Pastor Erick's

Personal Testimony

Pastor Erick

Tracing my journey…

I was born on the island of Aruba on June 1, 1964. The year I turned four, my family moved to Bonaire, my father’s birth place. My parents weren’t Christians, but my aunt Rosa-Julia St. Jago – my father’s sister who lived in Bonaire – was a believer and would regularly take my younger brother and me to church and Sunday school at her church “Aliansa Evangelika di Rincon.”

Aunt Rosa was very involved in children’s ministries and on Wednesday afternoons she used to assist in neighborhood Bible clubs for children. I always found Bible club to be fun: singing action choruses, listening to exciting stories, looking at colorful pictures, and meeting with all my other friends. But it was not until August 11, 1974, (or it may have been 1975) that I asked Jesus into my heart to be my personal Savior and Lord.

I clearly remember that a group of young people from the United States called “Youth in One Accord” came for some weeks of revival services at our church. On Sunday night as the preacher told the story of the lost sheep, I suddenly understood my lost condition before God. Even as a child, for the first time, I really saw myself as a sinner needing a Savior. That night when the invitation was given for those who wanted to accept Jesus into their hearts, I went to the altar. My pastor’s wife, Ruby Ressler, led me to one of the back rooms and opened her Bible and explained the plan of salvation to me. I bowed my head and prayed and asked Jesus into my heart.

I knew from that day on that I belonged to God and would one day live with Him forever. I got very excited about telling my friends about the things I learnt about God. At that time, my dad owned a bakery and my younger brother and I used to like going everywhere on the road with him on the bread truck to deliver and sell bread. But on those days when there was Bible club or some other church activity, I didn’t want to miss out on any of it; I had a real excitement for the things of God.

The summer of the year I turned 15, I attended a Word of Life youth camp in Aruba. On the last night of camp, during a camp fire service, I surrendered to God’s call on my life for full-time Christian ministry. I couldn’t wait for camp meeting to be all over so I could go back home to Bonaire and tell my pastor, Dean Ressler. He was very excited for me and began to throw his support behind me and really help me. To help me in my studies, he gave me a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which I still have.

My pastor was a young man just out of seminary and he took me under his wings and became my mentor. I learned many things from Him. I got baptized and as I grew in my spiritual understanding, I actively served God as a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, Bible club worker and wherever else I could.

My pastor was a good Bible teacher and that motivated me to study and spend time in God’s word. I developed the discipline of having daily personal devotions and any time seminars or various training courses and classes were offered, I always attended – I received training from Child Evangelism Fellowship ministries; attended Word of Life workshops and acquired quite a number of certificates.

As I was getting ready to graduate from high school, my pastor spoke to me and told me to consider enrolling in Bible school. That got me excited immediately. My pastor was a graduate of Prairie Bible Institute in Canada and he wanted me to go there. I applied and was accepted and although I made all the preparations to go, I didn’t get the visa on time; so that year, I stayed in Bonaire and did a lot of preaching and teaching, and church work.

But something interesting happened that year: The president of Bluewater Bible College in St. Thomas, Dr. Dennis Bellew, and some students, came to Bonaire to promote Bluewater. That got my attention and turned my plans in a different direction. In September of 1984, I became a student at Bluewater Bible College.

In 1987 at the beginning of my senior year of college, God answered my prayer for a life partner by sending me Sharon, who had completed a three-year course of studies at the Baptist Bible College in St. Vincent and had come to Bluewater to do her senior year.

The second of four kids, Sharon was born in St. Lucia on February 12, 1966. She had trusted Christ as Savior when she was around the age of 10 and had surrendered to the call to missions. So after high school, and a year of teaching public school, she had enrolled in Bible College to begin training for full-time Christian service. The moment I met her I knew she was mine; the answer to my prayer for a wife with ministry training had been answered. We graduated together in 1988 with our Bachelor’s degrees in Christian Education and got married the following year on June 10, 1989, and have been actively serving in full-time Christian ministry since.

We had been scarcely married a year when we became parents, but determined to complete our graduate studies, in 1995, with two small kids and a third on the way, we managed to graduate from Bethany Theological Seminary in Dothan, Alabama, with our Master’s degrees; mine in Ministry and Sharon’s in Christian Education. Prior to settling on St. Maarten, Sharon and I have had the opportunity to have lived and served as missionaries on Bonaire and in the US Virgin islands. Serving at Grace International Baptist Church is a privilege we both embrace.