Photo Courtesy of Ptra. Herminigilda Aguila of Sector 5, Cuenca, Batangas
Cuenca, Batangas, Philippines – True to its vision to build OPIF Churches in the Philippines, the Board of Directors gave the nod to break ground and build the first Church building of Sector 5 Cuenca, Batangas.
The ground breaking and preliminary construction activities began in April this year after pre-requisite requirements were completed ahead such as securing building permit, clearing the area for lot relocation, installation of water service and finishing the septic tank among other utilities, which began in the second week of February.
In an interview with Ptra. Herminigilda Aguila, the resident Pastor, she said “from the very start of planning, we always have high hopes. We look at it positively and never have doubted that the plans will push through. Considering our small place of worship, we deemed it necessary to accomplish the plan.”
She narrated further that “while OPIF PH S5 and BOD were still paying the lot, we started planning through Vision 2020 that started last quarter of 2017. By that time, we only had a minimal amount of savings. We were counting solely on God for His provision. What we just had in mind was for us to have a bigger place of worship, which construction cost will match our financial savings. That was our initial plan”.
In the same interview she said “in 2018, on our 2nd Church Anniversary and OPIF General Conference, surprisingly, Ptr. Michael Sanchez presented the 1 Million Campaign for Church Building Project. It had encouraged me knowing that there are other brethren sharing the same vision and so I thought, what will hinder me to change the plan from a simple place to what is now a beautifully designed House of Worship. You can really feel God’s hand reaching out. As the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11, that God knows His plans for us, which are plans to prosper us and not to harm us and plans which give us hope and a future”.
While there were substantial delays in the implementation of the construction schedule due to funding allocation considerations, Ptra. Mel said, “after more than three years of waiting, Ptr. Michael Benito, BOD-World Missions Director and Ptr. Victor Notario Sr., NC Philippines Overseer, contacted me and shared with me details about the support they are going to give for the construction of the building. I’m so grateful to know that the BOD, having their own vision, are working together behind the scene for the fulfillment of the same vision. Early months of this year, given the assurance of the concrete plan, I made my final announcement to the congregation that the building construction is about to begin. Everyone was so excited. Each of them was making plans on how they will be able to help in the construction”, she further explained.
When asked what were the challenges she faced for this construction plan, Ptra. Mel said, “there are lots of challenges. Some being too personal to share. Being a woman Pastor is quite challenging, one thing I never dreamed of in my life. But the Lord has appointed me so I have to embrace the responsibility. I am just relying on what the Lord has promised me so I will continue to be strong and be courageous. Finances is another thing, but I consider it not too heavy to bear because I know God will always provide and make a way for us”, she stressed.
She went on to narrate saying “challenges along the way is also about time management, determination, and focus because in the absence of the contractor and my husband, I am the one who needs to visit the site and decide for some things. Knowing God never fails, it inspires me to keep going. It is a privilege to be able to accomplish the works He has entrusted me. Another that inspire me are the people behind this project, the whole congregation of OPIF PH S5 and all the lost souls out there.”
The project is expected to have its soft opening and inauguration before the year ends. While the project is currently under construction, Ptra. Mel would like to express her heartfelt gratitude to Ptr. Michael Benito who made a way to make this project go far and for his all out support in raising the funds. She also extends her heartfelt gratitude to the entire OPIF ME Leadership for the pledges extended to the Project, to the Board of Directors of OPIF Inc. and the individual brethren who positively answered to the solicitations we sent out and not the least to the Leadership of OPIF Philippines National Council headed by Ptr. Victor Notario Sr. and the entire Directors, Pastors, and local leaders for their unwavering support. “I can’t thank you all enough. May the Lord reward you for all your kindness”.
When asked about future plans after the construction, she said, “after the construction, first is to focus for the growth of the church and we will proceed to our Vision 2022 to have a Church Service Vehicle. Because we believe God will add more souls to His church and a service vehicle will be essential.”
-With reports from Sister Roxanne Asio of OPIF Digest Philippines-