Nagoya University. (Photo from Jowhell Villegas)

 

God sustained me and my mother with so much favor. While I was in Japan, I received an allowance from my scholarship grant and the government office that employed me still gave me my monthly salary. These helped me support my mother’s medical needs when I was studying. When I came back to the Philippines, I saw my mom alive and happy!

At present, my mother is still going through dialysis and medication. Nevertheless, God continues to provide for her and meet my needs. I was recently given the chance to be a part-time instructor at Mapúa University this year. I know I will be able to help her even more as I teach.

 

Despite challenges, Johwell and his mother continue to find joy in Christ. (Photo from Johwell Villegas)

 

God is true to His word. He fulfilled the promises He gave me in 2015. The enemy may try to steal my peace of mind and cause me to worry, but the Lord always shows His faithfulness. And for that, I am very grateful.

From Dreams to Realities: A Fasting Testimony

From Dreams to Realities: A Fasting Testimony

Cess Gabuya trusted God to fulfill a promise for her family. Here’s a story of how the Lord works in turning dreams into realities.

 

In a prayer meeting during the fasting week of 2017, I saw a wall that encouraged people to draw their dream. As I thought about what to draw, I started to dream about the salvation of my family and claimed God’s promise for my situation.

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31, ESV)

A few weeks after the fast, I found out that my younger brother who studies at Philippine Christian University, was invited to church through his student teacher! He attended a talent development workshop in Victory Malate, which led to him having a relationship with Jesus and becoming a part of a Victory group. On the third quarter of 2017, he experienced Victory Weekend and got baptized! It was an answered prayer!

As all these encouraging milestones happened in my brother’s life, I started to invite my mom to worship services and other activities in church. One day, as my mom and I were having a conversation in our house, I ended up sharing the gospel to her and she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior!

I helped my mom grow in her relationship with Him through ONE 2 ONE. We would meet regularly in a cafe to talk about the basics of following Jesus. We finished the material and my mom also had her Victory Weekend experience in the same year! She is now part of a Victory group and joyfully serves in our church community.

In January 2017, I believed God for my family’s salvation. A few months later, my mom and brother received Jesus as Lord and Savior, and they got discipled and baptized. This experience in my life taught me to pray without ceasing and to continue to trust God’s promises. I believe it’s just a matter of time for my dad and other siblings to come to know Christ too.

Holding on to His Word: A Fasting Testimony

Holding on to His Word: A Fasting Testimony

Ash held onto God’s Words in spite of the gravity of her sister’s situation. Be encouraged by reading her story here!

My younger sister, Ysabelle, was born with a congenital heart disease that required an operation to repair. Since we lacked funds to have her operated on at the time of her birth, we had no choice but to postpone it, taking her instead for monthly check-ups and assessments at the Philippine Heart Center.

All the while, we also tried to get help from different charities and government offices, hoping to receive support for her operation expenses. Around two years ago, I started to pray and fast for her, daring to believe God for her complete healing.

Suddenly, on August 11, 2017, the doctor said that my sister had to be admitted to the hospital immediately; she needed an operation by August 15! My family and I were shocked because our finances were not sufficient enough to cover all the hospital bills.

Despite this, our family chose to act in faith and decided to have Ysabelle admitted. We knew the value of prayer at this critical time in our family, and many of our family and friends prayed with us while the operation was ongoing.

How God came through for us! The results of our prayer and fasting were massive and immediate. After the operation, joy alone couldn’t describe what we felt when the doctor told us that it was a successful operation and that my sister’s vitals were good! We were also told that she wouldn’t have health complications anymore, and there was no maintenance needed as well! What shocked us most was the fact that the hospital bills went down from PHP 200,000 to PHP 20,000! I couldn’t help but cry in awe of how God does miraculous things in His own amazing ways.

After years of praying, fasting, and believing for a breakthrough, God healed my younger sister from a heart condition. He never left. He never let my family down. Now, my younger sister can actively play without us having to fear that she will have a heart attack. Her full recovery proved that nothing is impossible with God. Doctors can cure, but only God can truly heal.

Truly, when God utters a word or two, He is serious about it. It is written in Isaiah 55:11 (CEV),“That’s how it is with my words. They don’t return to me without doing everything I send them to do.” He’s a Man of His own Words. What He says, He does.

Leaving the Comfort Zone: A Fasting Testimony

Leaving the Comfort Zone: A Fasting Testimony

On January 16, 2016, I started praying for an opportunity to help my family and be a channel of blessing to our church. I didn’t want to leave my home in the Philippines but during the fast in 2016, I knew that moving to another nation was my act of obedience. It was as if God was telling me, “Go out of your comfort zone and step out in faith!”

I considered working in nations such as the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, but a surprising thing happened. An agency sent me a personal message about an opening in a Safari Park in Dubai. I was puzzled. How did they get my contact details? Is this message true and reliable?

I asked God if it was a door He opened for me. I did my research and found out that the message was valid, so I applied. By May 2016, I was scheduled for interview. I also told some friends about the opportunity to work in the same company, so they submitted their applications too. After my friends and I passed the requirements for the vacancies, everyone was hired, except me. I became very disappointed at the turn of events, but I continued to hope.

As we prayed and fast again during the mid-year of 2016, God gave me a command and promise. He strongly impressed to me to believe to go to Dubai and that He would bless me. I continued to pray with my Victory group and and seek counsel from my pastor. After many prayers and discussions, I obeyed God and drafted my resignation letter. I had many worries and fears. Little did I know that God had already provided what I needed to obey Him!

I learned that we really find favor as we pursue God’s will. When I talked about my plans with my best friend, I was surprised as he offered to pay for my flights, accommodation, pocket money, and even food to go to Dubai! God also provided for my needs to transition out of my work. Even the Chief Executive Officer of the company I used to work for supported my decision and showed concern for my welfare.

As I arrived in Dubai in the latter part of 2016 to look for work opportunities, I encountered many hurdles along the way—but I still believed. I continued to claim God’s Word when we fasted at the beginning of 2017. It took a long time of waiting and going back and forth from Dubai, but God pulled through. In May 2017, I received an unexpected call from one of the companies I applied for while I was at the airport. It turned out to be an employment offer! As I opened the e-mail explaining the details of the job opportunity, my heartbeat accelerated and tears fell from my eyes! The employment offer met almost all my faith goals for work. I immediately ran to the nearest washroom and praised God. God really never fails to amaze us as we follow Him!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV)

All Things New: A Fasting Testimony

All Things New: A Fasting Testimony

When God transforms lives, He does more than just upgrade us. He makes all things new. Our lives are made new to the point that they are almost unrecognizable from the past. Tim experienced this power of God firsthand. Here is how his life was totally made new.

 

I used to be addicted to drugs because I found comfort and happiness in them, but the satisfaction was always short-lived and the consequences were destructive. By the grace of God, I was given a new chance to turn away from my past and walk in righteousness. I became serious in pursuing Jesus and turning away from my old ways. I joined a faith-based rehabilitation center for substance abuse named Penuel Home for two months.

By August 2016, I finished the relapse prevention program and decided to relocate to Metro Manila with my wife and one-year old daughter. We needed a fresh start by leaving our laidback life in the province of Aurora.

In our search for a new life, my family and I encountered many challenges. First, we were in lack. I was unemployed, finding a decent job was difficult for me, and my family did not have enough savings to cover our needs and emergencies. Second, we did not have a home. We could not find a house that was affordable and conducive for us to live in, so we stayed in the residence of my wife’s parents for a while. Lastly, I found myself lacking as a father. I want to be a good leader in the family and lead my child to God’s ways, but I had a hard time because I came from a broken family and I did not have a godly father growing up.

When I was left with nothing but family and faith, God showed me in 2017 that He was powerful, merciful, and generous. I remember Him using my wife to show me a verse:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18, ESV)

At the start of 2017, God also impressed a verse in my heart as we prayed and fasted.

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. (Isaiah 61:7, ESV)

This verse assured me that the grace of God is generous enough to provide for me as I faithfully believe in His promises. From then on, I made a commitment to God to give a tenth of everything I have. God also revealed to me that I should swallow my pride and apply to work for my father-in-law’s business. This decision was a blessing in disguise for us. My new job drew our families together and helped me provide for my family.

God did not only bless us with what we need, but also gave us our hearts’ desires. I am still in awe on how we survived our financial challenges last year, which includes my wife’s second pregnancy and my daughter’s hospitalization. He even surpassed our need for a home by giving us a brand new and fully furnished condominium unit! Back then, I asked God, “Lord, I know it is your will for us to leave and cleave as a couple, and have a place we could call our own as our family, but why could we not find it now?” And a year later, He answered my question with a home of our own!

At my job, God provided unexpected clients for the business. We also had the privilege of a family vacation abroad with my in-laws! Just when we thought we received a lot, God also blessed our family with another baby who was born on my birthday. When God gives, He truly gives generously.

God also surrounded us with a loving spiritual family that helped us grow in our relationship with Him. My wife and I are now part of a Victory group. Now, He is also using me to minister to other drug dependents and those who turned back on the faith. As a father, God also gave me wisdom to parent my children. I was able to teach my daughter how to pray recently.

God truly blessed us above and beyond through the unexpected people in my life. In spite of everything, the best blessing is still His presence whether in trials or success. I felt like everyday was a gift and a new beginning.

I used to be a drug dependent who always failed in life, but God is always there not just to forgive me, but also to love and provide with me everything I need.

 

 

Our Greatest Joy: A Fasting Testimony

Our Greatest Joy: A Fasting Testimony

We always have a choice to either magnify the impossible or to fix our eyes on what God says is possible. For Mhean and her husband, it was a challenge. But despite many setbacks, they chose to consistently focus on God. This is their story.

 

Since my husband and I got married four years ago, we have been praying for a baby. Every time we pray and fast at the beginning of each year, we always include this as a faith goal.

Around the middle of 2016, I was diagnosed with a polycystic ovary and adenomyosis. I went through medical treatments, but I still wasn’t fit for pregnancy after all the procedures.

I became depressed, but the Lord gave me hope. Instead of dwelling on the complications of my health, I decided to hold onto God’s promises and not lose faith. In December 2016, I prayed to God and said, “Lord, having a baby would be a wonderful gift this Christmas.”  I continued to believe.

The morning after New Year’s eve, my husband woke me up excitedly and told me that he had a dream about me giving birth to a baby boy in a delivery room. Two days after, I found out I was pregnant! The baby turned out to be a boy, just like in my husband’s dream. We were so amazed that God answered our prayer!

I carried our child for nine months. However, two days before my due date in August, our baby lost his heartbeat while he was still in my womb. It was definitely a sad time. Nevertheless, we chose to praise God in spite of what just happened. We did not allow our situation to hinder us from worshipping Him.

God can turn our mourning into dancing. The Lord showed us that His power can not only heal, but can also give us the opportunity to become parents. We will not lose our hope and faith in Him because He has given us a promise and we know He is faithful to fulfill His promise. Now, we are still believing for another baby. With God, we know it’s just a matter of time and trusting Him.

 

Mhean and her husband’s story reveals that our greatest joy is not in the promise, but ultimately in the One who holds the promise. The question is, how will you respond when your faith is challenged by multiple setbacks? Will you continue to hope and rejoice in Him?

 

Secure in God’s Provision: A Fasting Testimony

Secure in God’s Provision: A Fasting Testimony

We all have needs, and as we go through life, our needs seemingly increase. How should we respond to needs beyond our capacity to provide? Let us take a look at how Rosalie responded to hers. 

It has been a challenge to provide as a single mother and a breadwinner of my family for the past months. More than making ends meet, I also desire to support our campus missionaries.

During the mid-year prayer and fasting in 2017, I asked God for a raise in my salary to provide for my daughter and nephews and support campus ministry. On the second day of the fast, God surpassed my expectations! He did not only answer my prayer, but also gave me twice the amount I asked for in my salary increase!

In this season of my life, I learned not to worry about anything because God already knows what we need and He will always provide for us.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26, ESV)

As I walked with Jesus, I learned to lift all my burdens and needs to Him. I depend on Him more than on my own understanding. I am always grateful for the privilege of knowing Jesus. He is incomparable to any material thing the world can give. He does not only meet our needs, but also goes beyond to bless us for His purposes.

 

As sons and daughters of God, we can always be secured in the provision of our Heavenly Father who knows our needs even before we ask Him. You can also have an encounter with the generous heart of God. As we pray and fast in a few days, let us be confident to ask Him for our needs and desires. He is never intimidated by our requests, and He will provide according to His will.

Waiting in Faith: A Fasting Testimony

Waiting in Faith: A Fasting Testimony

How long are you willing to wait for a miracle in your life? A week? A month? A year? In our time and age, waiting for a year is already a challenge.

Luzviminda Galope, who goes to our worship services at Fort Bonifacio, waited for more than ten years! Was her miracle worth the wait? Let’s find out as she tells her story.



I have been joining the annual fast for more than a decade. During this time of the year, I never fail to include the restoration of relationships between me and my siblings as a faith goal. Our relationships have been broken for many years and it has been a burden for me, but I continued to hope in God. I believe that the God we serve is a God of restoration, so I always asked him for a miracle every time we pray and fast at the beginning of the year. It has been a long time of waiting, but the Lord proved Himself faithful.

After more than a decade of prayer and fasting, I received the sweetest gift last June 22! The Lord made a way to restore my relationship with my brother and sister. We finally had a meaningful conversation which led to forgiveness and understanding. Many years have passed since we last talked to each other, but on that day, we had the opportunity to resolve our misunderstandings and start a new page in our relationships with one another.

I praise the Lord for sustaining my faith in Him and demonstrating His power to reconcile what seems to be irreconcilable. God is faithful. If you delight in Him, He will truly give the desires of your heart.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14, ESV)

 

Luzviminda’s story assures us that putting our faith in God is always a good decision. Sometimes, it takes a while to see hope come to pass, but we can be confident because our God is faithful.


Do you have faith goals in your life that seem to go unnoticed for years? As we have our annual time of prayer and fasting from January 8 to 12 in 2018, we pray that you will persistently believe that God is able to fulfill His will in your life.

Have you also experienced a breakthrough in your life like Luzviminda? We would love to hear your story! Share it with us by sending it to stories@victory.org.ph.

 

The Family That Prays Together Keeps a Home Together

The Family That Prays Together Keeps a Home Together

by TJ Gregorio

My father, Eduardo San Gregorio, regularly joins my mother, my sisters, and me at Victory Greenhills on Sundays. Over the past couple of years, we encouraged him to join a Victory group or go through ONE 2 ONE with someone, but he always hesitated, mostly because of a speech impediment that he had as a result of a stroke he had suffered six years ago.

After that stroke, my sisters and I committed to praying daily for our father’s recovery, as well as for funds for the hospital bills, medication, and subsequent therapy. We soon took out a loan from a bank, with our house as collateral, to raise funds. Unfortunately, the money we were making as a family was only enough for us to live on; we couldn’t meet the monthly dues for the house.

Still, Tatay’s recovery was our main focus, and we passionately covered him in prayer, both for the healing of his speech impediment and for the courage to start his discipleship journey by being part of a Victory group, or going through ONE 2 ONE with someone.

“It will be so helpful for you, Tatay,” I would say, “because these men will be like brothers for life. They will pray for you, support you, and even help you practice your speech.”

“I would just slow the group down,” he would reply. He would reference how the right side of his body was paralyzed. We would pray, then we would stop pursuing it for that moment.

Over time, however, we knew God was working in his heart. And then one day, by God’s grace and through a lot of prayer and persistence, he bravely went through ONE 2 ONE. Then, February 18 and 19 arrived, the fateful days of his Victory Weekend.

“Do you want to be water baptized?” we asked him.

“Yes,” he said.

“We can have you sprinkled with water,” we offered, knowing he would have a hard time entering and leaving the pool where the water baptisms took place.

“No,” he replied, “I want to go to the pool, no matter what.” We were stunned. “It’s not about me, it’s about my relationship with Jesus. And I want people to know that nothing is impossible with Him.” And everyone saw him go down and enter the pool to be water baptized!

That newfound faith proved to be crucial in the months to come. We still had a balance of almost PHP 300,000 from the loan we took out from the bank. In May 2017, the bank sent us a letter of foreclosure, should we not be able to pay off that loan. Later that year, in September, we received a letter informing us that our house would be put into auction by the 12th if we didn’t pay back what we owed; and we couldn’t!

We had no idea where we could get that kind of money in such a short period of time. Our entire family was literally on our knees in prayer by that point; we were so worried we would lose our beloved house.

Then, God came through! A week before September 12, our uncle, my mother’s brother, heard about our situation and offered to sell a lot in Bulacan, which he owned, to raise funds to pay for the house. God then paved the way for one of our cousins to buy the lot for the money we needed to pay off the loan, keeping the lot in the family.

Just last week, we received the title deed from the bank!

We always knew that God is capable of great things, but it was in that moment when we received the title deed that we saw the results of months of prayer, courage, and faith that comes only from a relationship with Jesus. Today, our father reads his Bible without fail and regularly attends his Sunday morning Victory group. As for me, my mother, and my sisters, it was a powerful faith-affirming moment. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 that “. . . where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them,” and we saw Him move as we prayed for our father and our home.

Because we have seen in our family that He is truly faithful, we encourage you to cover your family in prayer and trust that God will hear your prayers and answer them according to His will and timing.

_________

TJ San Gregorio is a worship services coordinator at Victory Greenhills.

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.

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.”

When You Give God Your All

When You Give God Your All

keevee_soloKathleya de Vera, or Keevee, grew up, in her words, “a good friend, a kind-hearted sister, and an obedient daughter.” In her senior year in high school, two campus missionaries from Victory Dagupan reached out to her, and invited her to a youth service. It was there that she had a personal encounter with God. However, she struggled with change. “(God wanted me) to let go of my selfishness and let him write His agenda for me. It was clear that he wanted me to surrender. Yet I was not ready for His Lordship. I was not willing for God to take over every area of my life.”

Keevee continued to seek God when she became a university student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Victory Quezon City connected her to different women leaders on campus, all of whom tried to take her through ONE 2 ONE, Victory’s seven-lesson discipleship guide designed to help facilitate conversations to jumpstart a person’s walk with God.

“I had issues about the chapter on Lordship,” Keevee says. “I was also afraid to be baptized, because I thought it meant that I wouldn’t have control over myself anymore.”

Underneath the good-girl exterior, Keevee freely admits that she was selfish. Her kindness and obedience was not out of a genuine care and concern for people. “I found security in my relationships because I needed to feel loved. I took pride in being ‘that nice friend’ to everyone.” More and more, she put pressure on herself to please the people in her life. In all her efforts, however, she felt empty deep down.

 

Keevee describes her family as her "best friends."
Keevee describes her family as her “best friends.”

After some time, Keevee agreed to be baptized—but she still held on to her hesitations on lordship. “I decided, He can be the Lord of all, but not in the area of my relationships.” Shortly after being baptized, she entered into a relationship with a man who did not share her faith. “I thought it was a proper response to the call of discipleship.” Though she was able to preach the gospel to her boyfriend, “it felt empty. I felt like was stuck, and I lost who I was, in the process.”

Keevee decided to lay her cards before God at this point. “After a year in the relationship, I told God that I could not change this person, and that if He did not want this relationship for me, then He could take it away, and if possible, spare me from heartbreak.”

At that point, God was giving Keevee the grace to put Him above her own desires and that of her boyfriend. She soon decided to end her relationship with her boyfriend, and God’s perfect timing became painfully clear to her why.

“Eight months after we broke up, I learned that my ex-boyfriend got someone pregnant, even while we were together.”

God proved Himself faithful, answering the entirety of Keevee’s prayer—by both giving her the strength and grace to end the relationship, and sparing her from further heartache.

Keevee acknowledges that it was God who helped her through her challenges with Lordship. “Being Lord does not mean that He calls the shots in everything I do because He wants to boss me around. (Jesus being Lord means) He cares for every small detail of my life.”

Keevee (center) meets this growing Victory group composed of young single professionals weekly,
Keevee (center) meets this growing Victory group composed of young single professionals weekly,

Keevee now knows who is at the center of her relationships. “Jesus continued to pursue me like no other man can.” With this truth, she fully and completely found her security in Christ. “I can say that I learned to depend on Him more, because He knows best.”

Now, Keevee is seeing things through a different lens. “Because I experience God’s mercy every day, I’m motivated to tell others about Jesus.” She currently leads a Bible study group in her workplace, and has invited her colleagues to Victory Pioneer. “The call for discipleship is very natural,” she says, “and God’s grace is sufficient.” Along with a team of twelve others, she embarked on a short-term mission trip for the first time in a creative access nation.

Interestingly enough, now that Keevee has put God first, He also multiplied her time with those she loves. She considers her family “her best friends,” and seeking a romantic relationship doesn’t hold the same weight it used to. “I began to look at my season of singlehood (as a time for me to) be maximized—that this is the best time to get to know my Maker, so that I will understand myself more.”

For Keevee, there’s a world of difference when you give God your all. He fills each of us  with peace, joy, and rest, no matter what. “God is faithful when you surrender,” she smiles.

Indeed.

The Lasting Legacy of Family

The Lasting Legacy of Family

1 Lawyer and businessman Salvador “Bomboy” Fabregas and his wife, Vicky, lived a charmed life: they had a thriving business and were blessed with five beautiful children. Underneath the surface, however, Bomboy and Vicky had constant disagreements, and twenty-one years after they got married, the couple separated, deciding to live apart for good.

“Shortly after we separated,” Vicky said, “̛I started to attend Bible studies. I heard the Word of God and found myself submitting to His lordship.” Vicky soon gave her life to Christ, and lived with a desire to know Him more. Seeing the changes in their mother’s life, one by one, Vicky and Bomboy’s children came to know Jesus, too. Each of them prayed for restoration for their parents’ marriage.

Soon, their eldest son, Joe, started preaching the gospel to Bomboy. Incidentally, father and son had a rocky relationship with each other before Joe started reaching out to him. He prayed and believed for the salvation of his father; eventually, Joe’s prayers were answered, and he was able to lead Bomboy to Jesus.

2A month after accepting Jesus as his Savior, Bomboy reunited with Vicky. After eight years of living apart, the couple patched things up.

“I reconciled with my wife, Vicky, and was also reunited with my children,” Bomboy shared. In 2009, the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary and renewed their marriage vows in the presence of treasured friends, family and loved ones, including eighteen beautiful grandchildren.

Taking Colossians 3:18 to heart, Bomboy resolved to love his wife and not be harsh with her. “I discovered that the true meaning of love is desiring the greatest good of the other person,” he said, “and realizing that no amount of success can replace failure at home.”

Being disciples of Jesus helped Bomboy and Vicky realize that they needed to honor each other as husband and wife, and that real love is desiring the good for the other person.

IMG_4600“You have to take away pride and unforgiveness to last long in marriage,” Bomboy said. “What is more important to you: your hurt, or your love for your wife?”

Bomboy and Vicky’s relationship is an example of God’s redemption and saving grace in our relationships. As they learned more about God’s love, the couple learned to love each other, too. From a seemingly impossible situation, God resolved and restored.

“God saved my marriage not just for my sake, but also to set an example for other people,” Bomboy shared. True enough, their life and story of reconciliation became a fitting testimony of God’s grace and healing love. Bomboy and Vicky went on to touch other people’s lives and helped other married couples deal with marital concerns. They  told others about God’s faithfulness in their marriage, and how He is faithful and able to restore other marriages, too. Husband and wife also graciously welcomed people to their home, mentored them and discipled them. Many of these men and women are now serving in church as leaders.

FullSizeRenderLast September 4, Bomboy passed away at the age of 77. Friends and family remembered him fondly as the man with a big smile and a big, generous heart that matched his stature, and a humility that served as an inspiration to everyone he met. His life has blessed many people through the years by his passion for the lost, his generosity, humility and friendship.

But beyond all his work in the ministry, Bomboy is remembered best as a family man. “God intervenes and restores,” he declared, “In the end, family is family is family. Let’s take care of our families.”

From Slavery to Freedom

From Slavery to Freedom

Nevin Hongayo“I lived in darkness and I was full of hate,” Nevin Hongayo reveals, “I was convinced I wasn’t God’s child.”

Born to a religious family, the twenty-one year old grew up with a head knowledge of salvation. He viewed church attendance as a requirement that he had to fulfill to live up to other people’s expectations, but deep inside, he never really understood why he had to do it.

When he was younger, Nevin was bullied in school by his classmates. He was also abused by his teachers emotionally and physically. “But nothing was more painful than hearing people I loved tell me that I needed a psychiatrist to exorcise my demons,” he shares. Hearing such damaging words at a young age took its toll on Nevin’s life. He felt unloved, and was convinced that he didn’t belong.

“I started to question that God is good all the time,” he confesses, “If he’s really good and loving, why would He let me undergo such pain?” Completely disillusioned and burdened with self-pity, he started questioning his belief that he is God’s child. Nevin made a 180-degree turn and subscribed himself to self-worship Satanism, which advocates egoism and fleshly indulgence.

“I chose to be my own god,” he shares, “ To choose right and wrong, on my own terms. I just lived in total darkness.” After his decision to be a self-worshipper, Nevin developed unusual fears. He had Christophobia, which is the irrational fear of Jesus, and staurophobia, which is a phobia toward crucifixes, and causes him to be disturbed during Holy Week, when crucifixes are more prominently displayed.

World changers  Isolating himself from his friends and family, Nevin started getting used to his solitary lifestyle. He found himself hating God and other people. He felt that being alone was much better. “I discovered that the more evil I acted, the more respect I gained from others,” he says, “If they feared me, I could get more and more of what I wanted. I was drawn to the power of authority that the devil gave me over people.”

Years went by, and Nevin knew that God was trying to get his attention amidst the dark life he built for himself. He was invited to church by the few people who remained his friends, but he rejected them twice. On the third instance, Nevin had no choice but to take notice.

His academic life was a failure, the number of his friends was dwindling fast, and he was estranged from his family. “I had a friend whom I didn’t know was already a Christian, who invited me to Victory,” Nevin says. Feeling tired and defeated, he finally went to a worship service for the youth last October 2015 at Victory U-Belt.

He was then introduced to Karlo, his mentor and Victory group leader. Nevin was also connected to a Victory group, and started getting discipled through One 2 One. After two months of attending church and finally finishing the One 2 One booklet, he still hadn’t received Christ in his life. This year, however, a particular preaching thawed Nevin’s hardened heart and started to minister to him. “On that day, I realized that God never stopped pursuing me, so I decided to follow Him and received Him in my life.”

Victory WeekendUnshackled from the bonds of his former perverse lifestyle, Nevin underwent a drastic transformation emotionally, mentally and spiritually. “The grace that saved me started to change me,” he declares. “My life has meaning now, because I found my purpose in Christ.”

Formerly someone who hated people, he developed compassion and generosity towards homeless people and street children–the same people he used to laugh at and ostracized. God also gave him the strength to mend his relationship with his younger brother, whom he hadn’t talked to for more than a year because of hatred and pride. Best of all, Nevin was filled with a yearning to share to his friends and classmates how God changed his life.  

“From a person full of hate and evil, I never thought I would see myself walking in the light and living in His love,” he shares.

On his birthday, Nevin shared the whole One 2 One booklet to his family.  Seeing the power of the gospel at work in his life, they attended Victory the following day. Now, his mother and his brothers are now attending Victory regularly, and have also experienced the transforming power of the gospel.

Today, Nevin leads his own Victory group and believes that discipleship is crucial to anyone intent on maturing and growing in his walk with God. “When a person is discipled, he discovers that he was saved for a purpose,” he says, “It spurs people to honor God and make disciples, which is what we are meant to do.”

Change the campus change the worldNevin is excited to be a disciple-maker to the nations and hopes to fulfill his calling to be a cross-cultural missionary in the future. “I just want to share the love that I experienced in Him. To love God and to love others, just as Jesus told us to do.” From a life of misery and darkness, Nevin now walks in the light and is filled with an outpouring of love that can only come from the assurance that he is a child of God.

“I have been transformed from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom, from guilt to forgiveness, and from the power of Satan to the power of God,” he declares, “I have been rescued from a rogue kingdom to serve the One and only rightful King, Jesus.”

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Finding Peace In God

Finding Peace In God

Adette Purto“I prayed to God to take away everything from me,” Adette confesses, “I just wanted Him to give me peace.”

Adette Purto is a 44-year old mother of three who financially supports her parents, apart from taking care of the needs of her own family. Blessed with the kind of work that affords her to live comfortably, she enjoyed many things that money could buy. However, she soon realized that the material things didn’t really fill the void in her heart.

“I was working myself to death,” she shares, “But I felt unloved and unappreciated. I longed to be loved.”

After she got married, Adette faced a different battle but it still stemmed from the same issue she had faced for years: rejection. In February 2007, she found herself telling God to take away everything, and to just give her peace and happiness. She may not have understood the depth of her prayer, but Adette felt so mired in misery, it was her only recourse. In the months that followed, Adette felt God taking things from her. Interestingly, it was also the time she started to look for ways that would get her out of misery. She started engaging in new age philosophies and witchcraft.

“My business went down, my son almost died of dengue, and I had a terrible car accident,” Adette enumerates. “A train collided with my car, and I was dragged for 500 meters.” Despite her stubbornness and disobedience, God spared her and she wasn’t harmed in the accident, despite the car being a total wreck. With nary a bruise on her, Adette knew God was reaching out to her. She did not know it then, but that moment became her turning point in life.

Her best friend ministered to her after her accident, and told her that God wanted her undivided attention. She attended the first worship service of Victory Pioneer on the first Sunday of 2008. “The moment I entered the hall, I knew I was home and it was the place I have been looking for,” she says, “The Holy Spirit welcomed me.”

Despite being financially broke, emotionally hurt and physically tired, she felt welcome and at peace; that night, Adette responded to the altar call and surrendered her life to Christ. After a month, she was connected to a Victory Group and underwent ONE 2 ONE. Before long, she declared her faith and was water baptized at Victory Weekend.

With God now at the center of her life, her relationships with her family changed. “The gospel made me receive the peace and happiness I have been longing for,” she reveals, “The emotional pains were healed by the unconditional love of God. I was able to forgive because I was forgiven, too.”

Today, Adette is one of the Discipleship coaches of Victory Pioneer. She has been serving in that capacity since 2009, and was also the Discipleship coordinator for the 5pm worship service. This means that she is coaching Victory Group leaders how to lead their respective Victory Groups. Juggling the demands of being a working mom and a discipleship coach, Adette still finds time to lead her own Victory Group.

Adette Purto group“I am making disciples because someone else took the time to disciple me and help me live the life God intended for me,” she says, “I experienced the transforming power of God in my life and sharing it to other people is the least I can do.” For Adette, the time and energy she spends coaching other leaders and mentoring other women is a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifice that Jesus did for her on the cross.

She is grateful for the people who have stood by her throughout her journey. “My spiritual family served as lamp posts,” she shares, “As they pray with me, cry with me, and believe with me, I receive enough light to continue walking.” For her, the Christian life is not meant to be lived alone. Having experienced the true value of belonging to a spiritual family, Adette has put it in her heart to continue reaching out, mentoring and raising other leaders. From someone who used to thirst for love and peace of mind, Adette is now a testament of God’s overflowing love and it is exactly this love that allows her to give herself to others.

Transforming Hearts and Keeping Promises

Transforming Hearts and Keeping Promises

vcf_jam3When she was in college, Jam dela Cruz was invited by her best friend, Jhai, to a big event in Cuneta Astrodome. Clueless, she agreed to go, thinking it would be fun because Jhai would be there. The big event turned out to be Ignite 2011, and became one of the most unforgettable events of her life

“I kept seeing ‘It only takes one spark to start a fire’,” she recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘What’s the meaning of that?’ and ‘Why am I here?’ My life had no direction.”

At Ignite 2011, she saw how joy seemed to radiate from the people around her, as if they knew something she did not. It was then that she realized that, though she knew there was a God, she’d never acknowledged His presence in her life before, certainly not four years earlier, when something unexpected happened to her.

“I was a senior in high school,” she admits, “when I found out I was pregnant.”

Jam considers those days among the darkest of her life. Deeply ashamed of what happened, she lost respect for herself, thinking she had thrown her future away. Instead of turning to God for affirmation and healing, she turned to peers to fill the emptiness in her heart. One of them, a college friend named Jhai, seemed to care very deeply for her; it turns out that Jhai had been praying for her to know Christ for quite some time.

“Seeing people so passionate for God at Ignite 2011 also sparked a fire in my heart,” Jam says. “That was the moment I surrendered my life to Him.” Jam realized her worth because Christ died for her, no matter what happened in her past. God gave her the strength to forgive herself and start anew. Eventually, she was connected to a Victory group, where she was discipled and empowered to reach out to others who needed Jesus, too.

Transforming Hearts & Keeping PromisesTwo years after Ignite 2011, Jam became active in the youth ministry. Being the first Christian in their family, her heart was burdened to preach the gospel to her brothers and sisters: 20-year old Jelly, 18-year old Jill, and 15-year old Jack. She invited them to join her at church; because they had seen the positive changes in their big sister’s life, it wasn’t difficult to convince the siblings to come. Not long after they began joining her, Jam entertained the idea of inviting them to a youth camp.

“They weren’t really buying into the idea of attending a youth camp,” she recalls. “I think it may have also been because of the cost.” Having experienced refreshing and encouragement at a 2014 youth camp, Jam wanted her siblings to experience that same joy, and prayed for them, asking God to provide for even just one of them to attend.

Two years since she prayed that prayer, Jam entered a new season, getting engaged to a campus missionary; her wedding is this month. One night, she watched as Jelly, Jill and Jack walked through the doors of their family home, exhausted but excited, and full of stories from the youth camp they had just attended. Jam was dumbfounded.

vcf_jam2“It dawned on me that God has answered my prayer from two years ago,” she exclaims, “to my amazement, not just one, but all of them!” Unlike two years ago, Jam’s siblings didn’t consider the camp expense a hindrance. Together, they raised funds for all of their camp fees. God honored their faith and blessed them with what they wanted, and more. They were able to raise more than enough funds, so they gave the extra amount to other students who needed help, too.

“God changed their heart,” Jam beams, “and I’m so proud of them.”

Today, all her siblings lead their own Victory groups consisting of high school and college students–a far cry from their old life of complacency. She is reminded of Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Indeed, God’s promises will come to pass, and He has already begun with Jelly, Jill, and Jack. Holding on to that same promise, Jam and her siblings believe that their parents will, one day, come to know God’s saving grace, too.

Lives Transformed In Restricted Nation

Lives Transformed In Restricted Nation

We’re excited to bring you the stories of three people who have encountered Christ in their nation–a country in South Asia with a population that is mostly Hindu. The lives of these disciples show the transforming power of the gospel, no matter the language, the culture or the race.

Sintha used to battle depression, and often felt lonely and aimless. She felt the need to perform to gain other people’s approval. One day, she heard the gospel through our missionaries, and realized that her deepest desires to be selfless and please other people comes from a place that is still self-serving. “I came to the decision to follow Jesus after realizing my need for Him,” she shares. Sintha discovered that it is only through Him that she can have true hope and joy, not through her deeds or actions. Now, she wakes up everyday with a sense of purpose, knowing fully well that there is no other way but Jesus.

Ramyu grew up learning about the gods and goddesses of Hinduism. As a child, he had many questions about his family’s faith that were left unanswered. Until he found the Bible, and started reading it. To his surprise, the questions that he had been asking for so long were answered by the gospel. It was that revelation that made him decide to follow Jesus. “It is only through Him that I understood the love of God, to the extent that He gave His life for me,” Ramyu explains, “no other Hindu gods did that for me.”

Theeba was dealing with unbelief and some trust issues when she experienced a miracle in her life. It was not a flashy showcase of power but an intimate revelation of God’s sovereignty in her life. She heard the voice of God telling her to get to know Him first before she turns her back on Christianity. One day she needed a ride to a prayer meeting, but couldn’t get one because all the public vehicles were full. Theeba became desperate and she started questioning God’s lack of provision. A while late, a bus going to the opposite direction broke down a few meters from where she stood waiting.  All the passengers had to get off and the bus had to turn around, allowing Theeba to ride the bus all to herself, and to the destination she’s headed. This small miraculous incident completely overwhelmed her with the knowledge that God loves her. “As I got to know more about Jesus, I began to feel His presence and workings in my life,” she says.

As more locals are reached out in this South Asian nation, let us pray for more disciples to be raised up as leaders. These changed lives are testaments to the work that God is doing in the nations. As this restricted nation continues to open up to the gospel, let us continue to hold the ropes for our missionaries and pray for their safety, provision and protection.

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* The image in this article features K2, also known as Mount Godwin-Austen, and Chhogori Balti, the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest, but K2 is not found in the nation mentioned in this article. For security reasons, we have changed the names of the locals in this article. If you would like to contribute to our efforts to bring the gospel to creative access nations like this one, please click here.

A God of Miracles

A God of Miracles

Noelle Samson-Siy was in the prime of her life when she received some devastating news.From the beginning, it seemed like the odds were stacked against Noelle Samson-Siy. Three years ago, doctors sat down with the 27-year-old businesswoman, and gave her news that no woman ever wants to hear.

“We’re afraid your tests reveal that your brain cannot signal ovulation,” the doctors told her, “Your pituitary gland isn’t functioning correctly.”

Months earlier, Noelle had learned she has polycystic ovarian syndrome in both ovaries. Her left ovary was in 40-year-old condition, despite her being only in her mid-20s, and a 6cm cyst was discovered in her right ovary. After a few months of taking medicines to shrink the cyst, things were looking up–until she started spot bleeding after two months and needed an immediate operation. A newlywed in the prime of life, Noelle was faced with the harsh reality that she and her husband Malcolm might never have children.

“At the time, we scouted for the best fertility doctors we could find in Metro Manila,” Noelle says, “not because we wanted to, but because they kept referring us to other doctors as well.” Her condition began to weigh down on her, but her husband Malcolm never grew weary in giving her encouragement, praying for her, and accompanying her during hospital visits.

victory_christian_fellowshop_healing_pregnancy4Turning to God, the couple never stopped praying for a baby, but also decided that Noelle’s condition would not stop them from having a great marriage. Husband and wife went out on dates, traveled outside the Philippines, and enjoyed each other’s company, even without children. Still, despite their happy marriage, Noelle couldn’t deny a part of her that felt incomplete.

“It was one of the darkest and saddest times of my life,” she shares, “but it was also the time when I experienced a deeper relationship with Him.”

One night, while reading her Bible, she read the New Testament story of Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth. She immediately identified with Elizabeth’s story of barrenness, and burst into tears. After a few minutes of crying out to God, Noelle felt something different.

“I suddenly experienced a strong sense of calmness envelope me,” she says. She felt free from her insecurities and bondage, and instantly knew it was God comforting her. At that same moment, God placed a name in her heart: Zachary.

While encouraging, Noelle kept this revelation to herself, and used it to lift her spirits when she started bleeding again. Her doctor immediately scheduled an operation.

“We felt our lives were like a roller coaster,” Noelle says. “We had to think twice about making big purchases, because we were concerned we would need the money later for unexpected medical bills and medicines.”

Little did the couple know what God had in store. One day, Malcolm received a text message informing them that someone from the Victory church they attended wanted to bless them, and was asking for their account number to make the deposit.

“We were floored when we realized it was more than enough to cover for the operation,” Noelle shares, “we were like kids jumping up and down. We knew then, that despite all the trials, God was there with us.”

As the operation date drew near, Noelle couldn’t contain her fear, which worsened the night before the big day. She and Malcolm kept praying until 5AM, the time of her scheduled operation. While lying down in the operating room, she heard a voice say, “Be still and know that I am God.” Her body started to relax and she was able to sleep soundly throughout the almost six-hour operation.

Noelle awoke to shocking news: the doctors removed her right ovary; she had one only ovary left.

“The cyst we found in your right ovary is cancerous,” the doctors told the dismayed couple. They were also told that she was a suffering from a severe case of endometriosis, a condition that resulted in a retroverted uterus. The cyst which was surgically removed had to undergo a biopsy.

Noelle Siy with her miracle baby, Zachary.Noelle and Malcolm took the news in stride, waiting for two weeks to learn of what kind of cancer it was. Meanwhile, their families, friends and spiritual family stormed the gates of heaven with prayer for her. Finally, the day came when they got the results: her cancer was stage 1A cancer, a non-aggressive type.

“Your best window to get pregnant is only four months from this operation,” said the doctor who operated on Noelle. Four months later, Noelle had a dream in which she was pregnant. She awoke, very excited, and decided to take a pregnancy test on a whim. She and Malcolm could not believe their eyes when the test revealed two lines.

Noelle was pregnant.

Her doctors were equally shocked when they found out Noelle conceived naturally, without the aid of pills or other medication. In her fifth month of pregnancy, the couple learned their baby was a boy. They decided to name him Zachary–which means “remembered by God.”

“God answered our prayer,” she smiles. “Despite every doctor saying it was impossible, it was possible for God!”

Before, Noelle was plagued with cancer and infertility; today, she is now free of sickness and the proud mother of a healthy baby boy. Because her right ovary was already successfully removed, she is now cancer-free; she will never have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. Some people would call it luck, but she’d rather call it a miracle.

Finding Fulfillment in KIDS Church

Finding Fulfillment in KIDS Church

Teacher Michelle teaching kids at Victory Greenhills“I always end up learning something from them,” Michelle Ramos says, when asked what it’s like to disciple children.

Having been part of Victory Greenhills since 2011, Michelle first served in the music team as a singer, until she was invited to observe KIDS Church. As she watched the children that day, she felt a stirring in her heart, and knew God was telling her to surrender her involvement in the music team, so she could put her time and efforts toward KIDS Church. 

Michelle wrestled with the idea. In her mind, she still wanted to sing. Nevertheless, after praying and fasting, God revealed to her his heart for the children and gave her Mark 10:13-14, “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  

Then and there, she knew God was stirring up something in her heart for the next generation. “It motivates me knowing that I am part of what is in the very heart of Jesus–to let the children come to him,” she shares.  

AVictory KIDS volunteers enjoy their time togetherfter a few weeks of teaching kids, God surprised her when He gave her the desires of her heart and paved the way for her to be a part of the KIDS worship team.

Despite it being her calling, Michelle faced challenges as she ministered to children, who are naturally very vocal and honest with their opinion.

“There was a time when a kid said “it’s boring” during praise and worship,” she recalls.

Apart from being their worship leader, she also preaches the gospel to the children. For this, she prepared extensively before class, hoping she would keep their attention during huddle time–only to be met with silence when she asked them if they learned anything. Michelle also tried to start a small group for the kids, which fizzled out due to inconsistencies with the schedule. This series of setbacks led her to doubt her calling.

Thankfully, she has mentors whom she can look up to. “They never failed to cast the vision to us KIDS volunteers.”  God continued to work in her heart, and she found herself being comforted that her work is never in vain, even if she couldn’t see the big picture yet. She recently had the opportunity to disciple a young girl, Nicki, which proved to be a fruitful journey for her.

Teacher Michelle and Nicki enjoy learning from each other.Children are naturally inquisitive, and they speak their mind out. This challenged Michelle to dig deeper into God’s Word, so she can answer Nicki’s questions. She also went out of her way to know more about Nicki’s hobbies and favorite things (Shopkins!), so she can share her joy even in the little things. “But the best thing is when you hear straight from her how she acknowledges lordship and salvation. It makes me excited for the next generation!” Michelle shares.

While her job as a KIDS church teacher is crucial in discipling children, she believes that her role takes a step back from the role of the parents. She explains that children catch what they see more often than what they’re taught. The way parents live out their life will make a huge impact in their kids, whether or not they attend KIDS church. Michelle wants to remind parents that discipleship starts at home. It is where children should first learn how to pray and read the Bible.

Michelle envisions an army of young worship leaders, who will rise up and lead the next generation. She’s also believing for more volunteers to step up and disciple kids, so they will also be disciple makers in the future.  The task of reaching out to the next generation is not easy, but it is a responsibility that Michelle has embraced, a calling that she considers a privilege.

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!

What was the toughest Lordship decision you’ve ever had to make?

What was the toughest Lordship decision you’ve ever had to make?

Give God the glory with your #myVictoryStory!

Starting July 7, every Monday for the next five weeks, we will ask a question, based on the preaching topic of the week, on our Facebook page. Anyone can answer the question on their blog, or by replying in the Comments section of the question on Facebook.

This week’s question is: What was your toughest Lordship decision that turned out to be worth it?

Here’s a round-up of several of the stories shared over the course of the week:

  • Lordship Is . . . Pastor Paolo Punzalan sets the context for our Lordship discussion by discussing Victory’s core values, giving some insight into our history, and summarizing what Lordship means, using a L.O.R.D. acrostic.
  • Jesus As Lord. Pastor Ferdie Cabiling shares a blog post about the Lordship of Christ.
  • Jesus is Lord over my Love Life. Pastor Joseph Bonifacio describes what Lordship entails, sharing his love story with his wife, Carla, and what he went through when God told him it was not yet time to pursue a relationship. In the end, God gave Joe everything he’d asked for, and more.
  • When Obeying Meant Letting Go. Val Baguios III of BrokenMindset.Org discusses how his relationship with God became the top priority over other relationships, and how God honored that Lordship decision with a relationship that would change his life.
  • His Higher Ways. Karess Rubrico shares how she gave up her biggest dream to pursue God’s ways—and the rewards and benefits of that decision.
  • Passion for passion. Ganns Deen writes in GannsDeen.com about giving up his passion, his friends, and his career in one blow, to follow Christ. He was never the same.
  • Lordship? BIG WORD!. Jek Valle discusses Lordship—and shares his own testimony—in this surprisingly serious blog entry from this Christian comedian.
  • The Only B Student. Nate Punzalan writes about how Jesus matters to him more than high grades, and how he had peace despite getting lower grades than a few of his classmates.
  • The Pride and the Sea. Sofia Paderes writes in her blog, Sofiyichka, about stubbornly pursuing her ballet dream despite a horrific injury, and what happened after she finally put God, not her ballerina hopes, in control.
  • I Love You! Joy Buena writes about God’s love, and the role it plays in allowing Him to be the Lord of her life.
  • He Broke Me. Dr. Neslie Buena recounts her story of obeying and submitting to God’s will for her life.

Sandy Santi of Victory Zamboanga also recounts a testimony of Christ’s Lordship over his life and family:

I got saved in Victory Quezon City, went home to Zamboanga after graduation, and right away was connected to our Victory Zamboanga church. The church was relatively small then, so we pretty much knew everyone. We were like family. On what was to be my first day of at work, my dad had a stroke. In the hospital, Pastor Ritchie Llanto was able to share Jesus to him. My dad passed away soon after. The comfort of God and my spiritual family was what got me through that difficult time. I was still able to attend Sunday service and worshipped Jesus, even during my dad’s wake. I remembered thinking then that if God fulfilled His promise of salvation for my dad, then He will always always be true to His word—and He still is 13 years after.

Jasmin Estinozo of Victory Novaliches also shares her Victory story in her marriage with her husband, Exyl:

If I’m not mistaken, OURS was the first wedding that was held at Victory Nova.

Exyl and I were in a “live-in” setting for about four years. It was a topsy-turvy relationship. We did everything to stay together, but we found ourselves frustrated, exhausted, restless, and defeated. God’s Word indeed rings true: “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

Then God’s radical love found us. We were wed on April 1, 2010. It was the day that His radical love ended our foolishness and made us wise.

This wedding was made possible by a lot of people, like our relatives, friends, and our Victory Nova family. This marriage would not be possible without our house builder—the Lord Jesus Christ. This is my Victory story.

 

July 11 update:

We’ve also received more Lordship stories for this week’s #myVictoryStory blog roundup! Here are a few more that we encourage you all to read and share on your social networks:

  • The Bishop and his Lord. “Lordship is acknowledging that Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth by virtue of His death and resurrection.” Pastor Manny Carlos shares his Lordship story in DoCampusMinistry.com.
  • Pastor Carlos Antonio shares his Victory story in “Absolute Surrender,” a heartfelt story of a mother’s stubborn persistence, and how God orchestrated an incredible series of events to transform one man’s life forever for the glory of the gospel.
  • The Ultimate Trophy.Yrose Lacerna writes about giving up her dreams and surrendering to God’s ultimate will.
  • Is it him or Me? Dr. Catherine Deen writes about how God challenged her to give up her relationship with a man who didn’t share her faith, and what He did after she chose to obey.
  • Lordship: The Life After. Tin Ginete shares her own unique Lordship journey. Know how God’s love proved more enduring and valuable to her than any relationship she’d ever had, and how ultimately her confidence and image rests in how God sees her.
  • A Love Problem. Em Gomez writes a thoughtful post about how Lordship is a love problem. It’s “always difficult to do something,” she says,  “when it is not done out of love.”
  • Win or Lose.“A year and a half ago I chose to run for council even if I dislike politics. It turned out to be worth it because it became an open door for me to share my faith to my org mates and slate mates.” Elle Cabiling shares her Lordship story on taking risks.
  • Out of the Shell. Ann Luna recounts how she overcame her introversion and surrendered to Christ. Now, she is enjoying fruitful relationships with people she now calls her friends.

Thanks for sharing your Victory story with us! Keep posted for next week’s question on Evangelism. Like us on Facebook for more info!

Finding New Strength

Finding New Strength

nessaNessa Gardiola, an upcoming campus missionary from Leyte, recounts her experience as typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit the Visayas region last November 8. Here’s her story of God’s protection and provision.

I was at home with my family when typhoon Yolanda struck Leyte. There were six of us in our house in Palo, one of the Leyte towns battered by this record-breaking typhoon.

We watched in horror as the strong winds blew away our neighbors’ roofs. Seeing what was happening around us, we decided to pray together as a family, pleading for God’s protection as the monster winds howled around us.

Soon, the winds shattered the windows of our house. We sought refuge in my brother’s room, setting up a foam bed to protect us from the shards of broken glass flying in from the damaged window sills.

The aftermath of the storm left us shaken. My father, who was diabetic, had a wound on his foot. My brother also almost had an asthma attack because he couldn’t breathe well. Since there was water inside our house, there were rats and mosquitoes all around us.

Real community Despite these challenges, we were quite grateful for what we had about us. God was faithful to provide for everything that we needed—not just the physical needs, but even emotional and spiritual strength. Thankfully, we lived in a neighborhood where everyone could smile and laugh because of the unity of the people. We all shared our food and water with each other; my siblings had more than enough of what we needed. Our neighbors and other relatives extended help to us, too.

Eventually, for our safety and for my father to receive adequate medical attention, we had to relocate.

My family and I left Palo five days after Yolanda hit the area, pooling what little financial resources we had from people who blessed us. We boarded a plane to Cebu, where my family and I are now staying.

We plan to stay here maybe until next year. We’ll wait until everything goes stable in Palo, and wait until we can buy materials to rebuild our old house.

 

Moving forward Kix, one of the leaders in Victory Tacloban, went accounting for members of our church who were affected by typhoon Yolanda. He was able to visit my family and myself a few days after the storm. When he visited us, we talked about our plans in rebuilding the church, as well as rebuilding Every Nation Campus in Tacloban after classes resume.

kix_nessa
This photo was taken after Nessa was accounted for. Photo by Kix Javier.

It gives me joy to know that there were a lot of people who were concerned and praying for me. It gave me hope and a fresh perspective, knowing that my spiritual family was holding the ropes for me in prayer. I got more energized to work again and rebuild what was lost in Tacloban. I’m excited to go back to the campuses and continue encouraging and inspiring students to live lives of faith, holiness, and hope through discipleship.

It was encouraging to hear that none of the members of my discipleship group were in harm’s way during the storm. Some of them, who were students of University of the Philippines-Tacloban, have cross-enrolled to UP Diliman. I’ve connected them to Lourdes, one of the campus missionaries from EN Campus Quezon City.

 

God’s faithfulness endures God’s purposes for my life have never been this clear to me. When He spared my family and provided for us during those times, I was quite sure that God willed it so I can be a blessing to others. I was holding on to Him and His plans for my life as the typhoon raged.

When my family and I survived the worst, I was so excited to share my story because I know that there is a lot to be done and that God will use our city even more to impact lives not only in the region but all over the world.

I’m grateful for His faithfulness. I’m also thankful for each one of you who have prayed and given in every way.

Please continue praying for the Visayas—for everyone’s safety and good health, and for the relief efforts that are ongoing in the area.

I have hope that God has great plans for our nation. I’m looking forward to all that He will do, and will continue to do, through and for each of us.

Modest is Hottest!

Modest is Hottest!

Young women from different Every Nation Campus centers took part in their “Modest is Hottest” event held at the Victory Quezon City center.

Jaime Jamgochian, a singer-songwriter from our Every Nation church in Nashville, spent the evening sharing about modesty, purity, and most importantly, about women’s identity in Christ. More than sharing do’s and don’ts to the ladies in the audience, Jaime imparted a message on honoring God and living a life that pleases Him, through our words, actions, and clothing.

Here’s a testimony from Coleen Santos, a high school student from St. Paul College-Pasig. May you be inspired and encouraged!

Today’s fashion has been influencing teenagers greatly on how they dress. I’m aware of that all too well, being in an exclusive all-girls school and having a great number of girl friends. Whenever my friends and I would talk about what we’re going to wear for a particular event, we would really take time to plan outfits that would be “fabulous.” A mindset that I used to have whenever dressing myself was ‘We don’t dress for boys, we dress for ourselves’. While that may seem harmless, still there is an underlying ill motive for such behavior.

A few days back, I attended a seminar called Modest is Hottest and it was then and there that my long-time perception about dressing up was reset. My eyes were opened concerning how we should dress and carry ourselves. Singer Jaime Jamgochian spoke of our identity in Christ. The Bible tells us that God tells us that He created us and we are important to Him. We are also reassured us that we are priceless and precious in His eyes, that He sees us as beautiful no matter what the world may say. I sat in that seminar in awe of the love and acceptance God gave me.

Two reasons why we should dress modestly are to honor God and help the brothas out! Now that I understand what Jesus did on the cross, what else could I ask for now that He has set me free? The Bible encourages us to live in order to please God. Now that we have a relationship with Jesus, do we consider Him in every step we make? Since we surrendered everything to Jesus, doesn’t that include our closets, too? I realized that double-checking what I will wear won’t hurt. Will a low neckline and short shorts reflect the pure life God called me to have? Will my brothers see the joy and love Jesus instilled in my heart rather than the skin or the price tag on them?

Though it is challenging to put pieces of clothing together without being immodest, Jaime didn’t leave us empty-handed. She gave us Fab Five Fashion tips which helped us how to dress modestly and yet remain fashionable. Her helpful hints allowed us to double check the reasons why we should dress modestly. We can dress modestly all throughout and still reflect God’s love with our eyes, which can show our love and concern to people we interact with.

Of all the things Jaime discussed, I think what’s most important is we see ourselves as how Jesus sees us. The more we know of Him, the more we know ourselves in Him and it will just be amazing if all the beautiful ladies out there know that. In line with this, I’d like to join the movement by applying what I learned from this seminar. Not only will I set an example by dressing modestly, but I will share it with my Victory group, friends, and with my classmates as well.

Faith in the Impossible

Faith in the Impossible

Mark Gonzaga dreamt of finishing his university education and securing a future. He was able to surpass the odds and increase his faith in God in the process. Read more to know how God moved mightily in Mark’s situation.

Mark (right) is one of Real LIFE Foundation's scholars.
Mark (right) is one of Real LIFE Foundation’s scholars.

Before being part of the Real LIFE Foundation, I was struggling with my finances. Income was scarce in my family.  I had to drop out of college to be able to provide for my needs, and work as a call center agent.

I had a burning desire to finish my studies. By faith, I decided to pool all my savings from my income and enroll in the upcoming semester.

My mother, who had just received a job abroad, was excited for me and promised to support me all the way until I graduated. I had my hopes up and was looking forward to my future.

A few months into the semester, the bad news came: my mother got very sick. Because she was in the hospital often, most of her finances would go towards her treatment. She could no longer support me as I hoped.

It was a season where I walked with God. I also did a lot of walking—from school to my house, even to church. It was a time where I could eat only once a day. It was a very, very difficult time. Yet God would unexpectedly provide for my needs.

I am thankful that He did not only provide financially, but also people who stood with me and encouraged me. Jay, my Victory group leader, told me something I can never forget:  “Even if the mountain doesn’t move, climb over it. God will give you the strength like a deer to walk over the mountain.”

God answered my prayer for finishing my education when I became a Real LIFE scholar. That semester, I was so thankful to be part of their Adopt-a-Scholar program. Almost simultaneously, I was also elected as the school’s student council president.

Speaking before the student council in Arellano University Pasig
Speaking before the student council in Arellano University Pasig

Real LIFE did not just give me an opportunity to graduate—it helped me push for excellence. It made me realize that everything I did was to honor God. I was taught that everything we do is a dedication to Him. In everything that I do, I want to please and glorify God.

Being under Real LIFE, I was taught leadership, integrity, and excellence. But faith is what separates us from the rest. Faith is what holds all these values together. We need faith in order to live lives of leadership, integrity, and excellence. Now, I am thankful to be able to serve God and His people wherever He calls me to be.

Making a difference in his campus---and beyond
Making a difference in his campus—and beyond

 

In April 2012, Mark Gonzaga graduated from Arellano University in Pasig, with a degree in  Financial Management. He helps disciple LIFE groups in his alma mater, as well as students from Victory Ortigas.

Going Into all the World

Going Into all the World

Young as you are, you can make a difference! Sarah Bulahan started in church when she was six years old. Now, she boldly shares the gospel to her classmates and friends. Truly, age doesn’t matter when we make disciples. Read more on her testimony here.

 

I first received Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was six years old. I’ve been attending Victory KIDS for three years and one Sunday, we were singing the song “Heart of Worship.” I realized right then and there that my life was all about Jesus—nothing else. From then on, my life was forever changed.

Growing up in church, I’ve been discipled by different people. One of them, Janelle, taught me how to love God’s Word and pant for it like water. She showed me how important it was to have a relationship with Jesus.

I decided to share the gospel to my classmates and friends because of how God revealed Himself to me. There’s just no other way to respond. When He reveals how great He is, there’s just no containing Him. Once He fills your heart, there’s just nothing else to speak of.

Who says discipleship can’t be fun?

Some of my classmates and friends readily received the gospel; some didn’t. I even had to repeat chapter 1 of ONE 2 ONE five times before taking a break. God really reminded me that it’s not about me or the way I speak or how I live, but it’s really about Him and how He can just reveal Himself to His people.

One time, one of the girls I was doing ONE 2 ONE with disappeared. I couldn’t contact her at all. I had my time of crying to God, “Where did she go? Did I waste my time on her? What happens now?” It’s really moments like that that God humbles me and reminds me that my time isn’t my time but His. And that I am NOT the savior and I will never be the savior. God comforts me and tells me to trust and pray and to remember everything I was taught. She came back six months later and right now she can’t stop inviting her classmates and friends even if they live so far away. It’s crazy how God’s timing is perfect. I’ve learned to trust His control AND His character.

Discipleship is relationship! Sarah (center) and her Victory group having a picnic in UP Diliman

Don’t look for someone else to share the gospel to the people around you. If God wanted someone else, then He would have spoken to someone else.

God is not far away. He lives in YOU. I don’t know about you, but that just makes me feel so powerful and confident in Christ!

 

 

Sarah Bulahan is a college student at the University of the Philippines – Diliman taking up BS HRIM. She also volunteers at the Music Ministry of Victory Quezon City.