Since throwbacks are popular nowadays, allow me to paint a picture of 1984 in your mind. What’s so special about that year anyway?
1984 was the year when…
Apple launched the first Macintosh personal computer.
“Time After Time”, “When Doves Cry” and “Footloose” topped the music charts.
Ghostbusters became a top-grossing film.
Manila’s LRT Line 1 began operating.
Aga Muhlach was one of the country’s newest heartthrobs.
But that same year was also a chaotic time in the Philippines.
Activism was part of the daily scene, especially in Manila. People fearlessly fought for what they believed in. Rallies were held left and right. Tear gas and pillbox were throws by rallyists as they cry out for a change in government.
But while everyone else was fighting for political change 30 years ago, a particular group of students had a different battle cry: “Honor God and make disciples”.
Victory was “born” in 1984 at the heart of the University Belt.
Sixty-five American students went to Manila to share the Gospel to Filipino students in the at the height of student activism and political unrest. Little did they know that their mission trip will ignite a radical movement that will sweep through the nation, one soul at a time.
Manny Muleta in 1984
A student who was reached out during that time was Manny Muleta. Manny was an undergraduate student at the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) when he experienced a turning point in his life.
It was through a “mime show” that Manny encountered Jesus. During those days, mime performances were used by people from Victory to engage students.
It was an attraction to the youth of that time. Students, together with the American missionaries, performed 15-minute mime shows at the streets of University Belt around 5 p.m. By the end of the skit, an “open-air” preaching will be done by a student or missionary.
Those who stood by to watch the performance and listen to the preaching were invited to a “rock and roll seminar” at Tandem Cinema’s basement. The “rock and roll seminar” was like a youth service. It was held every night on the month of July 1984.
On July 16, 1984, Manny was one of the students who came to watch the mime show. He heard the Gospel and received Jesus as his Lord and Savior that day. The next day, July 17, Manny joined the mime group and proclaimed the Gospel on the streets!
When I asked why he was suddenly bold enough to do it during that time, Manny replied, “There was no shame. Hindi kami nahihiya. We were radically transformed by God. Because of what he did in our lives, we were willing to do anything to please Him.”
Before Manny came to know Jesus, he was a sick drug addict who didn’t have a sense of direction in life. Jesus offered him hope, purpose, health, love, salvation, and many more. Jesus radically changed his life, hence, he responded radically as well.
According to Manny, he had a strong desire to share his encounter with Jesus so that others can experience it too. He was ready to forsake everything to make the Gospel known to others. He had no other explanation for this kind of response. It was the radical work of Jesus alone that compelled students like him to do extraordinary things.
Manny Muleta in 2014
Thirty years later, God’s love is still driving Manny to do radical feats. Manny is currently a pastor at Victory Fort. Although he is no longer a student, he is still proclaiming the Gospel to many people in different ways.
A few years ago, Manny spearheaded a ministry for taxi drivers. He started to share the Gospel with just one taxi driver. Now, there are over one hundred taxi drivers who participate in the ministry that Manny pioneered.
Manny’s love for God and people is also evident in the life of his son, Mark Muleta. Mark is currently a college student. In 2011, he was able to speak to four thousand students at the Ignite conference. Recently, Mark preached in five services on one Sunday at Victory Fort. It’s amazing how Manny was able to pass on the radical spirit to his son. He admitted that he is now concerned with teaching the next generation to be radical for Jesus.
Manny Muleta’s life shows that being radical is the apt response when we truly understand what Jesus did for us. A person who was transformed by God cannot help but express gratitude by giving up everything for Him.
His life also tells us that being radical isn’t a one time thing. It’s a lifestyle. Manny boldly proclaimed the name of Jesus through mime performances back in 1984. Now, he declares God’s Word by preaching every Sunday.
The methods for engaging people and sharing the Gospel may change, but the Spirit behind it remains the same. Before, they had “rock and roll seminars”, now, we have youth services. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit who moved mightily in 1984 is the same Spirit who is ready to empower us today.