Jaime and Annie Cruz wanted to strengthen their relationship, and they realized that God was calling them to lead a couple’s ministry at their church in Quezon City, Philippines. They didn’t know where to start, but when their daughter Ella met Bethel at university, 200 kilometers (124 miles) from home, things began to happen.
Bethel was a student leader involved with Campus Crusade for Christ (as Cru is known in the Philippines). Bethel introduced Ella to the campus ministry, and she introduced Ella’s parents to her parents, Pastor Ojie and Grace Bumanglag, volunteers with Family Life Philippines.
With Ojie and Grace’s input, Jaime and Annie started a HomeBuilders group in 2013. They discipled five couples from their church, who began discipling others. Randy and Grace were one of these couples. Jaime and Annie started a Homebuilders group at Randy and Grace’s home in 2015.
Randy and Grace said that “God’s Word became exciting” as they grew in the Homebuilders group. They began to disciple other couples, like Ernie and Anita.
Ernie and Anita began to see improvements in their marriage and in the way they parented their children–who were discipled by Jaime and Annie’s daughter Ella.
Through her involvement as a student with Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ, Ella had been trained to win, build and send others. She contextualized the materials she had learned to use on campus for the kids who came with their parents to the Homebuilders studies.
“It was a joy seeing the kids grow in Christ,” Ella said. “Then they started to bear fruit! We started with nine kids, but there are now 34.”
The kids were excited to be used by God. Ernie and Anita’s daughter Simone, 12, said, “In our neighborhood, there are a lot of children, so it’s fun to share the gospel and see their lives being transformed little by little.”
Aikoan, 10, Randy and Grace’s daughter, said: “I want my three disciples to grow deeper in their faith in God and gain the desire to share the gospel to others.”
Today, four years since Jaime and Annie began their first HomeBuilders’ group, the ministry continues to multiply. Eight parents’ groups–along with four “HB Kids” groups led by young people–have been joined by ten “HB Next Gen” groups for teens and college students, led by the parents.
In addition, seven couples open their homes as weekly “Prayer Centers” for their neighborhoods, which in turn opens more doors for ministry. A new church was planted in Jaime and Annie’s church target area in April as a result of the Homebuilders groups.
Since 2014, Family Life Philippines staff members Albert and Marife Palima have discipled Jaime and Annie, who are are now volunteer staff members with Family Life. Albert and Marife had been praying for God to raise up champion couples, and He did.
*Called “Art of Marriage Connect”TM in the U.S.