Sunday, July 8, 2012

Philippine's The Greatest Journey, Sharing the Faith

Sharing the Faith

Children in the Philippines are learning about Jesus Christ through Operation Christmas Child and the The Greatest Journey discipleship program
Deb Talastas is a preacher’s daughter. Her passion is similar to her father’s—she loves teaching children about Jesus.

Not only does she lead the drama ministry at Jesus Christ Antioch Church in the Philippines, but she also teaches a discipleship program called The Greatest Journey to boys and girls who receive shoe box gifts through Operation Christmas Child.

However, Talastas has not always lived this sort of life. Until seven years ago, she wasn’t even interested in becoming a Christian.

“My parents taught me about Jesus, but I did not accept Him easily," she said. "Because, in my mind, I was still young and I wanted to enjoy my life."

When she was 11, Talastas received a shoe box gift. That tangible expression of Christ's love planted the seed of faith in her young heart.

“Jesus loves me,” she recalls thinking when she received the shoe box gift. “The one who gives me the gift loves me very much, and I feel so very special from that. The gift led me to think that I must accept Jesus Christ, that I must follow Jesus Christ.”

Two years later, Talastas completely surrendered her life to the Lord. She realized that God's gift was not one she could keep to herself. She had to tell others how they too could have a personal relationship with Christ.

The best way Talastas knew to share her faith was to use her talents. She became a youth leader and the director of the drama ministry, where young people perform skits and plays to make the message of the Bible easily understandable and interesting for children.

“I want to share the Gospel by showing it in drama ministry because this is the talent that I have,” Talastas said. “I want to share what God did for me, and I know God has given me a talent in drama to share His Word.”

After a recent shoe box distribution at Antioch Church, the boys and girls were offered The Greatest Journey Bible study booklets. Talastas set up a table where she taught a small group of older children the first lesson, which presents the true story of our loving Creator. As the children continue through all 12 lessons, they learn how to accept Christ as their Savior, how to follow Him each day, and how to share their faith with others.

The Greatest Journey is important to teach the children because they are the ones who will share the Gospel with their family, their relatives, their classmates, their friends," Talastas said. "These children will be a good testimony to others that they have Jesus in their heart.”

Antioch Church is proof that the Gospel is being spread effectively through shoe box gifts. The pastor said that many of the children who receive gifts continue coming to church to learn about Jesus through The Greatest Journey—and they bring their friends and parents too. The church had only 100 children in their ministry before they started giving out shoe box gifts. They had about 500 children at their latest distribution.

From the Philippines to the far corners of the world, millions of children are becoming faithful followers of Jesus Christ through Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey discipleship program.

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