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

Marichu is a factory worker for a printing company. I met her inside the Cebu City jail male dormitory when she was visiting her live-in partner. She has been attending the fellowship with him in the maximum cell security section of the jail; he was accused of selling illegal drugs. Recently, I visited her house to share the gospel with her family. We prayed, and her mother accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. They decided they wanted to have a Bible study in their compound and are excited.

  • Pray for Marichu and her family to grow in their faith and for all to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for the Bible study in their home.

South Korean missionaries from the Cebu Korean Church went to the Carreta Chinese Cemetery for gift-giving of first aid medicine kits for the adults and snacks for the kids. They presented a song and dance number along with the Cebuano gospel song. The children were thrilled, and the missionaries were blessed to serve.

Give thanks for the blessings from the Cebu Korean Church.

John was a former detainee and after two months in jail, was released last month. At his release time, I picked him up, and we got fast food together. He was thrilled to eat spaghetti and cheese dogs again as they were his favorite foods. After dinner, he stayed at my house and told me about his background. He was a varsity player at a well-known university in Cebu City. His father was a former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player, and his brother is still playing for the team. His early life was miserable; he took drugs and any illegal substances. Due to his addiction, he stole things inside their home to sell and use the money to buy drugs.  Six years ago, his live-in partner was raped and committed suicide. Her rapist committed suicide too. John has a child who is in the care of his live-in partner’s twin sister.

His father sent him to jail, but he continually ran away. The police wanted him in Cebu city, and one day he voluntarily surrendered himself at the police station. God had a reason for him to be in prison, last November, inside his prison cell, he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He is young in his faith but desires to follow Jesus for the rest of his life. Currently, John wishes to work as a waiter and join his mother and younger brother in Manila. He stayed at my house for a week as his father has not accepted him since he came back from jail.

  • Pray for John as he figures out the next chapter of his life, for his faith to grow, and for him to connect with a healthy church of believers.
  • Pray for John to be released entirely from the power of drug addiction. Pray for his faith to grow and for him to find a job.
  • Pray for the relationships with his family to repaired and for his character to give testimony to the transformative power of the gospel.

My mother-in-law recently underwent leg amputation, and she is recovering with therapy. I joined my family at the end of the year, and we held communion and prayer for the new year for the family and my ministry. My mother-in-law celebrated her seventy-ninth birthday in January. She is spiritually hungry and knows that salvation is from Jesus Christ alone. She now loves to listen to Christian preachers. She realizes how important it is to serve the living God. She is proud of my calling and ministry here in Cebu. My wife assists her mother when she can, and they are happy when I am with them in Manila.

  • Pray for my mother-in-law to recover and gain strength. Pray for her to grow in her new-found faith. Pray for my wife as she helps care for her mother.

Murphy was freed the day before John. They were in the same maximum-security cell, and Murphy was in jail for almost two years. When he was eight years old, he started taking drugs. He lived in Mambaling, and this place is very drug-infested. When he was arrested, they caught him with money and five bundles of drugs. They brought him to the police station, and the arresting officer used only two packets of drugs and some cash as evidence, having kept the rest. Murphy states, “I could not complain or react because I was selling drugs to the police asset and they looked for the marked bill as evidence to prove to me that I was selling illegal drugs.”

While in the jail, the cell he was assigned to had specific rules, at three-am they woke up and prayed till five-am and then had a person devolution and Bible study before breakfast. He came to know the Lord through the ministry of the pastors who conducted a Bible study twice a week. When he was paroled, I waited for him and then fed him and his live-in partner food. Murphy was amazed by all the new buildings and changes that had occurred while he was in jail. He helps us in Carreta Chinese Cemetery. One of the former detainees, Danny, visits him. Danny has a new job and is no longer able to join me twice a week for the Bible study.

  • Pray for Murphy to grow and mature in his faith.
  • Pray for the Carreta brethren to grow and persist in their commitment to serve God.

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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