Photo Courtesy: OPIF PH S5 group page, Sis. Jenny Reyes, and OPIF Digest Correspondent, Sis. Rachele Alvarez
With the initiative of the OPIF Men and Women of Faith Department, headed by its national directors, Pastor Romel Galupo and Pastor Marilyn Belic, NC Philippines launched its first ever National OMWF Fellowship with its theme, “Be Filled with the Holy Ghost” last April 30, 2022 in Cuenca, Batangas.
Over a hundred attended, to include those who were present via Zoom meeting. Only brethren from Sectors 1 to 3 from Rizal and Laguna, Pangasinan Cell Group, and the host church, Sector 5, were able to make it to the venue. There were also brethren from OPIF ME S9 who joined in. Others opted to join the said event via Zoom. The gathering was also live streamed and posted to the OPIF Global Community Facebook group page.
“A day before the General Conference, Pastor Galupo and I had a talk and agreed that this would be the best time to have a fellowship like this. So immediately after the conference, with the help of the Women of Faith Council, we gathered all Pastors’ wives, WOF Presidents, and Secretaries from different sectors to discuss all the preparations needed for the event”, said Pastor Marilyn Belic in the interview. The Women of Faith Council aforementioned includes Sis. Lalaine Benito (WOF Deputy Directress), Sis. Jenny Reyes (WOF Secretary), and Sis. Marylyne Martin of OPIF PH S1.
The event started with a devotion led by Pastor Marilyn Belic herself and followed by an opening prayer led by Pastor Renato Furo, NC Philippines Home Missions Director and resident pastor of OPIF PH S2. Pastor Fernan Planas, BOD - OMWF, was also present to grace the occasion.
“To be filled with the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary in our lives as Christians. We need God’s Spirit within us in order for us to be able to continue to serve Him faithfully. This too will give us the power and the boldness to accomplish the Great Commission of our Lord JESUS and that is to share the Good News of salvation to every soul in need”, said Pastor Planas in his words of encouragement.
Moreover, Sis. Lalaine Benito also encouraged the men and women of faith saying, “If God’s Word is not in our hearts, the fruit of God’s Spirit is definitely not in us and our faith in God will falter. The real transformation must be seen in all of us who have already accepted Christ into our lives.”
After which was the first lecture given by the Overseer and OPIF PH Sector 11 resident pastor, Pastor Victor Notario Sr., about the Fruit of the Spirit taken from Galatians 5:22-23. It was then followed by a special song presentation rendered by Sis. Hazel Mirafuentes Almosara from OPIF PH S7. And shortly after was the second lecture on the Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) taught by Pastor Marilyn Neric, BOD - Finance.
Originally, it was a four-hour program but the leaders decided to extend few more hours to give more time to the event’s planned activities for the day, most especially for the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. And so after the break taken after the last lecture, it then proceeded to the Praise and Worship led by Sis. Dewana Diangco and Sis. Maribeth Guevarra of OPIF PH S2.
Next is the offering exhortation of Sis. Jenny Reyes of OPIF PH S1 and the testimonies shared by Sis. Bernadith Bilagantol of OPIF PH S6 and Pastor Martino Cortan, OPIF former Chairman of the Board and pastor of OPIF Pangasinan Cell Group. Afterwards, OPIF PH S8 also offered a song unto the Lord together with Pastor Galupo, their resident Pastor.
Pastor Galupo encouraged the brethren saying, “I also experienced a lot of difficulties in life especially when my wife got sick. I took care of her for almost a year. It was a really hard situation for me to bear and true enough, without the Holy Ghost, the gift of Faith, it would be impossible for me to survive such thing. It is the Lord who has given me the determination to continue with my faith in Him.”
“I managed to move on with my life despite all hardship I have been through because of the understanding God has given me that indeed, life is short and we must intend to use it according to God’s plan and purpose and not on worthless and senseless things this world offers”, he added.
The event continued with the preaching of God’s Word by Pastor Emiliano Neric, Vice Chairman of the Board. “The God we’re serving is not a liar. He’s true to all of His promises”, he stressed out as he preached about the Holy Ghost being a guide to every child of God, leading him to a life God has promised, a life that's full of joy and a life of abundance. Pastor Neric also gave a reminder about the need of the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit to manifest in all of the churches.
When asked in the interview about their future plan for the OMWF department, Pastor Marilyn Belic answered, “The women of faith have another event to look forward to on September 9. It would be an evangelistic service. We are going to invite some WOF presidents and secretaries who will preach on God’s plan of salvation. The purpose of which is to equip all women of faith from different sectors with the Word of God.”
“Ladies, continue to lean on God’s Word and His promises. I know you are all going through a lot but I urge everyone not to lean on your own strength but instead, hold tight unto God’s Word just like what is written in Proverbs 3:5-6 and Jeremiah 29:11-12. Let us continue to live a life of holiness and faithfulness unto the Lord. Always desire to be filled by God’s Spirit. And in every trouble, remember God is our present help”, said Pastor Belic in her message to the women of faith.
Same with the women of faith, the men of faith have also activities lined up to strengthen the ones considered pillars of our homes and churches.
The program hosted by Sis. Rachele Neric Alvarez was then closed by Deputy Pastor Benjamin Vite of OPIF PH S1 with a prayer. And appreciation certificates were given by the council to the event’s participants and to those who have ministered that day, especially to the saints of OPIF PH S5 led by Pastor Herminigilda Aguila, who have prepared the place and the meals for the event.