In this report we want to share the stories of two pastors who God is using to train pastors.
Shem Barena was saved at the age of 12, and surrendered his life to God that same day. Several years later a student
of Iloilo Baptist College named Rex Galfo (now a missionary in Indonesia), visited the Barena home and told Shem about Iloilo Baptist College and the things he could accomplish for God there. An intense desire to serve God grew in Shem’s heart and he came to Bible school. He told us
he immediately noticed the church carried a burden for the lost—not only in Iloilo City—but also for the world. He loved the motto, “The church with a
heart for everyone,” so he got involved with the different ministries. He was active in the school ministry, prison ministry, extension Bible classes on Saturdays, held for children in the
slums, and he had a jeepney route to bring people to church. He said he really benefitted from being involved in those ministries because when he started his own church, he also started
those same ministries.
Shem went through some tough times financially. He worked hard and sacrificed much. He drove a tri-sikad (bike
with side card used as a taxi) during times between his classes and ministries.
Brother Shem was well prepared when he graduated in 1994 because of the struggles he endured in Bible College. He
started Grace Baptist Church in Tabu Ilog, Negros, and it grew rapidly. Like many graduates, Brother Shem started his church under some trees.
About two years after starting his church Brother Barena became very ill. His doctor thought his kidneys were
failing. It got so bad that everyone thought he would die. Brother Barena thought so too. We waited for news of his death but God had other plans. Some believe Brother
Barena’s doctor simply made a wrong diagnoses. We believe however, that God answered prayer and healed him! Brother Barena says he has learned that trials make you stronger.
He started a Bible Institute to train several married men for the ministry. After three years his first graduate, Jerry Filizardo, started a church! By God’s grace, within a few
years, Brother Barena and his men started five churches on Negros Island. Pastor Jerry also started a Bible Institute. In 2001 Brother Filizardo was thrilled as he had his first
graduation with two graduates going into the ministry.
In 2005 Brother Barena started a full time Bible school for young people. The Lord has blessed the school. His
goal is to see these young people go out and start churches like the married men in his Bible Institute. It was a blessing this past March to have Brother Barena as our speaker at the
34th Commencement exercises of Iloilo Baptist College.