It’s a blessing to listen to beloved Captain Ferdinand Estillore testify in the pulpit (he rarely testifies for he is mostly at sea). His spiritual fervor after all these years of serving the Lord (not to mention his success in his profession and material blessings in abundance) has not waned.
He testifies that before he surrendered his life to the Lord in December of 1990, his personal life was in chaos. He and his beloved wife didn’t have peace in their marriage. It was beset with frequent fights triggered mostly by Capt. Estillore’s many vices. As a captain of an international shipping line, he was not immune to the worldly practices sailors are exposed to.
One night while he was at home on vacation, he happened upon the TV program of JESUS MIRACLE CRUSADE INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY. He listened at the preaching and realized that he was the one targeted by the beloved Hon. Pastor Wilde E. Almeda’s words: his way of life as a seaman and the vices he was immersed in. The message of the Gospel hit home and Capt. Estillore began to cry. He and his wife decided to attend the worship service and receive the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation. Their whole household was saved and peace began to reign in their hearts and home.
Five years later, Capt. Estillore’s faith would be tested. Their ship was navigating the turbulent waters of the Pacific Ocean from Solomon Islands headed for Korea. But the northeast monsoon brought violent winds, and waves wreaked havoc upon the ship, causing a long gash (hole) along its side. The pressure of water coming into the ship was so strong that water was filling up the bodega of the ship so fast it tilted the huge vessel slightly to its side.
Capt. Estillore mobilized his men immediately, instructing them to pump out the water using all the submersible pumps found in the ship. But they could not control the water. Capt. Estillore cried out to the Lord, “Dearest Lord, you will not abandon me now!” (Before he boarded that ship, he was prayed over and laid hands on by the beloved Hon. Pastor Wilde Almeda). So, he trusted God that they will not perish and the ship will not sink.
They did everything they could to reduce the damage and Capt. Estillore sent messages to the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency and to the US Coast Guard in Guam informing them about their predicament, but he had not yet requested for rescue. He said it was the hardest decision he had to make. He went to his cabin and there, he sank to his knees and prayed and cried out to God, “My dearest Lord! You will not abandon me! Please give me wisdom on how to save this ship and my men!”
His men worked overnight pumping out water from the ship, but in the morning, the second engineer went to Capt. Estillore’s cabin and asked what time they were abandoning the ship. Instead of answering him, he ordered the second engineer to go help in pumping out water.
While Capt. Estillore was busy making various reports, the chief engineer and the electrician came to him and reported that the previous night while they worked to pump out water, they saw a big bird hovering above the starboard of the damaged bodega. They said that for 30 minutes the bird hovered above it and they marveled at the sight.
Capt. Estillore hurried to his cabin and wept. He held his Bible and began to sing and worship. He sang just one song for an hour, Tell My People I love Them. He sang with all his heart and soul, worshiping God with all his being. Then he opened his Bible and he was brought to Psalm 91.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Ps. 91:11)
The ship’s owner radioed him and advised that they proceed to Guam, but the waves were so turbulent along that way that Capt. Estillore knew that if they went that way, they will sink after just an hour. So he cried to God again, asking for guidance. He moved the ship in such a way that it faced Surigao Strait. And so, they followed that way, navigating away from the rough seas, the strong waves and winds were behind them. The ship slowly straightened up from its tilting position and Capt. Estillore breathed a huge sigh of relief and thanksgiving.
When they finally docked in Cebu, Philippines safe and sound, some media men met them and interviewed Capt. Estillore. He boldly declared that he was a Christian serving the Lord in JESUS MIRACLE CRUSADE INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY. While the ship was being repaired, Capt. Estillore flew to Manila to testify of God’s mighty deliverance.
Capt. Estillore and his family remained faithful to the Lord and continued to serve Him to this day. They have been continually reaping God’s promises and abundant blessings. His children are now successful professionals in their chosen fields.
Hallelujah! To God be ALL the glory!