Reflection by Dr. Dick Eugenio (Asst. Professor of Theology, Asia Pacific-Nazarene Theological Seminary)
A week ago, I preached at Pililla Church of the Nazarene where our alumnus, Rev. Lot Hallig, is pastoring. Rev. Lot has been a close friend since we were roommates at the Bible College, sharing laughter in victories and tears in difficulties. I have recently been assigned as his mentor when he enrolled at APNTS’ newly launched Doctor of Ministry, so I thought that it was proper for me to visit his ministry place. His local church is an hour and half away from Taytay, where his family also lives.
Because I have been pastoring at Taytay First Church of the Nazarene since 2014, it has been a while since I visited another congregation. My visit to Rev. Lot’s congregation startled me back to the realities of the difficulties of our local churches. I have been pastoring in a fully-furbished facility, with air-conditioning and excellent equipment. This has perhaps, unconsciously, anaesthetized me or clouded my eyes from the reality of church poverty. Rev. Lot’s congregation is gathering at a structure with an unfinished roof. At 11AM, when the preacher begins to preach, people re-arrange their chairs in order to find shelter from the sun’s painful pierce. I cannot imagine what happens when heavy rain is pouring. The musical equipment (especially the guitar and amplifier) the music team uses are probably older than my grandparents. The building has no windows and not even a door.
It is amazing that amidst these difficulties in infrastructure, the church is the home of many Christians whose commitment to God and His work are first class. The people are warm and true, and the worship leaders possess great skill and potential. Their sacrificial generosity is tangible in how they gave in the offerings (yes, plural because I counted three avenues of giving the people happily participated in during the whole service). Rev. Lot narrated that a third of the amount they paid to purchase the property the church is built on was actually through the sacrifice of the members composed of truck drivers, farmers, housewives, and people whose income is so low they are exempted from giving tax to the government. The congregation also gave me the best hospitality. The food prepared on the table was so abundant we had no way of finishing everything.
Even more astonishingly, with the limited resources they have, the church is engaged in church planting at Mapayapa. Instead of using what little they have for themselves, which would be understandable, they decided to give by reaching out in love to others.
My heart was full when my family left Pililla on Sunday afternoon. I am thankful for the leadership of Rev. Lot and how he is doing very well in his pastoral role. Let us pray for him, his wife Allaine, and his three kids (Agape, Levi and Lemuel) as they glorify God and serve in His kingdom. He has a lot of potential as a pastor-leader. If you also feel compelled to support his ministry financially, please feel free to contact him.