April 12, 2013
Dear Praying Friends,
Last month, down in Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, a Baptist pastor named Rey Debarbo, his wife, and two of their daughters, ages 14 and 8, were heading home on a motorcycle from a birthday party when unidentified gunmen opened fire with automatic rifles. Police at the scene recovered more than 30 shell casings. The sole survivor in the family, their daughter Kate, age 16, is coping with the loss of her parents and siblings and is now living with an aunt (see picture above left). Muslims are assumed to be behind this but witnesses are afraid to speak out.
Mila Sanchez, another family member, shared how the massacre is a great loss to the ministry.
"He (Pastor Rey) planted churches among the tribes in remote places in the mountains. Every Sunday, he traveled three hours on his motorbike to teach the Word of God to the people there. It is very difficult to accept what has happened, but their death has inspired us to share the Gospel to more people."
I have been in communication with Kate and tried to get her to come up to our Youth Conference, but it didn’t work out. Hopefully, we can be of help to her in the future. Please keep her & her extended family in your prayers.
"My father never stopped telling us how good God is," Kate said. "I have accepted what happened to my family. I am happy for them because I know where they are -- in Heaven with the Lord."
While meeting with our alumni this week, one of my pastor friends, Felizardo Galarpe, shared his testimony with me:
“I was born in a very poor family. My father was a laborer and my mother a housekeeper. I had nine brothers and one sister. We were all devoted Catholics. My mother died from bone cancer when I was ten years old. I loved my mother so much and could not accept that she had passed away. I was hopeless. I felt no one could defend me when our father got drunk. He was always drunk after my mother died. He had no time for us. We his eleven children suffered from hunger. In order for us to eat regularly we worked at a farm picking fruit. All of my brothers left one by one to find better jobs until I was the only one left with my father. When I was 16, I decided to leave my father too, because I couldn’t take his drunkenness anymore. I found a job as a caretaker and cook at the public market. I quickly started earning money everyday. I had many friends, and through them I learned how to get drunk, smoke & use drugs. We would drink wine and get into trouble with other groups of guys who were also drunk. The owner of the kiosks in the markets would get angry with me because I would fall asleep there. Sometimes I’d wake up in jail. I had very long hair, smelled of alcohol and was malnourished.
Thankfully, I have a Christian friend who was concerned for me. He invited me to church, and I would always refuse & make up many excuses. April 12, 1988 their church was holding a revival. So that I wouldn’t refuse, he bought a bottle of wine for me so I would come. I accepted his invitation! The preacher spoke about Hell, and I felt afraid. He talked about the rich man. I thought about the things I’ve done. It came to the point when I asked myself, that if I died, where would I go? I was convicted. That night I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.
One day, I was visiting my brother in Iloilo and met some Christians who were conducting a Bible study at my aunt’s house. They invited me to attend a Youth Conference at Iloilo Baptist Church. I decided to attend with the motive of finding a girlfriend. When I arrived at IBC, I saw the ladies wearing long skirts. I sat in the back and observed all the people. They are so different than any other people I had ever met. The music and singing started and I felt as if I was floating in the air. I couldn’t express my feelings. As the preaching began, I was encouraged. I surrendered my life to full-time Christian service.
I enrolled in Bible school in 1990. I t was difficult for me, and I had to make many sacrifices. I decided to drop out. I was so discouraged. I went home, but Pastor Mario Genada visited me and encouraged me to finish my studies. He reminded me how God is good to me. Many times I wanted to quit again, but one night Pastor Rick Martin received word that I wanted to leave again. He gave me many encouraging words based from the Word of God. I stayed, and praise God I finished my Pastoral studies in March 1994. I am now an ambassador of Christ, a pastor of Fundamental Baptist Church, in the mountains of Dingle. I thank the Lord for Pastor Rick Martin, and his family for dedicating their lives in serving God here in the Philippines. To God be the glory!”
For more information about Felizardo and the pastors supported by Global Baptist Church Planters, please visit http://www.globalbaptist.net
Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and encouragement to our family and ministry.