Channels of God’s Generosity

Channels of God’s Generosity

Do you know that God can use us to bless others no matter where we are or what situation we are in? In this article, Victory group members who work in the same office share how God’s generosity allowed them to give food, encouragement, and gifts to a foundation in the metro.

It all started with a group of three officemates in a local company in Parañaque having the desire to know God more. Though attending different Victory locations, they decided to meet every Thursday in their office to study God’s Word and deepen their faith. Slowly, their group grew, not just in faith, but even in number. In just a few weeks, even their colleagues from other departments had started joining their discipleship group meetings. They are beyond amazed at how God has been moving in and through their group.

A few months ago, one of the members who had recently accepted Christ in his life challenged everyone to put God’s love into action by expressing it to those who needed it most. Though clueless on how to raise enough funds to cover the amount needed for an outreach program, they—in faith—believed that God would let His generosity flow through them. Brimming with hope, they started to seek help from colleagues, friends, and family members who were willing to partner with them. They knew in their hearts that God would take care of the rest.

True to His Word, God soon provided more than what they needed. Before the event, they were still 80% short of their goal, but on the day of the outreach, God—beyond their belief—poured out His blessings. They were able to raise not just 100% of the budget, but 130%!

So on November 17, Saturday, their group—composed of 20 people, eight of whom are part of Victory Fort, Parañaque, Alabang, and Santa Rosa—visited a charitable foundation in Manila. Before the outreach, they held a feeding program near the foundation and blessed the people in the area. Afterward, they worshipped God together, shared His Word, and gave food and gifts. God generously provided everything they needed, and they felt honored and blessed to see the kids touched by what God was doing through them. Truly, it is a privilege to be used as an instrument to express His love and generous heart.

Currently, they continue to grow together in faith and serve God in their respective locations. They also continue to share the gospel to their colleagues who have yet to accept Christ in their lives. They know that it is God alone who enables them to generously share His Word and His overflowing love.

“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:11)

We can grow in faith and generosity knowing that we have a faithful God who provides for us. It is only through His grace and generosity that we are also able to bless others and give beyond our capacity. No matter where we are, He can use us to be a channel of blessing and love to others.

Victory Fort to Launch Additional Worship Service

Victory Fort to Launch Additional Worship Service

The Victory family keeps growing! We’re excited to announce that starting October, an additional worship service will be added to Victory Fort’s roster of worship services, bringing the number of worship services for adults and youth at Victory Fort to seventeen! On October 3, Sunday, we invite you to join Pastor Christian Flores and fellow early risers to worship God and enjoy fellowship at the 9:00 a.m. worship service in the Function Hall of Every Nation Building 2. The building is located along 32nd Street at the corner of University Parkway in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Here’s the schedule of the other worship services of Victory Fort:

Assembly Hall, Every Nation Building 1
Taglish Saturdays – 4:00 p.m. Sundays – 8:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
English Sundays – 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.
Youth Services Fridays – 6:00 p.m. Saturdays – 6:00 p.m.

Function Hall, Every Nation Building 2
English Sundays – 9:00 a.m. (starting October 3), 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Taglish Sundays – 3:00 p.m.
Youth Services Saturdays – 4:00 p.m.

Market! Market! Cinema 6
Youth Services Saturdays – 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Another worship service schedule means more people can be accommodated, and more people will get to hear the gospel. As we continue to honor God and make disciples, we’re always expectant of the great and mighty things God will do in our church in Taguig! Don’t forget to invite your friends and family in the area. See you there!

Finding Purpose Again

Finding Purpose Again

Manuel Gan2“I would drink alcohol for breakfast,” confesses 35-year-old Manuel Gan. “I started drinking at thirteen years old; I would drink everyday, even if I was alone.”

Growing up, Manuel had to adjust to the harsh reality of living in a broken family. When he was around seven years old, his parents separated. He and his sister were forced to live with their father in Nueva Ecija, while their mother remained in Manila. Being the older child, Manuel took the separation to heart, and the burden he felt to repair their fragmented family soon took its toll.

He dropped out of high school one day, and never returned. Without direction, his life soon revolved around addictions and fleeting pleasures. “I got angry at God,” he shares, “I felt that he let me down when he allowed me to grow up in a broken family.” His deep-seated anger led to depression, which then led to total rebellion. This further damaged his relationship with his father. In an attempt to assert control over his defiant son, his father would beat Manuel when they would get into disagreements—which happened often.

Manuel would drink everyday, hang out with his buddies, and play computer games; this became his routine. He eventually went to Manila, hoping that his mother would take him in and allow him to live with him. To his dismay, his mother turned him away, but promised to continue giving him money to provide for his needs. She couldn’t take him in anymore; she has already started her own family with another man.

Manuel Gan VGFeeling rejected and abandoned, Manuel spiraled further into depression. At the age of 14, he had to be checked into a rehabilitation center to address his alcohol addiction. “I stopped drinking for a while,” Manuel says, “But after some time, I fell back to my old habits.”

He left Nueva Ecija and started living on his own in Manila. This reconnected him with his mother, who has started attending Victory. Still unable to find a job, Manuel continued receiving money from his mother, who has long given up trying to reform him. “I was full of anger. Whenever she tried to interfere with my life, I would just get mad at her, and then we’d fight,” he explains. This went on until Manuel turned 30 years old. He realized he let his life pass by wallowing in self-pity, anger, and alcohol.

One of his arrangements with his mother was to drive her around. One Sunday, she asked him to drive her to Victory Fort. When he was invited to attend the worship service, Manuel surprisingly obliged but he had reservations. “I was compelled to attend because nothing was happening in my life,” he shares, “But at the same time I was judging my mother for being a Christian because I still saw her faults.”

Manuel Gan VWSoon, Manuel found himself attending Victory worship services regularly with his mother, who has already received Christ in her life. He was eventually connected to Alex Monis, who became his One 2 One mentor and Victory group leader. “I didn’t finish school, I don’t have any job to speak of, and I was an alcoholic for almost two decades but Kuya Alex didn’t make me feel inferior,” he shares. This year, Manuel finished One 2 One, and underwent Victory Weekend last May.

During Victory Weekend, he released himself from the bondage of alcoholism, low self-esteem and entitlement. For the first time in his life, Manuel felt unburdened and accepted without judgment. “I gave everything to Jesus,” he says, “I told Him that He is in charge of my life from now on.” His attitude towards life radically changed. Manuel realized he has a purpose, and that is to glorify God in his life. “There’s a reason He has still allowed me to live for this long after all the damage I’ve done to my body,” he says.

Slowly, his relationships with his family improved, emotional wounds were healed and Manuel learned the importance of forgiveness. He also developed a desire to preach the gospel to other people. Today, Manuel is studying more about discipleship and leadership at a ministry school in Parañaque. He is in faith that he will be able to reconnect with his old friends and share his testimony with them.

From someone who was so mired in hopelessness and anger, Manuel now desires to reach out to more people and tell them how God has changed his life around and given him purpose again

Courage, and Doing the Unexpected

Courage, and Doing the Unexpected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From The Streets To The University

From The Streets To The University

HS Graduation Photo

Princess Tolentino spent the first five years of her life living in a shack under the flyover near the Buendia station of the Philippine National Railways (PNR). It was a harsh reality she faced with her three brothers and sister, but Princess consoled herself with the hope that their lives would one day get better. At least, magkasama kami, she thought to herself. In 2005, Princess’ world shattered, when her father left her mother for another woman.

Pagkatapos kaming iwanan ng daddy ko,” Princess recalls,sinira ng gobyerno ang bahay namin sa gilid ng riles dahil squatter lang kami doon.”

Without a steady source of income, her mother was forced to relocate them under the bridge. At the age of 5, Princess was living among drug addicts, common thieves, and Rugby boys–a gang of street children named after the ubiquitous contact cement they sniffed to alleviate their hunger. Under a makeshift roof of cardboard and plastic, Princess, along with her family, endured harsh weather and unsanitary living conditions. The constant fear of being driven away by the police haunted them.

Pinapaalis po kami,” Princess shares. “Minsan nga po, hinahabol pa kami.” One of Princess’ friends died in front of her when he was hit by a car while running from a policeman. “Tapos kapag hinahabol kami ng pulis, minsan kung saan-saan kami tumatakbo kahit sa kalsada. Kahit delikado.”

To survive, Princess learned how to beg for alms from passersby. She would pick scraps from the trash bins of fast food chains. Risking her life every day and being at the mercy of other people quickly became her norm. Her response to her hardships at a tender age was out of self-preservation and the need to have some semblance of control over her life: rebellion. At 10 years old, Princess learned how to drink and smoke. By age 13, she had entered relationships with several boyfriends.

Nalaman yun ng mama ko at ng kuya ko,” she reveals. “Binugbog ako ng kuya ko. Dumating sa point na pumapasok ako sa school na may black eye.”

After several years, her mother finally secured a steadier job, and their lives, slowly but surely, began to improve. They uprooted themselves from the streets and moved into a small rented room. The family had a place they could call home. And, at the age of 11, Princess enrolled in first grade.

Doon ako nagkaroon ng mindset na mag-aral na nang mabuti,” Princess shares. “Sinabi ko sa sarili ko, Babangon ako at dudurugin ko sila.’”

Motivated by revenge and the desire to win her mother’s affection, she became obsessed with acing her subjects just to show her family what she’s made of. On her graduation day, she reached her goal: she was the school valedictorian. That day, however, she had a big fight with her mother over a petty thing. What should have been a happy occasion became one of the lowest points of her life.

“Ang sama ng loob ko ‘non dahil ginawa ko naman lahat pero parang wala pa rin,” she sighs.

Princess texted her student teacher to confide in her, and she invited her to come to church. “Sumama naman ako kasi aircon,” Princess laughs. They went to Victory Fort, and there, for the first time in her life, Princess heard the gospel.

With her dadHabang nakikinig ako ng preaching,” she reveals, “pina-realize sa akin ni God na kailangan ko si Jesus kasi sobrang dumi ko dahil sa mga kasalanan ko.” Princess felt a heavy burden lifted from her as she cried out to God. That same night, Princess surrendered her life, her self-reliance, her pain, and her pride, to Jesus.

Over time, Princess saw how God began to heal her heart and mend her broken relationships. All the hatred inside her began to disappear. In an incredible turn of events, Princess was able to reach out to her father, who had abandoned her more than 15 years ago, and met up with him so she could tell him that she would be all right. “Hindi ko na sila sinisisi kung bakit ganon yung buhay ko,” she shares.

Aside from personal healing, God also mended her life by allowing her to become a scholar of the Real LIFE Foundation. Her 7th grade teacher, Jaime Gabrera, saw her in Victory Fort and decided to connect her to the foundation. There, aside from a good education, she received mentoring, financial assistance and character development. She was molded to be a Christ-centered student, a scholar of God.

“God has a great plan for our lives,” she says. “Ang dapat lang nating gawin ay magtiwala. I know na kumikilos Siya sa buhay ko.”

While at Victory Fort, Princess was also connected to a Victory group, where she saw that Christians needed each other to grow in their faith. Encouraged by her new spiritual family, her self-esteem grew, and she learned how to be a disciple maker herself.

“Siyempre hindi pwede mawala yung discipleship, kung saan tinutulungan nila ako sa walk ko with Jesus. They empower me to lead.” Today, Princess is leading her fellow students to Jesus through her own Victory Group. She is also reaching out to her family, and firmly believes in God’s promise of salvation for her entire household. Two of her siblings are scheduled to undergo ONE 2 ONE soon.

RealLIFEscholarsLast month, Princess graduated from high school at the University of Makati. She is the first one to ever pursue college in her family. She has high hopes, and is expectant of her life in the university where she plans to take up a degree in Finance.

Asked where she sees herself five years from now, she replies with a smile, “I’ll be working hard for my family. I know I’ll be happy with the path that God will give me, like making disciples in the corporate world,” she adds.

Before, Princess was a child begging along the streets of Buendia. Today, she is an accomplished high school graduate on her way to university towards a brighter future. She may have already been through much, but with her new life in Christ, she knows that this is only the beginning.

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Do you have a story of restoration? Share your story with us and testify of God’s goodness!

Unstoppable

wishFrom living a life apart from God, Wish Castro of Victory Fort understood what it meant to have a relationship with Him—and learned to share this truth with others in the process. Check out her testimony here!

 

I came to know God when I was at my lowest. The love of my life broke up with me, I lost my job, and I quit school. My friends left me one by one. My relationship with my family was also deteriorating because they could not understand what I was going through.

I turned to alcohol, thinking it would ease my pain. I spent most of my days alone, never leaving my house.

One day, I decided to go out and take a breather. I visited the mall nearest me—Robinsons Metro East. I went to the top floor of that mall, thinking that it was quieter since there weren’t many people who went there.

I discovered Victory Metro East there. I didn’t exactly find the place quiet, because the place was noisy during praise and worship, but I was attracted to how happy everyone else was. I told myself, “If one person here smiles at me, I’ll stay.”

Just then, an usher came to me, smiled at me, and welcomed me to the church. That day, I came to know God—and the rest is history.

 

Taking the next steps
Not long after, I found a job and transferred to the Fort area, where I attended Victory Fort. Here, I decided to look for a Victory group. I didn’t want to be part of a group before, to be honest. I didn’t want to have any activities aside from work.

There were a lot of people texting me, inviting me to their Victory groups, but I never replied to any one of them. Eventually, they stopped texting—but there was Siena, this one person who never stopped texting me. She always invited me to meet with her or attend Victory group.

I gave in to Siena’s persistent texting and joined the Victory group because I felt embarrassed. I decided to give it just one shot. I returned the week after that first Victory group meeting, and the week after that.

Wish (seated at the center) came to know Jesus more through being part of a Victory group
Wish (seated at the center) came to know Jesus more through being part of a Victory group

Stepping out
One day, our Victory group leader asked me to co-lead a new Victory group that we were starting. I was hesitant at first. I didn’t think I was qualified to do it! I later realized that God knew my heart, and He wouldn’t leave me.

I learned to appreciate discipleship the more I discipled people and shared God’s Word to them. Because I was so blessed and honored that I was first discipled, it translated to me having a desire to share what I had with others. God gave me a desire to lead others to Him, for them to know about His love, because His love is perfect and makes us complete.

We don’t have to be ashamed of discipling others! We need to get our strength from God and remember what He’s done for you and me. Only when you realize what discipleship has done for you will you gain the confidence to reach out to people.

I thank God that He used people to bring me to a relationship to Him. I also thank God that He used these same people to help bring out the leader in me. I know I’m called to do the same for others—and I share His love to others, every chance I get. And I’m not going to stop.

Wish now leads this Victory group of single women in Victory Fort
Wish now leads this Victory group of single women in Victory Fort

If you would like to share your discipleship testimony with us, email stories@victory.org.ph.