Personal Testimony of Jeremy Ferguson – “a brand plucked out of the fire” (written on March 7, 2016)
I was born in Gainesville, Florida in 1977 and lived there until six years old and then my family moved to South Florida where I spent most of my life growing up. My high school years were spent in Ocala, Florida and I went to college in Gainesville at The University of Florida where I graduated in 1999. Not long after graduating in the summer of 1999 with a BS in Computer Sciences I came to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I did not grow up a religious or “churchy” person, I grew up as a worldly unbeliever without any regard or interest for God. Before I was saved my aspirations were nothing but worldly, material, and temporal, but after I turned my eyes upon Jesus everything completely changed; I was a new creature in Jesus Christ! I was baptized at Highland Missionary Baptist Church in Gainesville, Florida and I began to do anything and everything I could find to do for the Lord.
My main passion was, and still is, sharing the Gospel to the lost. I enjoyed going out with others on soul winning nights and I went out to the nearby University of Florida campus to witness to students where I would often encounter ridicule from people who would yell and curse at me and sometimes people even threw things at me. At the time I was a computer programmer in Alachua, Florida and I strived to witness to my co-workers and was often mocked for my faith at work, but I never gave up trying to win those people. I also started ministering to youth and children (most of whom were African American and Hispanic) in the inner city areas of Gainesville and we began programs in the church to reach them and their families with the Gospel. At Highland, the Lord blessed me with a wonderful opportunity to study the Bible more in-depth through Faith Bible Institute, a three year, through-the-Bible Institute from which I graduated with a Bible college diploma. The Lord also gave me the opportunity to preach at Highland on a regular basis as my Pastor, Rick Hartman, shared the pulpit with me.
After I was saved I had a burning desire to carry the Gospel to other parts of the world, but I wasn’t immediately sure where God would lead me. I made some short term mission trips to Jamaica and Costa Rica and then, in June 2003, I made a two week mission trip to the Philippines and I knew immediately that God was calling me there. The timing was incredible as I had just finished my Bible Schooling! When I returned home from that two week trip I quit my computer programming job, sold my belongings, and got on a plane within three months and arrived back in the Philippines as a missionary on October 23, 2003. I have been in the Philippines ever since then and as of this writing I have yet to make a return visit to America because I have been too busy and focused with the Lord’s work here.
When I first arrived in the Philippines I spent my first six months immersed in studying the Tagalog language so that I might be more effective in preaching the Bible to the average Filipino. It was during this time that I married my incredible wife Kristine (a Filipina from the province of Pampanga) on July 17, 2004 and Kristine afterwards gave birth to our son Joshua on September 1, 2005. It was also at this time that we planted New Life Baptist Church in Mexico, Pampanga. That church started out meeting in a little house and has grown and grown to the point that they have their own building with 200 in regular attendance. They have their own Bible Institute where we train up and send out our own missionaries. That church also supports foreign Filipino missionaries as well. They are self-supporting as we teach them to be faithful in giving and we do not teach them to solicit funds from America!
Working alongside the young men whom I brought to the Lord and trained up for the ministry I have assisted them in planting churches in other areas. One of our most unique mission works is among the Aeta tribal people in the mountains of Porac, Pampanga where we currently have two churches planted and a missions point that we are praying to see develop into a local church also. Bro Daryl Lalu is our full time missionary to the Aeta. He lives among them adapting to their tribal lifestyle and I work with him on a weekly basis to expand that work as I have always had a deep desire to get the Gospel to tribal people. That first Aeta church is meeting in a large hut where 70 people regularly fill it up for assemblies and they are now needing to expand the size of that hut to accommodate more people! We have also started an Aeta Bible School with the main goal of training up Aeta men who are called by God to be missionaries and pastors to their own people.
I am a simple missionary. I seek not a life of ease, but a life of sacrifice. I spent my first two years here riding a BMX bicycle to get around and after that my loving mother bought me a tricycle and since then I have had to rebuild the engine twice because it has put so many miles on it going to different places for ministry work. My family and I live in a simple two bedroom one bathroom house and our focus is on spiritual things, not material things. We serve God for the outcome, not for the income. I am nothing, Jesus Christ is everything…may Christ alone receive all the glory.