FTM Christmas Celebration 2019

by Jireh Bautista

Some may argue that Filipinos take Christmas more seriously than most people on the planet. Who else puts up their Christmas decors in July? When the “ber “months commence, every mall sounds their favorite Jose Marie Chan playlist.  First Touch Ministry is not only a Filipino church but primarily a Christian Church, celebrating the season with the right reason in heart and in mind. Needless to say FTM was ready with an array of celebrations fitting the Celebrator.

The celebrations commenced with the ‘JC Kidz Outreach Christmas celebration ‘ last December 14, 2019. A total of 169 kids from 6 different outreach centers combined at the Ministry Center hall and enjoyed the fun, singing, dancing, and the infamous Jollibee meal for everyone. The chosen faithful kids who made a mark this year received rewards for their faithfulness in packs of snacks every kid would crave for.

The following day was the FTM Family Christmas party entitled “Jesus”. There is surely no better way to name it but the beautiful name of the Celebrator Himself. The church was divided into three teams to prepare entries for a short film competition exhibiting the true meaning of Christmas and the hope that Christ’s birth brings to all people. After the presentations, Pastor Jay briefly preached about 4 R’s, namely: Riches, to not look for the gifts but the Giver;  Religion, that religions cannot truly change and save you for only Jesus can; Relationship, lasting relationships are only possible if they’re founded in Jesus;  and  lastly, Redemption, Jesus’ amazing grace to save mankind from the real problems which are sin, Satan, and self.

It was not the typical Christmas Sunday service sermon but it reminded us of the significance of surrendering to Christ is, and that Christmas is all about Jesus. During the conclusion of the event, Region A with its video entitled “Kwintas” was announced as the winner of the film contest, taking home the recognition and the cash prize. The 220 people who joined the celebration also brought home with them some sweet treats beautifully packed in small boxes.

On the same day in the afternoon was the Teen Agents Christmas Celebration. Fifty-four teens attended and rejoiced with the activities prepared by their enthusiastic ates and kuyas. Those who have good attendance for this weekly ministry were rewarded for their faithfulness. A very merry Christmas indeed for these wonderful teens!

The Transformakers’ youth had their celebration last December 20 with an overnight fellowship. These young folks certainly enjoyed their sleepover with their friends plus some amazing prizes and fun-filled activities. That night Pastor Jay Bautista shared about the church family. Narrating his first church experience and wondering why the believers seemed so genuinely happy with smiles from ear to ear. Learning later on that all of it was due to the transformative love of Christ in their hearts and the love and compassion of the church family that they belonged to. He further emphasized the value of knowing that you have God-fearing people around you who would truly care for you and support you.

This year’s Christmas celebration was also bigger due to many Connect centers established and reached out to. Last December 15, workers went to Pilit Mandaue center to bless the 21 teens and kids. On December 21, a total of 28 teens attended the celebration in Naga, 10 in Liloan, and 25 in Consolacion. On December 22, 35 were blessed in Jubay and 10 in Toledo. 2019 was over but the celebration was not because on January 2, 2020, Bantayan Island Connect Center was visited as well. There were twelve teens and kids in Pooc, 31 participats in Okoy, and 9 in Oboob. These are a lot of numbers of souls from all these Connect centers but the challenge to fish for more will never cease. Special thanks to all the volunteer workers who were always willing to be used for the works of the Lord.

After all the preparations, the actual events, and the busy schedules, may everyone not forget even for the slightest second the true reason for the season. If we proclaim that Christmas is Jesus, and since Jesus is present in every single moment of the season, then every day is Christmas time! After all, Jesus deserves all our time and attention because He alone loved us unconditionally to the point of sacrificial death on a cross. Who else bore your sins for our sake in spite of being utterly pure and innocent? Only He can and He did! He loved us while we were still sinners and He unfailingly loves us today and will never stop loving us in the future. Hence on any given day, there is a reason to celebrate the glorious name of Jesus and a reason to say, Kasadya Ning Taknaa!