The Blessings of “El Niño”

June 15, 2018 • in Story of Hope

A small Pentecostal Church rested in Barangay Igpit, Digos City in the Southern Philippines. This church housed 60 members every Sunday. It was built by Jose and Precilla Esma (picture above), who eventually hired a lady minister to pastor this congregation.

In the next few months of 2002, the severe heat by the El Niño phenomenon brought damages to the crops of the Esma’s. It also has greatly affected their monetary sponsorship to the lady minister that they could no longer be supported by the family. The Esma’s advised her to seek for another Pentecostal Congregation.  The lady minister was offended with the offer, but left anyway.

After few weeks, a Literature Evangelist (LE) passed by the area and visited the family. The LE noticed a small church beside their house and another small hut as pig shelter. The LE asked, “So you have church here?”

“Yes,” answered the Esma’s. “We have our children, our grandchildren, and few neighbours come every Sunday to worship with us.”

“Who is leading out in the worship?” the LE inquired.

“We once hired a lady minister but with this El Niño affecting our crops, we cannot support here anymore and we asked her to seek another Pentecostal Church somewhere,” the Esma’s explained further.

After a few exchange of words and small talks, the family decided to purchase a set of Bible Story and soon after, a new friendship has begun.

“Can I come and worship with you come Sunday?” the LE asked.

“Of course, Yes!” they excitedly agreed!

The LE came and worshipped with them.  He was asked to deliver the sermon that very Sunday. Soon after, the LE’s visit became regular.

(From L-R) The LE who visited the Esma’s; Pr. Joel Quipanes, pastor of Digos District; and Mr. Dominador Tipdas, Publishing Leader.)

(Left-Right) Igpit Adventist Church right after the signage was changed; and as it stands today. This is through the effort of the Esma couple)

(Left-Right) The former pig shelter now is used as lamb shelter.

The El Niño ended and what followed next was the Bible Study and the baptism of the Esma’s family and members of the church.

A new church with a new name now stands–Igpit Adventist Church. The pig shelter? It is now used as a lamb shelter.

We praise the Lord for amidst the drought brought about by the El Niño, a seed was planted a new beginning has become a testimony of the miraculous works of the Lord through His children!


by Pr. Joel Quipanes
Pastor, Digos District/Team Leader, Davao del Sur/Occidental

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