Light rain did not dampen the excitement in the air last July 14, 2012. Resplendent in their Matigsalug tribal attire, 14 trainees, together with family, friends and mentors celebrated the successful culmination of the seven-month long training at Ladayon, Arakan Valley. For one week every month since January, each one of them made the regular trip to the Evangel Tribal Training Center from their respective homes and places of ministry to go through one of the nine modules on Evangelism, discipleship, health, agriculture, literacy and community development.

One of the Cebuano songs in the ceremony captured the shared experience from the first module to the last. The abounding grace and anointing of God made all those learning moments life-changing ones for everybody involved. Five people gave testimonies on the different modules. “The power of God’s anointing is real so His servants can exercise their gifts”, Pastor Maximo Lasquite declared. His learning about spiritual gifts and desiring the gift of healing was immediately put to test when He went back to his community. A neighbor had severe diarrhea and was close to being dehydrated. Before deciding to bring him to the hospital, the wife asked Ptr. Lasquite for prayers. Immediately the neighbor felt relief, and there was no need to go to the hospital. Maryflor Caday shared how she used the Chronological Bible Story Telling in Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups. The members were really excited and deep spiritual discussions resulted from her sessions. Elmer Ramirez, who is an experienced commercial farmer, shared about some eye-opening lessons learned during the Sustainable Agriculture module. He realized that as a farmer, he is responsible to give customers quality products, aside from being concerned only with good harvest and income.  He learned this as another dimension to stewardship.  Another student, Mary Ann, was very grateful for the practical things she learned from the Health module, especially on how to administer First Aid. She believed that it will help her become a more effective minister of the gospel in Guilon. Ramil, on the other hand, talked about his desire to teach his members how to read the Bible. At first he found the Literacy module difficult, but after much prayer, he found it easier to understand. He is now looking forward to helping his members acquire literacy skills. All of them were grateful for all the practical modules they had gone through.

The graduation ceremony was highlighted by Ptr. Christine Wee’s challenge to the graduates to continue doing the unfinished task Jesus left to His church. She reminded them that the unquestionable love of God, with His unstoppable power and unfailing promises to us, will definitely propel us to reap more souls into God’s kingdom.

Last June, the trainers for this first batch talked about involving these graduates in the logistics and actual training for the next batches.  The ‘Paul- and-Timothy principle’ of passing on these teachings to faithful men and women is very much in evidence. Our sincere appreciations to Sis Beng Bicaldo and her team from TMFI (Tribal Mission Foundation International) who has  partnered with us in training our tribal workers for the expansion of God’s kingdom in the Marilog District.