Report of My 1980 Preaching Trip To The Philippines
Wallace H. Little
In a 1977 discussion with several Filipino preachers on problems in teaching, I mentioned a series of lessons on "Methods of Teaching." They thought it would be good for me to return and teach this, providing other preachers agreed. They did. To make the series more suitable, I revised the material, reducing the number of lessons from 13 to 9. Five hundred copies were printed for distribution for attendees. I choose 13 locations where the greatest number of preachers could be reached at minimum expense to them. Other members, including wives, were also welcome to attend. The series required 21 hours of classes over three days in each place. Additionally, I discussed some problems of significance to Filipino brethren. Also, some funds had been sent to me for distribution for specific benevolence cases, although not as massive as in previous years. Another purpose was to lend whatever influence I might have to settle a long-standing dispute among brethren. I planned to preach as I was invited to do so. The trip began on the Lord's day, 16 March 1980 and ended on Saturday, 21 June 1980. Unlike previous trips, I planned this one with time for me to rest properly.
The results: I was privileged to see 26 baptized into Christ in the various places where I was privileged to preach. This was an unplanned, but certainly joyous additional consequence. 398 preachers, plus a number of others including more than a few preachers' wives, attended the classes. I had intended sending each of my supporters a copy of the notes I used for the classes, but these are all gone. Toward the end, it was even necessary to ration them so each preacher could have a copy. However, I summarized the notes at the end of the report I sent to my supporters. The classes themselves, plus other teaching and preaching, gave me an average of 30 hours of teaching each week. I missed preaching one Lord's day when I was ill and was unable to assemble with the saints. Finally, I have written an individual report on each supported man, to be sent to those who are supporting.
Success in helping brethren solve their problems is not yet completely measureable. It will take time to see how much fruit this will bear. I pray this was successful, for the preacher-envy there has been the plague on that work for 15 years. Distribution of benevolence and other financial matters are included in a report to my supporters which contains an audit of these things prepared by a professional in that field, that brethren might be assured proper stewardship has been exercised.
I planned an average expense of $30.00 per day, apart from transportation and miscellaneous costs. It turned out to be closer to $50.00, for several reasons. First, there was an inflation increase of more than 25% from the time I planned the trip until I arrived. Second, one week after I arrived, the government announced a 26% across the board increase on hotel cost and related charges. Third, a similar increase was allowed for restaurants.
I contracted pneumonia, and added to the other expenses, was a stay in the hospital, plus the medicine and doctor bills for it. More importantly, I lost four days of work, and that hurt badly.
Brethren supporting me over-subscribed, which turned out to be fortunate because of the increased costs. Even so, for the last month prior to my departure, I turned back a number of offers of additional financial help. Those funds remaining will be returned to my supporters on a basis proportionate to their financial assistance.
One congregation offered $1500.00 for trip expenses. When I informed these good brethren I already had sufficient, they asked me to use the funds to purchase and distribute Bibles there. This was done so each preacher received at least one Bible in his native dialect. There are 116 major and minor recorded dialects, greatly complicating the teaching problem. The need for dialect Bibles is to permit preachers to teach those whose English is inadequate to this. In this future, I hope more dialect Bibles can be purchased and distributed. The ultimate solution to the language problem is the government's plan to make the Philippines a bi-lingual nation within a generaion. Tagalong and English will be the two languages. The short term solution is a 3-language interlinear translation based on the 1901. Competent men are presently at work on this. Before the end of 1980, 1 hope to have enough of a sample completed (perhaps the entire book of Matthew) to enable me to make an effective presentation to raise the funds to complete this work and get it into the hands of preachers there.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 34, p. 555