My name is Gilberto. I am 52 years old and I work as a seafarer. My wife Daisy is 41 years old and we have been married for 19 years. During that time God has blessed us with three lovely daughters - Gliby Beatriz who is 18 years old, Glicy Bianca who is 17 and Glizyt Bianzy who is 10. Our home is in Ternate in the Philippines.
As a child I was raised as a Roman Catholic but I received little or no teaching about the Bible. When I became an adult, for a time I belonged to El Shaddai – a part of the Roman Catholic Charismatic movement. Daisy belonged to the Philippine Independent Church that broke away from the Roman Catholic Churchin the early 1900’s.
Despite these experiences, both Daisy and I still felt something was lacking in our lives and so we continued to search, but without really knowing for what we were searching.
For the last 13 years I have been regularly employed by Maersk Line, working as a Motorman in the Engine Room onboard their container ships. My current vessel is mv Vayenga Maersk that voyages regularly between Rotterdam in Holland and St.Petersburg in north western Russia.
One of my colleagues onboard Vayenga Maersk was Edgar, a 61-year-old Filipino Christian, who invited me to attend a weekly Bible Study he was leading for some of his crewmates. At first I was a little hesitant but then I agreed because I was keen to learn what the Bible teaches.
One day, after I had attended several of his Bible Studies, Edgar asked if he could meet with me, one to one, in my cabin. I agreed.
Edgar showed me how the Bible says no human being will ever be justified in God’s sight by trying to do good works or by trying to keep the 10 Commandments. The Commandments shows us that we are sinners and that we are incapable of keeping God’s laws. (Romans 3:20-21). Edgar also said the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that the only way the penalty for my sin could be paid is by the blood (death) of Jesus (Ephesians 2:13 & 1 John 1:7-9). Edgar said I needed to surrender my life to Christ and ask Him to forgive me and to be my Savour and my Lord.
Edgar also gave me lots of literature about true faith and the errors of false faiths.
After many meetings with Edgar, I eventually made the decision to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and the Lord of my life. Around 7 pm on 12 June 2021 I acknowledged I was a sinner, guilty and deserving to be punished. I repented of my sin and acknowledged that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid for all of my past, present and future sins. I surrendered all to Him and welcomed Him into my heart. I was born again on 12 June 2021 - my spiritual birthday!
I felt very different during that evening. My thoughts and my feeling began to change. Since then I have enjoyed reading the Bible and other books related to the Word of God.
Not long after this, brother Edgar introduced me to Rob from the Seamen’s Christian Friend Society and so I asked Rob if he would provide me with Bible lessons, something he was very happy to do for me. Since then Rob and I have been communicating with each other regularly via Messenger on the Internet.
Over the last four months, Rob has provided me with 4 Bible courses, three of which I have already completed – ‘What The Bible Teaches’ (12 lessons), ‘Learning from Peter’ (12 Lessons) and ‘Lessons for Christian Living’ (12 lessons.). Currently I am studying ‘The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus’ that has 15 lessons.
Felix is one of the SCFS representatives in Rotterdam who knows Edgar well and so Edgar asked Felix if he would visit me from time to time. Felix has been doing that and I have been grateful for his help and encouragement and also for the resources he sometimes provides to me. It’s always good to see his smiling face. The picture shows us together when Felix visited my ship just recently.
Brother Edgar signed off from Vayenga Maersk at the beginning of August but he continues to keep in touch with me via the Internet.
Brother Rob has also said he will try to keep encouraging and helping me and providing me with resources, not only when I go home next month but also when I join other ships in the future.
The Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’ John 3:16. It also says, ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Now I am encouraging Daisy and our daughters to also receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord also.
The Bible says ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him (God) because He cares for you’ 1 Peter 5:7. I thank my Heavenly Father that now, after several years of emptiness and searching, He has drawn me to Christ and that I am now righteous in His sight through His Son, my Lord and Saviour.
To God be the glory and praises Amen.