Wallace H. Little
Brethren Connie Adams and J. T. Smith have reported in detail on their recent trip to the Philippines so I will not attempt to repeat this information. Instead I will introduce Brother Castorio F. Gamit, the faithful preacher from Angeles City, seventy miles north Of Manila, on the island of Luzon.
Brother Gamit was one of the first graduates of the Philippine Bible College (PBQ). Through prayerful Bible study he later learned the school was engaged in activities unauthorized in God's Word. He opposed these. For this he was vilified, railroaded from the pulpit in Olongapo by ungodly brethren using political pressure, and lost his support. When he attempted to get a secular job to provide for his family, these same carnal brethren threatened to do whatever was necessary to prevent his employment. He remained in that city another year trying to rebuild God's true church while being subjected to all manner of personal abuse. Brethren brought legal action and published false charges against him without allowing him opportunity to reply. Having sold most of his possessions by the time I met him in January 1968, he was reduced to using wooden boxes for furniture, had only the clothing he wore, was immersed in massive medical debts and yet with his wife's fall support was still faithfully proclaiming the gospel.
When I was scheduled for military transfer to South Vietnam, I urged Castorio to move to Angeles City to preach for the saints there. This group consisted of eleven Americans (eight my family) and several Filipinos plus Castorio's family. I recently received a picture from him of the Angeles church. It has grown to approximately twenty male adults, besides women and children, and attendance numbers fifty to sixty. Some might think this not much growth but consider the circumstances. Clark Air Base, with its more than 60,000 Americans and the immoral desires of many of these produced the largest "walk-in brothel, honky-tonk" area I have seen in 28 years of military service. Additionally the apostate Clark Air Base church sternly opposed Castorio. Brethren in that group have persuaded many otherwise "conservative" Christians to avoid God's real church there using methods which do no credit to the cause of Christ even if these Christians were doctrinally correct.
Castorio's detractors have charged him and other preachers supported by conservative U.S. churches with simply seeking American money for each living. In the period I worked closely with him I cannot remember the day he did not have at least one Bible study. Many times he hastened from worship to such an appointment. He and I averaged four nights a week preaching together on street corners. I have never known a preacher to work harder than he. The existence of a faithful, functioning group of God's saints in Angeles City is a direct tribute to the faithfulness of Castorio F. Gamit and his devoted and wonderfully helpful wife. He has demonstrated the falseness of charges made against him.
Reports by Mail
Below is a sampling of my mail during the last three months. Brother Santiago Ramos from Mindanao gave the following summary of his work: two restored in November, 1969 (Malabuyan), two more in December (Kabacan) when he was also forced to defend himself in court against false charges brought by liberal brethren, four baptized in January, 1970 and one each in March and April (Kabacan). In June and July he and two others conducted a series of meetings which brought the church in Luttayan to the truth on the institutional issues, one baptized and four restored in August (Butuan City), one restored in November and four more in December as a result of prolonged discussions in his home with liberal brethren (Kabacan). He participated in a two week meeting in homes in January, 1971 (New Corolla) and finally one restored in February (Kabacan). Perhaps this is not an "outstanding" record in terms of numerical responses but it should serve effectively to put to rest the charge these men are not working.
Brother Luminvi C. Celzo wrote of several liberal brethren restored and also commented on the results of the visit by Adams and Smith. Brother Linghonan G. Sendil of Mindanao told of a five day walking-preaching trip he and several others made into an area otherwise inaccessible. They preached seventeen times, sleeping where they could and depending on the traditional Filipino hospitality for food. Hs is also financing a small place of worship from his meager support. He listed seven baptisms in a meeting in Buyan Ronbosalon.
Artemio G. Labiano wrote of a preacher in Zamboanga brought to the truth on the institutional issues while Valentine Guleng and Primitivo Repollo told a church of twenty adults also persuaded to return to 6od on these things. Brother Quiriano Alipan reported fifteen restored in March and four baptized in April in Zamboanga and Limoral Ungaya of the same area wrote of an additional six baptized at the church where he preaches.
On Luzon, Jose D. Manaquil reported two baptized in Tondo and another three in Angeles City, while Maximo Roxas has been asked by a denominational group to preach for them on a regular basis to teach them the difference between the Bible and their beliefs. Carlos Azearraga in Infanta, Quezon proved the foolishness of "debates don't do any good" by baptizing seventeen into Christ as a direct result of his two more recent debates. Francisco Sumoap wrote of challenging Kenneth Wilkie (president of PBC) in his office and and the presence of a number of students from that school. Brother Wilkie refused. These brethren claim "the antis won't debate" when it must be obvious they rather are guilty of their own charge. This is especially true of the so-called American "missionaries" who infect the church there like a plague of locusts. They are afraid of a debate when their doctrine may be publicly exposed and examined by contrast with Bible teaching.
I have a number of letters reporting suffering, privation and hunger among brethren as a consequence of a series of natural disasters. The recent harvest has not eliminated these situations. One brother wrote of the death of his son, and the press of medical and burial expenses costing about $100.00 but this, amount has now been supplied by brethren in Marion (Westside) and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Also unrest similar to, but much more uncontrolled than in the U.S., had created many difficulties including riots, thefts and killings. Cecil Willis recently reported in Truth the murder of a faithful brother. He lived on Mindanao.
Filipino brethren are in need of help. First a number of faithful and able men need support to enable them to be freed from secular labor that they might preach unencumbered. Such secular work as is available requires so much of a man's time as to severely restrict his preaching. Printed materials are in short supply, including Bibles, testaments, song books, books suitable for a preacher's library and tracts. I have names and addresses of men where such material will be put to good use, and of men needing financial support to preach.
I spent two years on military duty in that nation. Since then I have repeatedly been urged to return for a visit, both to extend my acquaintance among brethren and to learn first-hand of current needs. I recognize the validity of this urging. I have declined, however, due to several significant reasons; among them: the visits of Cecil Willis and Roy Cogdill in 1970 and of J. T. Smith and Connie Adams this year. Also with the work in Marshall so small and struggling I felt it necessary that I not be gone for any extended period.
Finally I commend your attention to the reports from brethren Adams and Smith on their trip. Much and lasting good was done, and more will yet result from the efforts of these two good men and fine preachers.
The Lord permitting, in a later report I will detail some of the specific needs of particular individuals there who are worthy of support.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 41, pp. 10-12