December puts everyone, especially in the Philippines, in a holiday mood. But this last leg of the year is not vacation time for the pastors in JECPP Luzon Region. Redeeming the end-time harvest, JECPP aggressively laid ground North Luzon missions with the arrival of a pastoral team last December 2, 2013 in Candon City.
To those not familiar in the Luzon area, this quiet city is almost unheard of, compared to its prominent neighbor, Vigan City, which is the capital of the Ilocos Sur province. Considered as the secondary city after Vigan, Candon’s majority speak pure Ilocano. Most locals are farmers and their main products are tobacco and corn, so the city celebrates Tobacco festival yearly. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion here.
Pastors Leo and Rachel Engreso, the newly married couple is the pioneers of this 4 month-old church. “We arrived here as a team with one thing in mind, to win souls to Christ and to expand the Kingdom territory, said Pastor Leo. “The team prayed for us, and they made sure that all the things we need are provided.”
On December 8, 2013, EFC-Candon City, Ilocos Sur held its very first Sunday service. In preparation for this day, the pastors prayed earnestly for direction. Then they started befriending their neighbors and studying the history and culture of the place. By God’s favor, they were delighted when almost all of the people they invited for their first Sunday came, so they took the opportunity to offer Bible studies to those who are willing to open their homes.
“After a long time of praying and preparation for this work, finally we’re sure that God wants us here in this wonderful place. With the persevering passion of our very own Director of Luzon Region, Rev. Jessie Yu with his wife Rev. Rachel Yu, the core leaders and the team, we dare to touch an unknown ground of the northern soil of Luzon”, said Pastors Leo and Rachel.
“Since it’s Christmas, we had some simple gift giving to the community on our second Sunday through the packages sent by Evangel Singapore, which was passed to us by Evangel Quezon City. On the following weeks, we started doing house-to-house evangelism. To our surprise, the people here are very receptive, but of course, not all would want to commit to regular Bible studies in their houses.”
God led the husband-and-wife team to focus on the receptive families who opened their homes for Bible studies. In the passing weeks, they saw how God increased the people’s faith as they kept listening to His words. “On our Bible studies, we’ve started to teach our people about the principle of giving to the work of God. And God really touched and blessed,” shared Pastor Leo.
EFC-Candon also joined its first Prayer Walk last March. Most of the Sunday attendees, including their children, participated in this prayer fellowship. Prayer Walk is a corporate prayer event held quarterly and participated by all JECPP churches.
“By the grace of God in the past 4 months, we are discipling the believers here. We’re on the process of opening a cell church. We’ve also started Sunday afternoon services in a boarding house of college students in Brgy. Darapidap last March, but we’re still testing the ground,” said Pastor Leo.
“We believe that God’s hand is at work with us everyday. By toiling the ground continually, we have faith in our hearts that God will continue to do marvelous things in this church.”