By: Cecille T. Gacasan

At least 16 trainees from the different Evangel Family Churches in Southern Mindanao graduated from the Regional Bible Training on May 10, 2018.

This is an answer to the call of God in the life of Rev. Dr. Robert Lim, a servant of God and the founding chairman of Jireh Evangel Church Planting in the Philippines (JECPP). He received the vision from God to plant 100 Bible believing churches in the Philippines. By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit enabled him to plant over 400 churches three decades later.

At present, Rev. Lim is still pursuing to fulfil that heavenly mandate.  He remained steadfast to His call by birthing a Regional Bible Training Center in Southern Mindanao area at Evangel Family Church, Tagum City in Davao del Norte together with Rev. Peter Wee, JECPP Co-Senior President and Regional Director for Southern Mindanao.  The latter received the call of God to become a missionary to the Philippines with his wife Rev. Christine Wee. Both served faithfully in Mindanao for 25 years now.

The Bible Training was created to raise new church planters and expand the Kingdom of God, it is an 8-month project, wherein students will attend one whole week each month to study on Church Planting, Old and New Testament Survey, Hermeneutics, Homiletics, Evangelism, Bible Study Methods, Counselling, World Religions, Person and Work of the Holy Spirit and Missions.  Basic Computer Knowledge, English Grammar & Rudiments of Music were added as well to complete the skills necessary in the ministry.

These trainees were prayerfully handpicked by their pastors. They are faithful members of the church who have potentials in teaching the Word of God, have the burden to win the lost for Christ and are serving the Lord. The training started on October, 2017 and culminates on May, 2018. The teachers were Southern Mindanao Regional Core Leaders and selected EFC members.

Rev. Greg & Rosario Simpas, Senior Pastors of EFC Tagum hosted and facilitated the whole duration of the training. Pastor Rosario pointed that though the trainees have different educational backgrounds, their excitement and determination to learn drove them to finish the course. She was greatly encouraged by their kindness to help their co-trainee in studying the lessons and in building each other up. She added that the students were diligent in the tasks assigned to them and that they always look forward to the training every month.

Pastor Jane Ann Poliño, of EFC General Santos shared that teaching Basic Computer & Accounting was a bit challenging for her knowing that Bible School Student’s interests are more on studying the Bible rather than figures and gadgets, however she thanked God for the wisdom to make her subject interesting.  She said, “No matter what age group the students belong to, she strategically brought them to the computer age, provided update of the technologies to effectively minister especially to the millennial. She added that Basic Computer knowledge will help the students make their sermons, make creative power points, organize church records and even keep financial records accurately.”

After months of rigorous training, the first batch of the JECPP Southern Mindanao Regional Bible Training graduated on May 10, 2018.  Rev. Tony Angelias, SM Deputy Regional Director, delivered his heartwarming graduation message in behalf of Rev. Peter Wee, who was on an urgent meeting in Manila. He cited the popular story of Moses, who pointed his weaknesses before God, yet God still chose him because of his heart. He added that God can choose ordinary people to do extraordinary things for Him and summarized his teaching into the acronym F.A.T.S. meaning Faithful, Available, Teachable and Submissive. He concluded by challenging the graduates to be ready to handle challenges when God opens supernatural doors for them.

Furthermore, Certificates of Completion were given to the 16 graduates. Cash gifts were given to the top three students who gathered the most points in their quizzes and exams namely: Juvilyn Ahit (1st) from EFC Kidapawan, Michael Lyco Barrera (2nd) from EFC Davao and Arthunillo Abenido (3rd) from EFC Koronadal.

JECPP’s support to this batch include transportation allowance, food and accommodation. Pastors Greg & Rosario Simpas said that they were truly honored and thankful for the trust given to them to handle the training as it had been the longing of their hearts. According to them, they love what they are doing and expressed joy to serve God through serving His workers. The teachers also extended their congratulations to all the graduates and reminded to be faithful in what God has called them to do, to press on and serve to please God.

The first batch of graduates is an answer to the call for harvesters in the last days.

Messages from the Students:

The training gave me wisdom. It helped me grow in the knowledge of God.  I now have a better understanding of doing the ministry God called me to do. (Pastor Glen Cheng of EFC Catmunan, Davao Oriental)

It was my own decision to join the training.  I saw it as a great opportunity to learn more about God. I will maximize and apply everything I learned and use it to win souls for the Lord and reach out to my unsaved loved ones. (Bro. Arthunillo Abenido of EFC Koronadal)

The lessons on Church Growth, Hermeneutics and Counselling were the topics I was most interested with. This training helped me to be strong and courageous.  It was a challenge for me to manage my work as a Security Guard and as a trainee in the Bible School. However, God led me through because He called me to serve Him and to minister to people. (Bro. Eden Malegro of EFC Florida, Kapalong)