Gabriel Della was born in 1988, in Maayon Capiz. He was born blind in both eyes. When he was four years old, he was playing with a friend. The friend went inside the house and got his father’s shotgun. The little boy pulled the trigger and Gabriel was hit on his right arm. The parents rushed him to the hospital but Gabriel lost his arm.
Gabriel’s’ parents were very poor but his mother always told him, “No matter what happens, never forget God.” The parents taught Gabriel and his siblings to fear God. They also taught their children to work
and help around the house.
When Gabriel was 10, he would carry water for the neighbors, just to earn a little money. His physical limitations didn’t stop him. He never went to school.
One day Gabriel attended a Bible study held by Pastor Romeo Regacho. Pastor Regacho was trained in a Bible Institute led by Iloilo Baptist College graduate, Eduardo Cornelio. That day Gabriel asked Jesus Christ to come into his heart to save him from his sins. A month later Pastor Regacho’s church held their anniversary and invited a graduate of IBC, who has his own Bible College, to preach. Gabriel decided to enroll in Bible College. His job in Bible College was water detail—he’d pump the water with an old-fashioned hand pump at the well.
His teachers eagerly taught the blind boy how to conduct a Bible study and a church service. Sometimes Gabriel would get discouraged, thinking about his disability.
On March 20, 2011, Brother Gabriel graduated from Bible College. On July 29, he went back to his home place and helped Pastor Romeo Regacho, who pastors three churches. On Saturday and Sunday he stays with Pastor Regacho, then on Monday he walks home, two kilometers, even over two bridges, without a guide.
Brother Gabriel’s ministries are teaching children, the school ministry, and teaching Sunday school. Recently he started his own Bible study. When he goes soul winning, he hands the Bible to someone and instructs them where to find a verse. He has them read the verse and he explains what it means. After a little while, the person receives Christ as their Savior! He plans to start a church in the future.
Another blind pastor that we’ve written about before is Samson Clorion. Samson was born on Christmas Eve, 1960, in Dumarao, Capiz. His parents separated while he was still a baby. Because of this, he was left in the care of his grandmother. He became blind when he was about five years old because of measles. When he reached his teenage years he tried to fill his days by making friends. However these friends influenced him to smoke and drink. One day he realized how foolish he must look—a blind drunkard. That day he quit, but his life was still empty. He kept asking himself over and over, “Why am I blind? What can I do with my life?” One day he heard a Baptist preacher on the radio telling about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. That day he received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
Samson had a burning desire to learn the Bible but he was never able to go to a special school to learn Braille. He began praying about it and soon God touched someone’s heart to give him a tape player and some Scripture tapes.
One day one of our graduates, Pastor Reymundo Porras, started a church in the village where Samson lived. Brother Porras saw the great love Samson had for Jesus and his great desire to serve God. Samson owned a cow and he would climb on her back and she would take him to church! Surely if we want to learn God’s Word bad enough, the Lord will provide a way! When Brother Porras started a Bible Institute in his church, as many of our graduates do, to train married men to become preachers, Samson enrolled. Since graduating, Brother Samson has been the pastor of Tacay Fundamental Baptist Church. He memorized the way to people’s homes so he could visit them. So many of us have excuses why we can’t serve God, but Samson would always manage to find a way to serve the Master he loved. Although he would often fall while trying to walk on the slippery dikes between the rice fields, he kept on. Brother Samson is now training a layman in his church to be a pastor too! Brother Samson’s testimony has been an encouragement to many. He preaches without an outline since he cannot see, and never learned to write. This makes him totally dependent upon God he says. He prays earnestly for God to give him a message for each service and teach him what to say. If God can use someone like him, certainly God can use you and me! If you ask him if he has any regrets for being blind, his answer is: “Not at all. I may be blind physically, but spiritually I’m not. God made me blind that I might see.”
Recently he was the speaker at one of the youth camps held by the graduates of IBC in Capiz Province. His determination to serve God was a blessing to the young people and many of them surrendered to go to Bible College that week.
Lobert Garote, a blind man, visited Iloilo Baptist Church in the mid-1980’s and received Christ as his Savior. He began attending church and was taught how to read the Bible in Braille by one of the staff members here. A few years later he moved to the province of Aklan and was faithful to a good church there. He married one of the graduates of IBC and his pastor, Nesty Siladan, who is a graduate of a Bible College in Manila, trained him to preach. He recently graduated from the church’s Bible Institute for married men. He is now working at that church with the goal of starting a church someday. Two of his children, Kesia, and Debbie, are now in their second year at Iloilo Baptist College. They are very proud of their father who, in spite of being blind, became a pastor.
NEWS & PRAYER REQUESTS
1. OPEN DOORS – Recently one of the government agencies began sending groups of mothers to our church during weekdays for lectures about Biblical principles pertaining to mothers. I was able to speak to about 125 mothers on two occasions. In late July a group of mothers came and after the message the invitation was given. Several mothers responded by receiving Christ as Savior. You can see the photo below of the mothers. On the back row you can see a few mothers standing. The one-second from the left received Christ as Savior. As she started walking home that day she had an asthma attack and was rushed to the hospital where she died. Fortunately she entered eternity prepared, having accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. Please continue to pray for these open doors.
RADIO MINISTRY – Please continue to pray for this new ministry. Progress has been made on getting a permanent license to operate. The authorities have been very good to us and we are grateful. About 70% of the basic monthly expenses have been committed and about 60% of the expenses being given by Iloilo Baptist Church and other churches here. Thank you for praying for the station. There is a very strong interest among Christians in this area for the station. We have been recording Ilonggo songs recently and plan to continue until we have a good selection of songs. We are having preaching in Ilonggo as well and people are being saved regularly.
PASTORS AND WORKERS CONFERENCE – The 33rd annual Pastors & Workers Conference will be held October 2-3. The containers of Bibles and other materials from BEAMS Bibles arrived and have cleared customs. We will be distributing them to the pastors at the conference. Please pray for this meeting.
Thank you for helping the work of God here in the Philippines. There are so many of you that have prayed for us and all you have done to help the Lord’s work progress humbles Becky and me.
Sincerely in Christ,
Rick & Becky Martin