LWM Humble Beginnings
In 1991 a group of 5 Filipino women, namely Sisters Ethel, Rosanna, Pamela, Josie, and Felipa started a small Bible study group in a downtown apartment of Sis Ethel. This small group continued to grow and brought in more ladies like Sisters Mercy, Cathy and Sis Zeny, who are still with us together with Sis. Ethel.
Every Saturday they were holding their Worship Service at People’s Church through the kindness and guidance of Pastor O’Brien, the pastor of the said church. They also joined the church every Sunday for worship. The Lord continued to bless them by bringing in more and more new immigrants to the group. They eventually called their group Filipino Christian Fellowship as part of the fellowship ministries of People’s Church. From this fellowship group, several families came out to start a church, which is now called Jesus Is Alive Community-Hamilton.
For those who have remained in the group, continued to serve God faithfully and relentlessly shared their faith with other people. In 1994, they have sensed the need for a Filipino pastor to lead the fellowship. That was when they were introduced to Pastor Jerry Berenguer, a Filipino, who is the Senior Pastor of then Jesus First Assembly (JFA), and currently known as Champion Life Centre, a multi-cultural and multi-site church which is based in Brampton, Ontario. He sent different speakers every Sunday and eventually the group has chosen Pastor Dan Magcalas to become the first pastor of the fellowship which was consequently named “Jesus First Assembly-Hamilton. Pastor Dan and his wife Sis. Alma uprooted themselves from Toronto to serve God in Hamilton in 1995.
After a while, the church name was changed to Jesus First Ministries (JFM). It was also during this time the leadership received a new vision from God after reading Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world, a city situated on a mountain cannot be hidden.” The church also begun to raise funds toward their desire to purchase a building of their own.
In 2002, the name of the church became Living Word Ministries (LWM) with fresh vision of “Transforming Lives with the Word of God.” All of those years, the church was sharing a space with People’s Church. Thus, to purchase its’ own building has been the constant desire of the congregations. However, funds remained stagnant that resulted to some members leaving the church with a low morale and not believing that it will ever be able to have its’ own building.
In 2006, the church leadership decided to move out from People’s Church and began renting a commercial space by the corners of Upper Ottawa and Rymal Road. During the five (5) years of renting the said place, the desire to own a building all the more became a priority for the congregations, especially towards the end of the lease of contract. It was also during this time the church has magnanimously allowed several families to move out to join a newly organized Hamilton branch of Jesus Is Lord Church which is one of the mega-churches in Manila that so happened their home church back in the Philippines.
In November of 2010, the church has moved into a newly purchase building by the sacrificial financial giving of the members, the zero interest loans given by the members, and by and through the providential acts of God in coming up with the $50,000 shortage from the pre-approved amount of mortgage by PFSG (the financial arm of PAOC), combined with the building funds accumulated throughout the years. It was indeed, a great celebration of God’s faithfulness and of His provision.
Then, one of the leaders remembered the prophecy of a well-known international evangelist who was invited to speak at People’s Church whom he met by the church hallway (when the church was still sharing a space with them) in 2004 prophesying the supposed year when the church is going to acquire its’ own building. True enough, the year the church bought its’ own building situated at 79 South Bend Road (East), Hamilton was the same year indicated in the said prophesy.
By the end of 2011, just a year of being in the newly purchased building, Pastor Dan received a call to serve God in Richmond Hill, Toronto. Pastor Dan and Sis. Alma, together with their children have faithfully served and laboured for the Lord for sixteen (16) long years with Living Word Ministries.
At the start of 2012 Pastor Walter Hoffman begun to serve as Interim Pastor sent to us by PAOC. He continued the work of the ministry until April 2013. During that one-year window, the Pastoral Search Committee have received several applications from different pastors. After they have short-listed the applicants they decided to call a Filipino pastor who is based in Thailand. To start the immigration process of inviting the pastor to come to Canada, the Pastoral Search Committee met with Pastor Andy Busa, pastor of Gospel International Ministries (GIM), who happened to be studying and preparing to become a Licensed Immigration Consultant to be able to help Filipinos with their immigration issues and problems. The said meeting ended up with a proposal of inviting Pastor Andy to lead the church and have Gospel International Ministries merge with Living Word Ministries, which undeniably been orchestrated not by any man but only by God.
In May 2013, after three months of fervour prayers, an unprecedented moved of merging two churches have become possible, an act that was unheard of at the time amongst Filipino churches, (when what was common being heard of was splitting and divisions). Thus, Pastor Andy has become the pastor of the church.
The merging has been marked by renewed strength, great excitement of what God can possibly do with combined manpower, resources, and spiritual fervour. It was also a time of working on the necessary renovations and upgrades such as bigger stage, new sound system, upgrading the church electrical input to comply with the city requirements, and the installation of centralized air-conditioning for the whole building. God began to bless the church in so many ways and He added more and more souls to the fellowship.
As a local church we are joining our hands and our faith together towards the great things God is about to bring before us today and beyond. We are always being reminded with a passage from Ephesians 3:20-21:
“20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”