June 12, 2022

Ordination Testimonies

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

Pr Sujith Samuel's Testimony

Call to Salvation

I grew up hearing God’s Word preached in churches and learned many things about the Christian life through Sunday School. But those things became a mechanical routine, and I lost interest in spiritual things. I started to think that believing and following Christ can help a person live a good moral life in society. As other religions also teach people to live by upholding good virtues, I thus concluded that Christianity is just one way among many so-called religions to help people live a good life by having a sense of fear of God. I started to focus more on my academic pursuits with the hope of getting a good job. I wanted to live the so-called “morally upright” life in society by caring for myself and helping others through charity or social work. I used to spend time in studies and reading good books. I learnt much from the lives of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, etc. At the same time, I had high regard for Jesus as I was aware that even Gandhi learned his principles of non-violence from the example of Jesus. Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt 5:38-39). I continued to read the Bible, looking for wise counsels to help me live a good life. I looked for Christian books which can also aid me in understanding the Bible and motivate me to live a good life. I ended up having great admiration for the “Positive Thinking” movement in Christian circles. Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking”, Robert Schuller’s writings, etc., became my favourite go-to books. 

I continued to be part of the church with all these pursuits. I am thankful to the Lord that I was baptised in an evangelical church as an infant. The church has catechism classes and confirmation before admitting a person into communion. The local pastor then started conducting catechism classes regularly to prepare some youths for confirmation. I started attending them regularly. It shook my views about Jesus and the Bible. I came across claims of Jesus, like “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6); “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Moreover, Peter, one of Jesus’ close disciples, declared: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). I understood that Jesus is claiming that He is God and there is no other way to be saved except by believing in Jesus. I was wrong in thinking that Christianity is one among many ways to reach God, or that it is a religious system to help people live the good life. I repented of my sins and put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I was confirmed as a member of the church and had the privilege of partaking my first holy communion with the understanding that Christ’s body was broken and His blood was shed for the forgiveness of my sins.

Call to Ministry

Since then, I started reading the Bible with a renewed interest. I used to get up early morning to do my school homework and studies. Before starting my studies, I spent some time in prayer and in chronological reading of the Bible, starting initially with the Gospels and then the Acts of the Apostles. When Jesus called the apostles, they forsook all and followed Him (Luke 5:11). I also saw the need for preaching the Gospel, especially in unreached areas. It was also a time when I started to read biographies of Christian missionaries. The Lord impressed upon my heart to consider becoming a preacher of the Gospel. But I could not entertain such thoughts as I was doing quite well in my studies and had ambitions of getting a good job. So, I resisted the thought of serving God by forsaking all. I started comforting myself with thoughts like “I can serve God by doing work and supporting the church and preachers.” I was also aware of the difficulties of the ministry and was very concerned whether I could handle these. 

While I was reading Acts, amidst going through all the doubts and fears concerning the ministry, I came across this verse – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). I felt as if this verse was speaking to me directly. I found comfort in the fact that the Holy Spirit will help me in all difficulties of the ministry. I decided to give my life for the Lord’s work. I shared this with a close Christian friend and the pastor of my church. Both of them encouraged me to pray and prepare for the ministry. The pastor also suggested going for Bible college training after finishing my studies in school. Once I finished my school studies, I was very concerned about what to do next. I had the desire to study in a Bible college. However, as soon as I got good results, I sought admission to a secular college. My family also was not supportive of me going for Biblical studies. I decided to seek admission to an engineering college and settled for secular studies.

Doubting the Call to Ministry

Frankly, I was not very interested in engineering as I was sure that after the course, I needed to study for the ministry. But slowly, I developed a great interest in some subjects of Computer Science (like Open-Source Software). I started promoting open-source software like GNU / Linux OS on campus. I decided to work in the IT industry, where I could promote and develop open-source software. The devil used it as an “idol” to draw me away from Christ and my calling. I started to doubt my calling. I concluded that my desire and call regarding the ministry was purely out of excitement after becoming a new believer, and that I was not called for the ministry.

But God worked in an amazing way to bring me back from my pursuit of an IT career. The college where I was studying was run by a Roman Catholic church, and the locality was also full of Roman Catholics. There was no Protestant church nearby. So, I started listening to sermons online. I came across R. C. Sproul’s Ligonier ministries and started listening to him regularly. I got convicted that God is sovereign over every affair of my life, including my salvation. The truth is that salvation is wholly a work of God and that He has “chosen [me] in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4). This doctrine changed my perspective about God, myself and also about ministry. I understood my ignorance concerning Scripture and the need to study God’s Word more. I started to study more about Reformed doctrines and theology. As there is a lack of Presbyterian or Reformed churches in the place where I grew up, I was not able to learn much, apart from the occasional hearing of sermons or reading of books available online. The only Presbyterian or Reformed pastor I personally knew at that time was Pastor Koshy. By God’s providence, I had met him once before in a youth camp (in India) where he spoke. I then got his email, phone number, etc., since I liked his messages. I occasionally raised my doubts to him about Reformed doctrines through Facebook, which he did sometimes reply. I understood the need to study the Word of God systematically and started enquiring about different Reformed Bible colleges, and later also told Pastor Koshy about my desire. He suggested Far Eastern Bible College, and I decided to apply. Though doubts regarding my calling were still there, I decided to proceed and get trained if admitted.

Conviction about the Call to Ministry

I got admission to FEBC and started my studies. I am thankful to the Lord for the faithful teaching and training the college offers. But I was not able to make full use of this, as I was studying without conviction about my call to the ministry. I even started thinking about discontinuing my studies. While studying, my sister got diagnosed with tuberculosis in her school in another city, far away from our hometown. As my other family members could not travel to help her, I was asked to go and visit her immediately. Her condition was severe, and all family members, including me, thought she would die. I requested the principal (Dr Jeffrey Khoo) for permission to leave. He advised me to visit her and also to read from the Book of Psalms to her. Thus, while I met my sister in serious condition, I read verses from Psalms to her and prayed to the Lord to save her. I also prayed that if the Lord would heal her, I would serve the Lord. The Lord indeed answered my prayers. She got healed from her sickness by undergoing treatment for around six months. I came back to resume my studies in FEBC with full conviction to serve the Lord. The Lord also rebuked me through Luke 9:62 – “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Preparation for Pastoral Ministry

The Lord has truly helped me to finish my training in FEBC. I am thankful that He led me to a good Bible college and also to Gethsemane BPC for worship. I was greatly blessed by the teachings provided in the college and also in the church. After completing my course, I was given the privilege to serve as a preacher of Gethsemane BPC. The Lord has blessed the work and helped me to start a church, GBI, and a bookroom in the mission station, where He has led me to do the Gospel work. I have the privilege to further learn about pastoral ministry through the “Pastoral Biblical Studies” class taught by Pastor Koshy through GBI (online). It was very beneficial as I could learn while engaging in the ministry. Many practical things related to the ministry were taught and discussed in the classes.

Meanwhile, the ministry was slowly growing, and we thought of granting some regular worshippers church membership. But the whole ministry was greatly affected due to the Covid pandemic. Most of our ministries were shut down except for online GBI classes. I am thankful to GBI (online) and FEBC for providing many online subjects to train students. Once the restrictions were lifted, we managed to resume some ministries of the church. God has also blessed me with a wife (Dorcas Koshy) and helped us hold our wedding amid all the Covid restrictions. As a family, we now serve the Lord (cf. Joshua 24:15). But as I was not ordained, we were not able to conduct baptism, issue church membership or conduct holy communion regularly. I am thankful to the Lord that He has led Pastor Koshy, the Board of Elders and fellow ministers to ordain me into the pastoral ministry, so that I may serve the Lord in the church more effectively. 

Please pray for me that I will serve the Lord faithfully, and that the Lord will also raise more men to be pastors, preachers, elders and deacons in the mission church. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt 9:37-38).

Pr Donald dela Cruz's Testimony

God’s Leading to Worship Him in Singapore

I first arrived in Singapore on August 30, 2004. Like most Filipinos working overseas, I came to Singapore with the goal of earning and saving money, so that I can provide a comfortable life for myself and my family. It has always been my dream to retire early and enjoy the fruits of my labour. It was my desire to have my own big farm, growing fruit-bearing trees and rearing domesticated animals, especially horses. So, I worked daily with that objective in mind. When I became a new believer, having received the Lord on July 18, 2004, I first attended a Baptist church in Manila. This church had been receiving copies of RPG published by Calvary Pandan B-P Church, Singapore. About a month later, the Lord opened an opportunity for me to go to Singapore for employment. I asked the pastor to recommend a church for me to attend worship while in Singapore. They gave me an RPG devotional, and advised me to contact the two addresses printed on it.

After settling down and familiarising myself with the way of life in Singapore, I sought to worship the Lord. When I checked out the two addresses printed on the RPG devotional, I realised that 9A Gilstead Road was nearer to where I was staying in Ang Mo Kio. So, I went there one Sunday afternoon and I met Eld Ng Poh Kok inside Life B-P Church. (Elder Ng was then an Elder of Sharon B-P Church before coming to Gethsemane B-P Church). He introduced me to one Filipino student (then studying in FEBC), who gave me the address of Gethsemane BPC. I attended my first worship service in Gethsemane BPC on October 10, 2004. I continued going there to learn God’s Word, and was very happy serving the Lord in Gethsemane.

God’s Leading to Serve Him Full-Time

When I returned to the Philippines for a short visit in February 2008, the Lord laid upon my heart a very heavy burden for the Gospel advancement. While there, I visited a church that I came to know through Bro Randy’s wife. {Bro Randy was my closest college friend. It was he who shared with me the Gospel when we were in college, but I did not believe then. We also worked in the same company in the Philippines. After I came to Singapore, I recommended him to my boss and, by God’s grace, he was accepted to work in Singapore.} Anyway, when I went to that church, the worship service was delayed for almost an hour. When I enquired about the situation, I was told that they did not have a resident pastor – only a pastor from another church visited them to preach the Word once a month. On that day, a deacon was assigned to preach. However, he did not come because his wife became unwell. Though the service finally started, to my surprise, when it was time for the sermon, they just pointed to one of the deacons and commanded him to go up to the pulpit and preach. He was unprepared to preach. My heart sank and was gripped with a sense of burden and pity for the hungry souls waiting in the congregation to be fed. It was that time the Lord started to stir my heart to consider the necessity and duty of feeding His flock with His Word. 

Hebrews 13:17 kept ringing in my ears: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” What account would these church leaders give unto the Lord on that day? They will be ashamed when the Lord requires them to give an account of the ministry entrusted to them. I was also reminded of another verse: “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

I returned to Singapore with a heavy burden. I could not understand what was happening to me. I am happily serving the Lord in Gethsemane and suddenly things became so different. I was not aware then that the Lord was already working in my heart. The calling to serve Him full-time came to light while attending FEBC night lectures. I was struggling because I was not ready to let go of my ambitions. I was starting a business and it was doing well. My dreams were taking shape and I was questioning the Lord, “Why now?” It was a great struggle. 

The Lord was pleased to “remove the obstacles” – my flourishing business crashed during the 2007-2009 financial crisis. I was in debt to the banks and I prayed to the Lord to restore me. I vowed that if the Lord would give me the strength to pay my debt, I would serve Him full-time. I worked diligently with a different purpose, even to fulfil my obligations and then go on serving the Lord. The Lord enabled me to pay my debts after 1½ years. He also gave me extra, so I could contribute to the Lord’s work. I felt relieved. I was prepared to serve Him full-time. I joined FEBC for my theological training in January 2010. Looking back, I can say that the collapse of my business and the giving up of my life ambitions were the best things that happened in my life. The Lord gave me the assurance in Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” 

I enjoyed my studies in FEBC. I always looked forward to the lectures. Though there were many struggles, the Lord sustained me. Three and a half years of theological studies went by very fast. I am very thankful for FEBC for moulding me to be a minister of the Gospel. The training was both biblical and practical. It was also there that the Lord provided for me a life partner, Se Jin. 

God’s Leading to Serve in Pangasinan

When I surrendered my life to serve the Lord, He also opened the door of opportunity for my future ministry. I was attending and serving in the Gethsemane Filipino Fellowship (GFF). I supported the work in whatever capacity the Lord allowed. Many of our sisters in GFF at that time came from northern Philippines, and they harboured hope that some of us would visit their family members to share the Gospel. Sis Cecile Batrina was the most persistent among them. In several such GFF-organised mission trips to Pangasinan, I joined them and saw the “vineyard” really ready for harvest. Many believed and trusted in the Lord during the mission trips. Among those were the families of Sis Margie Jasmin (Cecile’s sister) and Bro Mario Naranjo (Cecile’s cousin). Sis Jinky Batrina (Cecile’s sister-in-law) later trusted in the Lord during the 2nd mission trip. These three families are still serving the Lord with us till this day. Praise the Lord!

The harvest field was ready but the preacher was not, because I was still studying in FEBC then. In order to attend to the spiritual needs of the newly converted brethren, the then Pr Dennis Kabingue made arrangements with Cornerstone Baptist Mission in Villasis (led by Pastor Louie D Hitosis) to let the brethren join their worship service. That church was more than an hour away. The GFF contributed towards their meals and the rental of a jeepney to transport them. The arrangement continued until the inauguration of Gethsemane B-P Mission Church, Pangasinan. 

June 7 and June 8, 2014 were important dates in my life and ministry – my wedding day and the new mission church’s inauguration respectively! Praise the Lord for bringing many brethren to witness the events. We started the work at 84 Sarmiento Village, Bolosan, Dagupan City. We stayed in Dagupan City until March 2021. 

The Lord added more souls as we faithfully declared the Word. Though the recent pandemic caused disruption to our regular evangelistic visitations and gatherings, the Lord still opened doors to preach the Gospel. For example, while we visited our sick brethren in the hospital, I shared the Gospel with an elderly lady patient, Rosie Manuel. The Lord used her testimony to reach out to her family in Pugaro, resulting in her family regularly attending our church in Dagupan. Though Covid restrictions interrupted their participation in worship, the Lord has brought them back to the church again to worship. They continue to come to the present address of the mission station (Macayug, Mangaldan). 

Praise God for leading us to Macayug, Mangaldan, where we have 2 children ministries in the vicinity. It is also nearer to most of the brethren from Binday. When we moved here, the Lord brought brethren (who had returned from Singapore) to focus on building up their families in the ways of the Lord. We thank God for Bro Jumar Balicao and Bro Kyt Bince and their families; they are faithful supporters of the Lord’s work here. They serve as worship chairmen and bring along others every Lord’s Day. Bro Jumar’s father, Julito Balicao, also joins the church meetings. These brethren use their private cars to fetch brethren from the towns of Binday and Villasis. The family of Sis Charlene Mae Abrena from Villasis also join us in our worship service.

In the midst of serving God, I rejoice to have an opportunity to continue to learn and sharpen my theological and pastoral knowledge. Praise the Lord for GBI (online) Ministry. While I was studying at FEBC, I was just focusing on studying. When I began the ministry in the mission field, I felt the need to further equip myself to face the theological and pastoral challenges I encounter. The ministry has been a daily learning experience even until this day. GBI’s Pastoral Biblical Studies (PBS) were designed to tackle the ministerial challenges. The PBS truly helped me to understand sound theological and practical truths pertaining to the ministry. We can never exhaust the learning of God’s Word; that is why I want to learn continuously. The PBS also was a great encouragement to me. We students see one another every week online, and share our burdens and struggles. Such interaction encourages me to press on with the ministry that the Lord has given us. I feel very joyful to hear how the Lord is working in other parts of the world. 

Now, as I will be ordained to the pastoral ministry, I pray that the Lord will continually equip and empower me to serve Him faithfully and fervently, together with my family, in His church, particularly in Pangasinan. Brethren, please pray for us!

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
Our Worship Address
SingPost Centre
Level 5 Auditorium
10 Eunos Road 8, Singapore 408600
(next to Paya Lebar MRT station)
Our mailing address
Gethsemane Media Centre
33 Ubi Crescent
Singapore 408584
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