Many Are The Plans In a Man’s Heart
By Myra Bigayan
I was just nine years old and on a snowy Wednesday evening, December 14, 1988, I was part of a congregation of 200, gathered for Scarborough’s first worship service. As an extension of the local congregation of Toronto, the worship service was held in the tiny gymnasium of Roywood Junior Public School, where some had to sit on wooden benches. Were you there? Maybe you felt what I felt, even at that young age–God’s immense power filled the humble space.
The following Saturday, we began holding the Children’s Worship Service there as well. As a young choir member, I remember learning how to pray. Along with every child in the Scarborough congregation, I grew up pleading, “Dear God in Heaven, please grant us a house of worship.”
By 1990, we were a full-fledged congregation and I was baptized. As we grew in number, we were like travelers, renting various high school auditoriums, and eventually large banquet halls to gather for worship.
I was growing up, growing in faith, and I could understand our struggles. There were instances when worship services had to be rescheduled because of the unavailability of the places we were renting. There were also two periods during which our worship services were moved back to the Toronto chapel because we couldn’t find a venue to accommodate our rapidly growing congregation.
Our parents always reminded my older sister Myrtle and I, that our Lord God knows what’s best for us. So as I matured, my prayers were maturing as well: “Dear Father, if it is Your will, may we have a house of worship soon,” and “Dear Father, In Your time may we be blessed with a house of worship.”
As we continued to serve, we continued to dream of and pray for a permanent house of worship for Scarborough. As time passed, with God’s help I became a Binhi officer, KADIWA officer, Adult Choir member, then CWS Teacher, and District KADIWA officer. I graduated high school, graduated university, and began a career.
Not once throughout our journey did God ever leave us. In every worship service, I continued to feel the same power He allowed us to feel even during that first worship service at Roywood Junior Public School.
It was 2007 when the Church was blessed with a house of worship on 710 Markham Road. I was almost 28 years old, thrilled that my childhood dream had come true — a house of worship for the local congregation of Scarborough, my home. I was also excited as we began a new prayer: “Dear Father, May we be worthy of what we are hoping for — to dedicate unto You this permanent place of worship.”
Soon afterward, during one of our District KADIWA meetings, we received a verse that resonated with us, especially those of us from Scarborough: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21 NIV).
Under the leadership of our beloved Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the house of worship of the Scarborough congregation was approved to be dedicated to God on April 17, 2010. With joy and thanksgiving, we praised God for blessing us with this beautiful place where we could pray to and worship Him.
We didn’t think it would take 21 years for us to be blessed with a house of worship, but we do believe that God’s plans are the best plans.
In 2009, I was engaged to be married – a personal blessing – and on May 24, 2010, my husband Michael Bigayan and I were the first couple to be wed in this newly dedicated house of worship in Scarborough.
A year later, in his first Pastoral visit to Canada, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo officiated a special worship service at the Scarborough house of worship, before inaugurating the new office for the Ecclesiastical District of Eastern Canada, which is also in Scarborough.
Since then, the local congregation has continued to grow, giving birth to three new congregations: Durham, Markham, and Victoria, with a new generation of children praying for their own houses of worship. This year, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Church in the West, Scarborough will be celebrating its 30th year.
When I look at our two children, I often think of nine-year-old me, and how my friends and I dreamed and prayed for a house of worship. Our children are now witnessing unprecedented distress around them, but at the same time witnessing unprecedented growth in the Church around the world. As they grow up, I pray that they continue to grow in faith, and grow as members of the true Church Of Christ. May they continue to feel His power as they worship Him, and dream of even more victories for His nation. And, always, always, may they trust in His plan.