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

Every Tuesday, we go to Sito Lalapukan (Slough Site) at the back of the Chinese Cemetery to conduct a Bible study in Sister Yolanda’s house. While we were meeting, the rain started to pour down. We finished and planned to wait out the storm, but it continued to pour. Yolanda told us that if the rain stayed at this rate for the next fifteen minutes, the outer area would flood. We still kept waiting, hoping the rain would stop. Yolanda said if you stay longer, even for thirty minutes, the floodwaters will reach the floor. She insisted that I and Brother Jaime go down into the floodwaters to leave. Her granddaughters guided us out so we would not fall in the hole in the alleyway. We waded through the dirty floodwater to reach the highway. This was my first time with this experience even though we have had the Bible study here for a year.

Willie is the oldest man in our fellowship. I keep encouraging him to open a Bible study in his area. He was hesitant, thinking that the neighbors would not be interested and would reject him.  I went to their place and talked with the neighbors and invited them to have a Bible study. In the beginning, they were ashamed and not willing, but I encouraged them by saying we would have coffee and biscuits during our discussion. As we sipped coffee, I shared about the life of Zacchaeus, and they listened intently, sometimes even laughing. I challenged them to believe and to accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of their life. Everyone who was there accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Michael led the second week Bible study, and he shared his life testimony.

  • Pray for the new believers to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
  • Pray for more people to join the Bible study.

Michael was an amateur boxer in another province during his teenage years. His bad experiences in this other province led him to go to Manila for work. However, he continued his bad vices until he lost his job. He was living on the street and was suspected of committing crimes, so he decided to leave Manila and return to Cebu. He was accused of some crimes and was detained in the Cebu City jail.

Inside the jail, Michael started looking for God. He humbled himself and requested that he be assigned to a cell with Christian activities. Michael was afraid and intimidated, yet tried to learn how to play the guitar and sing the gospel songs. He slowly learned more about the Bible and joined in the discussions. He practiced the guitar and with the music team. The group studied the Bible and learned about leading and preaching. After six months of instruction, Michael volunteered to conduct Bible studies in every cell that did not have any outside visitors. He continued to serve the Lord inside the jail for six years until he was given parole. At present Michael is helping us with the Cebu Chinese Cemetery Ministry. Praise the Lord.

  • Pray for the inmates to grow in faith and for the Bible studies currently being conducted inside.
  • Pray for Michael’s testimony to draw more people to Christ.
  • Pray for more Bible studies to be started in the Chinese Cemetery.
  • Pray for the financial provision to conduct water baptism for the new believers.
  • Pray for physical strength and wisdom in leading the ministry.

Aget is his nickname. At the age of fourteen, he was jailed as a thief. He was in and out of jail over fifteen times. At the age of eighteen, he was detained in the Cebu City jail as a pickpocketer, snatcher, and robber. He was convicted for attempted homicide and robbery and sent to the maximum-security cells in the National Bilibid Prison in Manila. Then he was transferred to the Davao Penal colony for seven years. Fourteen years ago, he was freed and returned to Cebu. He was hired by a well-known political clan in Consolacion, in Cebu. He became the personal bodyguard for the mayor for five years. Then he was accused of child abuse by a neighbor and sent to the Cebu City Jail for over a year. When Typhon Haiyan hit Cebu six years ago, Aget was injured with nail spikes from the intense winds. He did not see a doctor and assumed it would all be fine until his legs started swelling. He was brought to the hospital, and the doctor decided his leg needed to be amputated. He is using crutches to walk. I talked with him about the gospel and shared the love of God for all sinners. For two weeks, I visited him. Finally, he surrendered his life and received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Aget has two sons in the Cebu City jail male dorm.

  • Pray for Aget’s testimony to the people in the community.
  • Pray for his two sons.

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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