Founding of PFM

by David Bates


The genesis of Philippine Faith Mission came about by the grace of God as the result of an American serviceman sharing his faith to the employees of a small shoe shop on Magsaysay Boulevard in Olongapo City where five of them came to know Jesus Christ as Savior--two of whom, Marita and Marina Singh, were the twin daughters of the shop owner.


U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer David Bates who was just finishing up his Navy career was sent by God, courtesy of the US Navy, to the Philippines for the first time, and carrying his Bible and a Christian song book, began sharing his faith through teaching Christian songs and choruses to the shop workers in between customers, leading each of them, one-by-one to a knowledge of the Lord. It was not very long before "Brother Dave", as he came to be known, was given a burning desire to return to this country which he had come to love, to continue the work that God had begun there.

On the streets of Olongapo Brother Dave made it his practice to take one or two "street children" with him for meals or snacks. The street children were much less literate in the English language--they simply knew that this man loved them and cared about them. When Chief Bates returned with his family and began to minister in the shops along with a brother in Christ, Joel Alviar, they shared a vision of someday opening a home in which these street children could get away from the streets and be cared for by loving parent figures who would teach them the Word of God and ensure that they receive a good education and the foundation for becoming faithful servants for Christ and impacting their world for Him. The earliest work among these children was done by kuja Joel's fiancee, Rechel, whom Chief Bates and his wife Virginia had helped sponsor for her Bible training in Manila. Rechel began this ministry on week-ends as her Christian service assignment.

At the time Chief Bates met kuya Joel, he had finished his high school education and was looking to go into the Philippine Air Force as an aircraft mechanic. But God had other ideas, and when Brother Dave returned with his family (wife and six children), kuya Joel was looking for steady work and when Brother Dave offered to support him as a co-worker, teaching Bible classes in the shops of Olongapo, Joel, the son of a missionary evangelist and pastor, readily agreed, having already been trained by his father in the Lord's work.

Brother Dave became a student at FEBIAS College of Bible in June of 1977, where he studied for just two years. Upon starting his studies at FEBIAS Dave turned over all the Bible-teaching responsibilities to kuya Joel. Needing an assistant, Joel sought the help of a local pastor, Al Maya, and the two men with Rechel's help on weekends, began a thriving Bible-teaching ministry there in Olongapo.

By 1978, one of the shop studies became so popular that Joel informed Brother Dave of the need for incorporation so that they would not get in trouble with the authorities for having such large gatherings of people not recognized by the government. The name "Philippine Faith Mission" was placed on Brother Dave's mind by the Lord, and by 1979, Philippine Faith Mission became a legal entity. The Bible study that had grown so large eventually became PFM's first church planting. The church, then called, "Olongapo Christian Gospel Church" now "Bethesda Gospel Chapel" and is currently being pastored by Rev. Rizaldy Payuran, a graduate of Asian Theological Seminary.

The Lord called Brother Dave and his family back to the States later that year, and Pastor Joel Became Director, the spiritual head and the driving force of Philippine Faith Mission. Within six months of the Bates' departure for the States, the Lord led Pastor Joel to lead PFM into the "Promised Land" of Castillejos and to become founder of Jireh Children's Home. And the rest is His-story!


© 2011 Philippine Faith Mission, Inc.