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Mariana’s Christian Church
Let me begin with myself. I am Pablo Dela Cruz Medina, 43 years old. I was raised in a Christian family. I became a Christian when I was 13. I was already a junior in college (taking Industrial Engineering), when I became certain that what I really wanted was to serve God as a full-time minister. I knew it wasn’t just a desire, but God was really calling me to be one. God made a way for me to enter the seminary (Philippine College of Ministry) in Baguio City and graduated after three years. I have started ministering in different areas (such as music, youth, preaching and evangelism) even while I was still studying. After graduation, I served as a full-time pastor. When I was called to minister here in Saipan, I responded to the call and have now been ministering to Marianas Christian Church (formerly Saipan Christian Church) for almost 18 years. The journey wasn’t easy, as the church just experienced division shortly before I came. Also, many people here just come and go, especially with immigration issues. The church also experienced calamities, Typhoon Yutu being the most recent one, which has destroyed the church sanctuary. Despite such difficulties, God has evidently been at work in my life and the church.
My wife, MARIA LEONORA SALAZAR-MEDINA, became a Christian when she was in high school. She was the first Christian in her family. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She has taught for a total of seven years in the Philippines and has been teaching here in Saipan for nearly 8 years now. She came here after our wedding in the Philippines in 2004. She has served in music, youth, Sunday School, evangelism, and leadership ministries in her home church since she became a Christian. Her whole family, as well as some friends and relatives (who became Christians too), have been actively serving too. Here, she has served as a Sunday School teacher and a chairperson of the Women’s Ministry, and is currently serving as a worship leader and the church secretary.
The church will be celebrating its 10th anniversary (as Marianas Christian Church) on July 28. Although a lot of members have already gone either back to the Philippines or to other countries, the church membership still averages to 70 (excluding children), as new ones are also called by God. We are a Filipino congregation, but a few locals also attend.
“We see Marianas Christian Church 10 years from now as a Vibrant/full of life Church, influencing and leading people of the Northern Mariana Islands to a growing relationship with Christ, nurturing and equipping them to become strong and productive members of the Body of Christ, excitedly meeting at a 200-seater Worship Hall situated at the Heart of Saipan continuously growing in knowledge and in numbers.”
Marianas Christian Church exists to exalt and glorify God through bringing the lost people of CNMI to a growing biblical relationship with Christ and with God’s family and equipping them for their local and global ministry and mission.
Statement of Faith:
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit and should be the only rule of faith and practice; that there is One God in three Persons (Trinity); that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Lord and Head of the Church; that He is God incarnate and the Savior of mankind; that it is only by God’s grace through our faith in, and union with Jesus in baptism that we can be saved and be called children of God; that Christian calling is believing, obeying, serving and remaining faithful in Him unto the end; that Christ will return to judge, bring salvation, and reign forever.
What the funds are for and where will you use the funds or the support?
The funds that JOFLO will provide for the church will go to the charity fund and other programs/projects. The charity fund is used for needy members. The church also responds to the needs of some needy people in the community. Funds from JOFLO may also be used to help in the rebuilding of the church building. The church actually applied for SBA loan, as it aims to not only rebuild the old church building (this time with concrete roof) but also to make it bigger, in order to accommodate more people. The church even gave a downpayment for a 30-year lease for the land where the church is located. If it’s God’s will that the loan is approved, the church will pay such loan in 30 years. If not, the church will start rebuilding the church building through pledges from members. Therefore, whichever is God’s will, JOFLO’s financial assistance will be of great help. Moreover, such funds may be used for evangelism.
How will it affect your ministry?
The financial support from JOFLO will greatly impact the ministry, as unbelievers usually start to care about what we say when they first see that we care about their needs. Some of those who have started attending the church were actually those whom the church visited, assisted, and given some relief items after typhoon Yutu.
As regards the financial support JOFLO will give to my family, that too will greatly impact my ministry. Two of my three kids are special children. Although they receive assistance from Social Security, their needs are more, that my wife still needs to work full time. She longs to do even more to support me in my ministry, as well as have more time with family (especially our special kids, who should be her primary ministry), but we still need her job, especially that it is also hard not to be able to aid those in need when they ask for help. It is a good thing to pray for them, but it is much better to also help them in their need.
What are other church’s programs, ministries and community support?
The church has a program for Christian Education. We have Sunday School, Youth Class, and cell groups. We do seminars as well. We also have Men’s Training for Ministry where the men are taught Hermeneutics and Homiletics. For evangelism, we do Bible Studies, tracts distribution, and occasional mini-crusades. We will have an evangelistic concert again this year as well. The church also has a ministry for prayer, shepherding, multi-media, finance, music, charity, and maintenance.
To reach out to the community, the church has held VBSs, has produced magazines, distributed relief goods to typhoon victims, held “charity carolings” (where we did caroling but did not ask for donations but instead gave goods to families, and toys to kids), actively participates or organizes activities for the association of Christian churches here in Saipan, and assists Samaritan’s Purse in its community outreach. On March 30, our Church and all the other Christian Churches in the island together with Operation Christmas Child Team will hold a simultaneous distribution of gifts to at least 13,000 kids ages 2-14 here in Saipan. All of those kids will hear and see a gospel presentation. This December, the church will also organize a Youth Conference.
No creed but Christ; No name but Christian; No book but the Bible; No message but the Gospel; No rule of faith & practice but the New Testament. We are Christians only but we’re not the only Christians. In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty and in all things, love.