Bertile Barbas

Today the members of the Bacolod Church of Christ buried the man who in life had been a good soldier of Christ. He was in the prime of his life. To make you understand what I mean, he was my former student at Philippine Bible College, which made him younger than I am. We shared the good jokes, the stories that Ilonggos alone understood, since we are both Ilonggos. When he first entered the classroom, he told me he had just left a lucrative job and wanted to become a preacher.

Our relationship as brothers in the Lord was in a way made stronger by the fact that he wanted me to know his family too–his physical family, that is.  And an introduction was not just enough; he made me a ninong to his sister when she got married.

When I began the work of the YMCA Church of Christ, Bertile and I parted ways. He remained my good friend, and I remained his “Sir” no matter what. He married into the family of the Garceses (His wife is May, a daughter of brother Charlemagne Garces, of Dumaguete City, lately of Ormoc City). In the midst of the many controversies that took place in the work of the Lord in Bacolod City, he was always my defender and loyal friend. This proves that the friendship we had established within the four walls of the dear old Philippine Bible College no man nor kin nor human theology nor religious issues could just erase!

He would always say he was thankful I had taught him many things, including how to nip a bad argument in the bud. He perfected the method in his own manner, and was giving the errorists a hard time. When he applied my own arguments on me, I had a really good laugh!

We all fall like wheat in the field. The great Hand that planted us in the soil of His own creation shall also be the Hand that shall pick us up, gently, and with loving care. The grains are not lost in busy-ness of this business of living, for He shall take care of everyone, like He takes care of every bird that may have fallen on the ground.

Our condolences to the family of Bertile Barbas! So long, soldier! In that day when all of God’s children who  have fallen on the dust shall be made to rise again and to be made new, you too shall triumph with them!

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