That Awkward Moment When Jesus Insulted an old Woman

That Awkward Moment When Jesus Insulted an old Woman

Matthew 15:21-28 records one of the most puzzling stories in the Bible. One day a Gentile woman came to Jesus and begged him to heal her daughter who was oppressed by demons. Instead of helping, Jesus gave her the silent treatment.

But she wasn’t one who would give up easily. She badgered him to the point that she was already causing a scene. The disciples intervened and asked Jesus to kindly send her away. He flatly said no, this time telling them that she was not part of his mission. She was a Gentile and at that time Jesus specifically came for the lost tribes of Israel.

You have to admire this woman’s audacity because instead of going away, she knelt before Jesus and pleaded again. This is where the story becomes shocking. Jesus turned her down again the second time saying it was not right to give the children’s food to the dogs. He called her a dog.


Those skeptical to the Christian faith call this ‘the worst kind of chauvinism’ and criticized Jesus for being harsh. Some explain this away by saying maybe Jesus was referring to cute, cuddly pet dogs (which is unlikely since pet dogs were not really fashionable in ancient times). Others, however, believe that Jesus was simply voicing out the racial and religious animosity between Jews and Gentiles at that time to give the woman (and us) a context for what happens next.

The real shocker of the story is not that Jesus uttered what we consider a bad word to a woman in need but the fact that He actually answered the audacious prayer of someone who, by all counts, didn’t deserve it. When Jesus turned her down, she recognized her unworthiness and accepted it without protest. She knew she was an outsider to the covenants of God with Israel. She knew that on her own she had no merit, no claim, no priority-standing, and had nothing to commend her. Her only basis for praying was her belief that God is good and would never deprive her of a few crumbs of mercy. She didn’t trust her merits; she trusted God’s character.

What a rare combination of humility and audacity.

This woman’s story teaches us a lot today. We have all heard that audacious faith is daring to believe God for impossible things. But where do you draw the line between faith and presumption, between audacity and a sense of entitlement?

The answer, I believe, is a deep sense of humility and a recognition that before we encountered Christ, we were beggars for grace. There’s nothing about us that is worth boasting when we come to God in prayer, not even our so-called achievements in life and in the ministry. D.L. Moody once said that Jesus never sent anyone away except those who are full of themselves.

As we start the New Year in prayer and fasting, let us believe God for big and impossible things but let

us do so with humble awareness that every crumb of blessing we receive is mainly because God is gracious, not because we deserve them.

This, I believe, is the bedrock of all our audacious prayers.

Going Forward: Discipleship in Tacloban

Going Forward: Discipleship in Tacloban

Even in storm-ravaged Tacloban, discipleship does not stop.

A few months after typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) hit the Visayas region, leaders and members from our church in Ortigas visited Tacloban to give running shoes away to students from Eastern Visayas State University. They also conducted running and basketball clinics for these university students.

Ehgie attended the basketball clinic, where he met Kix, the lone campus minister serving full-time in Victory Tacloban. Ehgie was EVSU’s soccer team captain. He, like many others, was one of those affected by the typhoon that ravaged their city.

Kix engaged Ehgie over a game of Monopoly Deal and invited him to a Victory group. Ehgie brought two of his teammates along, and the three of them are now being discipled in a small group setting.

Ehgie is now going through the ONE 2 ONE booklet with Kix. “He’s decided to follow Jesus for the rest of his life,” Kix shares. “I also encouraged Ehgie that he can do ONE 2 ONE with his teammates, too.” True enough, Ehgie is now doing ONE 2 ONE with the two friends he’s invited to Victory group!

Ehgie (right) is excited about his ONE 2 ONE session! Photo by Kix Javier
Ehgie (right) is excited about his ONE 2 ONE session! Photo by Kix Javier

Ehgie’s decision to follow Jesus for the rest of his life is not only impacting his life, and that of his family’s. It is a decision that will affect his campus and his city, and eventually the nation and the world.

Truly, discipleship is not just about us, or the circumstances surrounding us. It’s about advancing God’s kingdom, one person at a time.

Sharing the Message of Hope

Sharing the Message of Hope

Kix and his wife Bless
Kix and his wife Bless

In the wake of typhoon Yolanda bringing destruction to the Leyte city of Tacloban, Kix Javier felt a strong urge to take part in helping the fallen city.

“Even before I went there,” he says, “something was tugging at my heart.”

Five days after the storm hit, he flew to Tacloban from Manila. He was a few weeks shy of graduating from the Every Nation School of Campus Ministry, where he was training to be a campus missionary under Victory Tacloban.

Kix collaborated with Victory churches spearheading relief and rehabilitation efforts in the area, even sleeping at the airport to properly receive the goods being sent to church members affected by the typhoon. He also assisted Tacloban’s city government, offering aid to government employees who lost homes, possessions, and even loved ones.

“During the first few days,” he says, “they were also victims.”

The whole time Kix was in Tacloban post-Yolanda, mobility and transportation posed a challenge in accounting for church members and distributing relief goods. “Some of the roads weren’t clear (because of debris),” he explains. While some of Victory Tacloban’s church members sought refuge in Pastor Eugene Ramirez’s home, Kix chose to travel by motorcycle to visit and account for members who couldn’t leave their homes. All in all, the Victory Tacloban team was able to account for sixty-six church members, including Nessa Gardiola, another incoming campus missionary.

Kix flew back to Manila to attend his graduation from the School of Campus Ministry on November 28. He was chosen to deliver a speech during the commencement exercises.

“Loving God and loving others became more real in my life,” he shared of his Tacloban experience in his speech. “Christianity is not confined in the four corners of the church, but in the places where the gospel is needed.”

What’s next for Kix, and Tacloban? Kix has a stronger resolve to share the gospel in the campuses in Tacloban. “There is an even greater storm coming,” he says, “and that is the storm of the gospel.” To date, forty colleges and universities have been destroyed by Yolanda’s wrath, but there is no stopping Kix from being used by God to preach a message of faith, hope, and restoration in brokenness.

Yolanda Relief Update: Hope Amidst the Storm

Yolanda Relief Update: Hope Amidst the Storm

A week after typhoon Yolanda struck the Visayas region, we are beginning to see glimmers of hope amidst the ruins. In spite of property loss, displacement, and destruction, faith rises up in a much greater capacity.

Rising from the ashes
In Tacloban, Leyte, sixty-six members of our Victory Tacloban church have been accounted for. Pastor Eugene Ramirez, our senior pastor there, is also spearheading relief operations in the area. His home has become a temporary shelter for some of our church members in the city. While some have relocated to Cebu, Manila, and Samar, others have taken an active part in volunteering for relief operations.

From the giving that our Tacloban church has received, they are now more ready and equipped to serve the city in their own capacity. They have purchased two generators to provide for electricity since Tacloban’s main power lines are still not functioning. One of these is in Pastor Eugene’s home; the other is in a facility belonging to one of our church members which has been transformed into a temporary command center for relief operations. A vehicle was also purchased to aid in faster distribution of relief goods. The remainder of funds was used to buy relief goods and medicines for more typhoon victims in need of aid and medical attention.

Nessa Gardiola, an incoming Every Nation Campus missionary, also shared her testimony of God’s faithfulness to her and her family—providing and protecting them amidst the storm. “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.”

 Nessa Gardiola (left) is one of the Victory Tacloban discipleship group leaders who were accounted for after typhoon Yolanda. Photo by Kix Javier.
Nessa Gardiola (left) is one of the Victory Tacloban discipleship group leaders who were accounted for after typhoon Yolanda. Photo by Kix Javier.

Building homes, building lives
Another one of the more heavily affected areas in Visayas is Capiz. In this region, we have one Victory church in the municipality of Roxas. According to Richard Escosar, senior pastor of Victory Roxas, around 14,000 families were affected by typhoon Yolanda. Thankfully, their home was spared, and he and his family are now extending help to his fellow Capiznons.

Other than Tacloban, Roxas also received ample financial support from our Victory churches. “We want to make a lasting impact to the people,” Pastor Richard shares when asked about relief and rehabilitation efforts for Roxas. “Food can only last so long, but rebuilding homes and lives makes more of an impact.”

A number of Victory group leaders from our Capiz church have lost their homes, including four of our Real LIFE Foundation scholars. However, Pastor Richard is currently in the process of helping them by purchasing construction materials to rebuild their homes. The remainder of the funds is now going to assorted items for relief goods for the community.

Our Real LIFE scholars, joined by Pastor Richard Escosar (center), are still in faith and hope for their city. Photo by Pastor Paolo Punzalan.
Our Real LIFE scholars, joined by Pastor Richard Escosar (center), are still in faith and hope for their city. Photo by Pastor Paolo Punzalan.

Looking up
At the end of it all lies hope amidst the strongest storm. In spite of terrible circumstances, we are grateful for your prayers and generous giving as we partner together in alleviating the needs of our countrymen in the Visayas. Please continue praying with us as relief and rehabilitation efforts are ongoing in the Visayas region. Ask God for peace, restoration, and safety in these affected areas.

If you’re looking to participate in relief efforts, you may email

Thank you for being God’s hands and feet in this time of need!

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.

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.