Before anything else…
Please allow me to tell you first why we were on a church hunt! 🙂 Hubby and I met in the Bible school he was studying (with my brother as his classmate) back in 2004. We got acquainted, became friends, best friends, became a couple, got engaged and got married 7 years after. Now the Bible school eventually opened a church to cater souls that were being saved during our ministry times. AJ and I with several other passionate for God friends were among the core group of leaders who pioneered this church in Agdao, Davao City.
So from doing several powerful mission trips all over the Philippines, we stayed and grew a church through house to house cell groups, street evangelism, crusades, discipleship, etc. We were with His Mission Christian Fellowship family for a good 3 years. We love it there! It’s where our spiritual parents are at, spiritual kids, the souls who are dear to our hearts up to this point. It’s our first love that we’ll always cherish for the rest of our lives. A tattoo marked and is a part of us no matter what.
When we got married however, we had to make a huge decision. It was either to Pastor the church (like be the main Filipino Pastors) or work and at the same time establish our family while flourishing in intimacy with the Lord and each other. Obviously, we choose the later. Our hearts broke painfully over this decision but we knew we weren’t ready to be the main ministers. We were then newly married and would probably just hurt the church and/or hurt ourselves because we lack character, we were burnt out and again still starting our lives together. We had to face the reality that to be able to live what was destined to us, we needed to be established in the Lord and as a family thus we needed to say goodbye. 😦 😦 😦
We struggled and shed a lot of tears…
… and shed some more.
We could have remained as church members. Nevertheless, a wisdom from a man of God ministering to us at that time led us not to. It’s true what he said. Because of relationship, people in the church may still come us that will possibly bring us back to ministering again defying the purpose of why we left. We might still end us doing what we were doing. That’s not something we wanted to happen since it was clear what season we should be. Also, we wanted to respect the new leadership and allow them to gain the love of people they deserve because they are an answer to our prayers (that God will bring Pastors to this church). They are amazing ministers of God and the perfect one for this body. 🙂
For almost 3 months we did not have a home church. There were even Sundays in the early part that we just stayed home and prayed or rested being tired working in the outsourcing business we were a part of, working night shift. We were on a church hunt. We went to to this church and that church and we got ministered but we did not really fell at home.
Then our workplace had a team building through a boat day. While singing worship songs, I noticed this lovely lady who knows most of the songs we were singing even the recent Jesus Culture and Misty Edwards ones! I became curious. Where is she coming from? I know that most churches in this nation love Hillsongs so her knowing even the intimate Bryan and Jenn Johnson songs perplexed me. Elainee told me that she’s from Maranatha Family Church (MFC). Now this was the second time I’ve heard of this church. I remembered that way back Joanna coming from the same Bible school we were a part of, told us that she went to this church for a season and really loved it. She said that the worship is awesome and they are into supporting Israel a lot. All the more I was intrigued so I said yes to Elainee’s invite to visit MFC.
- Heavenward Worship
The very moment we came in the theater, we felt the presence of God. Everyone was worshipping God. Not one was sitting nor standing doing their personal cares but they it was a picture of a united body worshipping the King. The music instruments were played skilfully. But unlike most pentecostal/charismatic churches we visit in the past, the worship team were singing and praising passionately too and just not playing!!! From the youngest to the oldest, everyone was tuned in to the spirit of worship. We couldn’t help ourselves but cry and join the exaltation praising the Lord of lords.
- Right on Revelation of the Word
When we started coming, Pastor Armond Valdez taught a series on “How to Find your Lifetime Partner” (or something like that, lol!) to bring guidance to every young people in the church. My attention was caught when Pastor Armond related virginity to covenant because of the shedding of blood. I was like… “How did he know that?!” I thought that we have all the resources from the US when it comes to the latest revelations and teaching of the most recent revivals but God is also personally revealing Himself to his shepherds in this city. It is awesome how His word is being revealed every Sunday!
The love series was not preached to give unnecessary burden to the youth but to really give them the wisdom in dating and marriage. It was expressed with lots of laughters, smiles and fun. But it’s something that was shaping in the hearts of people as well. The different aspects were also considered, the Filipino culture, the parents’ side, the faithfulness and character side, the church’s responsibility, etc. The series ended with hearts sealed for His purposes, restored souls and a culture established for godly relationships.
Until now, Pastor is still giving word from heaven, timely and delicious for the church to be nourished.
- The Supernatural Culture
We’ve been in MFC for more or less a year now and we’ve heard a lot of stories Pastor Armond shared that had blown our minds. This Sunday he shares about how he got saved from a life “in covenant” with the devil. The next Sunday he let’s us hear the music the angel let him hear. This Sunday he changes the series because God brought him to heaven (through a dream) and inspired him another Word. So on and so forth.
And the members? They are not shocked nor skeptical. It has become a part of the church. People are praying for each other. People are greeting each one with “God bless you” instead of a smile or simple handshake with the faith that it’s a form of prophecy over lives. The whole church prays for healing when someone is sick (and support financially too). It is a body who knows their authority on earth. Supernatural is normal. There is a culture of honor and family.
- The Love for Israel
Aside from this church sending missions offering to Israel, you can also hear Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), Yeshua Ha-Mashiach (Jesus Christ) and other Hebrew words used in prayer and the word here. It has an excited heart when it comes to sharing its thoughts about the Messiah and the Holy Land.
And this is not just for the leaders. I can see Facebook posts of members sharing their hearts about Israel too. It is even a part of one normal conversation I had with someone during Sunday evening basketball fellowships.
- A Sound Doctrine
I grew in an Assemblies of God culture which is known to have a huge respect for the Holy Ghost. It was this seed that prompted me that going to The Jesus Fellowship back in the days had to stop when they started preaching that there is no more second coming. It is the same Spirit that reveals when wrong teachings are being preached in a church.
It excites us to know that MFC is affiliated to the very original church that sparked the Azusa Street revival since AJ and I are all about revival in the Philippines. There is the modular classes to guide all members how to live life in truth and maturity. Everything is always pointed back to His words and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.