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Philippines Pastors Training Pastors By Rick Martin Shem Barena Shem Barena was saved at the age of 12 and surrendered his life to God that same day. Several years later, a student of Iloilo Baptist College named Rex Galfo (now a missionary in Indonesia) visited the Barena home and told Shem about Iloilo Baptist College and the things he could accomplish for God there. An intense desire to serve God grew in Shem’s heart and he came to Bible school. He noticed immediately the church carried a burden for the lost in Iloilo City as well as for the world. He loved the motto “The church with a heart for everyone,” so he got involved with the different ministries. He was active in the school ministry, prison ministry, and extension Bible classes held for children in the slums. He also had a “jeepney” route to bring people to church. He benefitted from being involved in those ministries because when he started his own church, he also started those same ministries. Shem went through tough times financially. He worked hard and sacrificed much. He drove a tri-sikad (bike with sidecar used as a taxi) during times between his classes and ministries. Brother Shem was well prepared when he graduated in 1994 because of the struggles he endured in Bible college. He started Grace Baptist Church in Tabu Ilog, Negros, and it rapidly grew. Like many of our graduates, Shem started his church under some trees. About two years after starting the church he became very ill. His doctor thought his kidneys were failing. Everyone thought he would die. We waited for news of his death but God had other plans. Some believe his doctor made a wrong diagnoses. We believe God answered prayer and healed him! Brother Barena has learned that trials make one stronger. He started a Bible institute to train several married men for the ministry. After three years his first graduate, Jerry Filizardo, started a church. By God’s grace, within a few years, Brother Barena and his men started five churches on Negros Island. Pastor Filizardo also started a Bible institute. In 2001 he was thrilled as he had his first graduation with two graduates going into the ministry. 18 BIMI WORLD Number 1, 2016