Philippines: In a challenging time like this pandemic, you might not expect to hear stories of church growth. But recently, 5 new churches were organized in the Philippines in just a span of one month.
In the midst of this pandemic Rev. Medanny Punsalan, District Superintendent of the Panay District found himself in a little church located in Barangay Sambag Nueva Sevilla, Barotac Viejo, which is just north of Iloilo on the island of Panay in the Philippines this past March 28, 2021. This was not only a regular visitation. This day is an exciting day. Glorious Church of the Nazarene was organized with 23 members.
Pastor Rolando and Pastora Marcela Rubrico have pioneered the Glorious Church of the Nazarene since 2014. They both graduated from Central Philippine Nazarene College formerly Visayan Nazarene Bible College (1995). They have zealously given themselves to ministering to children and families in their nearby communities. The couple supported the ministry by working as a tricycle driver and giving tutorials. This family has previously pastored in 4 other churches. This is the second church they have pioneered. Their children, Rocelle Praise, Kezia Pearl, Timothy Psalms, and Zion Precious serve with them in ministry. Please join with this church as they pray for a more permanent location for the church and let’s praise God for this new church and its ministry!
East Mindanao District
A couple of weeks later, on the island of Mindanao four churches were organized.
What a joy to witness the goodness of God in Panabo Church of the Nazarene, (Mindanao, Philippines) pastored by Rev. Erene P. Pastor. On April 17, 2021, Regional Director Dr. Mark Louw, accompanied by Philippine Field Strategy Coordinator Rev. Arnel Piliin and District Superintendent Rev. Nicolas Cacho, organized the four daughter churches of Panabo Church of the Nazarene via zoom. These new churches are Cabili Church of the Nazarene, led by pastor Faustino Secretaria, Baybay Church of the Nazarene, led by pastor Eugenio Pejera, Katipunan Church of the Nazarene, led by pastor Johnrey Sedayao and Cagangohan Church of the Nazarene, led by pastor Remlani Nacario.
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Rev. Pastor has served in Panabo since 1997. At that time, the church was dilapidated and had only four members left. Growth has been slow. Many times, he was tempted to give up. Nevertheless, God gave him a vision of 300 worshipers, and he believed this vision.
Blooming Multiple Ministry Opportunities
Growth started with a kinder school they started in 2015 taught by his wife, Vivian. The church also participated in Church Planting training. The first graduates committed to planting a church. They also began a Jail Ministry every Tuesday and many inmates, saved by God’s grace, when released have testified in our church services. Praise God!
Panabo Church of the Nazarene had the opportunity to partner with other organizations to provide Christmas gifts to children in the community. During the pandemic, God has supplied through outside organizations that allowed them to distribute Manna Packs of fortified rice, vitamins, seeds, and facemasks to more than 1000 families. The donation of 5000 chicks allowed the church to give generously in the church planting areas and to pastors of other denominations in the area. This has really helped the church planting movement here in Panabo City. God has been faithful to meet all of our needs and He used the church to become the channel of His Blessings in our communities.
“I know it is impossible for Panabo Church of the Nazarene to plant 4 churches at the same time. But, it is the Lord’s work. He gave me the vision of one church in every Barangay. I simply obeyed Him, because I believe that when He calls, He provides. I will just go wherever He wants me to go and do whatever He wants me to do.” Rev. Erene P. Pastor
God is at work in our churches, and the pandemic cannot keep it from growing.