On Fire for the Lord: Adopt a Church Discipleship Training in Davao
The Adopt a Church Program (AACP) of the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) was just launched in the earlier part of 2018 but it has already made its mark in the hearts of many of its training participants and Bible distribution recipients. Thousands of Bibles and hundreds of discipleship materials have since been distributed. After a successful first cycle, the PBS team spearheading the AACP decided to bring this initiative to Davao.
AACP Discipleship Training sessions were conducted at Holy Cross located in Arakan, North Cotobato last September 26, 2018 and at All Saints in Malitbog, New Corella last September 27, 2018.
PBS Associate General Secretary Perry Cartera and her team members journeyed to Davao for these training sessions. They delivered 530 Bibles and 138 discipleship materials. They trained 124 leaders from 13 different churches.
The team was warmly welcomed by Bishop Jonathan Casimina who offered up his private vehicle throughout the duration of the team’s trip in Davao. The three hour road trip was quite challenging. The team passed through rocky roads, lush mountains, and even a river. It wasn’t the smoothest of rides but the Lord remained faithful and kept everyone safe.
The Lord blessed the weather as well. With all of our prayer warriors back home, God bestowed calm and cool weather during the trip.
Like in AACP Trainings done in PBS, Mrs. Perry Cartera placed great emphasis on the importance of discipleship. “Filipinos take to heart the ‘huling habilin’ of a departing loved one. It is our culture,” she said. “The command ‘Go and make disciples’ is the ‘huling habilin’ of Jesus before He ascended to heaven. We Filipinos should also take that to heart if we really consider Jesus as part of our family,” she added.
The participants had a taste of what it was like to actually use the discipleship materials. Afterwards, they began writing the names of the people they planned to disciple. They were all excited to start their own discipleship program.
PBS Church Relations and Membership Assistant Karl Ivan Gervacio shared, “The first thing the AACP Davao recipients did when they received their Bibles was to write their names in their Bibles to indicate ownership. You can clearly see that they really wanted to own the Word of God. Furthermore, the male leaders in their church were very present as well. In Metro Manila, while women were typically the first ones to involve themselves in discipleship, the male figures at Holy Cross in North Cotobato were more active and assertive in taking on leadership roles for growing their church’s discipleship groups. We were so amazed when the 13 men present in the training in Arakan Valley held hands and cried as they prayed. Together, they committed to get involved in discipleship for themselves and for their members.
Seeing the joy on the people’s faces made the whole trip more meaningful for the PBS team. The main recipients of these training sessions were indigenous people from their own tribes. These locals served as farmers and housewives. Many were out of school youth and neglected elderly. But despite going through economic struggles, the locals were warm, welcoming, and friendly.
For example, in Arakan, North Cotobato, they let the PBS team sleep in the houses of church members. To completely open up one’s home for strangers is no easy task. Praise God for the trusting and kind hearts of these locals.
Richard Alaba, a lay volunteer from the ECP Transfiguration Chapel of Mako, shared his gratitude after the training, “We conduct regular Bible studies in our church but I have to admit that we are lacking in resources and we don’t have enough biblical or discipleship knowledge. Thank you to those who helped provide for our Bibles and discipleship materials. I hope you never grow tired of helping others.”
Participants were on fire after the training sessions too. We have Fr. May Casada from the Cathedral of St. Philip and St. James in Davao City. He said, “After the training, we need to share what we learned to those who were not able to attend so they can also be equipped and properly answer the call of being a true Christian. We need one another. Whatever we can do to help, we should help. This could be money, prayers, or time. When we come together as one, at least we can say that we’ve done our part.”
Right after the training, many participants already set aside common dates and compared schedules for future meetings and discipleship sessions. They were eager to discuss their plans and to grow in faith through God’s Word.
From the bottom of all our hearts here at PBS, thank you to all the God-sent donors who helped make this AACP Davao Discipleship Training possible. Your contribution has made an eternal impact on the lives of your future brothers and sisters in Christ. Praise God!