Bautista, Jose Ocampo (1909–1990)

By Israel Haluber Bacdayan

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Israel Haluber Bacdayan, M.Min., M.B.A., is the president of Cavite Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. He enjoys reading, driving, walking, traveling, and collecting books on stewardship, leadership, administration, and prosperity. He is married to Aurea Custodio-Bacdayan, Shepherdess International coordinator of Cavite Mission. They have two sons.

Pastor Jose Bautista was the first Filipino foreign missionary to Caroline Island, Palau.

Early Life

Jose Ocampo Bautista was born in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, on November 13, 1909, to Mateo A. Bautista, a tailor by trade, and Consolacion Ocampo—both members of Cuyapo Seventh-day Adventist Church.1 Due to the influence of Jose’s parents and the local church, Jose was baptized on May 30, 1924, during the evangelism of Leon Z. Roda.2

Education and Marriage

Young Jose attended Cuyapo Elementary School from 1916 to 1924 and Bulacan High School from 1924 to 1925. He continued high school at Cuyapo Institute from 1925 to 1928.3 Before World War II, when a person finished high school in the Philippines, he could teach and be employed if he could meet several qualifications. Jose qualified and taught in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, under the then Bureau of Education from June 1928 to March 1929.4 After serving as a teacher for a year, he spent two years at Philippine Junior College in Manila from 1929 until 1931.5 The college later became known as Philippine Union College when it transferred to Baesa, a suburb of Manila. (This institution is now known as Adventist University of the Philippines.)

After earning his degree, Jose worked at the Northern Luzon Mission office, where he met a beautiful lady named Leoncia Q. Mejia of San Nicolas, Pangasinan. Leoncia was a nurse who had been baptized on March 12, 1927.6 Jose and Leoncia became close friends. This friendship eventually blossomed into a romance that resulted in marriage on May 23, 1933. The good Lord prospered Jose and Leoncia with five children: Caroline, Eliseo, Linda, Paz, and Jose Jr.

Ministry

In July 1931, Jose was employed at Northern Luzon Mission as an office worker. He became the Sabbath School and Missionary Volunteer departmental secretary.7

In 1934, the Bautistas were called as missionaries to the Japanese Mandated Islands. Their mission appointment began with a few months of language study in Japan, so they set sail on the S.S. President Hoover to Japan on February 21.8 Then they began their work in Palau, which was at that time under Japanese occupation; hence, in the Adventist geographical map, it was under Japan Union Mission. They were the first Filipino missionaries to the Pacific island. Jose was also designated as an administrator under the Japan Union Mission. From then until March 1941, the couple did their fruitful ministry and established churches in the surrounding communities of the Japanese Mandated Islands.

While assigned as a missionary on Caroline Island, Palau, Jose was also a member of the Sabbath School Department Council of the Far Eastern Division in Singapore from 1934 to 1936.9

However, due to the effects of World War II, Jose was ordered to return to the Philippines. In April 1941, he was elected as assistant director at South-Central Luzon Mission, which then had its headquarters in Lucena, a city in the southern part of Luzon, Philippines.10 This appointment was equal to the presidency of the mission at that time because foreign missionaries were barred from serving during the Japanese occupation period.11 So Jose led the progress of the work at South-Central Luzon Mission during the Japanese regime.

During the occupation years (1940–1945), the work was tough, and the challenge of administration was severe. There was no regular payroll or office work. Many denominational workers evacuated to the outskirts, and the American missionaries were forced to leave the country; those who remained were imprisoned. But despite the hardships of leadership during that time, Jose managed to lead the work at South Central Luzon Mission and serve as Religious Liberty secretary until August 1947.12 From September to December 1947, Jose was again assigned to Palau. This time he bore a heavier load because Guam, a newly opened field, was added to his area of responsibility.13 His main objective then was to conduct a missionary survey under the supervision of the Far Eastern Division, while directly reporting to the North Philippine Union Mission (NPUM).

After the war, life slowly went back to normal, and the mission work continued to grow. In January 1948, the NPUM leadership appointed Bautista to be superintendent of the Northeast Luzon Mission, supervising its former eastern provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and Nueva Viscaya.14 Later, he was elected as president and Religious Liberty secretary of the Northern Luzon Mission, a position he held until August 1949.15 Then, from September to December 1949, he was assigned to conduct a survey in Mindanao. Eventually, in January 1950, he was elected president of Southern Mindanao Mission, a position that lasted until April 1951.16

Due to Bautista’s wide experience and wisdom, the NPUM leadership, in May 1951, elected him to take over the presidency of Central Luzon Mission (CLM), a post he occupied until February 1956.17

The first development under Jose’s CLM leadership was the acquisition of a chapel and school lot in Navotas. Then, also in the early part of Bautista’s term, his team organized the following local churches: the Palauig and San Narciso churches in Zambales Province on the west coast of the mission territory; the Bacong church in Aurora Province on the eastern side; the Cabanatuan church in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, in the central plain; and the Magalang and Lubao churches in Pampanga. Other churches organized during his term were the Amacalan church in Gerona, Tarlac; the Candelaria church in Zambales; the Dau church in Pampanga; the Ebus church in Guagua, Pampanga; and the San Marcelino church in Zambales. Finally, he was instrumental in acquiring a lot for Sta. Ana church, the first Seventh-day Adventist church in the Philippines.

Bautista was voted as vice president of NPUM in 1951 while serving as president of CLM.18 Later, he served as the Northern Luzon Mission president anew from 1956 to 1958. But later in 1958, Jose was called as Sabbath School and Lay Activities secretary of NPUM, where he served until 1968. He held the longest term as a director at NPUM. Then, in 1969, he served as field secretary of NPUM, the last position he held before he retired on January 1, 1970, at the age of 61.19 His total years of service were 38 years and 6 months.

Later Life

After Bautista retired, he continued to serve and volunteered in various pastoral roles at NPUM. He did revival meetings, evangelism, and weeks of prayer in the whole Luzon area. He also continued his speaking engagements every Saturday in different churches in Metro Manila.

In 1977, Leoncia, Bautista’s beloved wife, passed away. In 1980, Bautista moved to the United States (U.S.) to join his children and their families. In the U.S., he met Elena Villanueva and married her. They lived in National City, California, until his demise on April 17, 1990.20

Contribution

Jose Bautista was the first Filipino foreign missionary to Caroline Island, Palau. Today, the Adventist community in Caroline Island has an elementary school and an academy with more than a thousand members.

Bautista was the pioneer administrator in two mission fields: Northeast Luzon Mission and Southern Mindanao Mission. Northeast Luzon Mission was organized in 1948, while the Southern Mindanao Mission has been divided into several missions. Thus, he was called “Nursery Man” by the Mizpa magazine for his church and institution planting ability while serving his territorial assignments.21

Jose Bautista was a linguist. He could speak six languages and dialects: Filipino, the national language; English; Japanese (Nihongo); Ilocano and Pangasinense, native dialects; and Palauan, a dialect.

Jose Bautista was an educator by heart. He was also a writer, regularly contributing to the Far Eastern Division Outlook and NPUM Mizpa magazines during his active duty of service. He was also an orator, being both an evangelist and a revivalist, and a champion healer of demon-possessed people. Also a champion against the offshoot movement, he defended the Seventh-day Adventist Church from many issues and remained its stalwart even after his retirement.

Sources

Ludden, Hartley. “All-Time High—Pastor Jose Bautista of the Philippines.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1970.

Mizpa, November 1968.

Mote, F. A. “With the Filipino Colporteurs.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, March 1934.

Personal Service Record of Jose O. Bautista. Central Luzon Mission (CLM) Service Record. Central Luzon Conference archives.

Personal Service Record of Jose O. Bautista. North Philippine Union Mission Service Record. North Philippine Union Conference archives.

“Responding to a call. . . .” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1934.

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

Thurston, C. F. “Japan.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1934.

Notes

  1. Personal Service Record of Jose O. Bautista, North Philippine Union Mission Service Record, North Philippine Union Conference archives.

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Personal Service Record of Jose O. Bautista, Central Luzon Mission Service Record, Central Luzon Conference archives.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. C. F. Thurston, “Japan,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1934, 6; “Responding to a call . . . ,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1934, 7.

  9. “Far Eastern Division,” Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1935), 118; “Far Eastern Division,” Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1936), 126–127.

  10. Personal Service Record of Jose O. Bautista, North Philippine Union Mission Service Record.

  11. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1942), 105. Cf. Hartley Ludden, “All-Time High—Pastor Jose Bautista of the Philippines,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1970, 16.

  12. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1942), 105.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1948), 113.

  15. Personal Service Record, Jose O. Bautista, North Philippine Union Mission Service Record.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Ibid.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Ludden, “All-Time High,” 16.

  20. Jose Bautista Jr., son of Jose Bautista, email to author, November 7, 2017.

  21. Mizpa, November 1968, 6.

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Bacdayan, Israel Haluber. "Bautista, Jose Ocampo (1909–1990)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=ACHU.

Bacdayan, Israel Haluber. "Bautista, Jose Ocampo (1909–1990)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access September 23, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=ACHU.

Bacdayan, Israel Haluber (2021, April 28). Bautista, Jose Ocampo (1909–1990). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved September 23, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=ACHU.