From October 24 to 26, 2016, more than 260 Real LIFE Foundation scholars from Metro Manila and the provincial areas will gather for their annual National Scholar’s Conference. This event aims to equip the scholars for L.I.F.E. (leadership, integrity, faith, excellence) and to encourage them in their faith.
The conference is also a great opportunity for our Real LIFE scholars to be connected, build relationships with fellow scholars from other Philippine cities, and be inspired to make a difference in their own ways.
The scholars will hear from different Victory pastors, namely Pastor Joseph Bonifacio, who will talk about leadership; Pastor Gilbert Foliente, who will speak about integrity; Pastor Joey Bonifacio, who will expound on faith; and Bishop Ferdie Cabiling, who will tackle the topic of excellence.
There will also be workshops focused on different course tracks like engineering, accountancy, communications and information technology, and business management. These sessions will be done in a classroom set-up, with the goal of preparing our students for their respective fields after graduation. Every Nation campus missionaries will also speak to our high school scholars about identity, character and developing good habits.
We are in faith that when our Real LIFE scholars go back to their respective homes and campuses after the conference, they will be refreshed, energized, and encouraged to live lives of leadership, integrity, faith, and excellence, and inspire others to do the same!
If you would like to know more about Real LIFE Foundation and make a difference in the lives of these scholars, visit RealLIFE.ph
Clarisse Tagayun is a thirteen-year old high school student who volunteers at KIDS Church in Victory Pioneer. Her parents, Cris and Lhite, actively serve in church, and their passion rubbed off on Clarisse and her siblings.
“I became active in church last year,” she shares, “I started teaching in KIDS church.”
She soon got connected to a Victory group, where she met her Victory group leader, Rachel Ching. Fueled by her passion to talk about God’s word, Clarisse would volunteer to lead their Victory group when Rachel was not available. Seeing this desire in Clarisse, Rachel empowered her to lead by letting her facilitate their group. “I was nervous because I didn’t know what to do,” she reveals, “But I would just study the Victory group material and my parents would help me. I prayed to God that he will teach me to facilitate.”
The desire to preach the gospel continued to grow in Clarisse’s heart. Discipling pre-teens felt natural for her. It was easy for her to relate with people in her age group and talk about things they have in common. Last May, she she met Florence Panizales, an elementary student who wanted to know more about Jesus. Wasting no time, Clarisse immediately led her through ONE 2 ONE.
Encouraged by her parents and inspired by Florence’s openness to know God more, Clarisse also started engaging Florence’s parents, Willie and Reggie. She was able to connect them to a Victory group for couples, led by her parents. Asked if she felt scared engaging people older than her, Clarisse said she was nervous but she knew she was also fulfilling God’s calling for her. “Age is just a number,” she says, “Being young, you could show lots of people that even if you’re young, God can still use you.”
Her efforts certainly bore fruit. Today, Florence has undergone ONE 2 ONE, and she is excited to be part of the next Victory Weekend for pre-teens. At ten years old, she has started preaching the gospel to her friends and classmates, and she is now leading a small group in her school. Her parents, Willie and Reggie, are growing in their faith, meeting regularly with a Victory group for couples. They have also undergone Victory Weekend recently.
Asked how she would encourage other people to make disciples, Clarisse strongly recommends getting discipled and joining a Victory group, “Discipleship is important and your Victory group would be there to help and listen to you.” As young as she is, Clarisse has fully embraced her calling to make disciples. She doesn’t see the person’s age, instead she focuses on their need for a Savior. “God wants us to have a relationship with Him,” she states simply, “He wants it for other people, too.”
Clarisse agrees that the youth is the hope of the future. As early as now, she is expectant of the great and mighty things God will do in her generation. “It doesn’t matter how young you are or how old you are,” she says, “God called us to make disciples.”
“I looked down on myself,” confesses sixteen-year old Angel Gomez when asked if she had always thought of herself as a leader, “I kept overthinking and I didn’t want to get out of my comfort zone.”
Growing up in a Christian family, Angel heard the gospel at an early age. By 2007, her family started attending Victory, which eventually introduced her to KIDS Church. By the time she was ten years old, she got discipled and met her first mentor, who also became her Victory group leader. “I grew up a Christian,” she shares, “But it was at Kids Church where I finally understood the gospel.”
Fueled by her newfound passion towards Jesus, Angel would attend prayer meetings and discipleship conferences, apart from the usual worship service. It was during those times that she developed a yearning to share the gospel to other people and mentor them, too. “I would stand up every time the pastor would pray for those who want to be Victory group leaders,” she reveals.
She eventually transitioned to another mentor when she moved on from KIDS Church. Now a teenager, the thought of leading other people her age became more daunting, but Angel couldn’t ignore God’s call. Empowered by her Victory group leader and encouraged by her parents, she finally started doing One 2 One with her friends.
“I kept thinking, ‘I can’t do it yet’ or ‘I’m not good enough,’” she shares. “I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to lead well. But when I finally stepped out of my comfort zone and took a step towards what God wants me to do, He made me see His greatness!”
This year, Angel stepped out in faith and started leading her own Victory group, composed of girls in their preteen and teenage years. Whenever she needed coaching, she would consult her parents, and asks them to comment on how she shares the Word. Angel didn’t take her new role lightly. For her, it’s a privilege to be called to lead.
With her Victory group, she learned the importance of journeying with other female Christians, and being accountable to them. For Angel, being able to share her life, and being part of other people’s lives, too, is a blessing. “I like encouraging other people and walking with them in their Christian life,” she shares, “It’s also really fun!”
A volunteer worship leader at Victory Greenhills’ Kids Church who was part of the worship team at the Every Nation Campus 2016 Conference, Angel believes that she needs to step out of her comfort zone more by making disciples inside her campus. She credits her Victory group leader for making her realize that she can lead, not because she’s qualified, but because God qualifies those He calls. “I may not be there yet, I may not be the best, but I am reminded that despite who I am, God is still using me,” Angel declares, “He chose me, and He’s willing to use me!”
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.
Whatever your age, you have a responsibility for the next generation! Know more about your role in our new series, Get in the Game. Starting June 3, join us as we know about God’s heart for the next generation. We’ll also discover what it means to disciple students and reach the campuses in our respective communities.
Check out the list of weekly topics here:
Week one: Continue – Know how the older generation can equip and empower the younger generation!
Week two: Power up – Discover the next generation’s responsibility to respond to the call of God in their lives.
Join us at a Victory location nearest you! We’re one church in fifteen locations in Metro Manila. We also meet at various venues across the Philippines. Check out our directory for the Victory location nearest you.
Do invite your family and friends to our services! See you!
Bad food, late nights, crazy games, friendships established, encounters with God—it’s youth camp season again. All over the Philippines, our campus ministries are utilizing the summer season to hold these pivotal events that seal the previous school year and jumpstart the next one. Here are some reasons why they’re so important:
1. Strong Relationships
Whether it’s a camp that’s open to all or specifically focused on the leaders of the campus ministry, one major upside are the relationships developed by the end. There’s just something about staying in the same place, going through those embarrassing games, and worshiping God together that brings young people together.
People who used to feel out of place in the youth service now come alive. Teenagers who were brought reluctantly by their parents leave the camp feeling quite at home. It isn’t uncommon to see people exchanging contact information, writing each other dedications on their notebooks, and promising to meet up soon – even though they’ll see each other within a few days in Manila. Childish sentimentalism? Maybe. Useful for ministry? You bet.
2. Encounters with God
This is a no-brainer, but it should be mentioned anyway. I’m not saying we can’t encounter God anywhere else but there’s something about being out of your usual habit, being in nature, and worshipping God that seems to break through the usual noise of every day life.
I remember being 16 years old, singing a worship song when I suddenly felt a compulsion to get on my knees and cry out to God for the nations. I think I knew then that I would be doing this for the rest of my life. Many people in the Bible, in history, and in our movement have received their calling in similar encounters with God. Church kids who saw Victory as “my parents’ church” now see it as “my church” because of their encounter with God.
3. Faith Building
Camps cost money and one must walk the fine balance of helping out when possible but also encouraging the students to believe God for provision. Many students work, sell, save, and ask to raise the money. In fact, seeing God provide is like the opening salvo to a powerful encounter with God.
Dan Monterde, our campus director and youth pastor in Metro East, had one such encounter. He was new in church and wasn’t sure if he could make it to the camp. He thought, “Pangmayaman lang yan,” until a random church member went up to him and gave him money for registration saying God had led him to do so. That was a powerful lesson for Dan that God was his Father and this Father’s resources were unlimited. There are so many more stories like that and it compounds even more as these recipients of generosity gratefully pass on what they received to another generation.
4. Leadership Development
Running a camp is hard! Securing the venue must be done months in advance—it has to be nearby, affordable, securable, and conducive to all the events. Planning it can be a fruit-testing process because you have to deal with students who change their minds, parents with weird special requests, money concerns, weather changes, bus drivers who are uncooperative, health precautions, etc. And this is all a great time to develop new leaders.
For many student leaders, running a camp is a time when they can get a taste of real campus ministry. We will not shrink back from asking the students to carry heavy loads of responsibility because a.) we really need the help (at least honest), b.) this will propel them to greater maturity, and c.) God has promised to pour out His spirit on them so they can do it!
5. Vision for their Campus
No matter the specific purpose of the camp, when you combine the above elements you have a recipe for a passionate campus ministry ready to make disciples in the coming school year. Pastor Ferdie Cabiling used to have us go outside the meeting hall in Caliraya and lie down on the (wet) grass looking up at the stars. He said, “That’s how many people you can disciple, just like God promised Abraham.”
Maybe it’s the “mountain-top experience” where people come from the mountain to go back to the world. Or maybe it’s the company of brothers and sisters encouraging each other that we can go and reach our campuses for Jesus. Or maybe it’s because the stars are just brighter outside of Manila. For whatever reason, when these students have that powerful time with God in the camps they go back to their homes and schools ready to advance God’s kingdom there.
Joseph Bonifacio is the Executive Director of Every Nation Campus, a nationwide campus organization passionate about preparing students for LIFE. He also serves as a volunteer pastor in Victory Fort Bonifacio.
We hear about it in songs and even from our national hero, but how convinced are we that the future rests in the hands of today’s young people?
Join us this weekend as we start our new series, “NXT.” We’ll find out about God’s heart for young people and His plans and purposes for them. We’ll also know our part in making their God-given destinies happen.
Here is the list of our weekly topics:
Week One: What do you see? Week Two: Who do you see?
Victory is one church meeting in fifteen different locations across Metro Manila and forty-five churches in the provinces. To know where the Victory location nearest you is, check out our national directory.
Do invite your family and friends at our services! See you then!