In every place and every time there is history. The purpose of history is not to boast on our legacy and achievements. It is to know and rejoice in God’s moving hand.
Many churches and ministries were already founded through other denominations and workers in Cebu. This chronicle is to show God’s work in Cebu through the Grace Baptist Churches and its partners. Many names and events were undocumented and unknown. It’s our task to gather the undocumented pieces. It is God’s task to reveal the unknown for heavenly surprises.
The Birth of Grace Baptist Church
When the Association of Baptists for World Evangelization (ABWE) saw the growth in Cebu City, and many fundamental Baptists transferring to Cebu, they encouraged Rev. and Mrs. Philip Klumpp to transfer from Leyte to Cebu City. In the 1990’s, the Klumpps started the Grace Baptist Church. Dr. James Entner assisted the Klumpps in the ministry. When the Klumpps went to furlough, the church called Rev. Samuel Geroy from Calvary Baptist Church, Pontevedra, Negros Occidental as pastor of Grace Baptist Church.
Rev. Samuel Geroy and family transferred to Cebu on April 1995. He and his wife Mrs. Evangeline Geroy shepherd the church for 13 years until they transferred to another work in Mandaue City on April 2008.
Many things had happened during those 13 years. Some were pleasant; others are painful. Let us count the pleasures of the blessings and leave to God the pains of the burdens.
On 2002, God’s hand is moving through GBC in different places in Cebu particularly in Compostela, Carcar and Barili.
Grace Baptist Mission, Compostela
There were Christians from Leyte who were working at a piggery in Compostela. Because of this, Pastor Justiniano Aroña went to GBC to discuss the possibility to start a ministry. On the 3rd week of May 2002, Compostela outreach was started. Pastor Honierold “Dodz” Telmo, together with another Bible school student and Emanuel Durero held the first service. The early part of the ministry was a partnership of GBC and SG Ministries - a ministry of the Geroy Family.
Later, Eng. Frupet Gargantiel, a pastor - trainee at GBC, was called to be the full-time pastor of Grace Baptist Mission in Compostela. It was in 2005 when Pastor Frupet Gargantiel took over the work in Compostela and he continued until now.
Campus Ministry in CTU-Barili
Sometime around 2002, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Escabal, registrar and trainer in CSCST Barili Campus (now called Cebu Technical University), requested GBC to consider starting a work in Barili. In July 2003, the work was started with 6 students at their staff house. Due to the increasing number of student contacts, they requested to use one of the classrooms to hold weekly fellowship. Some of the YUPPIES from GBC helped the Campus Ministry in CTU-Barili. The worked continued until now with students averaging 40 in attendance every week.
Carcar - Naga
In 2002, GBC conducted a survey at Carcar. Year after, Vacation Bible School classes were conducted which brought the message also to Aetas in Naga. In 2004, a couple from Doane Baptist Seminary, Pastor and Mrs. Eddie Pigar worked in Carcar and stayed 4 years. When they were called to Tarlac, Pastor and Mrs. Ludivico Hilario from Pontevedra accepted the challenge in 2008 and continued the work until now.
Another turnover of events was in 2008. The pioneering stage of Grace Baptist Church has ended. Another pastor has to bring the church to a whole new level. Pastor Geroy resigned from Grace Baptist Church and Pastor and Mrs. Romeo Modina from New Life Baptist Church, Leyte answered the call to Cebu and took over the work. God is moving His soldiers to places where they can be most effective.
In Oct. 2006, a group of single professionals from different provinces gathered for a fellowship in Mandaue City. It was later called the Mandaue Evening Fellowship - an outreach of GBC. It was then that the partnership with Marikina and other Luzon Churches was realized. The Partnership was headed by Rev. Walter Ibañez of Marikina. Mr. Nestor Macorol, a businessman, offered his office for a fellowship venue every Sunday Evening. In April 2008, Pastor and Mrs. Samuel Geroy resigned from Grace Baptist Church and were commissioned for the work in Mandaue. The outreach is now called the Grace Baptist Church Mandaue.
Caubian Island is situated between the islands of Bohol and Mactan, 45 minutes to 1 hour travel by boat. With only 2.5 hectares, Caubian has over 3,000 in population, no source of clean water except for the rain, no regular public transportation and especially no Bible-believing church.
Year 2008 marks God’s tremendous deliverance in the lives of the people living in Caubian. A team from GBC conducted a Summer Vacation Bible School that was attended by 300 children and young people. Separate Bible studies were held for adults. Since then, Bible studies were conducted on scheduled basis. Medical and dental missions were also conducted in partnership with Christian Agencies in Cebu and Bukidnon. God used many people to bring the message to Caubian. There were many professions of faith.
On May 30, 2009, 3 believers followed the Lord in water baptism. Children ministry continued with 35 regular attendees and an average of 30 adults gathered for fellowship.
With much prayer and expectation for a missionary, God answered the prayers on June 2010. Mr. Jaspher Obiña resigned as Community Organizer in his office and dedicated his life as a full-time missionary to the island.
Many will be accomplished through partnership. Another work is opened in Lapulapu City through the partnership with Marikina. God touched the heart of Pastor Antonio Antonio and his wife Sarah to start a church in Lapulapu City. They were commissioned as missionary to Lapulapu City through GBC Mandaue. On September 20, 2009 the first fellowship was held at BFK Restaurant, Basak, Lapulapu City.
There were other church planting efforts done by friends of Cebu Grace Baptist Churches.
Fundamental Bible Church
Even in early 1980’s the Jesus Saves already started fellowships in Cebu. Mr. Arnold Ang, a businessman from Davao started a printing press at Cebu City which had been a tool in printing the Kronika - an official magazine of AFBCP. Group of believers gathered in their house at Bulacao. Many people have worked with them; one of those was Pastor Rabi, now working in Hilongos, Leyte. Nowadays, the church is shepherded by Pastor Dionvic Anat and is called the Fundamental Bible Church.
The work in A.S Fortuna, Mandaue
Few months after the Geroys arrived in Cebu on 1995; Pastor Jimmy Inventor followed and also started a church and a kinder school in A.S Fortuna, Mandaue City. The church and the school continued until now.
The Bantayan work existed already for a long time. Many missionaries have already worked there. The last was Pastor Justiniano Aroña who stayed there for more or less 7 years until he left in 2009. The worked in Bantayan remains a difficult task until now.
The work in Bogo was formerly an outreach of Maramag, Bukidnon with Pastor Kim Lalaan as their missionary. At the early stage of the work in 2002, Pastor Lalaan partnered Pastor Aroña in the ministry until Pastor Aroña worked in Bantayan through ABPE (The Association of Baptists for Philippine Evangelization). The work in Bogo was difficult. Pastor Vincent Torre followed
Pastor Lalaan in 2006. Many people and churches tried to help the work but the people remained difficult to reach. Pastor Torre stayed 2 years and Pastor Ymalay and family from Negros Occidental took over the work in 2009 and finally established contacts in Bogo.
Pastor Roldan Bulotano is a native of Kawit, Medellin. He worked in Palawan for several years until he felt the burden to share the gospel to his homeland and family. The process was never easy. He worked alone in Kawit for 2 years - no partners, no support, no members, and no wife until he met pastor Geroy in 2007 and finally established a partnership. He labored in Kawit until now though the task remains hard and long.
Other works in Cebu
God has other works in Cebu which are too long to mention - some of them small; some of them great: The Bible School in Talisay through Pastor Locsin, the work of Pastor Diva in Camotes Island, the work of Student Missionary for Christ (SMC) in the Campuses, of Pastor Borja, and many others.
We may not be able to record and mention everything but one thing is sure God will not forget their labor for the Lord.
Nowadays, God is also opening other ministries in other places of Cebu like Talisay City, Danao City and Badian through Grace Baptist Churches.
The ministry in Talisay City started when three families from GBC cannot attend church services due to the distance and financial difficulties. God also aligned everything when Bible studies were opened in the community and the River of Praise School with 300 students requested to have Bible lessons for children and teachers as well. Then, the regular meeting began on March 14, 2010.
On November 20, 2010, Pastor and Mrs. Joel Gequilapay were commissioned in Grace Baptist Church Cebu as missionaries to Talisay City through the partnership with Marikina and other Luzon churches.
God also has great work in Danao through Grace Baptist Mission Compostela, SMC and professionals working in Mitsumi. Pastor and Mrs. Gargantiel are considering transferring to this city to start another work with the professionals.
Badian is ripe for harvest and simply waiting for workers. And there are people who can no longer wait. Bro. Nilo works with the Librandos – owner of Librando Transportation. He had no church, no Bible training, no idea about church organization. He started a group in Badian. Later he met Pastor Geroy, has Bible Studies with him and is now continuing the fellowship in Badian.
In all of these accounts, we see God’s active hand. When his soldiers slumber, he raises another to fulfill His plan. We are like pieces of a broken puzzle that God is trying to mend. We may have different styles and shapes but God wants us to stick together and paint a beautiful picture. When all is said and done, we will say, “It’s for His glory. After all history is His story. It’s a privilege to be a part of it.”