In 2002, Rev. Ronilo Tapal started out in his hometown Balingasag, Misamis Oriental after his pastoral training in EFC-Cagayan de Oro. The next year, he got married to Maryjoy Robles and both enjoyed the blessings and challenges of pioneering work in Balingasag. This town is composed of 30 Barangays; it is the largest municipality in Misamis Oriental. Raised in this place, Pastor Ronilo is familiar with the people and the culture. It’s very conservative and religious, but he believes that God has something extraordinary for this town.
Before JECPP started here, there were only two evangelical churches with only a handful of members. But slowly God sent workers, including JECPP. And now, there are 13 Bible-centered churches plus the 12 outstation churches of EFC-Balingasag. The current church location is near the market which is a strategic place to be in. This has been the third site since the ministry started.
Before Pastor Ronilo was assigned as resident Pastor, he was trained here for one year together with two other workers from ECF- Cagayan de Oro. From Mondays to Fridays, he reported to the city church in Cagayan de Oro and then returns home to conduct Saturday Bible studies and Sunday services.
The couple started the church with a few members including Pastor Ronilo’s mother and aunt. Pastor Ronilo could still recall the enjoyable bicycle trips with his wife to their outstation churches. “My wife has been so supportive to me all along. By faith, she resigned from her regular work from Del Monte because it had been her heart to share God’s word,” he said.
Slowly the EFC- Balingasag grew with many problem and struggles, sometimes tempting both of them to go back to their secular jobs, but they had no peace contemplating such.
The first Sunday service was unforgettable. Only Pastor Ronilo’s mother came to the service. That was very discouraging for him. “Am I called or not?,” he thought to himself. That Sunday, he told his mother to intercede for him because he will go to the hospital to preach. There in the hospital was a pregnant woman waiting for delivery. She was so depressed and worried about her delivery. She was hoping for normal birth but was bothered by the bad words or the curse spoken to her by her mother. By faith, they were there to comfort her and prayed for normal delivery, and by God’s grace, she delivered a normal baby boy. Because of how they took a step of faith to reach out in the hospital, they began their first outstation in the woman’s home and were able to reach out to more neighboring families. “My wife and I enjoyed riding a bike going there though it was really far from our place.”
Pastor Ronilo can testify of God’s faithfulness to those who are available for His call. Every now and then, God raises up new members and outstation churches in different places in Balingasag and Misamis Oriental. EFC-Balingasag conducts a weekly training for leaders and leaders-to-be.
“One source of strength in our ministry are the encouragements Rev. Andrew Kwong and Rev. Rowena Kwong gave us when times are tough,” said Pastor Ronilo. “We are still persevering in God’s work here in my town, and I believe that “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy (Psalms 126:5).”