Earlier today we started our journey from La Carlota City to Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte via Dumaguete City. It took us more than 14 hours of land and sea travel. Before we departed from my hometown, my grandfather, Rev. Jose T. Gico, Jr., was not feeling well. We made some quick decisions that led us to continue with our travel, and for my parents to stay behind. It was a decision based on the belief that our grandfather wanted us not to miss our appointments as resource speakers of the annual assembly of the Western Mindanao Kasapulanan of Baptist Churches. Along the way, we received news that our 92-year old grandfather, fondly called as “Daddy Gico” went home to be our Savior, Jesus Christ. And now, the Holy Week had an added meaning to us.
What can I say about Lolo JOE?
J – Jesus first was his motto, and so should ours be.
The belief of Paul in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” was seen in the life of Lolo Joe. He ingrained in us the way of life that Jesus should always come first, no matter what, and cost what it may.
O – Obedient to God’s calling as a pastor.
Since graduating in the CPU College of Theology in 1950, he started working in Hinigaran Evangelical Church for more than 50 years — the only Pastor to do so in the history of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. If Lolo Joe was not obedient to God’s calling, he could not have done it. He could have quit a lot of times when he was maligned, but he persevered. And for that, he was respected by his peers, the congregation, and his students.
E – Empowered others to serve God and people.
According to observation, it is very rare to see three generations of pastors in one family, and in-laws in the pastoral ministry as well. This is the legacy of my grandparents who were both pastors — Lolo Joe and Lola Pacing Huelar-Gico (a Baptist Missionary Training School graduate of CPU). At one time, almost 75 percent of the personnel of the Convention Baptist Bible College from the president to faculty are from family — we call it the Aaronic priestly legacy. When Lolo Joe sensed that I can answer his questions on Systematic Theology, and Church History, he gave up teaching these beloved subjects of his, and transferred it to me. It was an honor that I would always treasure.
In my travels to many churches, most of the pastors that I met from ages 40 up are students of my grandparents. They would confide to me that they are inspired by the commitment and consistency of my grandparents.
Deep in my heart, I believe that Lolo Joe have heard from Jesus himself the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
April 10, 2017