CAPE GIRARDEAU – Ednor Sebag is a Filipino missionary to the United States.
In a video by the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Multiplying Churches team, Sebag recounts how God saved him as a young man in the Philippines, used him to reach and teach other Filipinos, then led him to Missouri, and again began using him to reach fellow Filipinos for Christ.
Growing up, Sebag was torn between his parents. His mother was a Christian and wanted him to go to church with her, while his father pulled him elsewhere. While he was temporarily living with an aunt, he overheard a Bible study.
“There, I heard that Jesus came to this world for sinners, not for the righteous,” he said. “Immediately, I understood that the Holy Spirit was convicting me of my sin, and right then and there I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”
He told his mother that he wanted to attend Bible college to become a pastor, even though he admits he didn’t really understand what being a pastor meant. He learned. Eventually, he was also leading the Bible program at a small seminary there.
As he taught about missions and sent out others, he realized something was off.
“I was teaching things theoretically, but I myself hadn’t experienced it,” he said.
In 2006, God gave him the chance to experience it. Sebag came with his wife and two daughters to the United States, ending up in Springfield.
“My experience in church planting came backward: Usually it’s Americans coming to the Philippines to plant churches, but I came to America to plant churches.”
Sebag ministers to people from three separate cultures: Filipino culture, American culture and the hybrid of the two claimed by second-generation Filipinos. Church doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, Sebag said: you just need preaching of the Word, prayer, praise and breaking of bread.
“The ministry is not mine, but God’s,” he said.
Most recently, Sebag has become involved in planting a church in southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau. A group of Filipinos began meeting in a Filipino grocery store.
But Sebag found difficulty in creating relationships with the people who came into the store.
“They were excited to meet a Filipino, but when I gave them my card and they saw I was a pastor, they would never answer my calls again,” he said.
When Sebag began offering to bring dinner, invitations became a lot more frequent and enthusiastic.
“That’s where we got the idea that we need to start a food truck that serves Filipino food,” he said.
So since June of 2017, JJ’s Roast on Wheels parks in the lot of the store, garnering just as big a crowd as the store itself. People from as far away as Doniphan, Puxico, Sikeston and Poplar Bluff came, and each location became a new fellowship for spreading the gospel.
“We have people from Farmington, Ste. Genevieve and Perryville coming, and now there are ministries in five cities, and the food truck helps us a lot,” Sebag said.