The storm that swept away the houses in their community is the same storm that strengthened their faith and advanced their ministry…
Meet Mary Jane Espartero, 36, a wife to Pastor Joevin Espartero of Sipalay Bible Baptist Church in Negros Occidental, one of the provinces in Visayas that was slammed by Super Typhoon Odette.
“The night Odette hit Sipalay, my family and some other church members took shelter here in the church,” shares Mary Jane or Ma’am Sha as others call her.
In the wake of the destructive storm, they are still glad that their church got only minor damages, affecting the pantry area. The church entrance was also blocked by a fallen mango tree, but that did not hinder people, especially youth members of the church, from coming in after the disaster.
“We saw God’s hand over the situation. We saw Him preserving the church and the people whose hearts long to serve Him,” she said, emotional over the losses turned blessing for their ministry.
The dedication of Pastor Joevin and Ma’am Sha is evident in the number of outreaches they have in Sipalay City – the hometown where both of them are strangers 8 years ago.
“Currently, we have 25-30 areas visiting here in Sipalay City. Those areas include remote communities that are rivers and mountains away from the church.”
Asked about her inspiration in the ministry, Ma’am Sha quoted her life verse from the book of Nehemiah saying, “The Joy of the Lord is my strength. His Word comforts me and gives me the hope that even as we face trials along the way, we have a God who supplies. We will serve as the Lord leads.”
During Operation Blessing’s Disaster Response in Sipalay City, Pastor Joevin and Ma’am Sha opened their church to our staff and provided a place for the repacking of goods. “This partnership is beyond what we have imagined. Thank you for blessing hundreds of our kababayans here and giving us the opportunity to present to them the Word of God.”