MILLIONS of Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church members from across the globe and all over the Philippines flocked to the Luneta Grandstand yesterday to celebrate 40 years of “God’s constant faithfulness, healings, miracles and abundant mercies.”
“There has never been a day when God was not there for His people. His mercies are new every morning,” said JIL Spiritual Director Bro. Eddie Villlanueva in an interview.
THE JIL Church may have turned 40 but there are elements in its story that are constant. After 40 years, its declaration remains the same: Jesus is Lord over the Philippines and over the world. After 40 years, its mission is still the same: To bring all peoples to the Living God, regardless of race, status, belief and religious affiliations through the saving, healing, delivering, and transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. After 40 years, God continues to be faithful.
You might already have heard its history but like other great stories, this one bears repeating. Eddie C. Villanueva, an atheist/activist university lecturer fights off land grabbers trying to take the last shirt off his family’s back, finds no legal solution, hits rock bottom and plans on taking matters into his own hands. When he was down where there seemed to be no way out, he receives a letter from his sister, Leni V. Buan, urging him to try God.
“Please heed my advice and receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior. After doing this, lift in sincere prayer our family land problems to the throne of grace in heaven, and believe at this time that there will be miracles on behalf of our family. Please heed my advice,” Leni wrote. The year was 1973. The old activist/atheist Eddie became Bro. Eddie. He accepted the Lord Jesus into his deeply troubled heart and suddenly he had peace, suddenly he knew there will be answers.
The answers came in a few days. His family, along with other victims of the land grabbing syndicate, were vindicated. Justice came sweetly as parcel by parcel of lands were restored to their rightful owners.
Barely one month after Bro. Eddie’s intimate encounter with God, his wife, Sis. Dory, also accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. Both husband and wife began reading and learning about the Word of God. Relatives and friends started noticing their dramatic transformation. Their curiosity was challenged. They, too, wanted what Bro. Eddie and Sis. Dory had so they joined the couple in their new-found relationship with God.Meanwhile, Sis. Dory, who used to invite friends for Tupperware parties, started hosting Bible studies. Together, the couple taught and preached from the Bible, both not knowing that they were paving the way for an awesome “for God, country and suffering humanity” ministry.
THE BEGINNINGS OF JIL
During his lecturing days at the Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines or PUP), Bro. Eddie started holding Bible study sessions among his students. Not without challenges, a group of 15 teenagers soon became regular attendees. They brought their friends, and their friends invited their friends, and a domino effect soon occurred. The students reached out to their respective families, their families reached out to their communities. In 1978, the Jesus is Lord Fellowship (JIL) was officially born.
In the years that followed, JIL set up outreach points in towns, cities, provinces, regions and consequently in the entire country. Miracles, healings, life transformations became trademarks of JIL gatherings. People were delivered from vices and emotional oppressions. The blind could now see, the lame could now walk. Freedom and recovery from heart diseases, back problems, even terminal cancers, became commonplace. As Bro. Eddie faithfully preached the Word of God from place to place, multitudes thronged his prayer rallies and outdoor crusades where he would regularly lead his crowd in a declaration of the lordship of Jesus.
News of these miracles became viral. Multitudes came to JIL services, simply attracted to the power of God that was tangible in every meeting.
It was just a matter of time. As JIL members grew in number and spread geographically, those who found themselves working overseas felt they had to share the Good News of Salvation in Jesus they found through JIL. This was how the JIL global ministries came about. JIL members who migrated overseas brought the JIL way of life to where they went and created small prayer groups that soon became full worship services with hundreds in attendance.
NOW AT 40
Forty years down the road, the JIL Church Worldwide has spread to 60 countries.
Envisioning a glorious church that evangelizes and disciples Filipinos and all the peoples of the world through teaching, preaching, and living out the full gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, JIL stays on its ancient paths of passionate love for God and the suffering humanity. It holds fast on its belief in biblical integrity, faithfulness and excellence, unashamedly standing for God’s agenda in all pillars of society, working towards a Philippines where Jesus is finally esteemed as its real Lord.