It was on the 10th day of February, the second Sabbath of the month, when Mr. Florante Siopan, pastor in the Visayas, showed to us the UNA, encouraging us to write something about the Sabang congregation. Thus, being a Church member I tried to write about it.
The Sabang congregation is situated in Barangay Sabang, in the town of Baybay, in the province of Leyte. We, the Church members, are scattered between the two neighboring towns of Baybay and Inopacan. Some are from Conalum, Inopacan, about 20 kilometers away from the said congregation, and some from Barangay Baybay, Leyte. Before the death of Mr. Candido Merino, a local church leader, one Sabbath service every fourth week of the month was held in Conalum, Inopacan. Beginning August 2005, we all gathered together on all the Sabbaths of the month in Sabang, where the house of prayer is located. The average attendance is 20.
Church pastor for the Visayas Florante Siopan made a schedule with Mr. Raul Villacote, an elder, and two local church leaders (both now deacons), Mr. Jose Campos and Mr. Vicente Noriega who are from the town of McArthur and Tacloban City, respectively. They made a schedule as to who will come to Sabang to conduct services on the first, second, third, and fourth Sabbath of the month—to preside, give messages and Bible studies. Services start at 9:00 a.m. and Bible studies in the afternoon. Children, teens, adults, and seniors enjoy potluck meals during lunch. Sometimes we have visitors or observers which add to our numbers.
Challenges? Yes, there are. They’re always found in any group of people. Members are far apart. Some can’t attend regularly due to lack of finances. Still others simply stay at home on the Sabbath (perhaps reading the Bible) for reasons only God knows. With all these, through prayers and supplication of the Church members, I still hope for their presence again in the congregation. May the Lord God enlighten their hearts and minds to understand that one’s life here on earth is full of problems and trials to overcome. But let us continue to be found faithful to God (Revelation 21:7).