ICOC Philippines 29th Anniversary

Written by Enthrem Bagtas // Published July 19, 2018

Resilient. Persevering. Dreamer. Such qualities best describe the Filipino spirit and the Filipino disciples in general. This must also be what Evangelist Ken Chau from ICOC Los Angeles had in mind when he preached to the congregation during ICOC Philippines’ 29th anniversary celebration on July 8, 2018 at the SMX MOA, Pasay City, Metro Manila.

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With approximately 5,000 in attendance, everyone had open hearts and minds as they listened to God’s words being preached. It was also a joyous event as the church sent off the mission team for its 30th church planting and witnessed the appointment of new teacher, evangelist, women’s ministry leader and first elders of ICOC Philippines.

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The Dream that Jesus Dreamt

Ken was part of the second mission team sent to the Philippines in 1992. After 4 years of being a disciple and being a newlywed then, Ken shared his fond memories of the Philippines and caught up with the congregation about what happened to him and his family after they left Manila to lead other Asian churches. He recalled how the Manila church helped and ignited his and wife Lina’s hearts back then. Reminiscing the sacrifices of the 28 disciples who planted the church in Manila in 1989, he preached in parallel how one house church mentioned in the book of Philemon has revolutionized the history of the church. Twenty-six years later since he set foot on the Philippines, Ken reminded the congregation about Jesus’s dream for the Philippines and how everyone should continue to contribute to achieve this dream. Acknowledging that failures and fears are bound to come, Ken requested the congregation to keep in mind the promise of God’s grace. “We can be failures but there is a safety net for us.” This safety net, a.k.a. God’s grace, has been made available for all, taking into consideration how each person was when he/she was reached out. At the end of his message, Ken encouraged everyone to finish the dream that Jesus started and to soar and rely on God’s strength like eagles.

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Sending Off of Tarlac Mission Team

After a year and a half since the seed was planted, the mission team to spearhead ICOC Tarlac was finally sent off by Lead Evangelist Koko Enrile and newly appointed Evangelist Mon Calibuso. For a relatively big province with over 3,000 square kilometers in size and approximately 1.4 million in population, establishing a church in Tarlac was really part of God’s plan. From one bold leap of faith, in January 2017, when a group of 9 disciples initiated holding Sunday services in the region, the team has grown and now has seen 13 baptisms. Its first baptism was in March 2017. The mission team sent to lead ICOC Tarlac was comprised of 6 veteran members and 13 new brothers and sisters.

Appointment of Teacher, Evangelist, Women’s Ministry Leader, and First Elders

Another reason to celebrate the occasion was the appointment of the second teacher, another evangelist and women’s ministry leader, and the first elders in ICOC Philippines. Here’s a brief profile of the appointees whose sacrifices and great examples are most worthy of emulation:

  • Teacher Rommel Casis – Rommel was the second teacher appointee in the church and currently leads the Dynamic Marrieds in ICOC Quezon City together with his wife Faye. He graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman and was part of the UP Campus Ministry where he was baptized at age 17 in 1991. He took Law and graduated in 2001. A year later, he passed the bar and married Faye. They now have two children – Cilque and Cian. After serving the church in different capacities, he found his joy and his passion in writing and in teaching. He became part of the committee who wrote Foundations of Faith and First Principles B: Revised Bible Study Guide, as well as Foundations of Marriage whom he co-wrote with his wife. He is now a vital faculty member of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Academy or APLA and is currently employed as Assistant Professor and Director of the Institute of International Legal Studies at the UP Law Center.
  • Evangelist Mon Calibuso and Women’s Ministry Jo Calibuso – Mon and Jo are currently leading ICOC Dagupan and have been designated as Geographic Church Leaders in 2017 overseeing 9 churches in Northern Luzon. They have been married for almost 24 years and have been in the full-time ministry for 21 years. Since 1996, they have led several churches in Northern Luzon such as ICOC Baguio, ICOC Laoag (where they led for 16 years), and ICOC Dagupan. They are blessed with one son Kobi who is now 15 years old. Mon and Jo have spent half their lives in the mission field and have devoted themselves to ministry-related education and trainings for the past 2 decades.
  • Elders Bobby and Susan Montealegre – Bobby and Susan are part of ICOC Makati and are also the Congregational Ministers of the Teens and Youth and Family ministries. They have been married for 28 years and are blessed with 3 children–Yza, Bia and Joey–who are all disciples and now serving in the campus and teens ministries of ICOC Makati. Bobby and Susan were reached out in 1991, one year after they got married. Ten years later, in 2001, in response to their serving hearts and wholehearted devotion to the ministry, they were appointed as Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader in the church. Soon they led the Southland sector for two decades and the congregational teens ministry for 12 years. Apart from the ministry, Susan was also CEO of BMSM Enterprise and Senior Event Specialist at Alegre Events.
  • Elders Viano and Bethany Faburadas – Viano and Bethany are the sector leaders of ICOC Cebu and overall marrieds coordinators. They were reached out in 1995 by missionary Aimee Kettering. Soon after they were baptized, Bethany’s father, three sisters, brother-in-law and nephew became disciples. Realizing their dreams to finish college and pursue law school respectively, while being church leaders and parents to their 2 sons, Viano took and finished Bachelor of Science in Criminology in 2013 while Bethany entered law school and passed the bar in 2011. Viano also passed the Criminologist Licensure Exam in 2014 and worked as an airport police and member of SWAT team. Bethany on the other hand started her own law firm. They have been married for almost 30 years. Their eldest son Charles Nino is now happily married as a disciple and is leading in the Singles ministry. Their youngest son Alexander also became a disciple and is serving in the Teens ministry.
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Twenty-nine years and 30 church plantings later, ICOC Philippines have reached another milestone with the appointment of two new couple elders. As the church matures along with its members, the church can only be assured of God’s grace and His loving-kindness as He continues to care and nurture the church.