By Jim McDonald
Wisdom teaches that “tools” to do a work may become antiquated and ineffective. For decades radio preaching here in the States was a great tool through which many learned the gospel. “Running debates” were conducted with various denominational preachers in many locales and in some instances, formal debates were conducted over the air. While it is not true that no good today comes from radio preaching, we readily acknowledge that it is no longer as effective as it once was.
Wisdom also teaches that what does not work in some places may be the very thing needed to accomplish work in another place. Radio preaching may not be very effective in the U.S. but it is highly profitable in the Philippines at least in some parts. Four men who were recently baptized were all denominational preachers who were converted through listening to a radio program aired each Sunday afternoon from Davao City, southern Mindanao. Jerry Casa directs the program and is helped by Julie Notarte and Wilfredo Canas, as well as other men of the region. The picture shows Ken Marrs speaking on this program during our most recent visit to this region, June 1997.
What is happening in Davao City is being duplicated in Cordon, Isabela, northeast central Luzon. Domie Jacob, preacher in Cordon, has a Saturday program and from it many have been baptized and at least two congregations of the “one-cup” persuasion have come to a better knowledge of the truth. I met two former “one-cup” preachers in May in Ilagan, Isabela who had given up their errors on that doctrine, both of whom had come to a more perfect knowledge of truth through the radio, although one had learned the truth through Domie’s preaching and a second led to a better understanding through a program directed by Romeo Torreliza in northwestern Luzon.
There are likely 40 congregations in the Cagayan Valley (northeast Luzon) many of which are the result of radio preaching. Rody Gumpad conducted a radio program for many years in Tuguegarao and in our visits to that area we met many people who had been converted through hearing his pro-gram. Two other programs have been or are still being heard in Tuguegarao one is conducted by Neo Aglugub and Robert Gamiao and these have borne fruit for the cause of our Lord. Within the last year a program has been broadcast in Manila, the only one in this vast city of 10,000,000 people. Ben Cruz, Fred Agulto, and Jaime Bobis are the most frequent speakers, but others also from the Manila area speak on the program. Much interest is being fueled through this program.
We do not claim that every program conducted in the Philippines has been a success as in these instances we record. Some have met with minimal success. Several factors enter into successful radio preaching, not the least of which is the state of the heart of the hearer and the ability and knowledge of the speaker.
For those places where the gospel is aired, there are dozens of other places where there is no such voice places which desperately need an avenue to sound forth the Word. Three such places presently come to mind where we believe a radio program would help greatly promote the cause of our Lord.
The island of Mindoro is the home of brother D. Menor, a pioneer preacher who was widely known in past years. Brother Menor’s health and age do not permit him to be very active now, but there are some strong, faithful and able men who live here. In past years the work was more prosperous than now. According to brethren there, there are 17 congregations still active but several congregations which once met, no longer assemble. The preachers are older, perhaps more mature men, but there are very few younger preachers preaching on the island. The work could be helped, we believe, through a program that would reach all over the island. Elesio Sikat of Aurora is well respected and has the capability and knowledge to handle an effective radio program.
Cebu City is the second largest city in the Philippines. There are just two or three congregations in this huge, sprawling metropolis and these are extremely weak and small. Cebu City is in the center of the Visayas and a radio program radiating from here would be heard in many other islands, as well as Cebu. Cirilio Sumabol is one of the preachers in Cebu City and has been searching out stations from which the Word might be sounded forth.
Ben Libertino lives in Poblacion 5, Midsayap, Cotabato, in the midst of southern Mindanao. Brethren in this area have suffered much and still suffer in this region afflicted by Muslim rebels. Homes and church buildings have been burned, as well as crops. Some brethren have been killed. Others have fled, but Ben and Virgil Vilanueva and other preachers remain to preach to their people. Ben believes a program would be highly effective, aired from Cotabato City. Not only could the lost hear the gospel but distressed brethren could be encouraged and given strength to stand amidst their trials and persecutions.
No one knows what might result should these broadcasts materialize. God’s word is “quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword”; it is God’s power unto salvation (Heb. 4:12; Rom. 1:16). Thousands have already been converted in the Philippines. Thousands, hopefully millions, can be. Are you interested in helping to preach the gospel via radio in either Mindoro, Cebu City, or in southern Mindanao? I will be happy to provide further information about whom you may contact for those who have such a desire.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 23 p. 8-9
December 4, 1997