Carreta Cemetery Ministry

  • (Editor’s note: Pastor Norberto started the ministry at Caretta Cemetery in 2016. The people living in the cemetery are the poorest of the poor (hence why they live in the tombs of a cemetery). The local church holds services as an outreach to those who would otherwise be unreached and unengaged in the community. Pastor Jonet Labustro took over the pastorship in 2018.)

Recent Ministry

Just over a year ago, Sister Elvie was ill for an entire day with vomiting and diarrhea. She was praying and meditating on the verse “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” From Philippians 4:6 She asked me to stop by her house, so I did and prayed with her, asking for healing in the name of the Lord Jesus. She felt so much better than she attended the Sunday worship and praised God for her healing. A few weeks later, she was admitted to the hospital with a disease of red blood cells. She stayed in the hospital for over a week and was so surprised to have a visitor when I came to see her that she cried. She was unable to attend the Sunday fellowship for almost eight months. Now Elvie is out of the hospital and continues her medication. At a recent visit, she was happy and encouraged by the Word of God.

  • Pray for Elvie to have comfort at this time and for healing.
  • Pray for her witness to others.

We had a short-term missions’ team who visited from California and are working with the Philippine Bible Society. They sponsored the audio Bible in the Cebuano dialect that contains the whole New Testament. They visited us in Caretta and were amazed that people lived in the cemetery. We had fellowship together, and our brethren gave their testimonies, both youth, and adults. The visitors were encouraged and shared with the people; I translated for them. Everyone enjoyed praising the Lord together.

In the afternoon, I brought the visitors to the Cebu City Jail. It was complicated to request the proper permission since they were foreigners, but we were able to get it figured out. The team worshipped and praised the Lord with our brethren from maximum cell number two and shared the gospel using the audio Bible. The missions’ team was amazed and blessed to see the detainees worshiping God and receiving the Word of God with joy.
Brother James Red, this is his nickname, was a detainee in Cebu City Jail. He was arrested in April of 2014 for ransacking the house of one of our church members. At the time of the crime, neither individual were believers, and James was addicted to drugs. Even inside the jail, he continued his evil behaviors. On July 2015 James was saved and has been serious about his faith in the Lord. He has a good singing voice. His complainant, the member whose home was robbed, was saved in 2016. James served his time, and the accusation of the robbery was acquitted last October, but he remains in prison due to a case regarding illegal drugs being in his possession. However, he believes the police officers planted these drugs. There is an option to request plea bargaining for those who had less than five grams of illegal drugs. James took a drug test and passed a physical and mental exam. I went to the lawyer’s office and explained that James was one of my church members. The lawyer explained that since he was an addict, his family was not caring for his case. His release was approved and after two more days he was released. I waited for him that evening and took him to the fast food chain with Brother Murphy.

The next day, I accompanied him to see his family and former cellmate, Brother Dexter. His mother, brother, sisters, and sister-in-law accepted James, but his father was mad at him. His mother informed me that this broken relationship had contributed to him being an addict and the father had told the police to keep him in jail for the rest of his life. James has continued in his faith and led the music ministry and was a Bible study leader in the prison. He shared his testimony in Carreta after the Sunday service. When we were leaving, we saw a couple of police officers, so James and Patrick shared the gospel with them. Now James is helping the ministry and teaching children to sing. We volunteered in Pastor Lito’s outreach with Dexter and Murphy.

  • Pray for James as he acclimates to life and for him to continue ministering in the church and to study hard in the Bible school.

Every Thursday, we conduct a mentoring program in the residence of Sister Anabelle. I encourage them to love the people around them, especially those in the Carreta Cemetery. Also, I encourage them to pray and share the gospel of salvation and love of God with their neighbors. We studied in Luke about Zacchaeus and supported each other to be secure in our faith.

  • Pray for the people in the mentoring program to grow in their faith and form strong relationships with each other.
  • Pray for financial provision for the church to have a water baptism to declare the commitment of the new believers.

Pastor Jonet’s Testimony

My name is Jonet, and I grew up here in the Philippines. I have several siblings and am the second oldest in my family. When I was 12 years old, my parents separated which was hard for me to understand. When I graduated from elementary school, my mother sent me to live with my uncle, her brother. In Zamboanga De Sur I would help my uncle fish at night. I would sleep for about six hours and go to school the next day without a shower. During my first year of high school, I would walk without shoes or slippers 4 kilometers. I started drinking alcohol by the time I was fifteen years old.

It was when I began working as a gym instructor that I made some new friends who invited me to a mid-week church service. In April of 1996, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and surrender my addictions and life to Him. Currently, I am enrolled at the Cebu Korean School of Theology and am serving the Living God by His Grace.

In December 2017 Pastor Norberto from White Fields told me about the Carreta Chinese Cemetery ministry. He asked if I could lead the ministry starting in 2018. I accepted and am excited to share God’s Word but nervous because this is a challenging area. Currently, we have a children’s ministry on Saturday and Sunday, and a Church service at 8 am on Sunday.

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