Keeping the unity through the bond of peace

On May 1, 2019, EFC-Iloilo and EFC-Ajuy had its first combined picnic. It was a gorgeous day at Mimai’s Inland Resort at Zaragga, Iloilo. Throughout the day the sound of laughter echoed in the air as families & friends spent quality time together.

EFC-Iloilo Section Youth Flared up for New Level of Service

“Let no man despise your youth; but you be an example to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). On April 18-19, 2019, young people from EFC Churches of Iloilo, Pototan, Tigbawan, Guimaras, Dumagas, San Miguel, Bacolod, Sara and Tubugan congregated in EFC-Ajuy, Iloilo for a youth camp- a special time of equipping and mentoring.

EFC- Iloilo Feeding Program Impacts Children’s Lives

EFC-Iloilo believes that sharing food is one of the effective paths to share God’s message.  As they looked around the city, they found a strategic street where there were lots of children playing every Sunday afternoon. The Ybernas Street, situated right at the heart of Iloilo City Proper.

Home sweet home for EFC-Iloilo

EFC-Iloilo, formerly known as EFC-Jaro, was planted in 1994 at Brgy. Quartero, Jaro, Iloilo City. Road widening and floods during rainy season caused much hassle to the church that it finally decided to transfer after 20 years in Jaro. The church moved to a building space at Ortiz Street, Iloilo City. The new place was comfortable but not spacious enough to hold more people.  The water system was another inconvenience. For the next two and a half years, the church prayed and waited for God’s next move.

Remembering Pastor Jocelyn Tubongbanua Bachoco (October 7, 1960 – June 22, 2014)

This year we mourn the passing of Pastor Jocelyn Bachoco who died last June 22, 2014. Despite the suffering, especially on her final bout with cancer on the last week of April up to the month of June, Pastor Jocelyn never doubted the goodness of God in her life. When she realized that medical intervention could not reverse her condition, she said: “Let God’s will be done; whatever happens I am ready.” This is evidence that there was peace in her heart even though cancer was draining the life out of her. She had peace that was based on the assurance of eternal inheritance waiting for her in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Deep in our hearts as family and friends, we know that she has lived out this peace. Even in her final moment, her husband Pastor Benjie Bachoco and their eldest daughter Jalyn told us of her very calm countenance.

The internment service was held on June 26, 2014 in Pastor Jocelyn’s hometown at Bantud Fabrica, Dumangas, Iloilo. The JECPP Spiritual Leaders present were Pastor Andrew Kwong, Pastor Rowena Kwong and daughter Kristy Kwong, Pastor Peter Wee, Pastor Chuck Chua, and Pastor Benjamin Chavez. During the internment service, the Spiritual Leaders talked about how they remembered Pastor Jocelyn as a wife, mother, and minister. Pastor Andrew based his message on Psalm 116:15 which says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. Pastor Andrew recalled the sufferings of Pastor Jocelyn in the last few weeks of her life, such as how she would struggle walking with measured steps to the toilet to relieve herself. As he was talking about these things, Pastor Andrew was teary eyed and very emotional, but he further stressed that, though Pastor Jocelyn suffered terribly from cancer, she did not die in vain, for at present, she is already in heaven, free from pain, tears, and the terrible suffering she had undergone in the last months of her life. Truly she is in a better position now.

Pastor Wee, on the other hand, recalled how he and Pastor Christine met Pastor Jocelyn for the first time in 1994, and how they prayed for her to meet the man of her dreams, and how that prayer was answered when in 1995, a young man named Honorio Bachoco Jr. courted her and later became her husband when they wed in 1996. Lastly, Pastor Chuck recalled how he had come to know Pastor Jocelyn as a woman of small stature but with a big heart to serve God. She was one of the first church planters to be sent out to the island of Guimaras.

After the internment service, we traveled back to Iloilo City with the joy of the Lord, because we know that death did not have the final say in Pastor Jocelyn’s life. Although we mourn her physical absence, we know our separation from each other is but temporary.

Finally, the day came when Pastor Jocelyn’s body was to be brought to its final resting place. The burial service was held at the Tubongbanua’s ancestral home in Bantud Fabrica Dumangas Iloilo on June 30, 2014 at 1:00 in the afternoon. The service was conducted by Pastor Jessie Yu, Pastor Benjamin Chavez, and Pastor Bernardo de Jesus Jr. During the service, Pastor Benjie Chavez delivered to us a message entitled: “What does a Christian gain when he dies?” The message was based on Philippians 1:21 where Paul wrote, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Pastor Benjie stressed that for a saint to die in the Lord is no loss at all but gain. Death is not a hopeless condition as many see it, but being finally delivered from the pain and suffering of the world and entering into everlasting peace in heaven.  He stressed that in death, a Christian gains “a glorious inheritance.” After this, a special tribute was given by Pastor Lilibeth Fabales and Pastor Lourgue Jimenez. Pastor Lilibeth remembered Pastor Jocelyn as a close friend, who along with her, overcame many storms in life, especially in the ministry. Pastor Lourgue, on the other hand, remembered her as the pastor who led her to Jesus. She remembered how Pastor Jocelyn’s faithful follow-up had influenced her life for Jesus.

After the service, we all proceeded to the Dumangas public cemetery where Pastor Jocelyn’s body was laid to rest. It was a very emotional time for the Tubongbanua and Bachoco families. To part with a beloved is never easy. In our hearts we said our sad “goodbyes” and joyful “see you again” to Pastor Jocelyn.  As what Max Lucado states,  “For the Christian, a goodbye today will turn out to be a hello tomorrow”.  Praise God for this glorious inheritance!

We would like to thank JECPP for their encouragement to the Bachoco family; all the WV planters for their love and support; the EFC Ajuy music team for their anointed song numbers; Jalyn and Riolyn Bachoco for courageously dedicating a song number to their mother; and all relatives and friends of the Tubongbanua and Bachoco families who have shown their love and support in this time of bereavement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delegates gave thumbs up to the Western Visayas Regional Youth Conference

By Pastor Bernardo Jr. de Jesus

The converging point for this year’s ‘Empowering the Next Generation Youth Conference’ last April 14-16, 2014 was Villa Adelina Resort in Ajuy Iloilo. It was the perfect venue for our youth conference as the owner of the resort was a christian herself.

Tropical depression ‘Domeng’ had caused intermittent rain to fall for these three days, making travel difficult for most of the planters and delegates, who arrived soaking wet on the first day. But though we had rain showers for these three days, it turned out to be a blessing from God. If it were not for the rain, we would have suffered the excruciating heat of summer during the services.

During the first day of the conference, the EFC-Silay City band conducted a music seminar that was lead by Bro. Emerson Haresco and Bro. Vince Haresco. In this first session of the day, the Silay band led us in a wonderful time of praise and worship through songs that fit the taste of today’s youth. After this, Bro. Emerson taught the young people important spiritual principles aspiring song leaders must uphold, if they are to lead God’s people in worship. Then Bro. Vince taught how a worship team should prepare itself spiritually before they lead God’s people in worship. After these initial talks, the young people were divided into different groups based on their music interests, be it base guitar; electric guitar; keyboard; drums; and song leading. Then the members of EFC-Silay band imparted their music skills to the young people, using the music instruments at hand. Pastor Benjie Chavez had envisioned this music seminar for our conference in order to help aspiring musicians and singers under the various churches in Western Visayas.

The second session for the first day was under Pastor Benjie Chavez who shared the topic: “Mindset for Ministry.” Before delivering his message, Pastor Benjie showed us a short film clip that featured ECME, our mission’s school in Manila. It was a good time to present our Bible school to the young people as some of them may have sensed the call of God in their lives. Pastor Benjie stressed in his message that every member in the body of Christ has a part to play in the propagation of the gospel, and that being a mere spectator in the church is not God’s will for every Christian. It was a very convicting message for those young people who are so engaged in worldly pursuits while neglecting their responsibilities in the church. Pastor Benjie also stressed to the young people that they should base their identity on serving Christ, for if they do, they would discover the meaning and the purpose of their lives.

By the second day, the first session was under Pastor Bernard de Jesus Jr. who shared a message titled ‘Cutback.’ Pastor Bernard first showed the young people a short film clip on the sport of surfing, wherein surfers perform a maneuver called a cutback. According to Pastor Bernard, a cutback is a maneuver that enables the surfer to ride the power of the wave. It will enable the surfer to go along with the momentum of wave and not against it. The emphasis of this message was about accepting God’s plan for your life, and to choose not to fight against it. Pastor Bernard emphasized that the Christian life is just like surfing. The surfer symbolizes the Christian, and the waves symbolize the plan of God for his life. As a surfer does not go against the momentum of the wave but goes along with it, so the Christian must not fight against God’s plan for his life, but choose to go along with it. Pastor Bernard further stressed that according to Jeremiah 29:11, God has it all figured out about our lives and that He has a plan for our lives, and if there are areas that are not aligned with those plans, then a spiritual cutback would be necessary to change the wrong course taken. At the closing of the message, Pastor Bernard showed the young people a music video of the movie ‘Grace Unplugged,’ a movie about changing the course of one’s life in pursuit of God’s direction.

During the evening service of the second day, Pastor Virgilio Fabales shared on the message titled: ‘Who is this Man that turns this City upside down?’ The emphasis of the message is about the kind of men that God uses to make an impact in the world. Pastor Virgilio stressed from several Old Testament characters like Abraham and Jacob that the men God used to make an impact in the world were imperfect and weak, yet in their weaknesses, God’s power was manifested. Pastor Virgilio challenged the young people to be available for God’s service even though they may have weaknesses, because God’s power is made perfect in weaknesses.

On the first session of the third day, Pastor Bernard was again the speaker. This time his message was titled: ‘Do Not Invest your Life on the Temporal.’ Pastor Bernard stressed that we invest on what we believe is the real deal and not the raw deal. But the sad thing is that we have a tendency to invest our life on temporal things because we think they are the real deal, and that eternal things are the raw deal. Pastor Bernard stressed that Jesus taught us not to waste our lives on this fleeting world, and think that there is no far better world beyond this physical world we see now. We also must not think that life consists only of acquiring more things before our short life on earth comes to an end. In closing, Pastor Bernard emphasized that there are only two things that are eternal: The Word of God and People, so the young people better invest their youth on these two things.

After the first session, we had our open forum with the young people wherein we handed out a 2-page questionnaire titled: ‘Ungodly beliefs about Myself and Ungodly beliefs about Others’. At the start, Pastor Benjie felt that the young people needed an open forum to resolve several issues of the heart that are suppressed inside of them. The purpose of the open forum was to draw out these heart issues, so that we could counsel them using God’s Word with regards to these issues. We were surprised that such an open forum could effectively draw out these heart issues and move many of the young people to tears while the pastors counseled them to the best of their abilities. We thank the Lord for speaking to Pastor Benjie to include this in our conference.

Before our second session in the afternoon, we had our ‘Battle of the Bands’ wherein four groups competed against each other. With each group performing by using their own styles, we were amazed to see how talented these young people are. There were young people who were encouraged to join the contest beforehand, but since they were nervous about the idea of being on stage, they declined. But after they saw the four bands having fun on stage, they became envious and vowed to join the battle of the bands next year. The battle of the bands was not just a competition. It was Pastor Benjie’s intention to use this program in order to arouse interest in music among the young people, and truly it served its purpose. After the competition, due to insistent demand from the young people, the pastors gave a sample of their own talent in music. A band was hastily formed with Pastor Benjie Bachoco as the lead guitarist, Pastor Jon Jon as the bass guitarist, Pastor Regie as the drummer, Pastor James as the keyboardist, and Pastor Bernard as the lead vocal. The Pastors jammed to the tune of ‘One Way’ to the delight of the young people who were jumping up and down including our judges Bro. Emerson and Bro. Vince. The young people were so fired up that even during the praise and worship of the second session, they were jumping up and down for joy on the altar.

On the second session of the third day, Pastor Benjie’s message was about ‘Making Christ no.1 in our lives.’ Pastor Benjie began his message with an illustration about a dog that was chasing a rabbit. The dog was barking loud as it made the chase, attracting other dogs to go along with the chase. Halfway into the chase the other dogs broke off the chase, but this dog kept going. Pastor Benjie explained that the reason this dog kept on going was because it saw the rabbit, but the others did not. The other dogs were only drawn into the chase because of its barking. Pastor Benjie stressed that this is similar to the Christian life. There are those who tenaciously follow Jesus Christ regardless of the circumstances of life, because they have caught a vision of who Jesus is, while others falter halfway because they have not caught this vision. In closing, Pastor Benjie said, “A life without following Jesus is a life of cheap grace.”

The most memorable part of the conference was when Pastor Jocelyn Bachoco was brought to the altar during the last day to be prayed for by all church planters. Since the first day of the camp, she was suffering from severe body pains due to her condition. She could hardly walk to the pavilion without someone giving her assistance. But after being prayed for, she testified to Pastor Lina that all her body pains were gone, and that she could move her arms and legs without any pain whatsoever. The owner of Villa Adelina resort was surprised to see her walking the next day without assistance.  She told Pastor Benjie that nothing like this has ever happened in the resort. She even asked if she could print out this article from our website so that she could pin it somewhere in the resort, as a testimony that a miracle had happened in Villa Adelina Resort. Praise God!

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our Regional Director Pastor Benjie Chavez and Pastor Lina Chavez, including their church members for their labor of love in making this youth conference a success. Special thanks also to Pastor Franklin Margoma and Pastor Jerome Gimenez along with their team in the kitchen, for cooking for all the delegates for these three days. All of you are highly appreciated! Thanks to all the WV planters and all the youth delegates for their sincere cooperation. Thanks to the EFC-Silay City band for imparting their talents to our young people. Above all, thanks to our Founding Chairman Rev. Dr. Robert Lim and all the spiritual leaders who have envisioned this youth conference which had such a profound impact on our youth that they are again ready to go for NEX GEN 2015!wv8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BLESSING TO THE COMMUNITY

                                 (Relief operation for typhoon Yolanda victims in Ajuy Iloilo)

                                   By Pastor Bernard de Jesus

 For those of us who experienced its fury, we will never forget that fateful day of November 8, 2013 when super typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines, causing devastation and carnage to lives and property in the Visayas region. The whole country watched in horror as images of the aftermath of the storm unfolded on national television. No one could believe what they were seeing. The images of death and destruction were too much to bear that tears flowed from the eyes of our countrymen who were shocked into disbelief that such a storm could hit the Philippines.

But horrifying as they may be, the aftermath of such calamities brings a great influx of relief operations not only from our local government and local groups, but from the international community as well. It is in this scenario that the Church must not be indifferent, but be one of the very first to respond in compassion for those who have suffered great loss. After all, Jesus did say, “let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” It is in response to this teaching of Christ that JECPP reaches out to one of the hardest hit places in the island of Panay, Northern Iloilo.

The date for the relief operation was set for November 30, 2013 in the town of Ajuy Iloilo, where Evangel Family Church planted its first outstation work way back in the late eighties. The packing of the relief goods and rice were done in the Western Visayas office with the help of some young people from EFC Jaro and EFC Sta. Barbara. Truly they were a blessing to the relief efforts in Ajuy. The team assigned to help distribute the relief goods and rice where composed of Church planters coming from the Iloilo region and Capiz. All were in high spirits and full of joy to be part of this relief operation.

We were able to charter a large jeepney to help transport us and all the relief goods to Ajuy. We left Iloilo City at around 5:30am and made our way through the coastal road of northern Iloilo going to Ajuy. As we passed by each town, the evidences of typhoon Yolanda’s destructive power unfolded before our eyes. Uprooted trees, damaged school buildings, pulverized houses and marketplaces whose roofs were nothing but twisted metal. Such sights met us during our two hour trip, not to mention children begging for food and drink along the road.

After two hours of seeing all this, we finally reached Ajuy and were greeted by Pastor Benjie Chavez and Ptr Lina who graciously prepared breakfast for all of us. It was indeed a fun time to fellowship over plates of scrambled eggs, noodles, fresh bread and coffee before we commenced with the distribution of the relief goods. Truly we were blessed by their hospitality, which also included the efforts of some of their members who gave their time to cook for us. God bless them for their heart.

When we entered the church building, there were already a number of people waiting for the relief goods to be distributed. You could see in their faces that they were really in need of the goods that we brought with us. One could just imagine the crisis these poor people had gone through on the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda. Their loss has left most of them homeless and hopeless. This is why we were so eager to be part of this relief operation. By close to 10am, there were many people coming in with their coupons to receive their relief packs. We distributed packs containing canned goods, noodles, beverages, toiletries, plus four and a half kilos of rice (2 gantangs), which according to one resident, “was the heaviest pack of rice they have received in any relief operation.” Praise God!

All in all there were three hundred people who received relief packs. Even those people, who were not able to obtain coupons, were able to receive because there were extra relief packs that were left. Ptr. Benji allowed this, out of compassion for these people who were in desperate need.

It was indeed a successful relief operation for all us. Having completed the task given us, we headed for the town of Sara for a time of lunch and fellowship. After this, we headed back to Iloilo City, satisfied that we had done our part in bringing hope to the victims of typhoon Yolanda in the town of Ajuy.

The relief operation indeed made an impact on the community, for Ptr. Benji testified a few days later, that the day after the relief operation, their Sunday service was full packed that they didn’t need to fetch people in order come to church. The people just came, having been touched by the love of Christ the previous day through our relief operation. To God be the Glory!

We thank our founding Chairman, Rev. Dr. Robert Lim and the Spiritual leaders of JECPP for helping to make this relief operation possible and a success. God bless all of you!