Over the summer, Victory Metro East strategically engaged the next generation through events like Youth Sessions and Kids Summer Tutorials, designed to engage and be a blessing to Marikina youth and their families.
Two Youth Sessions events held last April 28 and May 27 drew almost 130 high school students under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of Marikina’s local government. Spearheaded by Faye Tundagui, a Victory group leader and social worker with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the two sessions helped these students understand their identity and purpose and Christ.
Several students began a relationship with Jesus at the Youth Sessions, and were soon connected to Victory groups, whose leaders began helping them grow deeper in their relationship with Christ.
Also, after the sessions, the students were arranged according to their campuses. After discovering that several students attended Concepcion Integrated School, one of Victory Metro East’s campus missionaries set up an appointment with them. From that initial group came additional discipleship opportunities, and a weekly Victory group for young men now meets regularly and joins us at our Friday youth services.
Last May 15 to 26, five Victory group leaders and interns, led by volunteer Mercy Santos, connected with students and parents in Barangays Tumana and Doña Petra by offering summer tutorials. Not content to engage merely with this activity, they even walked the streets of the town, preaching the gospel using Rice Broocks’ The God Test, and successfully leading four people to start a relationship with Jesus.
Today, more Victory group leaders and interns are now engaging several residents of the barangay, conducting ONE 2 ONE and discipling 43 students in Victory groups every Thursday after the town’s morning Zumba. Let us cover our leaders in prayer as they engage their communities and disciple the next generation of leaders in Marikina for God’s glory.
May each of us be inspired to be salt and light in our communities!
“I thought I knew God,” JR confesses, “After all, I prayed regularly and went to church.”
That was the mindset that the young professional had when his best friend invited him to one of Victory’s Sunday services. He knew he wasn’t a bad person. He was a sinner, compared to other people committing heinous crimes and making immoral decisions. Thinking that he was on relatively good terms with God, he made up excuses and declined his friend’s invitations numerous times.
Not one to be deterred, JR’s best friend continued to invite him, saying that he should just give it a chance because he had nothing to lose, anyway. “I finally said yes just to shut him up,” JR recalls. “It was only for two hours, so I relented.”
Once the two friends got in the worship hall, JR immediately felt a different kind of atmosphere. He remembers the day vividly. “It was weird, but in a good way. Everyone was singing, people were dancing, and they were raising their hands,” he added. “Deep inside, I was in awe!”
When the preaching started, JR couldn’t help but feel that the pastor was talking to him specifically. He left the church convinced that he would return; he knew that God spoke to him that day through the message, and it was unlike any other feeling he had before. It was something beyond mere attendance and muttering prayers; it was an encounter with God.
Two years later, JR continued to attend worship services. One Sunday afternoon in 2013, he finally gathered up the courage to publicly surrender his life to Christ. “Before, I was so hesitant and shy to even respond to the altar call,” he reveals, “I guess there was still a bit of pride in me, so I would just respond to God quietly on my own.”
JR knew that his courage to step up and publicly acknowledge Jesus as his Savior came from God Himself. Emboldened, he knew he made the right choice. He immediately took steps to be connected to a Victory group, and that’s when he met Marlon Valientes, the guy who would become his Victory group leader. He was also introduced to Martin Remos, who would eventually lead him through ONE 2 ONE. On the first of June in 2014, JR publicly declared his faith in God during Victory Weekend.
“It felt so good to finally shout it out to the world!” he exclaims, “I was so glad God didn’t give up on me despite my many hesitations and insecurities.”
The change in JR may not be so evident on the outside; he didn’t have vices to get rid of nor did he have a perverse lifestyle, but inside, the transformation was drastic. God renewed his mind. He realized he was not better than other sinners, and there was no such thing as mild sinning. JR was so on fire with God’s love, he couldn’t help but tell other people what He did in his life. He joined this year’s prayer and fasting with these prayer requests in mind: to grow deeper in his relationship with God, to be involved in ministry, and to finally lead someone through ONE 2 ONE.
After a week, JR was invited by one of his friends to be part of the Tech and Stage ministry and he happily committed to serve. He has also started leading someone through ONE 2 ONE, and is in faith that God will empower him to disciple more people in the future.
“Discipleship is important because Jesus commanded us to make disciples,” he shares, “I want to preach the gospel to those who don’t know God because I know how it feels to be lost and just know him, instead of really knowing him.”
With the knowledge and understanding that everyone needs God, JR is believing for his whole family to be saved, too. “God is great,” he proclaims, “He is true to His promises, and that’s something we can always rely on.”
“YOLO. That was my mindset, then. I wanted to try everything.”This was the philosophy that 21-year old Adel Intervalo adhered to when she was still a student at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. A self-confessed party girl, she found herself wanting to audition for the UP Streetdance Club. To her delight, she passed. She joined the team, and started to officially train with them. That’s where she met Mark, a student from Victory Malate who would always preach the gospel before they start training. “I was an atheist that time,” Adel reveals, “I was really curious why this person was so deeply in love with Jesus.”
Adel dealt with issues of rejection and abandonment in her high school years, and brought these baggage with her until college. She described herself as violent, and she was constantly angry at her mother and sisters. She tried all the vices she encountered, and partied hard.
Eventually, God paved the way for Adel to meet more Christians in the university. Her curiosity turned to wonder. “They made me curious about having a relationship with Jesus,” she confesses, “I was beginning to ask myself why they’re so happy, and I’m not.” Her hunger to know more about Jesus gave her the motivation to attend a youth service at Victory Metro East, after being invited by a friend from high school.
That day, during the youth service, Adel surrendered her life to Christ. However, it would take her some time to grasp God’s lordship in her life. Several months passed before she agreed to go through ONE 2 ONE, and eventually, Victory Weekend with her mentor, Janine Bitoren. Adel’s relationship with her family improved, and she started preaching the gospel to her mother and sisters.
Recognizing Adel’s potential, Janine raised and empowered her to be a leader. Soon, Adel was leading fellow students at the UP-Diliman and at Metro East. She is also a volunteer at Victory Antipolo, which was birthed through a campus outreach. She met more students at Victory Antipolo and started leading them in a Victory group, too. “The students who would reason out that Victory Metro East is far from where they live, now have no excuse but to attend,” she laughs.
For Adel, it was instrumental that her mentor empowered her because it gave her the courage and the motivation to step up and lead. She brought this same encouraging environment in her own Victory group, too. “Ate Janine stepped down, so that we can rise up, so I do the same to the young people I’m leading,” she shares. “Most importantly, I became secure that leading is not really about me, but about Jesus. I’m not better than the people that I am leading, I’m simply the one that God used to lead them.”
Leading other people to Christ brings joy to her heart. However, it is not without challenges. Because she is taking on a leadership role at such a young age, Adel has encountered feelings of insecurity and unworthiness. Nevertheless, she always receives an assurance from God that it is He who will supply her with wisdom and the right words to say. “God would remind me that He is the one who will change people, not me,” she shares.
Being a student, there were also times that Adel had to sacrifice her resources to bless others. She would go to Antipolo to minister to people, which would require her own time and money. There were instances that she was tempted to stop leading, especially when she would entertain the lies that her efforts are of no use. “Every time I would be ready to tell my Victory group that I will be introducing them to another leader, every time that moment comes up, I end up ministering to them instead,” she shares. “That always reminds me that God entrusted people to me for a purpose.”
Seeing God move in these people’s lives gives her joy, so much that her hard work pales in comparison. After encountering the love of Christ, Adel finds it selfish not to share it with others. She continues reaching out to others because she believes that if God could bring hope in her life, then He could do it in anyone’s life. “All sacrifices are not in vain and are nothing compared to what Jesus did for us,” she says.
When Adel surrendered her life to Christ, she experienced what she calls the greatest miracle in her life. God changed her life, and used that to reach her family. Now, her mother and her sisters have a relationship with Jesus, and they continue to grow in their faith. Adel is in awe whenever she would see them leading people to God, or serving in church, and in their campus.
For Adel, Christ satisfied the emptiness she had in her heart for so long. It changed her self-centered mindset to a Christ-centered one, and aligned her desires to His purposes. “From just the desire to change the kind of life I have,” she explains, “He gave me the desire to help others change the path they take. I have the desire to disciple students who are broken, because I know that God’s love can change them into the kind of person that He could use mightily.”
Any work done unto the Lord is worship to Him; work should not be a hindrance for us to disciple others. Maylin Duhilag, a twenty-five year-old stay-in helper, certainly agrees.
Maylin grew up in a Christian home, but she didn’t take her walk with God seriously. That changed after her employers invited her to church, where she was then invited to be part of a Victory group in Victory Metro East. She admits that she had a tough time at first.
“I was only there to listen,” she recounts, chalking it up to timidity. “I wasn’t sharing about my life.”
Eventually, Maylin’s shyness became a challenge when Joy, her Victory group leader, encouraged her to disciple people and preach the gospel to them.
“I was very shy,” she says. “It’s not like me to approach people and talk to them.” But Joy said, “‘You shouldn’t feel ashamed (of preaching the gospel) because of your work. You just have to do it.’ I realized that being timid was not part of God’s will for my life.”
Eventually, Maylin asked God for opportunities to step out in faith and disciple someone. The process wasn’t easy at first, of course. She’d send text messages to different people, inviting them to Victory group.
“They’d reply by saying ‘yes,’ and I’d get excited. I thought this was it!”, she recounts, only to not have these women show up at the set date, time, and place—or worse, cancel at the last minute. Despite these challenges, Maylin persisted.
“Joy also encouraged me to do my best—to keep on praying, and keep on inviting others. You shouldn’t wait for people to approach you, asking to be discipled. You have to go out there.”
Maylin’s persistence and boldness paid off when she met Rama, a thirty-three year-old businesswoman, after an altar call at a church service. They eventually began to meet regularly for ONE 2 ONE discipleship.
“Just like me, Rama was hesitant in sharing about her life,” Maylin says. “But I kept on praying for and encouraging her.”
Wasn’t Maylin intimidated by how different Rama was from her? For one, Rama was older, and she had a totally different line of work. “No,” Maylin says. “The people around us would not know who Jesus is, unless we tell them.”
Maylin and Rama regularly continued meeting for ONE 2 ONE. Just last June, Rama was water baptized, and now has a heart to disciple other women. In the same way, Maylin is continuing on the work God has started in her—by preaching the gospel to the women entrusted to her for discipleship.
Maylin believes that her transformation from being a shy churchgoer to a bold disciplemaker is the work of God’s power in her life. “Jesus did not hold back from obeying the Father when He died on the cross for us.”
Now, Maylin has no holding back in sharing God’s love to the people around her—no matter what.