“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18
Outskirt of Ozamis City lies a small barrio, Brgy. Bongbong. It is a relocation site for the previous inhabitants of the coastal area of Baybay Triunfo after its big fire last 1997. Concrete houses were given by the government with the help of a foreign non-governmental organization. Then these homeless people had the opportunity to start their lives all over again. Step by step, they stood up after their fall.
And after 16 years, the Bongbong inhabitants had developed into a community of simple and humble living. They had also grown into friendship and love through the teachings of the Bible. As an outreach leader of theHappy Church, Maria Lourdes T. Putis gathered her neighbors for weekly fellowship. At first, they held it in a small nipa hut. Eventually, the attendees grew in number so they transferred and squeezed into her small piggery. Now can you imagine listening to the word of God with pigs around? Well, they had managed and survived it for years until the group decided to pray for a meeting place for them to be more comfortable.
So the small group started praying and being faithful in their tithes and offering. They saved whatever amount of money they had managed to collect in every meeting. They brought a piece of this, a piece of that, just anything that could be of help for the construction of their mini house of prayer. They started from total scratch until last week, they had agreed to start laying down their plans into something tangible. After years of waiting, finally they had started building up the foundation for their weekly meeting place of worship!
|The Happy Church Bongbong Outreach in Worship|
In unity, the group started piling up hallow blocks for the foundation. Then a good-hearted member contributed rocks to fill the foundation. In order to save up for labor, all members complied to take the load of carrying these rocks. The mission was to get what you can manage to bring from the heap of rocks to the construction site about ten to fifteen steps apart.
Truly, the bayanihan spirit of the Filipinos prevailed. Everybody helped – men, women, adult, youth, and children alike. There was even a pregnant woman doing her share too! Everyone was so willing to help and happily doing his or her job.
The lolos and lolas didn’t mind their aching backs, the happy-go-lucky lads took a break from their basketball game, the pa-cute lasses ignored the scorching heat of the sun, and even the little kiddos considered it as their playtime!
After successfully transferring the rocks from its pile to the construction site, the neighborhood shared a big pot of steamy hot sweet chocolate rice porridge a.k.a. champorado (just to make it sound sosyal).
Truly, answering God’s call takes a lot of sacrifice. But sacrificing for the love of God and brethren is being rewarded eternally. Like the Happy Church Bongbong Outreach, living a life in simplicity and contentment is greatly accepted at its best. They may not be rich in worldly riches but they are rich in love. What they did for each other in building up their meeting place is indeed a labor of love. The foundation had been laid out and there are still walls, ceilings, flooring, etc. Through faith, they are fervently praying for the completion of their “home”. And they are positive that they will and they can finish what they had already started!
|This is Only the Beginning|