Severino Balansag.

Photo courtesy of Gary Granger. Source: Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/128095600/severino-j-balansag

Balansag, Severino Jutba, Sr. (1923–2014)

By Dante A. Dabucol

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Dante A. Dabucol is the stewardship/planned giving and trust services director of the Southern Mindanao Mission, General Santos City, and a D.Min. student of Adventist International Institute of Advance Studies, Silang, Cavite, Philippines. 

First Published: January 7, 2021

Severino Jutba Balansag, Sr. was an Adventist literature evangelist, pastor, church leader, and administrator.

Early Life

Severino Jutba Balansag, Sr., an Adventist literature evangelist, pastor, church leader, and administrator, was born on January 8, 1923,1 the fifth child of six children born to Ignacio Balansag2 and Gregoria Jutba Balansag3 of Mansabay, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental, in the Philippines.4 The oldest of his siblings was Narciso, followed by Teodulfa Balansag-Clavecilla, Isidro, and Victoria Balansag-Pila. The youngest sibling was Olegario.5

At a very early age, Balansag and his siblings learned to do manual labor to help their impoverished parents. School was not a priority, since earning money to provide their basic necessities for survival was essential. Balansag reached his teenage years without stepping foot in a school, yet he possessed an inner burning desire to obtain an education whatever it took.6

Balansag and his younger brother, Olegario, became Seventh-day Adventists after reading the Bible for themselves. When they started worshiping on Saturday, they were taunted and mocked by people in town, yet they learned to love the Bible truths. They did not let the persecution diminish their gratefulness and overflowing love for God. Not long after they were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church an opportunity arose for Severino Balansag to attend school. He believed it to be part of God's plan for his life.7

Education and Marriage

Excited to be starting school, but also embarrassed to be an eighteen-year-old first grader, Balansag avoided being seen by curious onlookers by making his way to school through the middle of a cornfield. He did not stay in the first grade long. His first-grade teacher, noticing his dilemma, arranged an opportunity for him to challenge the third-grade exams in order to accelerate his progress. Successfully completing the exams,8 he transitioned to third grade that same year. He loved school, but the burden of helping earn the family's livelihood also pulled him back.9 Determined to get an education, he worked and studied until he finished his elementary education in Mansabay Elementary School past the age of twenty.10

His family could not support him financially, but he decided to pursue his secondary education at Mindanao Mission Academy at Manticao, Misamis Oriental, with the only PHP 30—just enough for transportation to the academy. Thus, he continued working to pay for his board, lodging, and tuition while he studied. At the academy, he met godly teachers who were also concerned about his future and encouraged him to pursue a college degree. Teachers also provided him with work as a school security guard at night. In addition, he set up a shoe shop repairing shoes for the students as well as the school's staff and faculty.11

During the four years of work and study at Mindanao Mission Academy, Balansag met a young lady, Ruth Zarandona, who was also a working student at the academy's cafeteria. Their relationship blossomed in high school and both attended Philippine Union College at Baesa, Caloocan City. Through hard work and dedication, Balansag graduated with a bachelor's degree in theology from Philippine Union College in March 1954.12 Ruth also earned a nursing degree, and after graduating they were engaged.13

Immediately after graduation, Balansag joined the colporteur work in the areas surrounding Manila areas, which allowed him to remain close to Ruth, who was working at the Manila Sanitarium and Hospital as a nurse. A few months later, he was called to help launch the tent effort in Adams Center in Cebu City led by Elder Spangler from the United States. It was a big success several people were baptized.14

On March 17, 1957, Balansag and Ruth Zarandona were finally married15 in the place where they first met—Mindanao Mission Academy with Pastor Montalban officiating.16 God entrusted this couple with five children: Rosie Joey, Severino Jr., Carol Jane, Roselyn, and Jocelyn Rose.17

Ministry

Balansag served as a Ministerial intern in Central Luzon, Philippines, in 1957.18 In 1958, he was ordained into the gospel ministry in Adams Center, Cebu City, during the bicentennial meeting.19 From 1958 to 1969, he served as district pastor of the Northern Mindanao Mission.20 In 1970, he was called to the Northeastern Mindanao Mission in Butuan City as a departmental Sabbath School and lay activities secretary until 1972.21 On May 1, 1973, the South Philippine Union Mission executive committee approved his appointment as the president of the Northeastern Mindanao Mission,22 and he served the mission until 1975.23 At the time, the Northeastern Mindanao Mission was seven years old as it was organized in 1966.24

In 1976, Balansag was called to serve the Southern Mindanao Mission (SMM) in General Santos City as a Sabbath School and lay activities secretary and director.25 In 1979, he became the Mission Advance project director in 1979 followed in 1980 by the position of mission evangelist. Balansag resumed duties as Sabbath School and lay activities secretary in 1981. From 1982 to 1983, he served as church pastor of City Central church of General Santos City. In 1984-1985, he served as field secretary and lay activities secretary of the SMM. He served as the church ministries and lay activities director from 1986 until he retired from the denominational work on January 1, 1988.26

Later Life

After their retirement, the Balansags spent the rest of their lives in the United States living with their children and grandchildren. Ruth Balansag suffered a massive heart attack and required a triple heart bypass operation. She did not recover from the operation due to complications. She passed away on May 21, 2007, at the age of 81 in Edenberg, Texas. While Severino Balansag found this to be the saddest period of his life, he found hope in his faith in God. Seven years after the death of his wife, Severino Balansag, Sr. died on April 14, 2014, at the age of 91. He was buried beside his wife in Edenberg, Texas.27

Legacy

Balansag’s favorite passage from Ellen White's writing was: "We have nothing to fear for the future, less we forget how the Lord has led us in the past."28 His religious life and dedication to the ministry were the legacy that he left to his children and grandchildren.29

An excellent role model for his junior associate pastors, he was known for his visitation to pastors’ families while serving as the church ministries director of the Southern Mindanao Mission.30 He was admired for his dedication and commitment as a Sabbath School director and considered a mentor and a man of God worthy of emulation.31 He was a person who “walked the talk” as a leader, as a father, and as a co-worker. His life was an example and often used in sermon illustrations and lectures in the family and children’s ministries department.32

Sources

Personal Employee Service Record. Severino J. Balansag, Sr. Southern Mindanao Mission Archives, General Santos City, Philippines.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976.

White, Ellen G. Christian Experience and Teachings. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1922.

Notes

  1. Personal Employee Service Record, Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission Archives.

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Rosie Joey Tandoy, eldest daughter of Severino J. Balansag, Sr., interview by author, Southern Mindanao Mission, General Santos City, June 19, 2020.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Personal Employee Service Record, Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission Archives; Rosie Joey Tandoy, eldest daughter of Severino J. Balansag, Sr., interview by author, Southern Mindanao Mission, General Santos City, June 19, 2020.

  11. Ibid.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Personal Employee Service Record, Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission Archives.

  16. Rosie Joey Tandoy, eldest daughter of Severino J. Balansag, Sr., interview by author, Southern Mindanao Mission, General Santos City, June 19, 2020.

  17. Personal Employee Service Record, Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission Archives.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Rosie Joey Tandoy, eldest daughter of Severino J. Balansag, Sr., interview by author, Southern Mindanao Mission, General Santos City, June 19, 2020.

  20. Personal Employee Service Record, Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission Archives.

  21. Ibid.

  22. Minutes, Voted 73-115, South Philippines Union Mission of SDA, Carmen Hill, Cagayan de Oro City.

  23. Personal Employee Service Record, Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission Archives.

  24. “Northeastern Mindanao Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976), 187.

  25. Personal Employee Service Record, Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission Archives.

  26. Ibid.

  27. Rosie Joey Tandoy, eldest daughter of Severino J. Balansag, Sr., Southern Mindanao Mission, General Santos City, June 19, 2020.

  28. Ellen G. White, Christian Experience and Teachings (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1922), 147.

  29. Rosie Joey Tandoy, eldest daughter of Severino J. Balansag, Sr., interview by author, Southern Mindanao Mission, General Santos City, June 19, 2020.

  30. Wilson Catolico, junior pastor under Severino Balansag, Sr., and later president of Southern Mindanao Mission, interview by author, General Santos City, June 22, 2020.

  31. Ruben Aplicador, former Sabbath School director of Southern Mindanao Mission, interview by author, General Santos City, June 30, 2020.

  32. Mercy Aplicador, retired family and children’s ministries director of the Southern Mindanao Mission, interview by author, General Santos City, June 30, 2020.

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Dabucol, Dante A. "Balansag, Severino Jutba, Sr. (1923–2014)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 07, 2021. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5CHR.

Dabucol, Dante A. "Balansag, Severino Jutba, Sr. (1923–2014)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 07, 2021. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5CHR.

Dabucol, Dante A. (2021, January 07). Balansag, Severino Jutba, Sr. (1923–2014). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5CHR.