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Well-Known Member, Male, from Davao City
- JosephZ was last seen:
- Apr 4, 2020 at 10:01 PM
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- February 28
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- Davao City
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My name is Joseph Zanetti Jr. and I am the founder of Badjao Outreach, Inc.
Badjao Outreach, Inc. is a North Carolina Registered nonprofit which was created in 2012 after I realized the plight of the Badjao tribe in Davao City located in Southern Mindanao, the Southern most Island of the Philippines.
The Badjaos that are found in Davao City are known as sea gypsies and were formally boat dwelling people. They originated from Zamboanga, Basilan, Jolo and Tawi Tawi which make up the Sulu Archipelago in Mindanao. The Badjaos are the poorest and most marginalized ethnic group in Southeast Asia.
What started out as a simple feeding program with a small number of children has since grown into an organization which provides sponsorships for children to enroll in public schools, as well as a learning center which provides both literacy and basic skills for the children and young adults. It also provides livelihood and training programs which enable older members of the tribe to earn a sustainable income for their families.
Many people ask me why I have decided to dedicate my life to helping the Badjao and the answer is quite simple. God used them to show me what going to church and listening to countless sermons never could.
In August of 1983 at the age of 15 I asked Jesus into my heart following an evangelistic crusade which visited my hometown in North Carolina and for years afterward I attended various churches of different denominations which continued to assure me that I was "saved" at that crusade back in August of 1983.
However; despite being a "Christian", I lived a selfish and reckless life (I will spare all the ugly details). This started in high school, continued during my time in the military and for the many years that followed. All this time I believed that if something were to happen to me that I would be "OK". After all I was going to church and I had invited Jesus into my heart long before.
While I had done some good for others from time to time during my life, for the most part it was about me. That is until a trip I took half way around the world to the island of Mindanao located in the southern Philippines in 2011.
My primary reason for visiting Mindanao was a simple toothache. I had been talking online with a friend I had met on a Christian site for over a year and had always wanted to visit her, but the expense of the trip was too much for my budget. An off and on toothache finally got to the point to where it was becoming unbearable and it forced me to go to the dentist. During that visit to the dentist I learned that I was going to need to get not one, but two root canals and crowns. One of course for the tooth that was bothering me and also one for a tooth on the opposite side. The cost to do this was going to run about $4,000.
Ironically the friend I had been talking with online was renting a room from a dentist so naturally I asked about this procedure and was told that it could be done there in the Philippines for around $500. Once I heard this I decided to check prices for airfare and lodging and found that I could get the dental work done there for far less even with the travel expenses included and it would also allow me to meet my friend in one shot with change to spare. After all, why should I help pay for my dentist to have a vacation in a far away tropical paradise when I could use my hard earned money to do so myself?
It was during this visit that I meet members of a people group called the Badjao. The Badjao are a water based tribe and traditionally they live on the bounties of the sea. They are an animistic tribe for the most part, however; they do have some Islamic influence since they originate from the Muslim regions of Southeast Asia. Due to conflict, piracy, and lack of opportunity, many Badjao have left their ancestral waters and traveled to larger cities far removed from these hardships in search of a better life. Unfortunately most find that the urban areas have little to offer them and many are forced to begging in the streets as a means to survive.
My friend attended a church in the city proper of Davao and each Sunday there would be a group of mostly young Badjao, teenagers and children, standing in front of the church building begging for coins. To be honest I didn't like the Badjao at first, not many people do. They are known for having have poor hygiene, lack proper manors, and could be very aggravating especially when they are in dire need of money. But even then, each Sunday I would make sure I had enough five peso coins to give out to each of these Badjao beggars. I would hand them a coin, they would always say thank you, and then move along to the next prospect.
My trip would last for four weeks and it was on the final weekend of attending church that something out of the ordinary occurred. I gave the begging Badjaos each a coin as I always had, but this time rather than walk away, three young girls began to follow my friend and I as we walked from the church towards the city center to get something to eat. Two of the girls were in their teens, and the youngest was probably around seven years old.
The three girls continued to follow us with their bare feet despite the pavement being scorching hot from the afternoon sun. I guess they had been doing so for so long that they had become immune to the pain.
We tried our best to ignore them as we walked, but when the youngest of the three girls tugged at my shirt, I had no choice but to acknowledge them.
“Get your dirty hands off me!” I said quite loudly. I had become very upset at this point.
“Go away! I gave you money already!"
What happened next caught me completely off guard. The oldest of the three girls asked the other two to give her the coins I had given them earlier. She then attempted to return the three five peso coins to me. As she handed them to me, one of the coins slipped through my fingers and dropped into a puddle of water. I reached down to retrieve the coin and in doing so my hands got pretty dirty. The girl then reached out for the hem of her rainbow colored malong, a traditional “tube skirt” she had pulled up to her waist. A malong can also be used as a blanket, hammock, baby carrier, practically anything within the stretch of one’s creativity and necessity.
The girl then used the cleanest part of the cloth to meticulously wipe the dirt and grime off my hands and once finished, she just looked at me and smiled. The three Badjao girls then turned and walked away.
At that very moment it was like there was nothing or anyone else around. I couldn’t even hear the sound of traffic passing by. I didn't even notice that my friend had slipped away moments earlier and continued up the street without me. It was as if someone had slammed me to the pavement and I could see my old self lying lifeless on the ground. It was a very powerful and life changing moment.
It was also at that very instant that I realized that I had been wrong for so many years. Not just wrong for living the way I had up until that point, but wrong for believing I was saved, wrong for believing that I was a Christian! I immediately knew without a doubt that had I died prior to that encounter with the three young Badjao girls, I would have spent an eternity separated from God.
Needless to say, I left my old self lying there in the street that day. I would return to the room I was staying in and with tears rolling down my face, thank God for preserving my life until that moment and thanking Him for using those three Badjao girls to show me the truth.
It's truly amazing how God works sometimes. It took these three three children from a pagan tribe half way around the world to show me what a lifetime of going to church, countless pastors, Sunday school classes, and even my own Christian parents could not. And while my salvation comes only through Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for us, God used the Badjao to reveal this to me. It's for this reason that I have committed the rest of my life to helping the Badjao, because the way I see it, I owe them a debt that can never be repaid.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
What I believe:
I believe there is only one God, but He manifests Himself in three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth. God made man, male and female, in his own image so that man might have fellowship with him.
I believe Jesus Christ is the eternal God. He humbled himself and became a human being. He was born of the Virgin Mary and lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father. He died on the cross to pay the penalty of human sin. He offers us forgiveness. He rose from the dead. His resurrection is the basis for our hope. He promises eternal life to those who trust in Him. He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth, and dwells within the believer. The Holy Spirit also empowers believers for Christian witness and service.
I believe the Bible is inerrant, inspired by God, and our only source of authority for faith and practice. The Bible is literal truth, is to be taken as such, and is the primary source of revelation for knowing God.
I believe that all men have sinned and God’s righteous judgment for sin is spiritual death. God has provided for our sin through His Son Jesus Christ who died in our place to atone for our sin and rose that we might have life. Salvation is of faith alone and cannot be earned. It is a gift of God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Those alive in Christ will enjoy the fulfillment of His kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth.
I believe it is each person’s responsibility to repent, or turn away from unbelief and rebellion against God and acknowledge their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. Repentance from our sins comes by the help of the Holy Spirit in us. Sanctification is a progressive work by which the believer becomes more and more free from sin and more and more like Christ and is an ongoing process from the time of our salvation until our physical bodies die. This process is not of our own doing and is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20) Just as salvation does not depend on our works, neither does sanctification. Both are the work of God by His grace.
I believe the Church is the body of Christ, composed of all believers everywhere, with Christ as the Head and the Bible has given us foundation practices for maturing of the Church.
I believe each member of the Body of Christ should have a Christian walk that is in accord with the teaching of Scripture.
- Walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10)
- Walk worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1)
- Walk not as others walk (Ephesians 4:17)
I believe that evangelism is the obligation of every follower of Jesus Christ and that each person should share the gospel as the Holy Spirit leads them and gives them the ability.
I believe that both men and women, single and married, are encouraged to serve Christ.
Signature"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4