By Jerry Parks
Through the generosity of many, another preaching trip to the Philippines, has been accomplished. Brother John Humphries was my traveling companion again this year. Brother Humphries and I have been working together on such preaching trips since 1986. 1 could not ask for a better co-laborer in the gospel. John is a veteran of many trips overseas and knows what he is doing. His teaching is rich and powerful and he is an encouragement everywhere he goes. We enjoy our time together but because we can accomplish more by going in different directions, we actually spend very little time together. We simply touch base with one another from time to time to make sure that all is well.
With each trip overseas to the Philippines and other third world countries, it seems to get more and more difficult and takes longer to recuperate. But with each trip, I can see more and more the value of such efforts and especially the need to continue making such trips. I feel confident that we are becoming well adopted to the ways and needs and problems of the Filipino brethren. Each year we meet and become better acquainted with more and more of the brethren. Each year we have opportunity to work with and stay in the homes of those who are striving to preach Christ in that difficult part of the world. Most of the brethren seem comfortable when we’re in their presence. The novelty and tension of an American in their midst seems to have subsided. The brethren seem more at ease and willing to concentrate as we conduct Bible classes and give advice in trying to help them solve problems that exist between brethren.
We spent the first week together conducting classes at brother Ben Cruz’s house in Manila. The national elections which were underway when we arrived, kept us from doing any real traveling till after May 11th. While at Manila, John taught a series of lessons on the book of Daniel and I presented a series of lessons on the seven churches of Asia.
On May 12th John continued his studies in Manila while I traveled by bus to Hagonoy for a visit with the Agulto family. Two were baptized there, then the next day I traveled by bus to Tarlac (the Mt. Pinatubo area) where I had an opportunity to conduct classes morning, noon, and evening in the home of brother Dominador Arcega at. San Felipe. I spent one week there and seven more were baptized. I also had opportunity to visit with brethren in five other congregations while staying in the home of brother Arcega.
After my stay in Tarlac District I returned to Manila and traveled with brother Ben Cruz to Pampanga District. Ben had converted a man shortly before that time who was from that village. The man returned to his home place and told the others about the pure gospel of Christ. When we arrived, the entire village was eagerly waiting our arrival. Included in that number was a denominational preacher who questioned me for hours after I had finished preaching about the one true church. Consequently, he and a number of the others in the village were baptized when brother Humphries returned to that location the following week. Stories like that make the trip worthwhile, no matter how many discomforts one must endure.
On May 21st I made a quick trip to Olongapo (Subic Bay) to follow up and verify some relief efforts for the Mt. Pinatubo victims. By this time brother Humphries had departed for a one week stay in Malaysia (Borneo) to visit with several newly established congregations. Early on the morning of May 23rd, I flew to Davao City on the Island of Mindanao in the southern most part of the Philippines. While there, I stayed in the homes of brother Juanito Balbin and with brother Joy Notarte. While in that area I traveled to at least nine remote congregations traversing difficult mountain terrain through Mt. Apo, Davao Del Sur and Digos areas. These trips were made in Joy Notarte’s Volkswagon “Bug.”
On. May 27th I was joined by brother Humphries and we traveled in a Jeepney owned by brother Mainbog to Kidapawan in North Cotabato. Half way there the drive shaft fell apart and we were stranded till we could hitch a ride on another jeepney. We finally arrived at the home of brother Manibog. The next day we visited five congregations before returning by Jeepney to Davao.
On May 29th we traveled by boat to Samal Island and preached and visited brethren for several hours before returning to the home of brother Notarte to pack for our return flight to Manila.
We arrived in Manilla just in time to participate in the wedding of Teresa Cruz who was marrying a young man she personally converted from Catholicism.
In all, there were 25 baptisms that took place while we were on this trip. Many Bible classes for preachers and other interested people were conducted. Several disputes were settled and we were able to provide some much needed financial help to needy saints. That included buying food for drought victims, buying eye glasses, medicine, clothing, as well as repairing fishing boats and other equipment so brethren could once again start making a living. The drought victims living in the Davao Del Sur area have been especially hard hit and are suffering greatly. Their crops are a disaster and they have had to eat the rice that was needed for replanting, Now many are not only suffering from the lack of food and water, but also suffering from disease and sickness that always follows from such a severe drought. They are desperately in need of food and medicine and have no money to purchase such necessities. Filipino brethren from other areas are trying to help, but they need much more. I would be happy to give you the names and addresses of those to contact if you could help.
Once again, I express my appreciation to all those who make such trips possible. If I can supply you with more information about any of these matters, I would be happy to do so.
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 16, pp. 494-495
August 20, 1992