A Rundown of July 2012

Dorm Fellowships in July

July marks the start of the different Dorm Fellowships in UP. For those accustomed with the UP DCF Ministry, this means kick-off meetings in several dorms throughout the week.

This year, we are serving six fellowships that include Kalai, Molave, Sampa, Kamia, Yakal and the Centennial Dorm. And throughout July, the different fellowships loaded their first meetings with topics that reflected their most pressing needs.

Sampa, Yakal, Kamia and Cente, for example, opened with foundations of the Christian faith and topics on strengthening relationships. Kalai, on the other hand, did evangelistic meetings designed for the freshmen attendees. The Kalayaan Brigade wanted to focus on the message of the Good News as well as the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Because Molave is still in the process of regrouping, the members chose to have simple prayer and devotions time once a week. They hope to transition to regular fellowship meetings with songs and guest speakers next semester.

We continue to pray for Sampa and Ipil where no dorm fellowship exists. But we have one DCFer in each of the dorms whom God can use to start a movement among the residents.


Praying for Stronger Relationships in July GA

We had team-building sessions in the first General Assembly of the Dormitories Christian Fellowship. The Exec all agreed that the new semester with its new challenges demanded stronger bonds among DCFers.

Pastor Mark Gicain from the Diliman Campus Bible Church facilitated the activities. We began with a simplified version of a childhood game, "Dr. Quack Quack." 

Dividing the attendees into two groups, Kuya Mark challenged us to untangle into a big circle without letting go of one another's hands. Both groups failed after trying for several minutes. But despite this, we got to know our fellow DCFers better because the activity allowed us to talk and interact even with those whom we don't often see from other dorms.

We also had the opportunity to discover our strengths and weaknesses as individuals through the spiritual gifts, leadership and temperaments survey. Though our goal is to be always Spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled, knowledge about our individual capacities can help DCF determine the right people for specific tasks. And having the right people in place means fulfilling our mission through various programs and advocacies.

ACTS Small Group with Sophomores 

I and Ate Jean from the Capitol City Baptist Church (CCBC) continue to meet with the sophomores of Pisay Diliman. This academic year, we decided to call our Monday small group, "Crunch Time." Crunch because we wanted to stretch our muscles and munch crackers and jelly ace during the meetings.

We spent the first few Mondays playing Frisbee and Badminton in the campus open field. When the students got tired, we trooped into the gazebos and munched on our snacks while discussing varied topics about life, acads, faith, spirituality, Jesus and the Bible.

We had shared the Gospel to them several times already, but because the transformation and conviction are God's work, we're not hurrying things but depending on the Lord in prayer. Some of the students showied more interest than the others, but they were generally curious about many things.

Once when we talked about repentance in salvation, one of the students asked me if he needed to be perfectly pure before he could be saved. He was clearly ahead and was asking very relevant questions. I told him that perfection can never be attained in this world. Only at the coming of Christ when we receive our glorified bodies will we be perfect.

Repentance, however, meant a change of mind towards sin and towards God. That is, he covenants with the Lord to now hate sin and love righteousness. When this happens, true repentance is observed. But ultimately, God alone can enable us to truly repent of sin.

Though most of our small groups are still "informal," I praise God for the stronger relationships we're forging with the sophomores. By His grace, we hope to move slowly into more serious topics, helping the students to truly get to know the Lord through His Word.


Gathered Together in the Big Fellowships

Aside from the small groups, students also gather every Thursday for a joint fellowship of all the year levels. The Big Fellowship is their weekly communal worship complete with praise songs, Bible message, sharing and prayer time.

We're doing a mixed series tackling both Bible foundations and evangelism at the moment. The ates and kuyas of ACTS wanted to help the young believers grow in their faith, but at same time, desired to transform the Big F into an evangelistic opportunity so they came up with the series.

The sophomores we're ministering to weren't as active in the Big F's. This might be caused by schedule conflicts or integration challenges. We constantly encourage the older batches to take the lead even in welcoming new and younger attendees to help them feel the warmth of belonging despite the larger gathering.

We're also working on the publicity of the Big F to attract more students to come and visit. Our batch has a natural "inviter" so we're blessed to have her with us. She had invited several of her friends and roommates in previous meetings, sometimes out of her own initiative. We're praying that the message of the Gospel will really take root in her heart. If at the moment God can use her in simple ways, I know that she can give greater service for God's glory as she matures in her faith.

Pray with us as well that she would not be discouraged even if only a few sophomores come to the gathering.   We noticed her consistent attendance when she was with batchmates, but she tended to be absent if no one went with her.

The UP Christian Community

The UPCC is in a standstill as we continue to pray for a facilitator. The absence of one affected the umbrella organization's ministries especially the monthly K-Night or the fellowship of all Christian organizations in UP.

A leader from the UP Christian Youth Movement held the post in the past two years. Those were challenging but fruitful years. Sadly, we could not find a willing student to continue leading the UPCC at the close of last semester. We were optimistic, however, that the Lord will raise up a new leader at the start of the academic year.

I joined one of the meetings of the UPCC core this July. Their agenda was simple: Encourage the community to rise up to the challenge of leading the umbrella organization. Several of the groups came, including LifeBox (VCF), UPCYM, UP DCF, Navigators and the SVCF. 

Several plans were drawn from the publicity to the screening process. But planning and executing are two different things. May the Lord give us strength to finish all the tasks lined up for the community. 

We also updated one another on the happenings in our individual ministries. And from within the group, we talked to several of those who showed interest in being the facilitator. We wanted to know if they were still burdened or if God was leading them to become the next leader of UPCC.

There are a lot of challenges, but God's faithfulness is sure. Join us in praying for the community of believers in UP.

Responding to the Challenge of Homosexuality on Campus

Starting in July, the State Varsity Christian Fellowship (SVCF) tackled a series on the key faith issues in UP Diliman. One of the fellowships I attended discussed the challenges of homosexuality as well as the proper Christian response on the subject.

I am blessed by the testimony of our speaker. He struggled with homosexuality because of childhood abuses and issues. But by the grace of God, he found deliverance and is now serving the Lord through a ministry that helps men who want to overcome same-sex attractions and the gay lifestyle.

The Church and every believer have much to learn in this area. Even I had to learn the hard way. But once I understood the issue, dealing with it really meant grace, truth and love in action. We cannot tolerate that which is against God's standard. However, we also cannot force change on people. We have to learn to strike the balance-- letting them know what God says about the issue without sounding judgmental and condemning. 

I wrote an article about this which can also read here

Ministering to SLSU Students

I was invited to speak at the Living Word Christian Fellowship in Lucban for their kick-off or camaraderie fellowship. I am invited to speak every now and then by LWCF and it is my joy to serve the students of their university.

There were times when I went to Southern Luzon State University as a resource speaker in writing workshops. In other occasions, I go there to train Christians in evangelism and discipleship.

This July, I was asked to encourage the fellowship to keep on serving the Lord as they begin a new academic year. I prepared my message for a Christian audience, but God had a different plan. As much as I was there to teach, He also reminded me once more to trust and depend on Him.

Though I anticipated the possibility of having non-Christians in the fellowship, I did not expect them to come in throngs. One LWCFer told me that their alumnus invited two of his classes to the fellowship. That explained the big group of students in one corner of the room. At that moment, I felt that God led me to alter the focus of my talk altogether.

I planned to have minimal evangelistic thrust, but because we had many non-Christian visitors, I chose to focus on the Gospel instead. 2 Timothy 4:2 (Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season) came to my mind as I struggled to edit my prepared message. I knew that the number of visitors was not an accident but an opportunity to share Jesus. 

As I shared my message, I know that God gave me the right words, stories and illustrations to explain my points. And while I shared, I was praying that God would touch the hearts of the students that they may understand the Good News and come to Christ in faith.

We had to rush back to Manila after the fellowship so I didn't have the time to interact with the students. I don't know how many of them entrusted their lives to Jesus that night. However, I trust in God's sovereignty and completed work on the cross. I know that there were students there who came to faith. My prayer is that they would be discipled for them to grow in Christlikeness for God's glory.

Thank you!

Thank you to the following Ates and Kuyas for their generosity in supporting the various activities of the dorm fellowships:

Ate Flor
Kuya Gio
Kuya Marlon
Ate Joan

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