By Sharon Mager
WASHINGTON, D.C.–James Martinez will retire as pastor of Agape Baptist Church (ABC), effective Dec. 31. He and his wife, Virgie, served the church for 26 years.
James said the church started in 1991 as a fellowship of believers meeting at Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church (WABC). WABC eventually sponsored the group as a mission, and they became Filipino International Mission, and later, Agape Baptist Church.
It has been a long journey for the family, both literally and figuratively. James made a confession of faith in 1974 through the ministry of Clark Field Baptist Church (CFBC) in the Philippines and two years later, God called him to the Gospel ministry.
“My Father’s earnest desire was that at least one of his sons would serve the Lord in ministry,” James said. He attended Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary in Baguio City, and in 1983 CFBC ordained him and called him as a mission pastor.
He, Virgie, and their daughters, Javee and Verily migrated to the United States in 1988, the same year they had their son, Marc Ian.
“Before we left the Philippines, our prayer was, ‘Lord, You are bringing us to a strange country but we are open to your leading.’ And God opened the way for us to serve Him again,” James shared. “For two decades, God showed me and my family His great plan as we served Him through His church. It was not easy but His grace and promises are always sufficient in all of our trials and problems.”
Agape Baptist Church had a retirement fellowship dinner for the family in November.
“It was an emotional and meaningful time for me and my family. We are grateful to ABC for their love prayers and support since the beginning.”
As they move forward, James said his main concern is helping his wife through some health issues. “In spite of this, we are open to God’s leading,” he said. “All glory belongs to God.”