From the Bible we know that about 31 A.D. Jesus saw Simon and his brother Andrew in the seashore of Galilee. He called them to follow Him and to make them fishers of men (Matthew 4:18-20). Simon and Andrew were the disciples of John the Baptist, a man sent from God the Father to prepare the way of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:6). The day when Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John marked the beginning (foundation) of the New Testament Church . Jesus gave authority to His church to preach the Word of God to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8).
During Jesus’s ministry John the Baptist was beheaded by orders of King Herod the Great. Then Jesus Christ was crucified, died, buried, and resurrected according to the Scriptures (1Cor 15:1-5). After His death the apostles continued preaching the Gospel. Despite the great persecutions during the Dark Ages, the Jerusalem New Testament Church that Jesus Christ Himself founded grew as it reached many nations: first in Antioch (Syria), Italy, Rome, Great Britain, America, Macau, and, among many others, in the Philippines.
The Baula Family is the product of Faith Missionary Baptist Church (FMBC) where Bro. Gerardo “Gerry” C. Baula, Jr. served as Deacon for about eighteen (18) years; from 1986-2003. During that span of time FMBC saw the birth of six (6) mission works, the last two being the Faith Missionary Baptist Mission-Ozamis, now named Unity (formerly Westview) Missionary Baptist Church, and Faith Missionary Baptist Mission-Ayungon, now named Ayungon Missionary Baptist Church. Then, by the Lord’s guidance, the time came for the Baulas to start a new mission work, this time the sending church was Bordergate Baptist Church (BGBC) of Macau, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.
Upon the request of Bro. Gerardo C. Baula, Jr., through Sis. Petra Grace A. Alfeche, a college friend of Pastor Gerry who was then working in Macau, Pastor James E. Estenilo was sent by Bordergate Baptist Church (BGBC) in Macau SAR, China, to Iligan City on April 3, 2003. And on the following Sunday, April 6, 2003, the first worship Sunday of Pearly Gates Baptist Mission (PGBM) was held under the authority of Bordergate Baptist Church at the Baula residence located at Lot 16 Block 7 Tanguile Road, Doña Maria Subdivision Phase 2, Baraas, Iligan City. Thus, PGBM was born with the first seven (7) brethren, namely:
- Gerardo “Gerry” C. Baula, Jr.
- Sister Cielita Linda “Jingle” Galang-Baula
- Gecie Jhun “Jonjon” G. Baula
- Sister Cherie Ann “Chean” G. Baula
- Sister Geciel Mae “Geciel” G. Baula
- Sister Cherry Pie “Pie” G. Baula, and
- Erwin Lopena Caralos (later formally released by his home church in Davao City through Pastor Romeo Jardinel).
As a backgrounder, BGBC was once a mission work of Rodgers Baptist Church (RBC) of Garland, Texas, USA. RBC has also other mission works in the Philippines and is supporting many Baptist churches that are holding the same faith and practice. One of these mission works, which, by 2003, is already an organized independent New Testament Baptist church, is the Bible-believing Baptist Church (BBBC) in Nueva Ecija, as mentioned earlier. This is the church where PGBM was endorsed to by Pastor James E. Estenilo through a direct cellular phone communication with RBC Pastor Ron Thomas and BBBC Pastor Edwin Ongkiko because he (Pastor Estenilo) has to go back to Macau SAR, China immediately after the first Sunday divine worship service of PGBM. Thenceforth, PGBM was then under the pastoral/missionary care of Pastor Edwin Ongkiko.
Therefore PGBM is linked to Bordergate Baptist Church (Macau SAR, China) and later to Bible-Believing Baptist Church (Nueva Ecija), then to Rodgers Baptist Church, then to Forney Baptist Church, and so on up the line.
Pastor Edwin Ongkiko had visited PGBM twice: first in September-October of 2003 and then on March of 2004. He was the one who baptized the first twenty-four (24) additional members at PGBM totaling the PGBM brethren to thirty-one (31). In 2004 another one was added to the Mission , Sis. Leilanie Barrioga, the last member baptized by Pastor Ongkiko.
By the end of 2004, PGBM had a total of thirty-two (32) members.
In 2005, Pastor Jason R. Sumatra, a missionary of Rodgers Baptist Church and pastoring Maranatha Baptist Church of Aguilar, Pampanga, took over the missionary work from Pastor Edwin Ongkiko. During that year nine (9) members were added to the roll of Rodgers Baptist Church through PGBM; there were no additions in the year 2006. It was on this year, 2006, that Bro. Jupet J. Agan, one of the young gentlemen of PGBM, started receiving monthly allowance from BGBC in lieu of Bro. Erwin Caralos who went back to his hometown in Ozamis City to help his brother, Pastor Edillon Lopena Caralos, in the second BGBC mission work in the Philippines, initially named Harvestfield Baptist Mission now Bordergate Baptist Mission-Ozamis, then located at Labo, Ozamis City.
In January of 2007, after Pastor Gerry Baula, Jr. actually received his authority to baptize which was duly approved by RBC on November 2005 but remained in the possession of Pastor Jason R. Sumatra, the Lord added to the church, through PGBM, another five (5) brethren by baptism and one (1) by transfer through a letter of recommendation. In December 19, 2007, through the deep concern and after representations of BGBC Pastor James E. Estenilo to RBC Pastor Ron Thomas in Garland, Texas, the membership of all PGBM brethren was transferred from Rodgers Baptist Church back to Bordergate Baptist Church.
In May 2008 Pastor Gerry Baula Jr. and Sis. Jingle Baula were invited by BGBC to Macau and on May 18, 2008, Pastor Gerry Baula Jr. was ordained Pastor/Missionary by Bordergate Baptist Church. During this year two (2) brethren were added to BGBC at PGBM, namely Bro. John Roman G. Polea and Sis. Gina J. Goc-ong.
For almost six (6) years, from April 2003 to January 2009, PGBM held her divine worship and other services at the residence of Bro. Gerry Baula Jr. at Doña Maria Subdivision Phase 2, Baraas, Iligan City. PGBM started fellowshipping at her first rented space (chapel) – fronting the PHILAM Life Building, on January 25, 2009 after about two (2) months of repair and renovation of this place which is owned by Bro. Lino and Sis. Abeth Espacio who were personally thanked by Pastor James Estenilo the night before the 6th mission anniversary of PGBM at their residence in Pag-asa, Tubod, Iligan City .
Once, the brethren had the opportunity to partake the Lord’s Supper officiated by Pastor Jason R. Sumatra in December of 2005.
On April 26, 2009, another member was added to the church in the person of Sis. Jinkie Decena Baula, wife of Bro. Jon Baula.
In 2010 a total of eighty (80) souls were saved. Of these eight (8) were baptized and added to the BGBC roll through PGBM:
- Cristine Socorin
- Roldan Goc-ong
- Grace Balambao
- Bernalyn Soroño
- Junior Copuz
- James O. Sulasula
- Judith P. Sulasula
- Giselle Corpuz.
During the evening worship service on February 20, 2010 the second Lord’s Supper was done by PGBM, administered by Pastor Gerry Baula Jr.
For the year 2011, forty-five (45) souls were saved and Sister Aniza D. Fuguso was added to BGBC thru PGBM.
The first BGBC Missions Conference was held on April 3-5, 2013, just before the 10th Mission Foundation Anniversary of PGBM. Among the visitors present during the conference were Pastor James E. Estenilo, Missionary Samuel Mak, Ptr. Edillon Caralos, Ptr. David Libongen, Ptr. Richard Balili, Bro. Noel Villanueva and Sisters Rowena Estenilo, Carol Balili & Rachel Caralos.
In 2012, six (6) brethren were added to the church:
- Brothers Efren Rojas Loquenario
- Ryan Maquiling Sombilon
- Sisters Constancia Tabada Loquenario
- Jennelyn Clarabal Sombilon
- Sheila Marie Adones Amizola
- Josephine Adones Amizola.
In 2013, three (3) brethren were added to the church:
- Sisters Quosette T. Loquenario
- Iryl Mae C. Loquenario
- Judith Faith P. Sulasula.
In 2014 one hundred fifty-five (155) precious souls were saved of which four (4) were baptized and added to the church: two (2) in February, namely: Bro. John Michael Borjal Bacalso and his wife Sis Chelly Mae A. Bacalso; three (3) days after their wedding day, 20th of February! Another (two) in July, namely: Bro. Mario S. Madaje, Jr. and Sis. Crystali T. Duhaylungsod.
On Mach 6, 2014 Pastor James Estenilo together with his wife, Ma’am Weng, and son, Jacob, came to Iligan City to officiate the wedding of Bro Jhong Polea and Sis Cherry Pie Baula’s wedding held on the 8th of March. From BGBC-Tagbilaran came also, the singing couple, Pastor Richard Balili and Sis Carol together with their daughter, Sapphire.
In July 2014, the adult men and women of PGBM attended the 2nd BGBC Missions Conference (Missionary Training Works) with the theme “Biblical Techniques of Church Planting” which was held at BGBM-Ozamis.
In the year 2015, a total of nine (9) brethren were baptized: two (2) in May 5, namely Bro. Jaime P. Sulasula, Jr. and Sis. Eljin P. Quila; and seven (7) in December 20, namely –
- Bro. Edmundo P. Mancha
- Sis. Elisa P. Mancha
- Sis. Edelsweet P. Mancha
- Bro. Edmoses P. Mancha
- Bro. Romer G. Alfeche
- Sis. Charlene Jane C. Loquenario
- Bro. Keane Pharelle B. Ledesma
In March of this year 2016, the PGBM lot at Sta. Felomina, Iligan City, was relocated finding seven (7) of the eight (8) original lot monuments. As of this writing, 8 of the 10 (3.5” x 3.5”) home-made concrete posts (thanks to Bro. Efren R. Loquenario) were already erected along the periphery of the 1,941 square-meter lot. This is the piece of land where the Moringa Project will be situated and/or the Pearly Gates Baptist Church Multi-purpose Center will rise!
This year also saw the reconstitution of the Young People Association and Ladies Auxiliary. The Men of the church also organized themselves for the first time. All officers of the three associations took their oath of office before God and the PGBM congregation. Also, early this year, Bro. Ryan M. Sombilon, was voted upon to take charge of the Treasury of PGBM replacing Sis. Ellen T. Duran-Canono.
April 2016 is an activity-filled month for PGBM:
- Accelerated Christian Education (School for Tomorrow) Seminar (Bishop Arnold Arellano)- April 12-13;
- Moringa Seminar/Workshop (Ptr. Ernesto Ursabia*) – April 14-15
- PGBM 13th Anniversary – April 17
- 3-day BGBC Mission Camp – April 18-20
- Wedding in Ozamis (Brd. Erwin Caralos & Sis Marissa A. Moscoso – April 23
We have so much to thank God for in the year 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. We are praying for more blessings this year, 2016: church growth, Biblical unity, missionary zeal, spiritual & physical strength, unwavering witnessing & soul-winning courage and heavenly wisdom.
God bless PGBM on her 13th mission anniversary. To God be the glory. Amen!