(Written by: Ms. Risa Labis)
“The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity—hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory.” – J.I. Parker
Evangel Family Church CDO is blessed to have embarked on its first outdoor Christmas Party on a community outreach in Barangay Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro dubbed as “Christmas at Nazareth”. “Christmas at Nazareth” was a striking departure from the Christmas parties we used to have inside the four corners of our church where we enjoyed the fun and the fellowship of fellow believers and of course, feasted on a variety of delicious food.
The church, under the guidance of Pastor Andrew Kwong and Pastora Rowena Kwong, felt that Christmas should be a time where we can showcase God’s generosity because on that first Christmas night, God gave the most precious thing He has, and that is His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. So instead of lavishing ourselves with gifts and toys and all that, we decided to go out to the community and spend Christmas with them. Interestingly, a barangay in Cagayan de Oro named after our Messiah’s hometown was fittingly chosen for the event.
It was a warm afternoon of 21st of December 2014 when about 500 children from Barangay Nazareth were gathered together in a gymnasium. It was an uncomfortably humid day, yet the kids did not mind because they were very excited on what were in stored for them during that day.
The active and dynamic TKK (The Kingdom Kids) teachers started the program on “Christmas at Nazareth” with a Praise and Worship led by the Music Team. Kids were attentive to hear the sharing about Christmas, and Jesus being the center of the celebration. Moreover, Burglar, a mascot brought fun to all the kids when he started playing with them. Teachers also entertained the kids with various games and fun activities.
Moments later, grandparents, parents, and more adults started coming in. The second part of the program was dedicated for them. Everyone enjoyed worshiping and praising the Lord. Everybody raised their hands as they all sung joyous Christmas songs. Evangelites continued on by having more surprises through various games and activities.
The day will not be complete without hearing a word of encouragement from beloved Rev. Andrew Kwong. He gave a very uplifting word of Hope. Also, a brother in Christ, Jeff Ouano and his band presented songs about his life experiences in encountering the Lord during the darkest moments of his life.
After all the games and giving out of prizes, four families were surprised with gifts given by Evangel Family Church. They were thankful and indeed surprised.
The fellowship with an estimated 900 adults and kids ended with a night of shared happiness and so much laughter over the warm and simple foods prepared by Evangel Family Church’s Staff and members.
By going into Nazareth, which happens to be the name of Jesus’ hometown, we meant to be a blessing to others as the Lord wants us to be. We shared material things that we could manage to buy to give to others so they would be happy on Christmas. We did this to let people know God is a generous God. But little did we realize that we in turn were also blessed to share the message of God’s relentless love with the people most in need of it – the destitute, the downtrodden, the hopeless and the restless. Indeed, the true message of Christmas is His undying love for everyone.