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 

Renren was recently released from the Cebu City jail. That morning, I received his release papers from the court. During my regular visit to the jail for Bible study, I gave him the release papers. He was very happy and excited. His case was about drug crimes, and his conviction was for six months and one day, but he stayed for almost seven months. I came back that evening for his release and waited at the front of the jail. Before being released, inmates undergo a process of screening and counseling by the jail officers. When Renren’s turn came for counseling, he told them that his pastor was waiting at the gate. The jail officer saw me outside and released Renren into my care with no further counseling required. I treated Renren to dinner and brought him home to his family.

      

Renren gave his testimony on Sunday of how he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was inside the jail. Now Renren is helping in the Carreta ministry with Dexter, who was his former jail mate. Dexter was released in February of this year after serving his sentence; his testimony was shared in my report last spring. Dexter taught Renren how to play the guitar, so Renren is a part of the music team and accompanying us to the jail to play guitar for the Bible studies.

Give thanks for the salvation and testimony of Renren to the inmates and jail officers.

  • Pray for Renren to be strong against influences from his previous life and to grow in his knowledge of the Bible.

Roger passed away at the end of last month after battling many health problems as I have shared in previous reports. His wife called me seeking advice and comfort as they had spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital before his death and had medical bills to pay. We praise God for Roger’s faithful service to the Lord and regular attendance at our church meetings. I talked to the family and prayed with them. We discussed funeral arrangements, and they asked the music team to play. I shared the gospel and challenged the listeners to accept and believe the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior. For the burial service, I accompanied the family to the cemetery to comfort and encourage the whole family and relatives.

  • Pray for the family of Roger, for his wife and his daughter Roselyn. In a previous report, I shared about Roselyn and her questions regarding salvation. Pray for any of her doubts to be removed and for comfort at this time.
  • Pray for those who are Christians, for their faith to be strong and for God to comfort them during this time of mourning.
  • Pray for the relatives and friends who heard the gospel to desire salvation and come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Gerald is a detainee in Cebu City Jail. He was accused of selling illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms. During one of my Bible studies at the jail, Gerald listened intently to the Word of God. Gerald accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He was baptized inside the jail. He was formerly considered a bad boy by the inhabitants in the jail, and the influence of God on his life is visible to those around him. After I preached, he approached me and asked if I could visit his family. I agreed to visit Bernadette and her four children, as they are living inside Ludo Chinese Cemetery, which is adjacent to Carreta Chinese cemetery. When we first went to see the family it was nighttime, so they asked us to return another time. We did, and this time was welcomed. I told Bernadette about Gerald’s request and shared with her the gospel. I challenged her to believe and accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. I prayed for her to be comforted by the Word of God. Bernadette’s source of income is through helping her relatives in an eatery. She visits Gerald regularly and plans to attend our fellowship.

           

  • Pray for Bernadette to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Pray for their four children to be saved.
  • Pray for Gerald’s testimony and witness to the inmates and jail officials as he finishes serving his sentence. Pray for others to come to salvation.

Emma consistently attends our worship gathering in the tent despite her arthritis. Since we moved the tent to a location that is closer to her home, Emma has been attending more frequently and inviting other people, especially the elderly, to participate as well.  When I visited Emma’s home, I saw her sharing one cup of noodles without rice with her granddaughters. They have no electricity in her house. Every Sunday, Emma cleans the fellowship area with the help of her granddaughter. Emma is interested in attending the leadership training conducted by Pastor Cris.

Give thanks for the faithful service of Emma and her desire to bring others to the worship gathering.

  • Pray for the daily needs of Emma and her granddaughters to be met. Pray for Emma’s physical strength.

One afternoon, I conducted street evangelism in the Ludo Chinese cemetery. I shared the love of God with the people sitting along the sidewalk. I challenged them to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Praise the Lord! All of them accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. One lady, (in the white and green t-shirt) is now attending our fellowship and has joined the music team with the other youth.

Give thanks for the salvation of the people sitting along the sidewalk, pray for those who made a profession of faith to attend the fellowship and grow in their knowledge of God.

Give thanks for the lady who has been saved and joined the music team. Pray for her as she learns and grows as a new Christian.

  • Pray for the evangelism ministry to reach more people with the gospel and for Pastor Jonet to have wisdom and courage as he shares about the love of God.
  • Pray for Pastor Jonet’s mother-in-law who is in the hospital ICU.

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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