by: Pastor Mabel Miraflor
After graduating at ECME Bible School in Jaro, Iloilo City in 2008, I was assigned to shepherd EFC-Carmen, Davao del Norte. Five years later, I could look back and marvel on God’s leading up to this day and the promising years ahead.
EFC-Carmen, now 10 years old, is headed by my team-up with Pastor Evelyn Calamba. Looking back, this assignment seemed daunting for two young ladies. When asked to pastor EFC Carmen, we were afraid, nervous and hesitant. There were people who put us down because they think we can do nothing as single ladies who are frail and weak. There are also very physical tasks such as doing repairs or church construction that we find difficult.
But God’s command to be strong and courageous keeps us steadfast in the mission field. In fact, one of EFC-Carmen’s goals this year is to prepare for the construction of our own permanent church building in a 180 sq meter lot donated by one of the members. This has been an answered prayer, as the church, presently located at Purok 17, Brgy. Ising, Carmen has kept transferring from one rented building to another for the past 10 years. Looking for a bigger place to accommodate the growing church or avoiding conflicts with neighbors due to noise problems during church services prompted us to find a suitable and permanent place of worship. We are now raising money for our own church building. This is one thing we have learned here in the mission field that we haven’t experienced while we were in ECME. We have to actually teach the members to be good stewards of their time, talent and treasure that God has entrusted them with.
Last November 3, 2013, we celebrated EFC-Carmen’s 10th year anniversary. Rev. Gregorio Simpas, who was our guest speaker, inspired our faith. His message challenged us to work on our church theme this year which is “Conquering the Giants.” Our giants in life are the obstacles that we meet along the way- our struggles, weaknesses, fears, doubts, discouragements and temptations. We dare to believe that we can attain victory by taking God at His word and trusting Him completely. God will meet all our needs and destroy these hindering giants.
In line with this theme is our vision for this church. We need to have more leaders for the Church Planting Movement. To accomplish this vision, we conduct leaders training every month. Second is to build our own church building. In order to meet this need, we challenge the members to give for the building fund and commit faith pledge. Another vision is to equip the youth. We train them to practice friendly evangelism in the church neighborhood. We also want to see more children being saved and being used by God through the children ministry. To reach this vision, we train Sunday school teachers to impart the Word of God and Christ-like attitudes by being good examples to our children. As of now, we minister to 115 children in seven children outreaches on Saturdays and Sundays.
As I look back over the years, the road has been a journey with the Lord. EFC-Carmen started in 2003 through the Church Planting Concept by conducting evangelism and house to house bible study in Carmen. Four young pastors, namely, Antonette Salem, Eddie Gutang, Chandie Tanucan and Liza Honor were the pioneering pastors of the church in a rented house in Prk.14, Brgy. Ising, Carmen, Davao del Norte. After them, Pastor Dolores Lozada was assigned to continue the work, and after a year, Pastor Fabian and Pastor Joyce Sumampong took over the church. But after two years, they transferred to Polomolok in South Cotabato.
I was a newly graduate bible school student then when I was asked to take over EFC-Carmen, together with my batch mate, Pastor Maria Dherly Galing. When Pastor Dherly got married, she joined her husband Ptr. Willian Consular in EFC-Panabo. Pastor Evelyn Calamba took over her place up to the present. As single young ladies, there are lots of pressures in the ministry from the start up to now. We can never do this on our own. It is only by God’s grace and through prayers that we can pray the price of our calling. We must not be frightened nor be dismayed for the Lord our God is with us wherever we go.