On April 9-12, 2018 young hearts and souls from Evangel Family Churches of Central and Eastern Visayas took part of the most anticipated four-day gathering of summer 2018. Hopefuls for God’s touch were from Albuera, Leyte; Balamban, Cebu; Baybay, Leyte; Bogo, Cebu; Bohol, Calbayog, Samar; Cebu City, Ormoc, Leyte and Tacloban, Leyte.
There’s no better way to enjoy a holiday than spending it with your family with lots of food and fun. And no better way than to make it all happen at the beach!
Twenty years of serving the Lord, and Pastor Bene Cabase and wife Pastor Leah could look back and marvel at God’s workmanship in the lives of His servants.
Youth camps are fun yet seriously heart-stirring gatherings young believers look forward for. And this year’s regional youth conference was filled with so much excitement not only because of Hidden Valley Mountain Resort’s pools and wonderful sights and the different presentations for the DanDraMuzik Night but ultimately because of the amazing pouring out of God’s presence every heart was expecting.
JECPP Founding Chair Rev. Robert Lim spent three days ministering to more than 90 young people from Central and Eastern Visayas in Minglanilla, Cebu for the annual youth conference last April. Together with him were the new Regional Director Rev. Renante Subong and the new Deputy Director Rev. Gerry Fernandez and other leaders who made sure the young people enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere, encouraging messages, wholesome fellowship, joyful praise and worship, and more.
That kind of thirst and hunger filled every heart of seventy-five young campers all set for the Transformakers Camp 2016. The will to get revived fueled God’s touch, the only hope of transformation in our lives.On
By: Margielyn Bruces
EFC-Bogo rented a small building at Tupaz St., Lourdes, Bogo City for the last 20 years. This building is now renovated and extended to accommodate the growing flock.
Last July 16, the new place of worship was dedicated in the presence of former JECPP Regional Director for Central and Eastern Visayas, Rev. Chuck Chua and wife, Rev. Jocelyn Chua as well as the Section leaders. Rev. Chua preached “New Beginning” to grace the milestone of EFC-Bogo City. It was a fitting message as the congregation was encouraged to pursue what has been started and to renew its commitment to the Lord.
The church was also blessed with the procurement of worship instruments such as bass guitar, 2 amplifiers and LCD projector donated by JECPP Founding Chair Rev. Dr. Robert Lim.
During the dedication service, EFC-Bogo Pastor Gerry Fernandez happily shared that the first members of the church, namely Miraluna, Bella and Estrella Metante, are still faithfully serving the Lord in EFC-Bogo today. The church also was able to raise ministers like Mr. and Mrs Lilibeth and Jeffrey Metante who are now Samar Section leaders as well as Geefrey Arrogante, a Leyte church planter. Pastor Gerry also recalled how the church started with less than 10 members to now over 50.
By the grace of Almighty God, the church organized programs and activities such as discipleship training, evangelism, youth ministry, house to house Bible study, children ministry and music training, to name some.
Pastor Gerry and his wife Pastor Aileen started EFC-Bogo in 1996. They were blessed with two God-fearing and loving sons, Art Glendale and Ayn Claim. To date, EFC-Bogo City has its ups and downs, but it continues to thrive to serve God’s purpose. The blessing of church expansion, raising of new leaders and new equipments for worship are God’s manifestation that the church will continue to be in His service.
(Gift-giving for Leyte and Samar kids)
The Christmas holidays in the Visayas region, strikingly 2011 up to 2014, have been ravaged by typhoons with shocking death tolls and destructions. For those who have witnessed in the news the horrific climate crises in the Philippines, one can only imagine the sufferings of children in the provinces of Leyte and Samar, Eastern Visayas.
JECPP churches in the Visayas region have since taken part in the nationwide relief and humanitarian aid to trauma and grief-stricken victims. This Christmas 2014, JECPP aimed to soothe the pain of the weakest victims, yet packed with God-fashioned strength and resilience in their soft hearts and quick smiles despite tragedy after tragedy. The hope of Christmas belongs to them, the Filipino children of Leyte and Samar.
Last December 22 and 23, Evangel Family Churches in Leyte and Samar spent the Christmas break gathering about 600 children from various barangays. The little kids were treated to a party filled with games, prizes, food, toys, and most of all, a Christmas Bible message of love and hope. The children were introduced to their strongest advocate and defender, Jesus Christ himself, who calms the storm and the fears it brings.
In Ormoc City, Evangel Family Church-Ormoc spearheaded the event they called GASA: Kids Christmas Party and Gift Giving 2014. The activity, from the Visayan word gasa which means gift, was well appreciated by one hundred children from two barangays who flocked to the church for a morning of fun-filled party led by Pastor Bobby Subong and the energetic Hearts on Fire (HOF) youth.
The GASA team proceeded to two other barangays where 52 children awaited them in the afternoon of the same day. The next morning on December 23, another group of 83 children in Brgy. Talisayan, Albuera, Leyte received the surprises, and so did the 65 kids in Brgy. Montebello, Kananga, Leyte.
Children’s laughter rang loudly not only in Leyte but also in Calbayog City and Sta. Margarita in Samar on December 23. Evangel Family Church-Calbayog also launched the same gift-giving event they called Evangel Children Christmas Party Samar Section led by Pastor Gerry and Pastor Ailene Fernandez. About 200 children from three barangays in Calbayog City were the recipients of this activity as well as the one hundred children from Brgy. Magsohong, Sta. Margarita.
The children gave their merriest “thank you” to this generous project of Rev. Dr. Robert and Rev. Marion Lim and all JECPP Spiritual Leaders and church volunteers.
Nine feeding centers,
52 feeding workers, 810 children, one community, one church and one God have this one vision – to see the younger generation rise up and become the future Christ-centered leaders and values-driven professionals through education, pursuit of one’s dreams and fulfillment of every child’s God-given purpose.
Last May 22, 2014, 26 workers gathered at EFC-Cebu to pack bags of school supplies for the faithful graders, and gifts for the non- schooling kids from
the different feeding centers. Gail Eviota, one of the packing volunteers, commented that the entire packing session was carried out systematically with everyone really enjoying his or her task. “Everybody wanted to wrap everything up quickly to finish the packing period earlier”, she added. The packing started at 10 am and ended at almost 6 pm.
Segregating the supplies for various grade levels, packing them in plastic bags and envelopes, labeling them with the children’s names and distributing the bags to the feeding centers tired the volunteers.
The anticipated kids’ smiles, however, replenished their energy and excitement. The awaited day finally came. The feeding workers arrived at Riverside, one of the feeding centers, where the program would be held.
After settling down, an opening prayer was delivered and followed with an energizing song. The children’s excitement was so evident particularly the faithful ones who knew that before the afternoon ends, they’ll be bringing home the reward of their consistent Sunday attendance. But before the presents were handed out, a short inspiring speech conveyed what the children say when asked what they want to be in the future. Becoming doctors, nurses, and teachers were common responses.
Teacher Sheryl Gabule of Tejero feeding center said that after hearing the Tejero kids’ aspirations, she sees hope for our nation – a kind of hope that needs to be ignited from the children’s hearts and be nurtured in God’s direction. This is also hope that calls for more ates and kuyas who shall be God’s means to mold these precious ones. Priceless smiles flashed as more than 700 children were called one by one to receive their faithfulness reward. Ronnie Sevilla Jr. of Laurente feeding centersaid that he is very glad seeing the kids happy and encouraged to do better in school. Although not everybody met the required number of Sunday meetings, nobody went home empty-handed. Everyone received a snack, but above all, they were challenged to excel in their studies and receive another faithfulness reward in next year’s back to school program.
When all the faithful kids got their gifts, a group photo was taken, together with the feeding workers, marking another special day full of childlike joy.
by Djoanna Crystie Anne Gocotano, RMT
Last April 16, there were 209 young people from Central and Eastern Visayas who gathered for the long-awaited “Empowering the Nex Gen” conference to enlighten our young minds with what God has in store for the next generation. In between the morning and evening sessions, there were four workshops to attend. The Music Ministry Workshop led by Brother Govi had 67 registered attendees, Youth Ministry Workshop led by Pastor Jay had 70, Children Ministry Workshop led by Pastor Em had 41 and lastly, there was the Family Life-Raising Teenagers Workshop led by Pastors Allan and Constant with Pastors Chuck and Jocelyn. These workshops, with their Spirit-filled mentors helped many teenagers, young adults and even those young at heart. It was designed to develop Jesus-centered gifts, talents and skills for the service and honor of our Savior King.
Our guest speaker, Pastor Allan Lit, shared his life and experiences with us—how he had been called to minister as an assistant prison chaplain in his early years in Singapore and how he became a missionary in Hong Kong to train workers for church planting among the teeming millions in mainland China. He taught and fed not just our minds but our hearts and souls with empowering truths as well. It was a very refreshing experience that stirred our hearts to hunger for more. Personally, I learned that we behold a God of UNLIMITED CHANCES. This conference was indeed God’s marvelous plan to grab hold of us for the empowerment we have been prepared for. These are highlights of the lessons we learned at the conference through God’s humble servants:
A vision begins as one encounters the Almighty One. The word “vision” is usually associated with something that is ahead of us like a goal. This is the mission statement of our lives. It is initiated by the King of kings Himself. We then experience Him like we had never experienced Him before. We begin to see things around us as opportunities, not just problems. We seize every chance for the completion of the vision entrusted in our minds and hearts by God.
A PERSON NOT DEFINED BY THE PAST
Where we come from does not determine where we are headed. In other words, our past does not define our future. Dwelling on past failures, mistakes and “should-haves” are useless. When we live in the past, we cannot move toward the goal of being the empowered change agents in this world. We cannot be the person He wants us to be when we keep looking back. He is asking us not to regard the past but to focus on the work and the blessings He has for us today. Deuteronomy 28 records a long list of God’s wonderful blessings in place for His people. We must live our lives with His blessings that chase us. As one of the “Nex Gen”, it is inspiring to know that we can be a man and a woman of influence, great reputation and success. Our Lord desires nothing less than the ultimate good for His people.
REACHING THE NEXT GENERATION by Pastor Chuck Chua
Our church is only one generation away from extinction if none from the new generation will rise up. There are two keys in effectively reaching the next generation. One is to renounce selfishness. King Hezekiah in the Old Testament sadly represents one who was selfish and failed to reach his next generation. 2 Kings 20:19 relates what this king was like. He was shortsighted and self-preserving. Consequently, a few generations away from his reign, his descendants were held captive and taken to Babylon just as God’s prophet had declared. What if those whom we consider as spiritual parents and older brothers and sisters were like that? Would we be able to determine right from wrong in the near future? This must be our plea and our cry: Fight for our children and the hope of the world! The second key to reaching the next generation is to receive spiritual power. Only the anointing and the power of God can break the bondage. Without our most powerful, ever-constant loving God, we are indeed nothing. Only God can convict hearts and touch lives. Our present generation must receive spiritual power to release spiritual power to the next generation.
Water baptism is not just a ritualistic deed; it is an act of faith and obedience to God’s Word. Before we started our night session, five of our brothers and sisters in Christ obeyed the command to be water baptized. Listening to their testimonies, you could really sense the Holy Spirit’s evident working in their lives. Truly, God has lifted these five Christ’s followers to a higher plane of commitment, and thus inspired others to do likewise.
STARTING, STAYING AND SUPERSEDING
When we exalt God, we are exalted together with Him. It is important for all of us to have that spiritual ambition for God’s glory. We must be eager to do great things for God. Then we begin to work that desire into action. The anointing of the Holy Spirit comes through our doing something for His honor. He then sees us as a good deposit, and He will dwell powerfully inside us. As we continue to trust His promises and faithfulness to us, the staying power for spiritual ambition will be all the more evident. When life throws at us defeat, discouragement and disillusionment, we do not stop. Instead, we march on towards Him more and in fact, supersede with the work He has done in and through us. Deep inside, there remains a holy dissatisfaction but yet filled with clear destination and sheer determination. Then, we know we are gaining breakthrough.
A LOVER, NOT A WORKER
Loving is never easy. Why must we love God then? Several Scriptures in the Bible tell us that the One who first loved us commands, compels, convinces and consolidates us to love Him. Loving is a task, and we must impart that love to the people around us. When we give God our whole hearts, we should not worry; He’ll give us plenty more and more and more back to give to someone else. We begin to show our love for Him through serving Him and people too. Service becomes our will, our commitment and our character. We become more of a lover than a worker. Hence, we do things out of marvelous love. In return, the Great Lover Himself is mindful to reward us with divine creativity, comprehension and confidence.
All these truths and principles are so essential to becoming the generation that can change our world. Messages in the conference from the servants of God were truly timely and heart-piercing. The amount paid for attending the event was far outweighed by what we received spiritually. From the first day until the last, we were eating, grasping and confronting truths we could hold on to for life. We were taught to heed God’s calling for our generation. Some might have and some might not have realized yet their calling. However, the important thing is that we are all willing to obey God totally and wholly.
On April 19, 2014, all the city church and outstation delegates returned to our different churches and homes more fulfilled and ready to take on the challenges. We’re ready for God to reveal His vision and calling for us. By this, I celebrate that God exists and truly cares for the young. He is at work in us. I say, ‘AMEN’ to that!
We are deeply thankful to God for leading the Spiritual Leaders of JECPP to hatch the plan of hosting the “Empowering The NEX GEN” youth conferences in the different regions. Great appreciation is also extended to the leadership of JECPP Central and Eastern Visayas for organizing and raising the resources to empower our emerging generation for Christ.
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