Peter Domen | Youth Ministry (Philippines)
March 11, 2009
Could you share with us how you got involved in full-time ministry with TWR?
I have always had the desire to reach youths for Jesus Christ in any way I can. My life as a youth was very complicated. I was involved in so many kinds of vices like drugs, gambling, drinking alcohol and other stuff. I also got involved with very bad company. Life at that point was very difficult for me. I got separated from my family at the age of 12 and had to work in order to survive and to finish my high school. When I graduated from high school, I got invited to attend a youth camp. There, I was enlightened by the love of God and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
When a position for the Youth and Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator was available at TWR Philippines, I decided to apply for it. Praise God I got accepted! My desire is to reach as many young people as I can through any platform that the Lord will provide. I thank Him because He has made my heart’s desire become real through TWR Philippines.
Over the years what are 1 or 2 life lessons you have learned in TWR?
The compelling love of God and the intimate relationship with Him enable me to love this ministry for youths. These are the basic foundations for me that I can become effective, in the ministry the Lord has entrusted to me through TWR – Philippines. (2 Corinthians 5:14)
Day by day, I grow in my understanding of the different personalities, issues and concerns young people are facing today. Counseling youths through SMS and E-mail is very, very challenging. We receive more than a thousand SMS a month in the youth track alone. It is time-consuming and very challenging, yet I praise the Lord for His grace that we have been doing this for the past 3 years.
The challenge: many times our listeners would ask for counseling even as late as 12am and later; we even receive SMS at 1am and as early as 5am. And counseling will take longer than it is expected especially in cases involving homosexuality, extra marital affairs, on matters of faith and salvation, and suicide.
This is the real deal. In addition to that, we cannot see the counselee and it is very hard to know whether the counselee is telling the truth, or in need of help or not. And so as a counselor I need to ask questions that would help me in finding the truth or I would call the person just to hear the tone of his or her voice. In this way we can know that the person is telling the truth. Like for example, 2 weeks ago a listener said that he is in need of help and that his mother is sick and is in hospital. He was asking if I could send him 1,500 pesos and insisted that I have to send it NOW. What I did was to ask him leading questions like: ‘Where exactly are you and in what hospital did you admit your mother and the phone number there so that I could call’. Instead of answering my question he said: “Okay 500 pesos will do.” I repeated my question and he did not answer it. In cases like victims of abuse and natural disaster, a discerning spirit is very important, that means we need to know when to used God’s word in this particular case of a counselee. Timing is important. It is really a challenge on our part.
We heard there are many interesting young people in the Filipino team, share with us something fun or interesting about your team.
God has blessed our team with diverse talents. We have different preferences when it comes to the type of music; that is why when we do critique of the youth program, oh boy, the main issue is focused on what type of music should be used. We do brainstorming but at the end of the day, our listeners will always be our focus. And so we always end up asking “what is the type of music that our target audiences would like to hear in our program?”
Another member of the Youth Team comes from a non-Christian family, while another member, though not brought up in a Christian home, had his parents saved and are now Christians. We are so common yet very different in so many ways. We love to crack jokes at each other – I guess it is part of the Filipino culture to laugh and love life. Despite our diversity, we have a very close relationship with each other and we enjoy each other’s company. We can critique each other’s program productions openly without hurting one another’s feelings. For us, when we do critique, nothing is personal. Like we used to say in Filipino “Trabaho lang, walang personalan” (It’s only a job, nothing’s personal). That makes our team unique and I am very proud of this team.