Not ceasing to share their faith to others even amid the pandemic, Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) members from the Ecclesiastical District of Masbate recently proved that bearing abundant fruit will never go out of season.
With the growth of membership in the district, additional groups of worshipers and places of worship also rise. On April 1, 7, 8, and 14, 2021, the brethren were witnesses to the inaugural worship services of Costa Rica Group Worship Service (GWS), Batuhan Extension, Buenos Aires GWS, and Gahit Extension, respectively.
Costa Rica GWS
This GWS’s place of worship is located at Brgy. Costa Rica, Batuan, Ticao, Masbate, a 45-minute motorboat ride from the mainland. That is almost 17 kms. away from that of the Local Congregation of Masbate City, its mother congregation. As their village was not exempt from the economic hardship wrought by the pandemic crisis, the costly fare to their former house of worship had become seemingly unbearable.
With God’s help, Brother Ricky Locillo, deacon, was instrumental in the spread of God’s words at such a far-flung place, which is his birthplace. He introduced his faith first to his loved ones and then to his fellowmen. After almost three months of assisting the resident minister, Brother Rolando Santos Jr., he saw their propagational efforts yielding a fulfilling result—the establishment of the Costa Rica GWS.
Brother Ricky said, “We’re so grateful having our devotional prayers answered, now I am with my relatives in conducting true worship of God. We will continue sharing the true faith to all of our fellowmen here.”
Established by the Local Congregation of EGM, Batuhan Extension also comprises brethren from Brgy. Batuhan, Masbate City. Mounting price of the fare most of the time prompted the brethren from the said village to walk the 14-km distance to the EGM congregation’s house of worship.
Concerned for them, Carlito Altarejos Jr., offered a part of his lot in the village, on which the brethren joined hands to build a semi-concrete house of worship as approved by the Church Administration.
EGM Local Congregation resident minister, Brother Orlando Alcantara, enthused, “Like what the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, often say, from the Bible, ‘Worship service opens doors of blessings from God.’ We’re so overwhelmed, because despite this [Batuhan] place’s being remote, yet God allowed a house of worship to rise here, wherein His servants can also say their prayers and expect of His help, come what may in their lives.”
Buenos Aires GWS
Buenos Aires GWS is 12 kms away from its mother congregation, the Local Congregation of San Fernando. Prior to this GWS’s establishment, they would have to walk for 45 minutes, not to mention that the once unpaved route had led them to prefer crossing rivers and steep hills just to reach the house of worship.
The resident ministerial worker, Brother Ryan Joseph Leybag, said, “Having a house of worship near the brethren is timely now that we’re in a pandemic crisis. This is also one way of gearing the brethren to be one with the Church Administration now more than ever in proclaiming the true gospel.”
Grateful to the Lord and the Church Administration, Brother Eddie Banate, choir member, said, “The house of worship strengthens us in the faith. At this time we’re faced with heavy problems, we have now our own house of worship wherein we can cry out to God for all our hardships and pains.”
Located at Brgy. Gahit, Cataingan, Masbate, Gahit Extension is just six kilometers away from its mother congregation, the Local Congregation of Cataingan. But for most of the brethren who live farther, at the mountainsides, the travel to Cataingan is an hour walk, as rough roads made it difficult for cars to reach them. There is also a wide river that riding a boat through would cost them a hundred pesos.
Brother Elmer Enong, resident minister, said. “We strive to bring near the brethren the worship services so they can all the more devote themselves to it together with their guests which have now become prospective members.”
Sister Mila Tano, deaconess, happily said, “We are now all the more inspired to attend the worship services.”