by Monique Garcia
Note: The name of the featured alumnus and places mentioned have either been changed or left intentionally vague for security purposes.
JM came to know the Lord in 1982 through the Navigator Ministry in Cebu City. Romeo Obbus, a college classmate, invited him to attend a Bible study in Noah’s Ark, one of the Nav training houses in Cebu. Oscar Buniel shared the gospel with him, and he later started attending Bible study sessions with other guys, including Ernie Lera and, later on, with Kuya Eseng Victolero.
A year after, JM transferred to Noah’s Ark, which allowed him to continue to attend seminars, weekly Bible studies, and trainings sponsored by the Navigators. He started to share the gospel to other students and classmates in school and even neighbors and friends. After some time, he was handling several Bible studies in school, which, he recalls, even included security guards and janitors.
Fast forward a couple of years. Right before leaving Cebu for another country, JM came to the realization that he was falling away. While very active with other organizations like Habitat and the Cooperative and Faculty Organization, he observed that he spent very little time on activities for the Lord. Thankfully, he says that after moving to and living alone in the Middle East, God restored him, his being, and his vision.
Image from www.thediocese.net
Image from http://www.thediocese.net
He shares that one of the insights he gained with age is the understanding that our time here on Earth is short, and we have to do what is important in life—and that is what God wants us to do. He realized all the lost time and opportunities because he was so focused on himself rather than fulfilling God’s purpose for him.
For JM, Christians are witnesses by the words they share and by the lives they live, something he learned from the Navigators. His training in evangelism and discipleship are important to him because he believes that these skills can help him—and others like him who are involved in churches—to fulfill their special purpose: to help raise and mold good leaders.
When asked how the Navigators helped shape the person he is today, he says that he owes a lot to the Nav leaders and the organization itself who unselfishly taught him character, discipline, leadership skills, commitment, and the value of relationships. All these have become a vital part of who he is today and has equipped him to do his ministry. He endeavors to apply the same training and discipline he learned from the Navigators in his ministry, but only up to a point because of the uniqueness of the people he reaches out to.
He feels both privileged and proud to be a Navigator, who he says shares the same distinguishing qualities: serving without seeking attention and acknowledgement and helping develop not only leaders but complete persons. He believes this is what the Lord wants us to do as faithful stewards. He shares that, together with two other Nav contacts he works with, he can humbly say that God has used them mightily in all aspects of their Christian ministry, specifically in discipleship.
Finally, we asked JM for his prayer requests, which we hope you can include in your prayers. They have started a new church a month ago and are looking for a new house to rent by June of this year so that they can hold their services and meetings. Churches in the country he is living in are “underground,” and meetings are held in secret. They are also praying for new leaders to assist in the work of the ministry and finances to support the church.
Secondly, their focus is now on discipleship and raising leaders to lead Bible study groups. They are praying for wisdom, good materials, and faithful people willing to be trained. They are currently using Nav materials but are trying to be creative so it fits the cultural context of the church and the country.
Finally, beginning last year, JM was appointed administrator for a school of workers, which holds potential leaders and workers of their group of churches. They are asking for help in praying for wisdom, skills, and effectivity in ministering to the group.