By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MANILA (Worthy News) – Some 1,000 delegates from evangelical congregations in Mindanao, the Philippines’ second-largest island, have agreed to increase evangelism and provide more after years of hardship.
The August 28-29 convention in the city of Gingoog was organized by the Philippines Charismatic Full Gospel Ministries, an umbrella group of charismatic churches on the island.
They discussed the theme “Together with God, we can be fruitful and multiply” when the Philippines is reeling from the aftermath of recent typhoons and the coronavirus pandemic.
“We could not see each other for three years,” said organizer Angelita Mission-Ablas, referring to coronavirus lockdowns imposed by authorities and security forces.
The Christian worker of the Charismatic Full Gospel Assembly Church congregation, who also runs a food shop, told Worthy News that people still have difficulties, especially after Typhoon Rai.
The super storm of December, known locally as Typhoon Odette, devastated much as it tore across the Philippines in December, leaving more than 400 people dead.
MANY HOUSES DESTROYED
Some 1.5 million houses, more than any other typhoon in recent decades, were destroyed, according to Red Cross aid workers. Rai, with winds of up to 193 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour), made landfall in the country’s surfing capital of Siargao, a tiny island in eastern Mindanao with a population of roughly 180,000 people.
“It was a terrible time. But it was very good to see that this convention united pastors. It was that the Holy Spirit touched their hearts,” Mission-Ablas confirmed to Worthy News.
“We decided to step up evangelism and aid among the people still suffering from the typhoon on the islands.” Affected residents still struggle to rebuilding their lives. “It is hard to find work here on our island. But we preach the Gospel to give hope to the people,” Mission-Ablas said.
“After the typhoon, my two brothers, who are pastors and evangelists, helped people to rebuild their lives and houses. The government also supported these efforts.”
At the convention, the charismatic churches pledged to increase cooperation as many Catholics have renewed their faith in Christ. “Although the Philippines is a mainly traditional Catholic country, many turn to Christ,” Mission-Ablas explained.
She noticed an increase in the evangelical churches in the Philippines as many people seek answers.
Despite widespread poverty, it was possible to organize the convention. “We needed money, but God provided everything.”