ailing from northern Philippines, I grew up in a Catholic family, but without a relationship with the Creator. As the youngest of three siblings, life was quite challenging for us because our father passed away when I was just one year old. Our mother remarried, and they had several children, which made life even more difficult since my mother’s attention shifted to my stepbrothers, stepsisters, and my stepfather. I yearned for the love and care of parents, especially a father’s love.
In July 1998, when I was 15 years old, I found what I had been searching for—the Father’s heart of God. This happened when I responded to the gospel after my cousin invited me to attend an evangelical church. It was there that I placed my trust in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, believing that through His finished work on the cross, I am forgiven. His resurrection provides me with hope for eternal life. I look forward to spending eternity with my Heavenly Father. After placing my trust in Christ, my fear of death vanished, my insecurities faded away, and I discovered joy and a reason to live. I yearned to learn more about Jesus Christ through His Word, much like a baby craving milk. Going to church and attending prayer meetings became exciting. My relationship with Christ ignited a passion within me to share the gospel with my unsaved schoolmates and friends.
I served as a Pentecostal church pastor for five years. However, in 2005, I met a Grace pastor from TCM-Philippines, who introduced me to the distinctive message found in the writings of Apostle Paul. Through God’s grace and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, I came to understand the Dispensation of the Mystery. After five years of studying the Grace Message, I was officially recognized as a TCM pastor.
My wife, Jemima, grew up in a Christian family and is a Pastor’s Kid. Her father, Noli Buagas, is a Grace pastor who has been in the ministry for many years. When Jemima was a child, her parents shared with her about Jesus and always took her to church, especially for Sunday School. This is how they planted the seed for her to know Christ in her life. Jemima faced pressure and discouragement due to being a PK, which caused her to experience depression; but, praise God for the wonderful grace He has shown in her life! She accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior at age 14. As she began reading the Bible in her daily devotions and growing closer to the Lord, she realized it was a blessing to be a PK because God used her parents to help her know Him and understand the message of grace. It became a privilege to serve God in the ministry given to their family. Jemima praises the Lord for everything He has done in her life and thanks Him for giving her talents and skills in Music and Children’s Ministries that she can use for His glory.
Jemima and I were married in 2008, and we successfully established a Grace Church in northern Philippines. While planting that church, I pursued college studies and completed my BSED (Bachelor of Secondary Education) with a major in English. Within a year, I passed the Licensure Exam for Teachers. Jemima and I were among the Batch 1 trainees at Grace Theological Center for Missions (GTCM) in 2015. Afterward, we continued to pastor a church in Metro Manila, and I also taught at a senior high school. However, we firmly believed God called us to be missionaries so in 2023, we finally applied to be sent out by TCM.
The Lord is leading us initially to preach the gospel and establish churches in Ethiopia, East Africa. Ethiopia is the second largest country in Africa with a population of 127 million, yet it lacks a Grace church, and approximately 35% of its people are Muslims. These realities burden our hearts to bring the Grace Message to this country. Our ambition aligns with that of the Apostle Paul, who said, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” (Romans 15:20) Our vision is to empower eleven Ethiopian leaders to plant churches in the eleven regions of the country. We aspire to create a strong Church Planting Movement led by national leaders.
The mission field presents various challenges, such as visa issues, homesickness, and cultural differences. Nevertheless, we trust in God’s enabling grace, as He is the One who called us to the mission field. Our children, Keziah and Dale, are enrolled in the School of Tomorrow, homeschool program. This allows us to dedicate more time to our ministry. May God bless the work of our hands. To God be the Glory! v