Recently a pastor asked me what I was most excited about regarding what the Lord is doing here. I told him it was so encouraging to see what God is doing through the Bible Colleges started by the graduates of Iloilo Baptist College in the Philippines. In this prayer letter we want to share with you about one of the graduates who has a Bible School and I want to emphasize the practical ministry work of his Bible students.
Crisanto Arsaga graduated from IBC and started a church in Bacolod City on the neighboring island of Negros. He is quiet but friendly and for years I didn’t hear much about how God was using his life. Some of our staff members would tell me that God was using him to train the married men in his church to go out and start churches. About a year ago I visited his church and on the wall of the church I saw a picture of all the churches started by the men trained in his church. There were more than 20 of them! Several of them were in the area of Negros Oriental where there are few churches. He is humble, unassuming, and really loves the Lord and His work.
When Brother Arsaga started his Bible college seven students enrolled. He had no place to house them so he had them stay in his home the first year. This meant feeding them most of the time as well. His church is located in a very poor part of Bacolod and his church is really out of the way. His wife, who is a schoolteacher, took out a loan to buy a small lot so they could eventually build a dorm for the students.
Another thing I like about Brother Arsaga is the different outreach ministries he has for his church and also for the Bible college students. He has neighborhood Bible Classes for children, Home Bible Studies, a Hospital Ministry, School Ministry, Police Ministry, and a Feeding Program. This is in addition to tract distribution, soul winning, etc. Here are some testimonies from his students:
We wanted to continue from our last prayer letter in sharing more about Bible colleges started by the graduates of IBC. Marlon Ticar has been a faithful pastor in Bacolod City for many years. Here is his testimony:
We named our Bible school “God’s Word Bible Baptist College.” We had no classrooms, no dorms, and no teachers. We had to conduct our classes when students were available because they were staying with their parents and our culture demands that children are obliged to help their parents as much as possible. This routine went on for several months until one day, Pastor Rick Martin told me that someone is buying us a lot and will build a dorm for our students! We were overjoyed! Some of our church members and students helped with the construction. We now have the dorm and two volunteer teachers to the glory of God.
Sometimes it is hard to find and recruit young people to enroll in Bible School. They are too focused in studying in secular schools and finding jobs. I look for students who are saved and have a burden to serve God and a love for lost souls. Also, they must have a desire to serve God and must not be easily discouraged when trials and tests come. Lastly I look for a willing spirit. Are they willing accept tasks given? Are they willing to accept rebuke in order to improve their Christian character? My vision here in Negros and especially in Bacolod City is that the students someday will have their own institutes to start their own soul-winning churches. Souls are precious and our Bible students are good soul winners. Our church members are united because we have a “SWAT” program-Soul Winning Action Team that goes out every Sunday afternoon house-to-house to win the lost to Jesus Christ.