Greetings in His most excellent name! I was awestruck at the overwhelming flow of the Holy Spirit’s presence at this year’s convention in Elk Grove, California. I anticipated something refreshing would take place, but I had no idea what God would do in the hearts of His people.
The psalmist writes “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” The Good Lord brought a Spirit of unity among us.
In my absence, at the Presbyters’ meeting, the Board rallied together under the guidance of our Vice Superintendent, Reverend Filemon Digap to discuss a number of governing topics for our organization. Throughout the convention all the seminar and evening speakers took turns expounding on our theme, “EMPOWERED TO BE BOLD!” and the delegation, unified, received their charge to go forth with renewed boldness!
This year’s ordination was not our typical service but a Spirit-filled, special event. Our leadership and assembly paid tribute to our beloved Reverend Emeliano Valle, Jr., a most appreciated General Secretary, brother and friend, who passed away in June and is now in the presence of God. This was a memorable occasion as the ordination service had always been Pastor Valle’s platform. Pastor Valle embodied the ordination service; from the opening prayer, to the welcome, roll call and of course, the installation of new licensees. His absence was deeply felt throughout the whole event. We all watched as his interim successor, Pastor Andrew De La Torre, who willingly stepped in following this giant man of God; with the Lord’s help, led a wonderful tribute to Pastor Valle. Pastor’s gracious wife, Sister Connie and his family were present and received a plaque honoring their husband and father for his dedicated service and contribution to our organization.
There were a number of people who spoke highly of Pastor Valle as they honored him with kind words and grateful hearts. Truly this servant who loved the Lord made an impact on many lives, all glory to God! This unique service came to a culmination as two candidates were installed: one was from Pastor Valle’s church, Sis. Wendy who received her exhorter’s license; and a lateral transfer for ordination Reverend Cliff Young, the new associate pastor at our church in Lomita. I believe God knew of our need for a spirit of unity that united our assembly and lifted us up during this season.
I want to thank Pastor Fil and the entire congregation of New Life Christian Fellowship for their labor of love and great hospitality as they hosted a tremendous convention. All of us attendees will especially remember the brilliant and creative way this household of faith shared their gift of cooking and presentation — The food court of American, Mexican, Hawaiian, Asian and wait for it… Filipino cuisine really blessed and fulfilled our appetites. God in His grace and sovereignty has truly enriched us during this convention and we are forever changed from glory to glory. May the precious Lord bless all of you.
To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and glory and honor and power forever!”
With a grateful heart and His amazing love,
Rev. Ben Refuerzo
IAFB General Superintendent