This pandemic has brought a lot of challenges and uncertainties to all people around the world. But in the Philippines, many local churches took these as opportunities to plant new churches and expand the work of the Lord in their areas.
Rev. Ronaldo Reyes – Philippines/Micronesia Field Church Planting Coordinator shared that in 2021, 25 new preaching points were planted within the 11 districts in the Philippines. He shared that despite the restricted movement because of Covid-19, pastors continue to have a deep passion to plant churches, train new pastors and laypeople to assist them in becoming effective in ministry.
Tanay Church of the Nazarene, led by Pastor Ron, has planted 3 churches since 2018. One of the church plants, started when one of the families attending their church sensed God’s call to use their home to reach the Muslim community in their area. They began to have Bible studies in their home. And now it was organized as a local church with 70 members. All three churches embrace the vision and mission that their mother church gave them. These new churches started a new work in the neighboring province.
Bicol District also experienced extraordinary growth last year with 11 new organized churches. Rev. Danilo Feleo, District Superintendent shared this exciting story of one of the church plants. It began when one of the young people who is attending university as an education student, needed to do practical work. She started teaching a group of kids in her neighborhood. The local church in Legaspi City came alongside her and started a children’s ministry. They also began to visit the parents of the children enrolled in the children’s program. During the Mother’s Day celebration in the church, the parents were invited to the celebration. Four mothers came and were blessed with the warm welcome they received while in church and decided to have a deeper understanding and relationship with God. A Bible study was started with them. And after several months, the group grew in numbers. And in November 2021, this group is organized as a local church still meeting in the homes of the members.
Rev. Ernesto Gono, pastor of Cananaoan Tribal Church in the Metropolitan Luzon District envisions having a daughter church for his congregation. He shared this vision and his local church embraced this vision as well. In June 2021, they started a kids outreach in San Fernando, Pampanga. After several months, the parents of the children saw the impact of this outreach in the lives of their children and they too decided to have a Bible study. In December 2021, this outreach was organized as San Fernando Church of the Nazarene with 80 children, 15 youth, and 25 adults.
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Another church was also formed through intentional relationship building. Rev. Gono and his wife, Jhelenn, connected with a cousin who lived in a neighborhood that does not have a good church presence. After knowing about this, the couple began visiting and praying for the family. In May, they began to hold Bible studies in their relative’s home. Their friends and neighbors were invited and started to attend as well. In December 2021, District Superintendent Cryz Colorado organized the local church with 15 adults, 11 young people, and 13 kids.
My passion is to see the church in the Philippines grow in numbers so that many would hear about Jesus. Also, I would like to see that each person in these churches would grow deeper spiritually and walk the journey of life in close communion with their savior. That is why the Philippines/Micronesia Field Office focuses on equipping the districts to grow their churches. We are excited to witness how these stories unfold especially during this time of the pandemic.Rev Arnel Piliin, PMF Strategy Coordinator
On the Eastern Visayas District, Pastor Sam Globio shared how he and his wife felt God’s call to begin a ministry in the Campakirit neighborhood in Maydolong Eastern Samar. They began to pray about it. At the start of 2021, they searched for a place to rent in the area. God provided the space and on January 10, they had their first worship service with 6 families and a small group of single moms. Since then, they continue to meet and grew. The ministry expanded to have children, youth, and adult small groups as well as mid-week prayer service. In May 2021, they were formally organized as The Springs of Hope Church of the Nazarene with 37 members.
These are just some of the stories of how God is moving in the Philippines. Praise the Lord for leading the Philippine churches, empowering, calling, and equipping pastors to reach out into new communities with God’s love and hope.