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  • Roberto Santos

A new beginning

TAYLOR – In September of 1990, my wife and I, together with our five children ages from three to eleven, left the Philippines to start a new life and ministry in Michigan. While praying, we first received an impression from the Holy Spirit to accept the call to pastor to what was then known as First Filipino Baptist Church in Dearborn Michigan (the name was later changed to Philippine International Baptist Church). 


In obedience to His call, we sold our properties in the Philippines to purchase our airfares and relocate to Michigan. We left our friends and loved ones and the church we started and led for seven years. It was not a simple decision. We had to consider whether we were ready to start a new life in a new country, or if we simply wanted to stay in the Philippines surrounded by the people we knew and loved.


We had mixed emotions. Our children were excited. But as a father I had concerns. Would we be able to make it? Could we stand the cold winter in Michigan? We must learn to trust God, and that He who has called us would provide. Believing it was God’s will for us, we moved.


When we arrived in Dearborn, we found three things; first, a late notice for two months of the church’s building mortgage; second, a note from the bank that the church had bounced a check; third, a note from the telephone company for more than $700 of unpaid telephone bills. 


The church could not give me any salary for three months. The Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) sent us $500 and an additional $300 monthly salary supplement which was a timely help for our family. We bought used clothing and other things we needed from Value World.

I went to the Social Services of Michigan to request health insurance for our children. The social worker was very helpful and even offered to provide us with food stamps, which I declined. Instead, I went to Newburg Baptist Church every Tuesday to get food for ten cents a pound.


My wife and I had to get a job to provide for our family. For three years, we struggled. But in the fourth year, the church was able to pay off the mortgage and increased my salary. The church provided us with health and life insurance and a retirement plan through Guidestone Financial Services. In addition, the church gave us yearly vacation allowances. The church also provided us with a brand-new Dodge Caravan.

For the first time in four years, our family went on vacation to Florida. We stayed in a beautiful resort in Sebastian Florida for one week, graciously provided by our member who owned a timeshare plan. Our children enjoyed the beach, and of course, we went to Disney World. 


Over the years in partnership with the BSCM, the Lord enabled us to start five other churches. 


Now, my wife and I enter a new chapter of our lives and ministry. I retired from being the senior pastor of Philippine International Baptist Church. Our children have their own families and are all doing well. We now have eleven grandchildren and another one is coming. 


The Lord has been good to us. True to His promise, He never left us nor forsake us. It is our prayer that God will continue to lead and guide us according to His will. We pray that God will use us to be an encouragement to others especially to younger pastors and Christian workers both here and in the Philippines.  




Roberto Santos serves as Pastor Emeritus at Philippine International Baptist Church in Taylor, Michigan.


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