ACMI National Conference
Revs Up on High Note
By: Gervacio C. Dauz, Jr.
Close to 700 brethren coming from the different Arise Christian Ministry areas and outreaches in Mindanao and Visayas islands attended the 2nd ACMI National Conference held this 24nd to 26th day of March 2016 at Sarnimian Inland Resort in Rosario, Agusan del Sur.
With 675 officially registered participants, plus a host of children and drivers in tow (more than 200), the conference revved up on high note at the first day with three stalwart speakers in the persons of Dr. Felina Mendoza, Dr. Franco Teves, and Engr. David Tauli, who successively took turns in refreshing and equipping the brethren with the basics as well as the tenets of Christian beliefs and practices.
Fondly called as “Ate Babes” by those in the ministry, Dr. Mendoza did the opening salvo by expounding on the “Vision and Mission” of the ministry. In a nutshell, she pointed out that it is God’s will for everyone to get save, grow, bear fruit, and make disciple. According to her, “We were made for the glory of God. However, we sinned and fell short of God’s glory. That’s why God has to save us back to his fold through Christ. Indeed, he wants us to have a fellowship with him. But the eventual desire of God is for us to grow and bear fruit.” As a way of encouraging the brethren to witness, she argued that “If God’s heartbeat is the salvation of the world, and then it should also be our heartbeat.”
Dr. Franco Teves followed suit by imparting about “Living in the End Times.” As a challenge, he posed this jolting question for the audience to weigh and consider: “Are you prepared?” According to him, “prophecy is the declaration of God’s word, revealing the will of God and his plan.” It actually “began with the fall of mankind, which God foreknew, and unfolded his plan for man’s redemption found only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.”
He then used riveting Biblical references like the books of Daniel, Revelations, Matthew and many others to support his illustration about mankind’s history through a mammoth figure representing four great kingdoms – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome – and the consequent divided kingdoms that fell down and disintegrated with the coming of Christ’s kingdom. As a fitting preparation and response during the end times, he urged the believers to stand firm, to be discerning, to keep watch for the coming of the Lord, to be faithful in serving, to be alert and self-controlled, and to have nothing to do with seemingly godly people.
Engr. David Tauli completed the trilogy of messages by sharing about “Growing in Christlikeness in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.” He then imparted “six habits to develop in order to grow in Christlikeness,” to wit: Bible Study, Prayer, Service at work or profession, Participation in local church activities, Sharing the Gospel, and Sacrificial giving. He advised the brethren to treat the given six habits as foundational, but they are not precluded from adding key practices that would help them grow and bear fruit faster.
One of his memorable points that got through the audience as quotable quote is the argument that “it is not the habit of reading, but the habit of listening through what you are reading that is important.”
Even with momentary brownouts plaguing the conference, it did not dampen the spirits of the participants and neither did it stifle the focus and resolve of the speakers and facilitating committees.
After dinner, the young people had their own sweet fellowship time, while the core leaders of the different ministry areas gathered at the poolside canteen for the annual Umbrella Meeting to discuss and resolve issues, suggest good plan of actions, share updates regarding ministry developments at the ground level, listen to the Umbrella reports, bond and reunite with fellow believers among others.
After a devotional time per room or cottage the following day, the Katingawan brethren led the praise and worship at the poolside, with many young people turning the pool as a veritable and unique avenue for expressing adoration and thanksgiving to God. Afterwards, simultaneous workshops like Children’s Ministry, Livelihood Opportunities, Stewardship and many others were unleashed to further equip the brethren.
The early afternoon was devoted to parlor games, unrolled at the poolside and engagingly participated in mostly by young people. At late afternoon, Pastor Bernardo Mendoza, with able assistance from Pastor Fernando Herrera, officiated the water baptism with 45 brethren submitting to the ceremony in obedience to the call and mandate of Christ.
At night fall or shortly after dinner, the brethren trooped once again to the poolside and were led to a praise and worship medley. Fun Night ensued afterwards with contingents from different ministry areas chipping in their respective presentations.
The third day marked the culmination and final round of the 2nd National Conference with Pastor Santiago Evasco sharing the message “Shine ‘til the End.” As a build up to his message, he pictured out the abject and terrible condition of the world, and then shifted gear by emphasizing about the source of light, being inherent as well as derived, that would help expose, deter and push back the frontiers of darkness. In answer to the lingering question, which is “how to shine” in this dark and depraved world, he presented the acronym GLOW for emphasis and easy recall. And GLOW means “grow, learn, obey, and witness.” Finally, as a parting shot cum challenge, he directed the brethren to Philippians 2:15 and Zechariah 8:23, and to meditate on its content and intent with the desire to learn, obey, grow, and witness.
After having a three-day grand time of reuniting and bonding with each other, and also learning and experiencing about the will and goodness of God, the brethren packed their things up and traced their paths back to their respective home sweet home with the mandate of “shining ‘til the end.”