Pastor Cris’ Testimony
Pastor Cris grew up on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. He was born to a devoted Catholic family that persecuted anyone who dared to become an evangelical believer in Jesus. As Cris grew, he saw his older brother become a follower of Jesus who was beaten and forced to flee for his life by his family. After some time, Cris was invited to a Christmas program at his brother’s church, and there decided to become a born-again believer in Jesus. He, too, had to flee for his life after telling his family of his faith and sought refuge in Manilla. While there, he met a Christian missionary who took Cris under his wing and helped him enroll in Luzon Baptist Bible School. It was there that he received definite confirmation from the Lord that he was to become a Pastor and, in 1996, planted his first church.
Through Cris’s faithfulness and experience planting churches and developing leaders, he became the Field Director for White Fields Ministry in 2017. As Field Director, Pastor Cris provides oversight and direction to church planters throughout the Philippines. He regularly visits pastors at their home churches, encouraging them and helping them build sustainable practices in their homes and ministry. He teaches at the local School of Theology, which prepares students for various areas of ministry and also serves as a way of developing young men who desire to become church planters in the Philippines.
Read more about Cris Pano’s Testimony
Whitefield’s Christmas -Party Delight!
In December 2023, we celebrate Christmas by bringing our families to a beautiful place in the mountain area of Cebu City. The place is very refreshing because it is a cold area away from the noisy crowd, where our families can refresh and have a break for two days.
Arnel led the morning devotion early, and RJ and Jen organized family games, creating joyful moments with the kids and parents. The day is filled not only with delicious food but also with gift surprises. We used the same event to distribute their 13th-month bonus through Pastor Steve Wheeler in the WF. We thank Pastor Steve and the WF supporters for the financial support for our Christmas celebration. May God bless the WF ministry and its extended family.
Cebu Korean Church Sale for a Cause: Gifting Joy to the Needy
The pandemic halted the Christmas celebration in the Cebu Korean Church for three years. But again, this December, we gathered all our Bible students, including the poorest of the low-income families, to join our Christmas celebration. All in all, we gathered 150 participants during the said activity.
It has been a tradition among the Korean family members in Cebu Korean Church to have a garage sale, disposing of their stuff and other personal belongings for a one-day garage sale. Korean families brought all their secondhand belongings or things not needed to church and sold them at a low price. Some stuff like kitchen utensils, televisions, travel bags, clothes, shoes, toys for the children, and many more. Proceeds were used to purchase gifts for the families and pastors. They buy rice and groceries for the 150 participants as their Christmas gifts. I lead the worship by singing and praying. Lito Jamisola is our guest speaker. All of them are happy to receive 10 kilos of rice and groceries as their family’s Christmas food this Christmas season. After the worship part, CKC served Korean food for all our Bible school students. But the blessing the families receive is not only a material blessing; they also go home, bringing the good news of salvation. The event was significant and successful.
Pray that those families come to know the Savior as their Lord and Savior, and someday, all these families will be active members of the local church where they live.
Soulful Celebrations: Bible, Reflections, and Games Galore
On December 17, we celebrated our Christmas activities at our new pioneering church in Kalapate, Talisay City. Jen led the indoor games, and after my preaching, Jen led the group to share what they had learned from my message. And most of them understand why we celebrate Christmas. After the activities finish, we immediately go to Mambaling Christian Church for another Christmas celebration. At the same time, we prepared food for our family members, Jen did the indoor games, and I did the preaching.
From Break to Blessing: Vacation-Turned-Ministry with Pastors and Sponsors
On December 21, my wife Jen and I visited Puerto Princesa City for the Christmas holidays with my son David. When my friends learned about it, a few expressed their willingness to share their blessings with other pastors and workers. Our intention for a tranquil celebration transformed into a livelier and joyful occasion. We called for a fellowship and shared the blessings with 25 pastors and workers through rice and some needed grocery items. The participants also enjoyed unlimited rice, grilled chicken, barbecues, and ice cream. I’m happy to see the pastors enjoying the food. I felt so blessed to be the channel of blessing to our fellow workers in Christ. I was also delighted to meet one of my young people now serving in the military. His name is Dwight Collantes. He was my guitarist in our church and now works for the government as a musician/soldier.
Spiritual Glow: Prayers in the Dark Church
On December 23, Saturday morning, Pastor Doods, our church pastor in Puerto Princesa City, invited me to speak at the daughter church 40 kilometers from Puerto Princesa City, celebrating Christmas. The church is beside the Ugong Rock Adventures. Ugong Rock, a limestone formation soaring 75 feet above a rice field, encompasses caves and narrow passages that guide visitors to a viewing deck atop the breathtaking rock structure. Its name originates from the reverberating sound, known as “ugong,” produced when tapping the hollow limestone within the cave.
Gratitude Rising: A Construction of Sacrifice and Blessings
On December 24, we celebrated our Thanksgiving Sunday in the new church building. This church started 26 years ago, and now the Lord has blessed the church members. Each family sacrificially gave their money to build a new church building. All the church members, from parents to young professionals, sacrificially gave their money to help build a concrete church building. The church invited me to be their guest speaker at their Thanksgiving celebration. All the church members brought their food for lunch and encouraged everyone attending our Thanksgiving Sunday to enjoy the food they prepared. Pray that the Lord bless all the church members and their needs, especially the church building.
Pastoral Dedication: Nurturing Seeds of Missionary Growth
On December 25, my family, Pastor Doods, and I visited another daughter church in the Municipality of Narra, Palawan. It is 60 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa City. The church building is new; the floor is already tiled, but the windows are still open, and the church has a full-time pastor. Some teachers from the university are now members of the church, and some professionals also actively attend church every Sunday. The church members helped build their church building.
Their parsonage is not yet finished, so many things are still needed. The pastor is single and has only a simple mat to sleep on. We thank God for a full-time pastor. His name is Jason; he was one of the young people in our mother church in Puerto Princesa City. When he graduated from college, he committed to being used by the Lord as a full-time pastor at Narra Church.
Pray that the Lord will continue to help the new members grow spiritually.
When I visited the church, I felt a gloomy yet lively environment, they have no electricity in the area yet, and everybody uses solar-powered lights and fans. Despite these, the members are faithful to be part of the congregation in their worship. They do not have a full-time pastor yet, but they have a church property and a church built of light material. Although their chairs were made of wood, the blessing of the Lord brought the families to give their hearts to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Pray that the electricity will reach the place. Pray also a full-time pastor in the church.
Holiday Faith: Christmas Getaways with Gospel Joy
On December 26, we stayed in Narra, Palawan, and enjoyed swimming with my family. My son brought his friend, a Filipino Chinese and an atheist. His family background is communist. Pastor Doods shared the word of God with him while we stayed in the place. I continued praying while Pastor Dood shared the gospel with the boy. He promised to meet Pastor Doods again in one place in Puerto Princesa City with my son in January 2024.
Pray that the Lord will open his heart, that God will open his spiritual eyes to the truth, and that he will give his life to Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord.
Faithful Connections: Visiting Evangelist Friend with Encouragement and Prayers
On December 27, we visited my pastor friend in Quezon, Palawan -Ptr. Danny. Quezon, Palawan, is 100 km away from the city. Ptr. Danny was my helper during my film showing crusades in the whole province of Palawan. After I left Palawan, he continued my work as an area evangelist in the entire province of Palawan. Their family prepared food for our lunch and talked and shared about our ministry, encouraging one another in words and prayers. He is suffering from a benign cyst in the jaw, which he has carried for years already.
Pray for God’s healing for Pastor Danny and protection for him and his household.
Marriage Vow: A Journey of Commitment in Matrimony
On December 28, I solemnized a wedding ceremony for one of our church members, BJ and Joy, in their home place. Their house is near the seashore. Thus, they had a beach wedding. Their parents were my church members when we started the church and have been very faithful to serving the Lord as a family.
Reflections: Praise God, our family Christmas vacation turned into ministry. Holidays transformed into ministry are moments of joy, giving, and opportunities to encourage and uplift fellow church workers. It’s a great blessing to share the journey of service and devotion. To God be all the glory for what he has done.
Wedding Anniversary Bliss: Bible Study and Church Leaders Planning
December 30 is my wedding anniversary, but we decided to spend it with our bible study with Nuevo Café staff. We are glad to share God’s word with the staff as they shared their bible reflections and personal acceptance of their weaknesses and God’s grace.
On the same day, we led our church leaders for the leaders planning. We had some activities and Bible devotions, which gave the leaders some refreshing lessons. We discussed everything about the growth of the church. Putting God first in everything is meaningful for Jen and me. After Bible study, we picked up our church leaders and went to the hotel together. I praise God for his word in the book of Psalm 23:6: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. To God, all glory belongs to Him alone!
Pray that the Lord will lead our church leaders to exceed our expectations for next year, 2024. Praying for God’s wisdom and strength to all our church leaders as they are now facing a new challenge in the ministry for the next year.
This month, I started to go every Sunday to our new place to lead the believers in worshiping God by singing. I taught them that part of our worship is to express our thankfulness through singing. I lead the singing and the people enjoy worshiping God. We sang Cebuano contemporary songs so it would be easier for them to understand the message of the song. I also taught them how to worship God by giving an offering.
We are happy to see everyone participating by giving. I appointed a temporary treasurer to keep the offering money every Sunday. Pioneering work at the very beginning is not easy because you do all the roles. I do the teaching and then also play the instruments for the singing. I thank God for my teacher in Bible school who encouraged me to learn the guitar to be used for worship and singing. So, through his encouragement, I decided to learn to play the guitar.
I use the guitar in every pioneering work that I start, and I begin teaching basic guitar lessons to those with the potential and the desire to learn. In my house, I have my own guitar to use whenever needed. As time goes by, and we have someone who knows how to play well, my own guitar will then be donated to the new pioneering work to be used at every Sunday service.
I am happy to see new believers in Christ worship Him through singing. I am praying that they will fully understand the meaning of true worship.
- Pray also for our first water baptism in this new pioneering workplace.
- Pray that God will give these new believers strength and courage to follow Jesus in water baptism even if the Catholic Church leaders and family members seek to hinder them.
I invited Elvie, our WF treasurer to conduct a training program titled Community Health Education (CHE). The program is conducted for six months, helping the community by educating them on health issues, creating a clean environment, and teaching them how to start their own livelihood program. This program will be a big help to the community because this approach helps them in the physical aspect but also spiritually. The goal is for the people to come to know the Savior. After six months of activities, the CHE will have their commencement experiences and they can receive their certificate of completion. The group really enjoyed following Elvie as she presented a new song with action. Most importantly, they listen intently when Elvie is sharing the Word of God.
- Pray that God will help this program in the community.
We started our first children’s ministry every Saturday at our new pioneering work. Rose is one of our prospective church leaders at our church work and she has been encouraged to study at our school of theology. She is now helping by teaching the children. Rose is a single mother and enjoys teaching the kids in our area.
- Pray that we can have our own church building someday in this place. Pray that the Lord will use our own church building for his glory.
This month I brought Shiela and her children to Jollibee for their favorite chicken and spaghetti. I am seeking to get to know each family and using this popular fast-food restaurant as a unique and once-in-a-lifetime treat for them. Shiela is applying to be a saleswoman at Gaisano Mall. Being a sales lady in the Philippines means earning approximately 350 Philippine pesos (seven USD) as daily wages. Her husband has no permanent job and sometimes drives an electronic bike as a source of income. The kids were very happy with the Jollibee food. Part of their family bonding time is praying that her husband can find a regular job to support the family. Despite their financial situation, Sheila and the children actively attend our Sunday worship service and enjoy the fellowship. Recently she gave her testimony on how the Lord has provided for their daily needs. The school is not far from their house, so the kids can walk back home for lunch and then return to school, so no transportation expenses are needed.
- Pray for the kids to finish their studies strong so they can finish their future college courses.