We believe that you can teach students the greatest values and do character development, but unless you share the Gospel and teach them what it is to have a relationship with God, nothing will really change.
At times, with the stereotypical impression that Ateneans are all rich and have everything figured out, some people wonder why we need to go there and share to them about the love of God. But as we've met students and listened to their stories, we've come to realize that a lot of these students are longing for purpose, identity, value, love, and direction. A lot of them come from broken families, one of the things that I can really relate to. And we heard from the Guidance Office that there is actually a high rate of depression in the campus.
This is why we are passionate in reaching the students and telling every one of them that there is a God that loves them, created them, and has a plan for them. We do this through one-on-one discipleship, small groups, and the weekly Youth Service, and we see the fruits of our efforts.
John* is a member of a fraternity in UP Diliman. He's been delayed for a few years. He was into so many vices. The first time I met him was during dinner after the Youth Service. Someone invited him so he attended, and I remember seeing him outside, taking a yosi break, and I wondered if he would actually keep going. Interestingly, he did! And there were people who walked with him, discipled him, and taught him how to have a relationship with God, and finally, in one retreat, he was talking to his mentor, Kuya Ivan, and he told him he finally decided to surrender everything to God, even if it meant losing his income. Kuya Ivan was happy with his decision, but he wondered what he meant by income. It turned out that John had been dealing drugs in campus, but he finally decided to give that up for a new life. Right now, he's one of our strongest leaders and he serves as a bridge between our campus ministry and the fraternity community.
*name changed to protect identity