Showing posts with label Students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Students. Show all posts

The Family Challenge

Taken from:

A number of students who come to know the Lord in college often face the family challenge. By this I mean failing to reach out to one's relatives, parents and siblings with the Good News of Jesus.

This is not surprising on the one hand because my interactions with students in the past two years made me see how many of them come from essentially "broken" families. Theirs may not be a literal broken family but genuine interaction or concern among the members is essentially lacking.

Parents are too busy with their work. Siblings are focused on their academics, careers, or their peers and "barkada." There is so little room for conversation and "kamustahan" because members spend more time in front of their computers, smartphones or tablets rather than with one another.

But on the other, I find it frightening that students fail to reach out to their closest relatives and families because this shows that something's lacking in their understanding of the Gospel.

I do acknowledge, however, the difficulty of proclaiming Christ especially if you are the youngest or among the younger members of the family. Your authority is simply not there. If you have a strict father or an over bearing mother or successful siblings, what possibility is there for them to believe you?

But in the many years that I have shared Jesus in my own family, God made me realize that it's not a matter of authority or age. In the end, it's about God's grace working intricately with one's testimony and commitment to reach out in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Before I came to know Jesus, I practically took my family for granted. I wasn't really close with my parents and siblings because I was focused on my dreams and ambitions. Thus, when I surrendered my life to Jesus, this was one area He worked in me.

It wasn't easy. Even when I became a believer, I still found it challenging to regain the lost time and affection towards my family. But I made a commitment to do my best to reach out to them. There were times when doing so involved sacrifices and I faced them by God's grace.

I have to admit that there were times when I didn't feel like living out my commitment. But God used several circumstances and people to remind and encourage me to continue.

Just yesterday, for example, I was talking to a brother in Christ whose family is facing challenges. His commitment to love his siblings, parents and relatives coupled with his deep faith in Jesus encouraged me to continue reaching out to my own family.

He's right when he said, "Never take your family for granted. While they're there and while you can, spend time with them. Make them feel that you care."

As much as this is a reminder and a challenge to me, I also leave it as a challenge and a reminder to all student believers. Let us not forget that back in our respective homes is a family that also needs Jesus. Let us pray for them. Let us strive to cultivate deeper relationships with our parents and siblings.

May we never grow tired of loving them even if it's difficult sometimes. And if we've been hurt by those closest to us before, let us ask Christ to teach us to forgive especially now that we've received His forgiveness.

It's no mystery that among God's 10 commandments is an instruction pertaining to our parents, "Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12)." The family is God's gift for all practical and spiritual reasons. When we were still young, God provided for us primarily through our parents.

Our first lessons in life came from them. For those who grew up in Christian homes, their first Bible studies were with their fathers and mothers.

And when we look at Jesus, we will see His concern for His earthly mother, Mary. Even in the face of death on the cross,  He remembered to entrust her to John, one of His apostles. He knew that He was leaving soon but He wanted someone to look after His earthly mother.

This is why we read in John 19:26-27, "When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, 'Woman, here is your son,' and to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' From that time on, this disciple took her into his home."

May we never forget that even if we have spiritual families when we come to Christ, our biological families should remain a passion in our hearts. May we never fall in the trap of escaping from our biological families while substituting our spiritual ones for them. This has never been God's design.

I believe that for many college students who become Christians only in the university, God's purpose is for them to be salt and light in their homes. I pray that we will never miss that opportunity. Sure it is more difficult to minister there, but in the end, Christ never promised us comfort when He called, "Come follow me."

After reading this, may you offer a moment of prayer for your family. I hope that you will also join me in my commitment to reach out to my
parents, siblings and relatives for Jesus. May God bless you all!

In Christ,

By His grace alone

See source below

I was cleaning my blog and editing old posts from long ago when I suddenly remembered 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

I could not believe the things I wrote then. If you will go back to my old posts, you will notice how emotionally disturbed I was. I had posts expressing loneliness, grief, longing, anger, frustration-- the list of negatives went on.

My worldview was clearly far from God's. I looked at things from a self-centered perspective, weighing events according to their benefit to the selfish "I". I wanted attention. I demanded love. 

The Pau four or five years ago is someone I don't want to meet today. He's too preoccupied with his life, too focused on his ambitions, too far away from God.

But I am writing this post today as an encouragement to everyone who feels disappointed with his walk with the Lord. If you ask me, I'm among the more difficult group of people to share Jesus to. But I thank God for those people whom He used to reveal His truth to me.

Above all, I thank Him for His grace. It is all because of God's mercy that He plucked a wretched man such as I and transformed him slowly into someone more and more like Christ. I could not boast about anything. I could not say that He saved me because I was a good person, because I know that I am not, based on God's standards.

I also could not boast about my transformation because only His Spirit changed me day by day for His glory.

God truly chooses the most unlikely people and turns them into His servants. He chooses not based on looks or ethnicity or intellect. He chooses out of His free grace. And those whom He chooses, He keeps as His own forever.

You may feel unworthy or far from God right now, but let me encourage you that one can never be too far away from God's grace. He changed me and continues to change me. He can change you as well as you seek Him through Jesus Christ.

May God bless you more!

In Christ,


Image taken from:

Volunteering at VOICE's Graduation Treat

It had been a while since I last helped out in our church's VOICE Ministry (Values Orientation in Classroom Education). I used to teach values to grade school students at the Krus na Ligas Elementary School near UP Diliman. That was around a year ago.

I told Kuya Cris that I was stopping for a year because my schedule could not accommodate the weekly teaching load. But I was determined to teach again in the coming year if God permits.

Even if I'm not officially with the ministry, however, I grabbed the opportunity to volunteer in the VOICE Graduation Treat given by the team helping out at the Blara Elementary School, at the Windmill Farm behind UP. The plan was simple. They wanted to share the Gospel to the grade 6 graduating class in a simple evangelistic event filled with games, magic shows, story telling and small group discussions.

There were around 40 from our church who came and we served more or less 130 students. I enjoyed the games, particularly the "Pinoy Henyo" where I volunteered as time keeper. Several students took turns guessing names and terms from the different values lessons they learned throughout the year.

Kuya Jan Barrera's Gospel presentation using magic tricks caught the attention of the students. I find it creative to mix Biblical message with attention-grabbing activities like magic ticks. Though we really have to be very careful so that the illustration will not overpower the message.

His explanation of sin using "Betadine" mixed with a glass of water made the concept clearer for the young participants. It graphically illustrated how sin made us "dirty" or "dark" before our holy God. And as adding clean water on the glass could not make the solution as clear as it originally was, trying to cleanse ourselves through our good works wouldn't work as well.

Kuya Jan, then, used a cross as a stirring rod to illustrate his next point--only the blood of Jesus could  cleanse us from our sins. When he stirred the solution, the liquid slowly became clear again. He graciously told me the secret behind this trick, but I'm not about to share it here.

I will share, however, the timeless truth that no amount of good work from ourselves can cleanse us from our sins and restore our broken relationship with God. It was Jesus who made a way when He died on the cross. That is why our proper response must be to admit that we are powerless on our own, and to trust Jesus alone as our Savior from sin and as Lord of our lives.

After the quick magic show, Pastor Tasky took on the role of a teacher and a story-teller. He elaborated on the Good News about Jesus, unveiling the whole salvation story beginning at creation down to the cross. At this point, I found myself praying for the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of the listeners.

As I looked around, I saw varying reactions from the students and parents. Some were bored but there were really those  who keenly listened. Just by reflecting on the different responses, I affirm what the Bible says that God is the one who gives people the grace to believe in Jesus.

We cannot put people in boxes, expecting similar results given the diversity of backgrounds and experiences.  What I have learned after more than two years in the ministry is that evangelism is less about counting converts and more about helping people inch closer into personally knowing Jesus.

Afterall, crossing over from death to life is not in the hands of the the evangelist. We can only faithfully and clearly proclaim Jesus, leaving the conviction of the heart to the Holy Spirit.

We had small group discussions at the end of the program and I handled six students from Kuya Marlon's class. They were bright students with wonderful ambitions. We only had limited time discussing so I concentrated on explaining to the students what saving faith in Jesus meant.

I told them that it was more than knowing facts about Jesus, though this is certainly part of it. Saving faith involved trust. The things we know or understand about the Christ are useless if we do not make a stand on them-- whether to believe or reject them. Those who genuinely believe are reconciled to God. While those who reject, remain separated from Him.

As a parting illustration, I taught them about the "Roman Hand Shake." I learned this a long time ago as an illustration of God's faithfulness to those who believe. It's a unique kind of handshake where both participants hold each other up until the elbow. The idea is, even if one lets go, as long as the other keeps holding on, the handshake is not broken.

This is how God treats His sons and daughters. He assures us that all those He saves are safe in His arms. Even if at times we let go, Jesus will never let go. He is faithful to see us through.

I don't know if I'll be able to see these students again. But my peace is that God has planted seeds of the Gospel in their hearts. I pray that somewhere along their faith journey, someone else can continue planting, watering and cultivating the truth until the day they come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

May you be encouraged!

In Christ,

Fall on Love before falling in love

Here is the outline of my talk at High Praise Sta. Rosa. We set out to understand love in its fullness at the post-valentine event of their youth fellowship. By searching through the Scriptures, we realized that love can only be understood fully when we know God, who is its author, and when we understand His Agape love expressed in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

May you be blessed as you read this post!

Thank You HP Youth Sta. Rosa!

Sa aking mga kapatid sa HP Youth Sta. Rosa,

Ako'y lubos na nagpapasalamat at nagpupuri sa Panginoon sa pagkakataong ibinigay Niya sa akin upang tumulong sa inyong ministry sa Sta. Rosa.

Nakakataba ng puso at nakakagalak na makita ang patuloy na pagalaw ng Diyos sa buhay ng mga kabataan. Ako man ay naka-base sa Maynila, nais kong ipaalam sa inyo na kasama kayo sa aking mga panalangin.

Nawa'y patuloy kayong magpagamit sa Kaniya sa lahat ng pagkakataon. Maslumalim pa kayo sa Kaniyang Salita at patuloy na ibabad ang inyong mga sarili sa presensya ng Kaniyang Espiritu.

Ipagkakatiwala ko sa inyo ang lahat ng mga dumalo sa inyong youth event. Nawa'y masamahan niyo silang lahat sa higit na pagkakilala kay Hesus bilang Panginoon at Tagapagligtas. Alam kong may mga buhay na nabago ng Diyos sa natapos na event. Maging sensitibo sana kayo upang makita ang maraming pagkakataon upang tulungan ang mga kaibigang ito.

Tandaan niyo rin na malawak at sagana ang ani ng Panginoon pero marami pang mangagawa ang kinakailangan. Dalangin kong bawat isa sana sa inyong fellowship ay hindi lang maging attendee or spectator kundi lahat kayo'y maging mga disciples na nag-aalab para kay Hesus. Patuloy ninyong ibahagi ang Mabuting Balita na ang kaligtasan ay matatagpuan lamang kay Hesus sa grasya at pagtitiwala sa Kaniya.

I leave with you these exhortations from Paul to the young minister Timothy:

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

God bless you all!

In Christ,

You can read and download my talk HERE.

No UPCAT Results Yet (Feb 1, 2013)

I took the liberty to check the UPCAT rumors circulating on Facebook. And as of today (Feb. 1, 2013) the OUR has not yet posted UPCAT Results. These photos were taken at 11:30 a.m. The guard on duty said she is also unaware of the release date for UPCAT, adding that the online and hard copy lists will be simultaneously made available. :)

The Joy of Serving Christ

I have always reiterated that DCF is not my ministry, your ministry or anyone else's because it belongs to God. When I started praying for the revival and establishment of several dorm fellowships, God impressed on my heart the powerful words of 2 Corinthians 4. In this chapter, we read some of the most encouraging verses for ministers and evangelists through the ages.

I am particularly moved by the first verse that says, "Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." Whenever I read this, I am reminded of my status as a steward of the dorms ministry and never its owner. By the mercy of God, we continue to serve our fellow dormers. By the mercy of God, we continue to meet and worship. By the mercy of God, we continue to share His Gospel to all who are willing to listen.

But I have to confess that everytime a new chapter dawns on the ministry, I become anxious. Who will take over the leadership? Who will be the next core leaders in the dorms? How will we encourage students to step up and serve?

These are but a few questions that plague me these past days. However, I remind myself that as long as God finds this ministry useful for His greater glory, there is no reason to doubt His faithfulness. I have not yet seen a ministry fold up and die a natural death. There are days, however, when I ponder upon the possibility of God taking away the dorms ministry. But I fight these thoughts off not by sulking on one corner of my room but by encouraging all the able DCFers to continue shining brightly in the dorms.

I praise God because His response to this desire for more ministry opportunity is evangelism. In my six years and counting with DCF, I witnessed for the first time all the dorm fellowships having one heart towards sharing Jesus to the dormers. There are several students who are not used to doing room-to-room and stranger evangelism, but I am greatly encouraged by the stories of those who overcame their fears by God's grace.

At hindsight, I believe that God takes us away from our comfort zones to remind us to depend on Him. When this batch of DCFers saw the challenge in numbers and man-power, their response was to go and share Christ. The motivation was not to increase in number and influence, but to grab the opportunity for God to display His power and glory by using few, willing men and women to take on great feats in their dorms.

Yes, deep inside I do pray for more harvest. But the challenges we're facing in DCF taught me to find joy in the process of evangelism as well as in its fruits or outcome. I once told the leaders that there is a possibility that they will not see the fruits of their labor. God may have called them to sow what the future generation of DCFers will harvest. It's a tough news to break. To this, God answers with the closing verse of 2 Corinthians 4, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Having a vibrant and flourishing ministry here on earth is a wonderful blessing, but what is this compared to the awaiting glory of eternity? As long as we are here, we offer ourselves to God's service in the dorms. If God gives the increase, we praise Him. If He chooses otherwise, we praise Him still. Afterall, the ultimate joy of ministry is in gaining the approval of Christ and hearing Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Photo taken from:

From UP Diliman to the Mall of Asia (MOA)

My friends know that I am a disaster when it comes to commuting. I'm entirely dependent on other people whenever I need to go to a new place in the metropolis. Though I've been living in Quezon City for almost six years now, I have yet to memorize how to commute from one place to another.

Last weekend-- believe it or not-- I went to the Mall of Asia for the first time. Knowing that it's way down south made me reluctant to visit the third largest mall in Asia all these years. Just thinking of the heat and the smoke in the busy streets of the city drains my enthusiasm. But last Friday, I went to MOA to meet with my family for a weekend of bonding.

I've decided to put this up as a maiden post for the public service section of my blog. It may seem silly but I know several people like me who fail in commuting. So, here's how you get to MOA from the UP Diliman Campus:

1. From UP, ride any jeepney going to Pantranco. This costs Php 11.00  Get off at the Quezon Avenue Station of the MRT.
2. At MRT Q-Ave, buy a ticket going to the last station in Taft. Make sure that you're in the South-bound lane of the station. This costs Php 15.00. Q-Ave to Taft takes about 30 minutes.
3. When you reach Taft, you will see a jeepney terminal near the stairs. The jeepneys don't look like the traditional Sarao brand, but look more like multicabs. You'll hear barkers calling out their routes which includes the Mall of Asia. This rides costs Php 8.00
4. The multicab will drop you off at MOA. You know you're there when you see a giant globe and the facade of a huge building bearing the sign, "Mall of Asia."
5. The entire trip from UP to MOA takes about an hour and a half one way depending on the traffic condition and the number of passengers waiting at MRT Q-Ave. It costs Php 34.00 total.

Just follow these steps in reverse order to go back to UP. Take note that there jeepneys below the Q-Ave station that go directly to the campus.

Photo Taken from

Sharing Christ in Sorsogon National Highschool

It's been a month since we went to Bibincahan, Sorsogon for our annual Misions Trip. I'm now having difficulty recalling all the experiences we had as I type away a story about our campus evangelism.

What struck me in our day-long campus evangelism was the great number of students in Sorsogon National High School. We were only 30 in the team and there were more than five thousand students on campus.

This fact dawned on me while I was sharing to three students at the school's stage. It was a high platform, giving me a good view of most of the quadrangle. When the bell rang to signal the noon break, hoards of students came out of their classes to the playground.

From where I sat, I saw how our team-- wearing blue shirts-- dissolved in a sea of white uniforms. At that moment, I remembered Jesus' words in Matthew 9:37-38, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." I felt how few we were compared to the students who have not yet heard the Gospel of Jesus.

Interestingly, Ate Flor, a deaconess at our church in DCBC, commented on how big our group was before we left for the Missions Trip. I thought she was right until I saw the students in the campus where we were sharing.

We did our best to share Jesus in the limited time we had. Until now, I consider it purely grace and Divine intervention that we were allowed to share inside the classrooms and in the school grounds. We went there without any letter of request or any appointment whatsoever. But everything flowed smoothly from the guard,  to the principal, down to the teachers in the classrooms.

Lads passionately shares Jesus among students resting under a tree.
I was a bit nervous when Kuya Caloy asked me to talk to the principal with Marvee and Lads. I didn't know what to tell her. I quietly prayed as we were directed to her office. When we entered, instead of a strong-willed school head, we were greeted by a soft-spoken and mild-mannered lady who immediately referred us to another school official with approval.

I couldn't even remember what I told her now. I think it was something about youth outreach, faith and a brief introduction of the True Love Waits seminar. I repeated this to three more school officials until we were finally given the go signal to enter.

Anthony talks about Jesus in a seniors class.
The values coordinator directed us to rooms where we can conduct simple evangelistic programs. Some classrooms could not accommodate us because of ongoing exams. During our group devotions in the afternoon, several team members shared how the Lord gave them courage to speak in front of a mixed crowd. There were attentive students and unruly ones, but our joy is the opportunity to sow seeds of the Gospel in their hearts.

At least one group shared about a teacher who scolded them. Because he was late, he was surprised to find students talking in his class. Though the teacher gave them a fright, the team kept their cool and said sorry afterwards. It was their closest experience of persecution for Jesus.

Rabee easily attracts students to listen to the Gospel.
Some shared in the open field. And because I was busy coordinating the classroom evangelism, I joined those who shared in the quadrangle instead. I was able to talk to at least three groups of students. The most memorable was the trio who sat on the stage. I couldn't find my list now where I wrote down their names, but I couldn't forget the encounter because of the wonderful conversation we had.

I know that the three understood the Gospel because of the answers they gave to my questions. I painstakingly explained about sin and our utter inability to cleanse ourselves through our own merit. When I challenged them to think of how they can cleanse themselves of all their sins, past, present and future, they couldn't give me a definitive answer.

They had some ideas but they admitted that they weren't sure if their answers were enough. It was at that moment when I introduced them to Jesus as God's only provision for the cleansing and forgiveness of sins. And I told them that whenever they look at the cross, they should remember how someone chose to take our place.

"We should be the ones hanging on our crosses because of our sins," I emphasized, "But because of God's great love, He sent Jesus as substitute to fulfill His justice."

Then, I asked them if they were sure of their relationship with Christ. Pointing to their hearts, I said that if they believed that Jesus could cleanse them and they trusted Him as Lord and Savior, then they would have a relationship with Him.

"Do you understand this?" I asked. One by one I saw them nod. Then I extended the invitation for them to put their faith in Jesus and to repent of their sins. We all prayed and I asked the Lord to honor their prayers.

Only God knows the genuineness of their confessions. As an evangelist, my duty is to proclaim Christ, but only God can regenerate people's hearts. This is my hope and joy... that God is actively pursuing people to turn to Jesus.

I wasn't able to finish the day-long campus evangelism because I needed to run to the bank to withdraw additional funds for the team. Though I left earlier, I was at peace knowing that the rest of the team was continuing to share Jesus.

As I rode a tricycle with Charm, I prayed that each of us would bring back the passion and zeal for the Gospel in our own campuses. One pastor once said, "Evangelism is caught and not taught." Most often than not, Christians need exposure to soul-winning to get them started. All the methods and tools are great but actually sharing Jesus is a far more effective way of growing in evangelism.

For us in DCF, I thank God because after the trip, I've seen an increased desire to do stranger and relationship evangelism. I continue to pray that more of us will respond and be among God's workers in His ripe harvest field.

Rachel engages students as she talks about the Good News.

Reach the Campus, Reach the Nation

In the first ever Koinonia Night (K-Night) for the academic year 2012-2013, the UP Christian Community tackled one of the core pillars of the ministry-- the campus mission field.

Kuya Caloy challenged all of us to continue reaching not only the University of the Philippines but our neighboring campuses as well. He also emphasized the Biblical basis of our ministry which can be traced back to the very beginning of time.

It's amazing to learn that God is the Grand Weaver behind the spread of His wonderful Good News. Despite humanity's disobedience, God's divine plan came to pass for His glory. He used both blessings and persecutions to move His people so that His Gospel may be proclaimed to the ends of the earth.

Finally, as Kuya Caloy traced the history of the missions movement around the globe, I can't help but remember a very moving song by Steve Green, "Find Us Faithful." Part of it goes this way:

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

May the Lord continue to teach us dependence as we serve Him in the mission field that is our campus.

I'm adding an audio recording of the preaching here. May you be blessed!

Why 1 Thessalonians 2:8? (MET)

1 Thessalonians 2:8 was this year's theme verse for the Missions Exposure Trip (MET) in Sorsogon. In 32 words, the Apostle Paul expressed his kind of evangelism-- one fueled by love that builds genuine relationships.

He wrote, "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."

DCF's leaders chose this verse for several reasons. Topping the list was their desire to reemphasize relationship-building in evangelism.

This was their heart because of the modern fast-food mentality of Christians that substituted genuine friendships with impersonal and canned evangelism formulas. Such mentality is fueled by an unhealthy interest in numbers and by misguided empire-building principles.

The student leaders wanted Paul's brand of evangelism not only among the MET participants but also the members of the Dormitories Christian Fellowship in UP and the Living Word Christian Fellowship in Quezon. Their strategy was to give hands-on training to the MET members who will then spark evangelism movements in their respective campuses by Gods's grace.

Prayerfully, the movements that will arise will balance faithful and Biblical preaching of the Gospel with genuine love and relationship. As the students share Jesus with their lips, they will also exhibit Him in their life while genuinely loving people as people, not simply conversion prospects.

It is true that one week is not enough to build lasting friendships with people, especially if you start out as total strangers. This is where the partner church comes in. The MET team always works with a local church in its target area. While the members go out and sow seeds, the church follows up on those who respond positively or show interest in the Gospel.

In Sorsogon, several people who heard about Jesus willingly gave their address and contact number to the MET Team. The students who joined the True Love Waits Seminar did the same when they filled up the attendance sheet. These were all turned over to Pastor July of the Sorsogon Bible Christian Church.

Technology also posed blessings for this MET Team. Some members who developed friendships with the locals have the privilege of following up people through Facebook and mobile phones. Even if they could not be there physically, these new found friends are one text or PM away.

One other feature of the verse that particularly appealed to the students was the driving force of evangelism focused on love. It is interesting that Paul started with the statement, "We loved you so much," underlining the truth that the love they felt for the people of Thessalonica compelled them to share Jesus.

This kind of love is of God and not man. Afterall, how can you love someone you have just met? And this love was shown by introducing Jesus and His transforming power to the lives of the people they met. This is done not through mere words but by their very lives.

Perhaps the image is most clearly seen in the lives of missionaries. Many Christian missionaries turned away from a potentially lucrative work or comfortable life to spend time with people to journey with them towards Christ. Why do they do this? Out of their love and concern for people, and their desire to honor God.

In one short week, the students of the MET team experienced this kind of life, though theirs was shorter and potentially more comfortable than the daily struggles of full-time Christian workers. However, they still had a taste of sharing Jesus and investing a part of their lives in several people's faith journey towards Christ.

They may never know all who responded to Jesus' call of repentance and faith, but their joy is the unchanging affirmation that "your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)."

Help the Missions Exposure Trip 2012

Pledge an Amount      l     Be an Intercessor

October 17-23, 2012

In 1994, a small band of young Christians from the University of the Philippines received a heart-burden to preach the Good News of Jesus to the provinces around the country.

Led by their campus missionary, Pastor Carlos Novisteros, the team headed for Calapan in the Island of Mindoro where they ministered to locals in the area, including the Mangyan people group.

This small Missions Team helped sow seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of the people they encountered. Their partnership with local Christians, churches and missionaries in the island ensured strong, Biblical follow up and discipleship for those who heard the Good News and placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

To date, Biblically-rooted Mangyan Christian Churches are scattered all over Mindoro. And part of the story of their growth included this small Missions Team from the UP Dormitories Christian Fellowship (UPDCF).

Eighteen years and eighteen Missions Exposure Trips (MET) after, the UP DCF continues to send its team of short-term local missionaries in provinces all over the country. To date, the organization has ministered to five areas in Northern Luzon, nine in Southern Luzon and five in the Visayas. By God’s grace, these Trips paved the way in planting new Christian Churches, strengthening local believers and starting campus-based ministries.

This coming October 17-23, the UPDCF, together with its partner-organization, the Living Word Christian Fellowship (LWCF), is poised to send a team of 30 students and alumni to Bibinhacan, Sorsogon City. LWCF is a product of the Missions Trip way back in 2006. The Lord brought growth to the ministry and is now actively helping in spreading the Gospel in the Southern Tagalog area.

The 2012 Missions Exposure Trip features a blend of house-to-house, stranger, campus and open-air evangelism, a True Love Waits Seminar for the youth in the area, ministry skills training for the local believers, and a one-day Beach Missions.

The team will be sent to share the Good News in the neighborhood around their partner church. They will be spending time talking to the locals about Jesus and sharing His gift of salvation by grace through faith.

They will also visit local schools and campuses to minister to students and teachers with the Gospel. All those who respond in faith will be channeled to the local church for follow up and discipleship.

The Missions Team will also conduct a day-long True Love Waits (TLW) Seminar. This aims to educate the youth about Biblical standards on sex and relationship to help prevent teenage pregnancies and premarital sex. And ultimately, for them to commit to wait in purity until the Lord leads them to the right person as their life-long spouse.

Several ministry trainings especially in evangelism and discipleship will also be offered to the local believers. These will deal with heart issues and perceptions about evangelism and discipleship, desiring to realign the participants to God's standards. At the same time, the trainings will include practical lessons and applications to help start an evangelistic and discipleship movement in the local body.

Finally, and something new for this MET, the team will hold a day-long Beach Missions in the shores of Sorsogon. This is patterned after the ministry of the Philippine Beach Missions team which goes out to the beaches every summer to share the Gospel to tourists and locals.

The Beach Missions uses games, story-telling and the evangelistic bracelet to share the story of Christ to young and old alike. With their permission, UPDCF’s team would execute their mini-version of the ministry to bless the people of Sorsogon.

I am encouraging you to partner with the Missions Exposure Trip Team. Prayers are needed before, during and after. If you have the heart of an intercessor, please sign up so that we can include you in our prayer mailing list for updates and prayer requests.

Be an Intercessor

The team also needs financial help for the Trip. They are currently raising Php 120,000 ($2,857) for the week-long and 30-member MET team to Sorsogon. Because most of the members are college students, they really need financial assistance from generous hearts. Any amount you can chip in will be extremely helpful for the fulfillment of this ministry.

If you are in the country and you know a nearby Philippine National Bank, fill in the pledge form below. Click the link to find the bank details of UP Dormitories Christian Fellowship.

Pledge an Amount

If you are outside the Philippines or cannot access a Philippine National Bank and have a credit/debit card, a paypal account or an online bank account that can transfer funds to paypal, you can click on the Chip In button below to help. The funds will go to my paypal account, but rest-assured, every cent you give will go to the Missions Exposure Trip Team. We will be giving a liquidation report after the Missions Trip for transparency.

Thank you so much for you time! Labor with us in this work for the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom! All glory, honor and praise belong to Him alone!

1 Thessalonians 2:8 “so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

Click on the links below if you want to read past stories about the Missions Exposure Trip:

MET to Marinduque 1
MET to Marinduque 2
MET to Catanauan Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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

What is your worth?

The Centennial Christian Fellowship talks about a person's value or worth. In this podcast, we will discover that man's worth is ultimately a reflection of God the Creator who was made fully known in His Son, Jesus Christ. May you be blessed!

Speaker: Frederick Paulo Tomacder
Language: English/Filipino
Transcript/Outline: soon

A Rundown of June 2012

The first month of the Academic Year 2012-2013 is down. We are, in fact, half-way through July. But before anything else, I would like too give a rundown of God's faithfulness last month.

June 28 (Thursday)

Despite cloudy skies and lapses in publicity, the Lord was faithful in seeing His annual Freshmen Treat through. We at the Dormitories Christian Fellowship once more partnered with the State Varsity Christian Fellowship and the Diliman Campus Bible Church in organizing a welcome event for freshmen on campus.

We held the event to build friendships with the young Iskos and Iskas with the prayer that we will be able to  share Christ to them through our life, deeds and words.

Unlike the previous freshmen treats, however, this year's "Tara Ikot Freshmen Treat" featured not only an overflow of food and drinks but also several relevant activities that teach about life, relationships, honor, priorities and faith.

The event may be over, but the follow up continues. This is the more difficult part. Labor in prayer with us as we continue to interact with the freshmen who attended the event. May they be willing to attend Bible Studies, Fellowships and even Church as they get to know Jesus more and more.

June 21 (Thursday)

The ACTS Fellowship in the Philippine Science High School also held its annual Freshmen Treat a week earlier. Theirs was an opportunity to introduce the group to the new students of the Pisay Community.

They packaged their Freshmen Treat around the upcoming movie, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," drawing parallels between it and Pisay Life. But above all, the title is very fitting because of our hope that the students will find their Pisay experience as a journey-- unexpected as it may be-- towards a deeper and fuller relationship with the Living God.

Pray for these students. Pray also for the Grade 7 (Yes! That's how they're called now) team members who are following up the attendees. May God do immeasurably more than what we ask or imagine.

June 18 (Monday)

For the first time, DCF offered a Library Tour for UP freshmen as part of its community service to the university. We were all amazed at how the Lord moved. The event was one of the easiest to publicize because the students were really eager to know more about UP, especially its database of resources and information.

The UP Main Library was also kind enough to accommodate us for free. They gave us a tour guide who discussed essential things about accessing resources, academic excellence and plagiarism. Though we were unable to tour each part because of time constraints, our last stop at the original Oblation statue was more than enough.

After the tour, we had small-group discussions with the students. This was our way of introducing DCF to them as well as finding connections for friendship-building. As with any other big events, follow up is essential. I ask you, praying friends, to intercede for the small-group leaders as they follow up those whom God has appointed to them.

June 15 (Friday)

Before the Academic Year officially began, we spent one Friday afternoon praying for all the dorms, Jericho Walk style. We do this every year as a sign of dependence on God's power in fulfilling His commands and ministries in the dorms.

Unlike the previous years, however, we divided into two groups to cover the dorms more quickly. One group started in the south side of UP while another in the north side. We then converged infront  of the Kalayaan  Dorm to culminate our prayer time. 

At the end of the Jericho Walk, we have prayed for Centennial Dorms 1 and 2, Kamagong, Sampa, Kamia, Ilang, International Center, Molave, Yakal, Sanggumay, Ipil and Kalai. It was a wonderful and refreshing time of prayer and intercession, as well as our first official bonding time as a fellowship.

June 8-9 (Friday-Saturday)

The Executive Committee of DCF met for an overnight sem planning during the registration period. It was a night of intense thinking, prioritizing and scheduling especially as the fellowship recently changed its constitution. The move was made to adapt to changing times as well as to sharpen the ministry's focus.

All dorms were represented during the meeting. Praise God! The core heads also laid down their plans and proposals while the rest of the body gave suggestions to improve or streamline the programs. They also discussed the constitutional changes from the previous Exec to understand each provision better. Every now and then, they revised a word or two to make it clearer and more in-tuned with the times.

The group also held quick team-building activities, devotions and prayer times during the planning.

June 4 (Monday)

To prepare the new set of ACTS leaders, our Pisay Fellowship conducted a week-long leadership training. I was able to join the first installment where Ma'am Ayn talked about the leadership of Christ as the prime example for the students.

We also had time for reflections and prayer as the training also included spiritual preparation for the participants. We are very excited for the new set of leaders in ACTS because of their eagerness and potential. Pray for them as they lead God's ministry in their campus.

  June 2 (Saturday)

Now that the UPDCF Alumni Association had been officially recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission, its members gathered and met for its annual general assembly.

This was an opportunity for the members of the association to renew their commitment as well as to elect new officers for the coming year. Though there were still only a few alumni who came, there were several additions in the roster of members. Praise God!

I ask the other alumni to continue spreading the word about DCF's Alumni Association. I also encourage our brothers and sisters to visit their old dorm fellowships especially the ones that really need assistance.

Next Next