By: Stephanie Pe Benito

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. The wind gently ruffled the leaves as the branches of the shade trees swayed over the picnic tables. Although the temperature soared to 38 degrees, the heat was not oppressive.  Everyone brought at least one potluck dish.  The table was filled with appetizers, side dishes and desserts. Games were played and conversations lingered.  It was a real pleasure to sit in the open air and play and talk.  The sweet & juicy watermelon kept us refreshed while we sat under the big tree to have fellowship with one another.  The ripe mangoes attracted our attention and we had them to our fill.  The young people had a lot of time jumping, splashing around the pool & soaking in the sun.

Rev. Pastor Benjamin Chavez held a water baptism and shared Romans 6:1-5.  According to him, water baptism is a symbol of a new life as a Christian. We bury the ‘old life’ and we rise to walk in a ‘new life’.  An outward symbol of the commitment we made in our hearts, a commitment that has to be followed through and lived out on a daily basis.  Baptism declares that we are a follower of Jesus Christ.  It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith.  Praise God for the 18 souls who got baptized.

Informal togetherness, especially involving recreation- like picnics cultivates the unity of God’s people, which we are commanded to maintain, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”- Ephesians 4:3. Thus, during these gatherings there is unpressured time for natural, extended conversation—and significant relationships take time.  We are thrown together with other church members we don’t otherwise talk to. And some of the inevitable walls of separation between groups are penetrated.  We met new fellows and shared testimonies.

Throughout the day the sound of laughter echoed in the air as families & friends spent quality time together.  We are thankful to God that we had a very enjoyable time of our life during the whole day. Glory to God!