Remembering Pastor Jocelyn Tubongbanua Bachoco (October 7, 1960 – June 22, 2014)

This year we mourn the passing of Pastor Jocelyn Bachoco who died last June 22, 2014. Despite the suffering, especially on her final bout with cancer on the last week of April up to the month of June, Pastor Jocelyn never doubted the goodness of God in her life. When she realized that medical intervention could not reverse her condition, she said: “Let God’s will be done; whatever happens I am ready.” This is evidence that there was peace in her heart even though cancer was draining the life out of her. She had peace that was based on the assurance of eternal inheritance waiting for her in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Deep in our hearts as family and friends, we know that she has lived out this peace. Even in her final moment, her husband Pastor Benjie Bachoco and their eldest daughter Jalyn told us of her very calm countenance.

The internment service was held on June 26, 2014 in Pastor Jocelyn’s hometown at Bantud Fabrica, Dumangas, Iloilo. The JECPP Spiritual Leaders present were Pastor Andrew Kwong, Pastor Rowena Kwong and daughter Kristy Kwong, Pastor Peter Wee, Pastor Chuck Chua, and Pastor Benjamin Chavez. During the internment service, the Spiritual Leaders talked about how they remembered Pastor Jocelyn as a wife, mother, and minister. Pastor Andrew based his message on Psalm 116:15 which says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. Pastor Andrew recalled the sufferings of Pastor Jocelyn in the last few weeks of her life, such as how she would struggle walking with measured steps to the toilet to relieve herself. As he was talking about these things, Pastor Andrew was teary eyed and very emotional, but he further stressed that, though Pastor Jocelyn suffered terribly from cancer, she did not die in vain, for at present, she is already in heaven, free from pain, tears, and the terrible suffering she had undergone in the last months of her life. Truly she is in a better position now.

Pastor Wee, on the other hand, recalled how he and Pastor Christine met Pastor Jocelyn for the first time in 1994, and how they prayed for her to meet the man of her dreams, and how that prayer was answered when in 1995, a young man named Honorio Bachoco Jr. courted her and later became her husband when they wed in 1996. Lastly, Pastor Chuck recalled how he had come to know Pastor Jocelyn as a woman of small stature but with a big heart to serve God. She was one of the first church planters to be sent out to the island of Guimaras.

After the internment service, we traveled back to Iloilo City with the joy of the Lord, because we know that death did not have the final say in Pastor Jocelyn’s life. Although we mourn her physical absence, we know our separation from each other is but temporary.

Finally, the day came when Pastor Jocelyn’s body was to be brought to its final resting place. The burial service was held at the Tubongbanua’s ancestral home in Bantud Fabrica Dumangas Iloilo on June 30, 2014 at 1:00 in the afternoon. The service was conducted by Pastor Jessie Yu, Pastor Benjamin Chavez, and Pastor Bernardo de Jesus Jr. During the service, Pastor Benjie Chavez delivered to us a message entitled: “What does a Christian gain when he dies?” The message was based on Philippians 1:21 where Paul wrote, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Pastor Benjie stressed that for a saint to die in the Lord is no loss at all but gain. Death is not a hopeless condition as many see it, but being finally delivered from the pain and suffering of the world and entering into everlasting peace in heaven.  He stressed that in death, a Christian gains “a glorious inheritance.” After this, a special tribute was given by Pastor Lilibeth Fabales and Pastor Lourgue Jimenez. Pastor Lilibeth remembered Pastor Jocelyn as a close friend, who along with her, overcame many storms in life, especially in the ministry. Pastor Lourgue, on the other hand, remembered her as the pastor who led her to Jesus. She remembered how Pastor Jocelyn’s faithful follow-up had influenced her life for Jesus.

After the service, we all proceeded to the Dumangas public cemetery where Pastor Jocelyn’s body was laid to rest. It was a very emotional time for the Tubongbanua and Bachoco families. To part with a beloved is never easy. In our hearts we said our sad “goodbyes” and joyful “see you again” to Pastor Jocelyn.  As what Max Lucado states,  “For the Christian, a goodbye today will turn out to be a hello tomorrow”.  Praise God for this glorious inheritance!

We would like to thank JECPP for their encouragement to the Bachoco family; all the WV planters for their love and support; the EFC Ajuy music team for their anointed song numbers; Jalyn and Riolyn Bachoco for courageously dedicating a song number to their mother; and all relatives and friends of the Tubongbanua and Bachoco families who have shown their love and support in this time of bereavement.