STRIVING FOR SOULS
For many years, a total number of 29 outstation works had been planted by EFC Cagayan de Oro Region and out of passionate desire to reach out for more unsaved souls, we decided to saturate our own locale. God opened an opportunity for us in a slum area of our city called Isla de Oro.
The work in Isla de Oro started when God gave us a burden to reach out to the unsaved families there. Every Sunday evening, after our afternoon Cebuano Service in our church, a group of young people goes with me to Isla de Oro doing house-to-house invitation, encouraging people there to join a Bible Study. As we continue inviting and reaching out, the family of a certain Romeo Olano and the Abalde family responded and for a number of days, we held Bible studies in the Olano’s home. But as time went by, they turned to be uninterested and grew cold towards us.
We felt God once again wanted us to move on, to go further into the core or inside of Isla de Oro. We went and did house-to-house visitation there for almost two months, from August to September 2006, until we met a woman named Myrna Aljas. She welcomed the message of truth and received salvation. She allowed us to conduct Bible studies near their vicinity – at a vacant lot, and she provided us some accommodation.
Isla de Oro is a place thronged with crooked and unscrupulous people. Vices and drug addiction is very rampant, a place of many thieves and murderers. Many young people here are not sent to school due to poverty. In fact, many do not have any means for living, so they turn to vice and stealing. Instead of finding jobs, they find pleasure in indulging themselves with alcohol, gambling, and drugs. Satanic cults and practices are also rampant here.
Despite these circumstances which seem to be a roadblock to the entrance of the gospel to this place, we endured the race set before us. We remember what God has said, “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Life’s trials, struggles, sacrifices and persecution in pursuing His work, the service we render will all be worth it when we reap the fruits and everlasting reward of faith. It is always too soon to quit in this work when we know that God is working mightily and miraculously in the lives of the people, touching their hearts and transforming lives.
As time went on, God brought us to meet a man named Ricardo Tubo. He found hope in knowing God and listening to His Word. Ricardo once lived a miserable life, full of regrets and separated from his wife. He lived a violent life of fighting and stabbing. Several times he was stabbed and last September 28, 2006 he almost got killed. His wife deserted him because he was irresponsible and lazy, and that made him turn all the more to heavy drinking. He felt that he was fated with this kind of hopeless living and will never escape misery. But God was good to Ricardo. He heard the preaching of God’s Word conducted at the vacant lot of Sis Myrna Aljas. God opened his eyes to see the great light he has been craving for. His life was changed and he is now a new creation! He turned away from all his vices and all those who knew him were amazed by his life transformation. Ricardo has become a very faithful member of our Isla de Oro outstation. Through his obedience and dedication in serving God, he experienced the peace that he deeply longed for in the past.
Aside from Ricardo Tubo, there are also people (young and old) who have become committed and faithful in our services at Isla de Oro. The work there grew from an average of 2 adults and 13 children to 16 adults and 30 children. There is still much work to be done. We must keep running “with endurance.” Let us finish the course and finish it strong. We are still praying that through this outstation more lives will be blessed and the community will be changed. To God be all the glory!