I'd like to start with two questions.
Have you ever experienced being in love with someone or maybe something? Another question is that, have you ever prayed to be part of something that is amazing and life-changing? These 2 questions right here kept running in my mind during this season and that, I think summarizes my experience for this past 4 months of Youth Lab. I fell in love with God and what He was doing in a whole new level and I became part of some sort of a revival in our community. So what is Youth Lab and how did it start?
What is Youth Lab?
Youth Lab is a youth organization that aims to educate, equip, and enlist young people to experience Christ and to be used by God in a personal and deeper level in their lives. That I think is the shortest explanation on how I would describe Youth Lab, but if we ask the young people on what YL is about, this is what we get!
I could really think back on the last 4 months and really be amazed on how God is just moving and exceeding our expectations. Have you ever thought about something and expected it to go one way and then went the other way? That is how God worked in each batch of young people that came in.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
God literally orchestrated everything. There were moments where all we can do were raise our hands and surrender to what His will is which is good, pleasing, and perfect and I tell you, He did it. All things work together for good because of Him.
How did YL start?
February 8, 2020. We began with 40 young people on the 2nd floor of McDonald's. We started with a few games and introduced what this movement is.
We then moved to the roof top of the CCS elementary. After having 3 more meetings every Saturday night, lockdown happened. We were forced to cancel the remaining YL services we planned. But again, God always exceeds our expectations.
March 29, 2020. In the midst of a pandemic (COVID-19), who in their right minds would start a camp? That was my first question and first reaction to what was happening.
KIDSIM had already begun the feeding ministry which became an avenue for youth volunteers. I came up to these kids (Batch 1) not really knowing most of them. They were expecting to just help out with the feeding, but we incorporated leadership trainings. Rules and regulations were implemented and they had lights out at 10 PM which meant they needed to be in their rooms by then. It was somewhat a "stress camp" for everyone as everything was still new and out of order. After a month and 2 weeks, God moved and altered mindsets and lives. We started with 20 young people in Batch 1 camp, and now we have 163 young people who experienced the YL camp from Batch 1 to Batch 6. And so we thought it was gonna stop there, but God had other plans, because out of the 163 campers we had 105 baptisms during our camps. Talk about a revival in the community!
Culture has been one of the things that makes a group or an organization alive, and I really believe we must have the right kind of culture in order for it to thrive. And so I could not stress enough how God breaks wrong culture and mindsets! We always shout the culture of Jesus in this community, and believe me the enemy has been working as well but what the enemy meant for evil, God meant it for good time and time again.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ."
The culture of Jesus is what we want to uphold–His word, His principles, His grace and most importantly, His love. And as a solid unit we want nothing else but Jesus. This represents the YL culture: Proclaiming Jesus is the way, the truth and the life!
The vision is for YL to have 5 branches to be up and running in 6 months:
Aims to reach out kids in the community by teaching and feeding them, especially those who are less fortunate.
YL High School & College
Aims to penetrate schools and universities in the community and outside the community conducting seminars on life skills, personal growth and even social issues like, teenage pregnancy, drug addiction, etc.
We will also be holding the YL praise party for this branch every Friday night and Saturday night where the aim is to invite students and young people all over Rizal and have fellowship, discipleship and coffee at the soon-to-be YL Cafe.
YL Young Pro
This branch focuses on young single professionals who will be helping out with the ministry. They will become wholehearted servants for the youth and for the community, giving their best for God.
This branch aims to connect to communities and build relationships with people, conduct seminars and programs to promote Jesus in any way we can.
Our prayer is for the 163 young people who will develop Christ-centeredness, serving wholeheartedly for God's Kingdom. And who knows, maybe after a year or two, the number might blow up to 7,000 young people all around Rizal–or even the whole Philippines–raising their hands and surrendering their lives to Jesus. No one else but Jesus.
We really believe that nothing is impossible with God. We want to start something new because we are convicted this is a risk God wants us to take.
"We fight our battles as a family with God." - YL Passion Team
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."