by Rev. Rosario Simpas

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18) Amidst the odds, God has been good because we were able to finish our church building in Tagum City.

We were looking forward to the dedication of our new church building on May 23, 2021. Despite the threat of COVID-19, we were grateful to God that we were able to celebrate our humble and simple church dedication.

Everything proceeded smoothly until it was time to begin the service, when we were greeted by a high wind and a sudden downpour of heavy rain, which blew away our preparations and decorations. The member’s excitement was shattered in some way. Some were unable to arrive early due to the bad weather, and even our musicians battled the rain to make it through, soaked and drenched, but that did not dampen our joy on that day. Everything appears to be as gorgeous and well-planned as before, yet something unanticipated happened. Following the severe downpour, there was a blackout. We had no idea what to do or feel because we had prayed for this event and asked God to have His way on this particular day. “Lord, we know Pastor Wee had a wonderful message planned for the church today. Please make it loud and clear for us to hear.” We were on the verge of collapsing, but we kept our faith in God and prayed in the corner. We simply cannot allow these situations to hinder the joy and blessings that are about to be bestowed upon us.

Regardless, the event must go on, rain or shine, with or without lighting, with or without attendees. Because of the power outage, we were forced to sing praise and worship acapella, but it was the happiest acapella we’d ever had. There were no instruments, only voices — people clapping joyfully and worshiping God loudly. At all times, our God is worthy of praise.

The lights came back on shortly after the acapella praise and worship, and the rain had stopped. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and grace! We are overjoyed that we can now clearly hear God’s message.

Pastor Wee, our Regional Director in Davao, preached about “What is a Church?” and all eyes were fixed on him.

A church, he said, are three things; the church is a Connection, a Conversation and a Commitment. The church is also the gateway to heaven. Put your treasure there if you want your heart to follow God or if you want your heart to be in His kingdom. Invest in the Kingdom of God.

Every heart was encouraged, and faith begin to rise again. God’s presence stirred us, and His goodness overwhelmed us. Our spiritual commitment was challenged, and so is our love for His church. “Bull’s eye!” Pastor Greg exclaimed. The message struck each Evangelite in Tagum in different ways, right at the center of our need. Thank you for this Rhema, Lord.

Before Pastor Wee led the Prayer of Dedication, with the key leaders, we read Psalms 84 and we claim the word of God in verses 11-12, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.”

As the service ended, the expression of our faith and gratefulness to God is beyond words. Looking back to the very first days where we started on August 2019 up to the year 2020, despite the pandemic, we were able to progress slowly by faith, together with people who were used by God to be an instrument for His glory. All struggles, tears, sleepless nights, and hard work paid off. It was all worth it!

Thank you, Rev. Peter Wee and Rev. Christine Wee for doing the honor to dedicate our new church building. Thank you for helping us a lot in prayers, in our concerns, and finances. Thank you for being a part of this momentous event of EFC Tagum.

To Rev. Dr. Robert Lim and Rev. Marion Lim, I know in our hearts, you are always with us in our journey in the ministry. Thank you so much for helping us financially to improve our church building.

To our EFC Tagum family, thank you for always standing with us. Thank you for believing in us. Together, let us continue to move on for the furtherance of his kingdom.

Just as Pastor Greg closed the dedication Sunday, we quote Psalms 115:1, “Not to us, Lord, not to us but your name is the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

Glory to God!