Pastor Jessie Porras has been a faithful pastor for 20 years, starting several churches in the province of Capiz (see photo of Brother Jessie witnessing to a farmer and his wife, and the photo of Brother Jessie with his wife and children in front of their church). He has a great spirit and is on fire for God. Here is his story in his own words:
I was born in 1972 at Dumarao Capiz. I am the 9th child. We were 12 kids in the family—six boys and six girls. My father is a farmer. Although we were very poor our parents tried their best to see that we were educated but some of us weren’t able to finish high school because of poverty. I myself only finished my first year of high school.
I got involved in the NPA (New People’s Army—communist rebels) as a courier. I always knew where they were hiding in the mountains. I would walk 15 kilometers from one mountain to another. They taught me how to use an armalite gun and to throw grenades even though I was only 15 years old. This was very exciting to me. I decided I wanted to fight with the NPA for the rest of my life.
One day, while I was still in my first year of high school, my brother Raymundo came to visit us. He was attending Iloilo Baptist College. Ray wanted me to go to Bible College but I told him I don’t want to. He was very wise—he told me I could work in the boat factory because at that time, some of the students were making wood boats as a handicraft to sell in the USA. This was how they worked their way through school. I was excited about learning this craft and earning money. The only thing was, he didn’t tell me I had to be a student to work in the factory! Ray also told me that I would be going with him every Saturday to teach the children. I told him ok, as long as he would buy me a deck of playing cards to teach the children. Now that I’m a pastor and I think back to those days it is funny to me—how God used my brother to convince me to go to Bible College!
First Baptist Church, Sibarawan, Dumarao, Capiz, under Pastor Lumawag and Pastor Distor, held a DVBS every summer. I always attended as a little boy. During the invitation time, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. I really did not receive assurance of my salvation until I went to Bible college however. I don’t think that I fully understood it as a child. After arriving at IBC, one of the students, who is now a pastor, Brother Cubar, went through the plan of salvation with me so I received assurance of my salvation.
Two of my brothers, Graciano and Raymundo, also graduated from IBC and are pastors. My sisters, Lynnie and Renelyn, graduated from IBC and are serving the Lord. In fact, Renelyn is the wife of Missionary Josue Satunero, also an IBC graduate. They have been missionaries in Uganda, Africa, for many years.
During my time of Bible college I have to admit there were times of discouragement but through God’s grace I graduated in 1992. Now I am a pastor at Tao First Fundamental Baptist Church in Dao, Capiz.
I don’t regret that I became a pastor instead of a member of the NPA! Praise the Lord for using my brother to recruit me for Bible school. Thank God for IBC and Pastor Martin.
We may have a plan for our life, but God always has a better plan!
MEET A STUDENT OF ILOILO BAPTIST COLLEGE: KIMUEL DETANGCO
I was born into a poor family on November 11, 1991 in Sara, Iloilo. My parents are farmers. Before my dad was saved he was a persecutor of our church. The first one saved in our family was my older sister, then my mom. After my mom got saved she was very faithful to all the church activities—Bible studies, visitation, church services, etc. Our pastor is Michael Balinas.
Every time my mother went with our pastor and his workers to conduct a Bible study, my dad would be there outside, waiting for my mother, drinking his liquor. Then there would be a war in our house after the Bible study. My mom was very patient, quiet, and prayerful.
My father was very angry when my mother was baptized. He took a big knife and chopped up the Bible. My mother cried and asked God to forgive my dad. My father became very ill—so ill that he stopped smoking and drinking. We lost all our farm animals paying for my father’s illness. My mother was a prayer warrior and she would constantly invite my dad to church.
Finally my dad started attending church service until one day he got saved! My mom encouraged him to give his tithe. God blessed that and increased their income and my father was very faithful in tithing. He became very faithful in church attendance until finally he became a preacher substitute now and then. My mother is a Sunday school teacher and also involved in the school ministry.
My parents always taught me that I should be content with whatever God allows me to have. They also taught me to study hard and never be ashamed to share the message of God. I got very good grades and my grandfather helped with the finances of my education.
Since our school was very far from our home I had to board. I learned how to cook and wash my clothes. I learned how to budget my money. Every Saturday I went to the plaza and witnessed to young people and many got saved. I invited them to attend our church. Every Sunday I brought visitors to church.
I am now a 4th year student at Iloilo Baptist College. I am involved in school ministry, Bible study, and bringing children and adults to church on the jeepney. My favorite subject is prophecy and my favorite verse is Gal. 2:20. (See photo of Kimuel leading a soul to Christ- above and another of Kimuel with children he brings to church-below)
News & Prayer Requests:
1. Last month, Richard Gemelian, one of our graduates, died suddenly. Brother Richard grew up in Iloilo Baptist church and enrolled in IBC in 1999. He graduated in 2003. Each year, almost all of the men who graduate from Iloilo Baptist College go out and start a church. For several years I have encouarged the graduates to consider going to two areas of our island that are more difficult to reach because they are very strong Catholic areas. Brother Richard was one who decided to go and start a church in one of these areas that are not so receptive to the Gospel. For nine years he stayed there, starting one church in 2003, and anohter more recently. Both churches still meet in houses of his church members as he has had a difficult time finding land. Patiently he began to win the hearts of people in these two villages. He has been training one of his men to someday become a pastor. After he died I talked to his wife, who is burdened that the work God did through her husband would continue. Please pray for Mrs. Gemelian, and their two-year-old child that the Lord would undertake for them.
2. Please pray for the upcoming Pastors & Workers Conference the first week of October. It has been an annual event for 32 years. Please pray that those who attend will be encouraged and challenged.
3. Please pray for the possibility of starting a radio station here. We are going forward and working on the different aspects of operating one if the Lord opens the door.
4. Please pray for the students of Iloilo Baptist College (see photo of student body below) as they prepare to start churches.
5. FAMILY: Our son Ricky was in the hospital for eight days with dengue fever. We are very grateful for his recovery. He and our daughter Rachel had a lot of sickness growing up but this is the worst I have ever seen him sick. For those of you who knew about this and prayed for him, thank you! Our daughter Rachel, her husband Matt, and our grandson Landon, are planning to be here for the Pastors & Workers Conference. We are very excited to see them again!