July 14, 2014 by AJ Briones
I have been a Christian since September of 2000 but was not yet involved in my present Spiritual family yet. I actually started attending Youth on Fire (LifeBox at the present time) when I was a second year high school (Year 2003). I could remember my 1st day ever to attend a youth service. I was exposed to Chapel services all throughout my Elementary and High School years but Youth on Fire was different. I was invited by 2 of my classmates; Abraham Bormate and Jason Kanyek. I could remember back then that I was not that much open to attend a youth service because I found nothing wrong with the protestant Church I used to join (and still finding nothing wrong at present). I simply went to try out exploring the world since I was not the type who was allowed by my parents to go out with friends. I was a home to school kind of kid back then. Going out with friends was a whole new chapter in my life and it was more of a big deal for me back then than attending some youth service that I know had great music played during their services.
Attending my first ever youth service was cool. There was music and there were so many people there; young people jumping all around and singing their hearts out. It was a nice service and kind of youthful but if it was a life-changing experience for me back then? No. It was just a time to try the world out by myself and breaking through the barrier of trying to be independent. Plus I did not really like the fact that a lot of those who used to bully me when I was an elementary were attending the same service. It sickened me back then; hypocrisies in my mind.
The most unbelievable Victory story that changed my life happened 2 weeks after. I was invited by some of my campus ministry friends to Youth on Fire again and it was all the same for me until the after-service. Abraham, Kanyek and some of the others had this thing they used to call Small Groups they had to attend so I had to sit down at Burger King (BK) Robinsons Galleria and wait for them to finish. Anyway, that was cool back then since those times BK used to serve refillable soda. While sitting down I happened to see Pastor Dennis Sy sitting with a bunch of guys on the table across me. I was familiar of him since he was helping out in the campus ministry of our school and time-by-time was doing the sermons since our School Pastor back then resigned for full-time ministry. I could remember that time so vividly, Joash and Joshua Paunil was there, the twins Hawk and uhmmm… I can’t remember the other guy and also Leonard (a former nominee for the E412 Awards of Victory) and also Pastor Dennis Sy. He saw me and called me by name. “Jam, may gagawin ka ba?” I said I was free and he said, “Sam aka muna dito.” I took my food along with me and sat with them and the rest is history.
In my time as a Victory member, attendee, “Leader”, or volunteer I can say I have experienced a lot; hardships, joys, sorrows, trials, laughter and even learning. Without those experiences, I would be not the man I would be today. I have lost a lot of friends as time passed and even those so close to me in the ministry but I had to move on and not be stuck in those days. You see, Victory isn’t about remembering those days of glory and winning. It isn’t about making a name for oneself. As I have seen through my time, it’s about moving forward because greater things are yet to come. The future holds a lot and I can’t let it just be an image to look it. I have to move forward. We have to move forward. The things of our youth are beautiful and wonderful; planned by God but we must not forget that God also planned a future for us. That’s what I’ll do, go straight and forward.
Now, I’m a Behavior, Safety and Career Development Trainer at a company located in Pasig but honestly, I see myself as an undercover agent who is bold in sharing the Gospel to production workers, service crews and other workers. Some of them work almost 7 days in a week and have no time to join a Church but here’s what i believe. We’re reaching them one to forty persons a time; sharing who Jesus is through the talks we do. The things I share may not be a sermon or preaching since I am bounded by the allowable facets of work-related training but what matters is that seeds were planted and will grow in God’s time as what happened to me.