This update is from Beth Leyva, member of the GCI Philippine Missions Team.
GCI Philippines recently held it first Missions Fest in Pampanga. Titled Beyond the Great Commission – Preparing the Bride, it showcased what God is accomplishing in missions through GCI in the Philippines. The event was facilitated by a team of missionaries and mission advocates headed by GCI National Missions Director Dr. Reynaldo Taniajura.
After the welcome from Pastor Miles Umlas, GCI National Director Eugene Guzon gave a presentation titled, GCI Mission: The Next Decade, in which he set the tone for what GCI members can expect from denominational leadership for fulfilling the Great Commission mandate of Matthew 28.
Dr. Taniajura then gave the first plenary session titled, Preparing the Bride and Mission. He explained that the church’s role in the Great Commission is primarily preparing the bride for the coming wedding of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Elder Kwan Soo Lee then gave the next plenary session titled, Transformation. Elder Lee is a successful businessman and chairman and adviser of several Korean business organizations in the Philippines. He encouraged participants to embrace transformation principles as a primary means in eradicating poverty.
In the afternoon, participants viewed the GCI Philippines Missions Journey video, which highlights local missions among the Mangyan tribe in Mindoro led by Senior Pastor Bernardo Cuizon with his son-in-law, Pastor Nomer Venus of GCI Manila South. Together, they pioneered outreach efforts to the people of Sitio Tuog, Rosacara, Bansud and Sigao in Mindoro. Also featured were GCI Manila Senior Pastor Gil Llaneza and Glory to the Lord Fellowship (GLF) Senior Pastor Andrew Teng. Both spoke about their congregations’ participation in missions in the past 12 years. A missions supporter turned missionary, Mercedes Aldaba from GLF shared about her personal missions journey which culminated in serving among orphaned children in Kenya.
The rest of the afternoon and the first part of Sunday were spent in workshops designed to give the members a glimpse of and a deeper appreciation for missions and missionary life. Divided into groups of 10 or more, each participant went through five tracks: 1) Networking and Faith Promise Giving led by Tess Uadan; 2) Cross Cultural Experience facilitated by Cecilia Bangay with desired outcomes of organizing a cross-cultural exposure trip by the end of the year and coordinating and assisting potential students of our missions training center; 3) Spiritual Warfare and Prayer facilitated by Malou Leyva; 4) Member Care with Honorio and Angelita Tabin; and 5) Intimacy with God facilitated by Beth Leyva. Going through the tracks culminated in participants signing a Covenant Declaration, which is a one-year commitment paper reminding them of what they have personally agreed to do for missions.
Sunday afternoon was spent in celebratory worship led by the GCI Pampanga worship band. Robert O. Ferrer, First Secretary and Consul at the Philippine Embassy in New Delhi, India gave the missions challenge sharing how God’s provision follows his mission. He also challenged participants to rethink their role as stewards of God’s resources. The rest of the afternoon was spent in prayer for the denomination including its leaders and missionaries, for each participant, and for various least-reached people groups: tribal peoples, Hindus, the unreligious, Muslims, Buddhists, and the 4-14 window (children in the church ages 4 to 14). Then with glad hearts, participants listened as Beth Leyva shared a vision for building a missions training center and place for missionaries to stay while on furlough – both would be constructed on the Alfonso, Cavite farm property made available by our missionary family to the United States, the Tabins.
Credit for Missions Fest goes to Senior Pastor Ronald Hernandez of GCI Bulacan who did a lot of the communication and advance arrangement, and to the good-hearted members in Pampanga who graciously hosted the Missions Fest team. The team now prepares for the next leg of Missions Fest to be held in Pili, Camarines Sur in June. The aim is to bring the event to as many places as are willing to host it within the year.