ME Conference – “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
This was this year’s theme, an excerpt from Acts 4:31 as OPIF Inc. worldwide held a Unified Holy Ghost Rally participated in by no less than the pillars of the Fellowship, formerly known as OASIS Fellowship together with its general membership across the globe on May 15, 2021.
A roll call of participants worldwide and acknowledgement of brethren marked the welcome address by Sis Myra Ciceron, Home Mission Director of ME Conference as she opened the event after Overseer Vili Solomon started right up with a prayer.
This year’s Speakers include Sis. Carolyn Hatch of Texas USA, Pastor Johnny Bacani of Imus Cavite, Philippines, Bro. Pete Villa of USA, Bro. Floro Torres of USA and Pastor Rec Dela Pena of Alberta Canada.
Pastors Martino Cortan, Victor Notario and Emiliano Neric delivered words of encouragement early on the program and stressed key points on this year’s theme.
Pastora Marilyn, the Board Finance Directress exhorted the faithful on the importance of giving and went on to stress to support the ongoing church building construction of Sector 5, Cuenca, Batangas.
A special tribute to the entire brethren who had in some way or another has become part in the establishment of the Congregation was also rolled out in a photo video coverage.
A former Sector 3 pioneer, Sister Caroline Hatch kicked off the lesson series with Faith posing a question “How can we believe in something that we do not see or judge?, she asked. “It’s a choice we make”, she stressed.
She then likened faith in flying a plane where flying hours are required among other trainings and examinations a Pilot must undergo in order to begin a career in flying.
“When you take a trip in an airplane, you do not talk to the pilot and check his qualifications and test his knowledge if he is able to take the airplane up in the air, keep it in the air and how to land it safely, but you have faith in the Pilot”, she said. But “we make a conscious decision to get in the plane and relax, trusting that the pilot will get you to your destination safely, that’s is faith”, she further stressed.
Similarly, she went on to describe the things around us and how they are interrelated and they do not come by chance. Furthermore, she went on describing medical processes and organ systems by pointing out its functions and yet they do not come by chance. “Our body systems, our eyes, our brains, all of these things, even the world we live in points to the existence of God”, she said.
“Same true is in God, we make conscious decision to believe that there is God and begin to seek him with all of our hearts”. Hebrew 11:6 said “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”, she pointed out.
“Firm belief is something for which there may be no tangible proof, complete trust, confidence, reliance and devotion; Faith is the opposite of them. Faith therefore is “perceiving things as real facts what are not revealed in the senses”, she explained.
She ended up her lesson by encouraging the faithful to diligently seek Him for He will be found.
Meanwhile, Pastor Johnny Bacani of UPC Imus Cavite, the first and former Pastor of Sector 8 delivered a lesson on sin. He opened his lesson saying “there is power in the name of Jesus”.
He stressed scriptural verses found in Romans 6:23, 1 John 3:4, 5:17, James 4:17, Prov. 34:9. He mentioned “in our current times, people have counted sin lightly. Sin is embedded in human fallen nature. The Bible described sin as ugly, dirty and abominable while the world makes sin being attractive and entertaining as shown on commercials and advertisement so the world may perceive them to be good”.
He emphasized that the Bible is clear when it said those who have not obtained the salvation of the Lord shall suffer the eternal death in hell.
He summarized sin in three-fold; pride which is found in Isaiah 14:12-15, unbelief as described in Gen. 3:1 and disobedience as found in Gen. 3:6.
Pastor Johnny Bacani is currently an active minister of United Pentecostal Church Philippines and a former Evangelist of the National Council.
Also in the lesson series is repentance which was delivered by former Overseer Pete Villa. In his lecture, Bro. Villa emphasized the importance of repentance. He reiterated that to attain salvation, mankind who was given a choice whether to sin or to repent must come to a decision to change his mind and leave his old ways. Man has to subject himself to God and His Word because we fall short of God’s standard. He went on to define repentance being a complete turn from sin or direction and it is a choice.
“True repentance results in true action, a change of mind must result to a change of action”, he reiterated.
“One must not live a lifestyle of sin, in fact the hardest part of our conversion process is repentance because it requires a change of heart”, he reiterated.
Bro. Villa is now based in the USA and used to be a member of Al Bahar church in the late 1980s.
Fourth in a series is a lesson on Water Baptism. Bro. Floro Torres, who used to be a member in Sector 2 Al Bahar in the late 1980s highlighted the significance of water baptism as being an absolute command as the words “you must and unless” in the book of John 3:5 offers no options for men but to obey. “These are absolute commands and our choice is either we obey or we reject it”, he mentioned.
However, he explained that humans have default systems in dealing with Commandments either to reject, turn down or doubt. “Either we obey or reject, either we enter God’s Kingdom or stay outside of the plan of God’s salvation, there will be a day of reckoning, a day of judgment”, Bro. Floro reiterated.
Bro. Torres was instrumental in the original OASIS Logo and is now based in Texas, USA. He used to be the Director of World Missions.
On the other hand, 1 Thes. 4:13-17, which describes the return of the Lord paved way to the Event’s Message titled “The Escape”.
Pastor Rec dela Pena, a former Overseer said “Nowadays, you will notice that men have become so intelligent that even Elon Musk created a space shuttle to escape to another world of abode. “They want to escape from here to another place”, he said.
“Nowadays, the world struggles because of pandemic, not only in the Philippines that people suffer from famine and joblessness, even here in Canada people experience joblessness that is why we need an escape and the right escape must be God’s way of escape”, he reiterated.
He said “time will come the paper money will no longer be usable as to the existence of bitcoin and other forms of payment modes are becoming evident; the day of marking the “mark of the beast” will soon happen to us”, he further emphasized.
He went on to convey that brethren must be taught and closely understand the importance of the Tabernacle and how it is designed including all of its sections and its features and the implication it has in our Christian lives today so that it will be imprinted in the minds of the faithful.
The foreshadowing found in Hebrew 8:5 mentioned “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount”.
He said “God has revealed to us a pattern by which people must find Godly escape”.
He also explained that “there are 3 areas of temptations, the lust of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life and since our senses are the gateways of the soul and spirit, such must be guarded as to what it allows to enter”, he stressed.
Bro. Rec dela Pena is now stationed in Alberta Calgary of Canada.
The event was concluded by Pastor Allyn Gagarin, the current BOD Chairman, with his Closing Remarks while Pastor Jun Estacio, resident Pastor of OPIF Abu Dhabi culminated the event with a prayer. Sector 3 took charge of PW.
This year’s Holy Ghost rally was hosted by Pastor Vergilio Rendon, the current Missionary Director of OPIF BOD.
-with Reports from Sis. Roxanne Asio, Ptr. Mike Sanchez-