Watch a video about the Cabanatuan and Camias churches and their relationship through the radio program Rated PG. Click here.
When Pastor Cryz Colorado and his team began ministering to the people of Camias, Philippines, they begged him to pray for rain for their crops. Find out what happened: read more.
About World Mission Broadcast
Since 1944, in one form or another, World Mission Broadcast (WMB) has reached beyond borders and barriers to share the light of Jesus in the dark corners of this world. WMB is a department of the global Church of the Nazarene, helping to resource Nazarenes globally who are ministering through the communication formats of radio, television and the Internet.
A small group of believers began meeting in Camias, a rural mountain area of the Philippines, after a member of the village accepted Christ through listening to a World Mission Broadcast (WMB) radio program called "Rated PG." That listener contacted the program hosts -- Emily Bolinas, with Pastor Cryz Colorado as PAMANA segment producer. As a result of this contact, the Church of the Nazarene in Cabanatuan, a city below the mountain, has been sending pastors and leaders to disciple this growing group of believers in Camias.
Pastor Colorado gives an update on the growth of this community of new believers in Camias.
Now, after five years of ministry in the community, the Camias congregation is ready to be organized as a local church. We praise the Lord for the opportunity given to us to minister to the people there.
Cabanatuan City Church patiently and generously supported all the efforts to win more people to Christ and help improve the community.
“Operation Balik Eskwela” – We sponsored the school supplies of more than 50 students since 2008. Children there need to walk back and forth about six kilometers up and down the mountain. This is our simple way to encourage the students to finish their studies. We sponsored a young lady to take ALS (Alternative Learning System). Previously she was only able to finish grade 3, but after taking ALS and passing the exam she is now qualified to take a college course. We also helped a high school graduate to enroll in a vocational course. She finished cosmetology and now is earning some money to help her family.
Community service and development
The church helped the community in improving their deep well water pump. That is their only source of drinking water. A Nazarene medical team came to town and treated almost a thousand individuals.
The community was hit by two strong typhoons in the past two years. Through the generosity of the denomination's Philippines Field Office, we responded when Typhoon Pedring hit their place. A team from Cabanatuan went there to distribute relief goods and used clothing. We used the rest house of the municipal mayor when we needed to treat children with asthma. Seedlings were also distributed to number of families to replace the crops destroyed by the typhoon.
Vacation Bible school
Living with the people there for one week (with no electricity and potable water) was never easy. But the vacation Bible school team from Cabanatuan Church always had the great joy of teaching the children, youth and adults. It is a strong evangelism tool that helped us reach almost every house.
“Handog Pag-ibig” or “Gift of Love” became a Christmas tradition. In the last five Christmases, members from Cabanatuan went there and stayed overnight on 23 December to share the joy of Christmas through songs, games, food and gifts. In response, the people in Camias would give bananas, sweet potatoes, ripe papayas, cassavas, corn and other crops they could harvest. Since we started this tradition, our Christmas is never the same.
Weddings, child dedications and burials
Many couples there are living together but are unmarried. Many of them were mothers already before they reached 18. I already solemnized six weddings and countless child dedication/baptism. It is also a great opportunity to share to the people the biblical principles of marriage, child baptism and life after death.
Cabanatuan City Church is located just 200 meters away from the biggest public hospital in the province. The church and the parsonage serve as the kitchen and boarding house every time there is a patient from Camias. Praise the Lord that we have two doctors who are members of our church who are always ready to help them in that hospital. Financial assistance is extended to those who can’t afford to pay their bills or buy medicine.
Regular worship services
The regular service started two years ago (read more in a related article). After the service in Cabanatuan, we go there for the worship service. We already started the Wednesday Discipleship and prayer meetings.
Words are not enough to describe how the Lord transformed many lives in the community. But in small and in big ways that we share to the people, the Lord simply used them so that children, youth and adults are brought to the knowledge of the Lord. Most of them are shy and almost afraid to talk in front of other people. But we heard many testimonies how the Lord changed their lives, blessed their crops, and answered their prayers when they learned to read the Bible and to pray.
On April 13, 2013 (Saturday), Camias congregation will be organized as a local Nazarene church. Shall we say “finally” but still “not yet”? “Finally” because we know the people there are ready to be recognized as a local church. We have good number of committed believers whose testimonies of changed lives are evident.
They are poor people living in a poor community but they already learned to value what the Lord has done and given to them. “Not yet” because there are still many people in the community, especially men, who are still under the bondage of sin and vices. By God’s grace we still have many souls to harvest and many strongholds to conquer. Our members are starting to believe the power of prayer and they testify how prayer really works in their lives.
Our future challenge is to find the person who could be their full-time pastor. We are praying that the Lord will call somebody either from the outside or from our very own member there. We are encouraging our youth that if they feel like the Lord is calling them to the ministry, we will support their training or studies in Bible college. So far, we still have to be content with our situation of pastoring the church while training our leaders.
Building the structure
Through the help of Cabanatuan church we were able to buy two lots in the community. One is about 1000 square meters and one small lot is 50 square meters. We are still constructing the house church in the small lot that will also serve as workers' housing. We already finished the two rooms and the sala that will be the meeting place for training and prayer meetings. We hope to finish the kitchen before the organization of the church. We plan to build a concrete sanctuary in the bigger lot because the house that we are building could not contain the number of our members and attenders. We have more than 30 adults and more than 50 children and teens.
With all these things, we thank the Lord for His faithfulness to all of us who just obeyed his calling to go and make disciples. I share this great joy with Pastor Rommel Gornez and wife, Pastora Jona, who patiently labor with me in reaching out to this place. We share so many experiences at least in the past three years of partnership in the ministry. Even under heavy rain or scorching heat, we walk and hike so as not to miss our worship services in Camias.
My wife, Nerizza and our kids, Chrizza and Joshua also work with us there and share the joy in serving the Lord. The love and support of Cabanatuan Church members is encouraging. They never get tired extending hands to the people of Camias knowing what Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
But all of our labors and pain, we humbly share our story of God’s faithfulness. Camias church is a testimony that God indeed cares for the poor and He wants every men and women to come to Him. He also wants His church remain faithful to her calling to go and make disciples.
-- Pastor Cryz B. Colorado Jr. a pastor of the Cabantuan Church of the Nazarene, in the northern Philippines.