More than a year ago we did our first post-Yolanda discipleship training here in Tacloban. There were only 15 of us but we were hopeful that the Lord will grow the seeds we were planting at that time.

This Saturday, we will have our fourth Victory Weekend with 25 participants. By the time this week is over, we would have baptized close to 100 people in less than two years, over 90% of them are locals. That is amazing. The first time I came here in early 2014, almost half of those who attended our services were foreigners. Every week we would pray for more locals to be plugged into the church. We conducted discipleship trainings, did One2One and formed victory groups even if it seemed like nothing was happening.

“As I commute from work everyday, I would slump on the bus, look outside the window and stare at nothing. I often ask myself, ‘Why is life so difficult?'”

It was not a cry of complaint; the guy didn’t look like he was in pain and he wasn’t trying to be melodramatic either. It was actually just a side comment about work and how everything is just difficult. We were talking about the book of Ecclesiastes and the dull repetition of everyday life.

His words stung. I looked away as I wiped the tear away from my eyes.

We just did our first Making Disciples Training here in Victory Tacloban yesterday. Fifteen leaders and upcoming leaders came and we had a great time talking about the very thing that is so important in the heart of Jesus: discipleship. Why do we think this is important?

Well, for starters, when Jesus was about to go to heaven, the last words he uttered were his commission for his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. It sometimes sounds trite to our modern ears because we hear that all the time but when you really think of it, the parting words of a person are usually the most important. Jesus told us to make disciples because it matters to him; and if it matters to him, it should matter to us too.

Stirring words for boys and men by Owen Strachan:

The boy-man is selfish, young, immature, addicted to games, immune to responsibility, foul-mouthed, and weak. He’s overwhelmed by adulthood, so he chooses to stay in some sort of boyish fantasy. He doesn’t want to build big things, meaningful things, like a family, a six-decade marriage, a socially and personally profitable career, or a gospel-driven church or missions effort. He wants to make music, play games, follow sports, flirt with girls, loaf through life, bend the rules so he’s not accountable or inconvenienced in his selfishness, and ignore the need to help others.

I want to suggest that wherever you can as a young man or one involved in any way in training young men, you point them toward manhood, maturity, adulthood, responsibility, ambition, strategy, vision, focus. Yes, it can be fun to be boyish. But you know what’s far more satisfying? Becoming something. Becoming something greater than you are. Becoming a man. Building stuff…

Those who are called to speak the word of God, whether in public or in small groups, must learn to have quiet hours of contemplation. They must know how to be alone with God before they can go out to speak.

Those who can’t find the time to converse with God in private are not fit to speak about Him in public. For what would they say unless it is given to them by God? And how are they to receive from God if they don’t have the time to quietly wait before Him?