The International Churches ofChrist (ICOC) Davao marked a new milestone after it sent off the seven missionaries for the ICOC Digos church planting during its 25thanniversary service on August 25th. The inaugural service of Digos church is set for October 6th.

Mindanao family of churches evangelist Ronald Mendres, who currently leads the church in Cagayan de Oro, presented the mission team led by Nino and Lowina Mercado. Joining them are Digos-based couples Matercillo and Trinidad Abalayan, Christopher and Gay Abalayan as well as Devina Bautista, who is ateacher from Makilala, North Cotabato.

Mendres quoted Matthew 5:14-16 ” You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In our same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise yourFather in heaven ” in his send-off message.

“This is God’s dream for the lost and dark world. Sin darkens our lives and separate us from God. God sent his light, through Jesus Christ to give light to all sinners. He sacrificed his only son on the cross for the forgiveness of all oursins – that out of gratitude we’ll also make disciples. Disciples who will be selfless and choose tobe the light, who are willing to give up everything, do anything and go anywhere for the fulfillment of God’s dream. This scripture was fulfilled here in Davao 25 years ago. Today, it will give birth to another church in Digos. To God be the glory,” he said.

Since 2012, disciples from Davao started visiting Digos City, the capital of Davao del Sur. It is a 90-minute bus ride from Davao City, and is where the Abalayan families reside.

The Abalayans usually come to Davao City for Sunday worship services and hold their midweek devotionals on their own.

Davao’s annual worship service in Digos City later became quarterly and then monthly.

About four years ago, by the grace of God and the servant hearts of Tatay Max, Nanay Trining and Christopher and Gay Abalayan, many started studying the Bible with their neighbors, relatives and friends. Services and devotionals were also held at the Abalayan residence.

As the Mercados led the weekly worship services in Digos this year and strengthened disciples there, God blessed the ministry with four baptisms and one restoration including Adonis Abalayan and his wife Sheila. Sheila’s mother Anita also studied the Bible and got baptized. Six of Tatay Max and Nanay Trining’s seven children (Eric, Alvin, Paz, Bernadette, Christopher and Adonis) are disciples married to disciples. Most of them are based in Davao City.

Meanwhile, Reymart Nacion, an early convert of the Digosbible talk, was also restored and his wife Millicent was baptized a month later.

The Digos ministry currently has 14 disciples who by faith in God’s spirit, will spread the good news to this city of close to 300,000 souls.

The Digos church planting is the second from a church in Mindanao. The first was the Butuan church planted by the Cagayande Oro church.

There are also churches in General Santos City and Zamboanga City with a ministry in Kidapawan City.