PTR. ERNESTO S. GARCIA
Dasol Assembly of God
(Pastor Ernesto Garcia shares here how he came to know the Lord and answer the call of God to the pastoral ministry.)
My parents from Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan were the first fruits of my missionary endeavors. I still remember gospel-centered missionaries from United States coming to our country and Filipinos were being until they became pioneers here in our homeland. My father experienced healing from typhoid fever just from a simple prayer in the name of Jesus, and many other miracles had been observed and seen as told by my parents and my older brethren.
I grew up in a Christian family having nightly devotions and attending Christian gatherings every Sunday. In my life I never experienced gambling and drinking wine, even entering a movie theater or dancing in public gatherings. We were confined in a Christian home and for that I thank God for my parents.
I am 7th of eight children in the family. According to my parents, when I was born, I was dedicated to God to be His Servant in the future. I had great delight when I heard this. However, my dream was shattered because when I was 13 years old, my father died. Like any son my age, I remember complaining to God about getting him early that he could not support my schooling anymore. As a consequence of my father’s death, I was only able to reach 1st year high school. I stayed with my mother and a sister and became the breadwinner in the family, tilling our farm as a tenant of hacienda Cereneo in Sta. Barbara. All my elder brethren then were married and have their own family.
In 1968, when I was 17 yrs. of age I cbegan to desire going to Bible School. I told my mother about it but she became worried that going to school would take me away from helping sustain the family needs. I got quite frustrated and discouraged but the Lord allowed me to earn money for my future enrollment in the Bible School by getting a job as a bus conductor. Because the income I was getting was very small, my brother Fred took me to Manila afterwards where I worked as a janitor-messenger in a construction firm. With God;s grace, I was able to enjoy being an employee even with the P4.00 daily wage I was receiving during those years.
In1969, I got sick and was dignosed to have cancer of the blood (leukemia). I had to resign from my job and my sickness worsened. My mother brought me many times to the doctor which drained all the money I had saved. As my sickness became even worse, my family sold everything that could be sold, even our dog. No cure at all could be found. One day as I was praying, I decided not to take medicine anymore. I felt that even the prayers of the whole church had not been working. Two(2) of my relatives had died of the same sickness and I thought that I could be next. I was ready to face death, although my prayer to the Lord was if He has a mission for me to do, he would heal me. At my left side everytime I laid down, I would open my Bible to the same verse Psalm 16:8 “He is at my right side …” My Bible would be at my left so that I could be shielded from satan’s attacks from the left side. (Later I realized it was the power of God’s word that shileded me from Satan, not the presence of the physical bible at my left). I would read the Bible daily and have my personal devotion each day. One night, my nose bled and suddenly, I vomited blood! I prayed outloud and told GOD three times that if He was going to heal me, I will be His servant all the days of my life and on the third time, a strange heat came upon my head, it went down to my whole body. Instantly, my vomiting stopped and the nosebleed stopped and I felt healing from our gracious God. With great joy, I cried so loud that my mother was awakened and all the villagers came to our house. They thought that my mother was crying because I died. Before them, I stood and with a loud voice, declared what God had done. I was totally healed! Crying, I repeated my promise to God that I would become a pastor, repeating these words in their presence.
I went to church that Sunday and testified of God’s healing power. I joined every church gathering, especially youth services. I was then elected as a Youth President in our church Assembly of God, Tebag, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan and became a Youth leader.
I came across the verse in Psalm 27:10 if my father and mother forsake me, then my God will take me up. I was greatly blest of this, that year 1970 June, I enrolled in the Bible School without any promised support. I did all the possible jobs available to please my mother and my brothers, even on Saturdays and Sundays. One day, I was really surprised when I heard my brother tell me that he was willing to sell our carabao so that I could go to Bible School. By the Grace of God I finished the first three years of my bible course. In 1973, God touched a pastor from Hawaii, Rev. Modesto Salibo, to pay for all my obligations in school and for my allowances each week. I successfully graduated in the year 1973 March, by the Grace of God.
Soon after, I accepted a pastorate at Assembly of God, Naguelguel, Lingayen, Pangasinan, stayed there for three (3) years then transferred here at Dasol, Dec 1976. In 1979, I married a fellow servant of God, Norma Quintero from San Narciso, Zambales,and we had three(3) children, Erma Grace, Michelle Joy and Jerry Lucas and had since lived in Dasol, Pangasinan.
Today I am pastoring the Assembly of God Church in Dasol, Pangasinan and had been in the ministry for 29 years now. I never once thought of quitting, I love to serve the Lord and my family forever. God never fails me and my family, He is faithful graciously providing for all our needs.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY.
ERNESTO S. GARCIA