In this prayer letter, we would like to share the testimony of Jean Calibayan, one of our Bible college students:
I am the 7th child among 10 children. I was born in San Remejo, Antique, and I am now 21 years old. My dad is a carpenter but his work was not stable so our family was very poor. He would work whenever and wherever he could but when he didn’t work, we didn’t eat.
After my mother delivered me she became very sick and lost her sight. Even though she was blind she worked very hard—she did all the household chores and even planted vegetables. She was always trying to find ways to feed us.
I remember one day when I was little we had nothing to eat but corn and bananas and I remember crying about it. When I was 10 years old my mother taught me how to harvest in the field. She allowed me to go with my brothers to help in the harvest. Later I found out after we left the house she cried and cried because we were always hungry. That’s why I am so thankful for my parents. I learned how to work hard. It was hard for them to raise all of us but they always did their responsibility. They always did everything they could just to provide food for us.
I remember one time when I was in elementary school, my parents and all my brothers and sisters were working in the field. I was so hungry I ate the salt and the seasoning my mother used for cooking (monosodium glutamate).
Later my mother asked where the salt and seasoning was. I joined the others in saying, “I don’t know.” A few days later I became very swollen. My classmates and teacher asked what happened. Finally I couldn’t even walk or stand and I thought I was going to die. I finally confessed to my parents what I ate. My brothers carried me to the health center. It was very far away. They doctor treated me and by God’s grace I was healed. I was absent from school for a long time.
When I went to school, I never had anything to take for lunch or snacks. I would just sit and watch the others eat. Sometimes a classmate or my teacher would give me some food. When I was in grade 6, I lost my eyesight, just like my mother. Even though I couldn’t see, I still worked in the field. My mother treated my eyes with some herbal medicines. I am so thankful God used that to heal me. I was blind for about six weeks.
After graduating from grade six I worked as a maid for someone. Every time I received my salary I went home and gave it all to my mother, except for my fare. I was always getting sick.
In 2000, I attended the Iloilo Baptist Church Camp in Tambaliza, Concepcion, along with my brother, who was a pastor by that time. I got saved and baptized that week. In 2008, I was contacted by one of the staff of Iloilo Baptist Church, asking me if I wanted to go to Bible college. I replied, “Yes, but not now.” I felt a deep obligation to help my family because they were so poor.
One day my mother had an eye appointment. My brother, who is a pastor, was sitting in the hospital waiting for her. While he was waiting, he was reading his Bible. The doctor walked up and asked him if he was a pastor, and he said, “Yes.” The doctor said that his father was also a pastor and that he knew what the pastor’s life was like—living by faith. He told my brother that he would do an operation on my mother’s eyes for free! My mother and brother were so happy when he said that! My family was so thankful. We tried to think of a gift we could give that doctor. When my mother went back for her surgery, she took the doctor two chickens and some bananas. God answered prayer—my mother’s eyesight was restored! When she opened her eyes she was so happy when she saw all of us. She hugged all of us and said to my brother that was a pastor, that he never grew up—he was still the same—very short! We were so happy. It was such a great blessing that my mother’s eyesight was restored!
I was asked again, if I would like to attend Iloilo Baptist College. I felt God wanted me to serve Him in full time Christian work. A staff lady from IBC came to talk to my parents. I left with that staff lady to attend IBC because I knew that God called me and wanted to use me.
Now, by God’s grace, I’m in my 3rd year at Iloilo Baptist College. I believe the promises of God that He will supply all our needs. I know God will always provide. I am so happy when I experience God’s provision. When I give to missions I learn that God is not slack concerning His promises. He knows our needs and will surely provide it. All things work together for good.
Jean’s brother, Eduard Calibayan, is a foreign missionary in Zambia.
NEWS AND PRAYER REQUESTS
Recently someone hacked our email account and deleted all our emails and contact list. They also sent emails to many people on our contact list saying we were stranded in Madrid and to send money. I’m sure some of you have had a similar experience. We have changed our email address and taken other measures to make it more difficult to have this happen again. Our new address is:firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past October 2 the church had its 9th annual Police Appreciation Night with over 200 police attending. It rained so hard that night! We were surprised so many of them came! We honored some police that were killed in the line of duty. Our soul winners led several policemen and policewomen to the Lord. One of the widows of the policeman killed in the line of duty was saved, and her daughter also accepted Christ as her Saviour.
Our 31st Pastors and Workers Conference was October 5-6. All the speakers were from our region of the Philippines. We chose men that have overcome very difficult circumstances in their lives and ministry. I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing their messages were. The main speaker was Pastor Eddie Gerodias who is battling cancer. He is a long time friend and has been the pastor of a church on Negros Island for 35 years. Pastor Arnel Arquisola in Roxas City, Pastor Ely Perez, here in Iloilo City, and Pastor Florencio Muleta, (we wrote about in our July/August prayer letter) all started great churches with very limited finances and facilities. The same can be said for IBC graduate Moimar Lacsao in the Island of Negros. Another IBC graduate, Hermando Abelitado, lost a child. At least 784 pastors came (that’s how many registered) for the conference. There were also hundreds of laymen, Bible college students, lady workers and pastors wives. Iloilo Baptist Church members, staff, and students worked hard to provide free meals for all our guests. Many of our people gave very sacrificially. Students doubled up in dorms to provide bedspace for visitors. Countless hours went into preparation. Mrs. Eddie Gerodias, Mrs. Billy Caalem, and Miss Gina Pabelico spoke at the ladies conference and were a great blessing. BEAMS Bibles sent 800 boxes filled with Bibles, New Testaments, and tracts. Bearing Precious Seed sent a very large quantity of John and Romans in the Ilonggo language. The pastors were so excited. I wish you could have seen the expressions on their faces when they received all of this. BEAMS Bibles and Bearing Precious Seed have had a huge impact on the Philippines through their great efforts. The pastors here are so thankful for what they are doing.
Pastor Muleta, who we wrote about a few months ago, is starting to build his building. Enough money came into help him. His people are sacrificing also, and giving to the project. We are so appreciative (and Brother Muleta is especially grateful) to those who helped him with this project.