By Harold V. Trimble
On April the first of 1976, Herb and Eva Waddell of Bremerton, Washington took my wife and me to Vancouver B. C. where I emplaned on a J.A.L. 747 to fly directly over to the North Pole to Tokyo and the next day to Manila, R.P.1, My son, John David, a pilot with Eastern Airlines, obtained a reduced rate, “tourist”, enabling me to return part of the money, four hundred dollars, to four different churches.
About forty to fifty brethren greeted me warmly with garlands and necklaces. I yelled “Mabuhay” (long live, or viva!) and they responded warmly. I then told them I loved them in the Tagalog dialect and they all yelled. We were as one from that moment.
For a week I preached morning, noon and night hi and around the city awaiting the coming of Jady Copeland. Combating the noise of dogs’ barking, hogs’ squealing, and horns’ blowing along with breathing the Manila smog, bumper to bumper black exhaust smoke and fumes, my throat was soon made raw but I had to keep on preaching!
Jady’s arrival was most welcome and exuberant. He and I had planned to take one day a week for rest but it was not to be! Leaving Manila with three traveling companions, Billy Hayuhay, Noli Villamore, and Victor Tibayan Jr., we went to Davao by plane. (This same flight was the one later captured by dissidents when thirteen people died and the plane was destroyed).Many brethren met and welcomed us in the Mindinao area. We went to the hotel for two hours of rest and then started out, rounds in the city and in the barrios.
Jady went with Brethren Romulo and Ruben Agduma and I went with Ruben Notarte, who interpreted for me, and with many other preachers who accompanied each of us. Some “thugs” determined to force us to ride their old Jeepney and when we got on a-bus they surrounded the bus and would not let it go. A large crowd began to gather and these men pounded on the side (one got on top and was pounding!) and we were plenty glad to see soldiers with machine guns appear to force them to let us go, Moslem dissidents have burned many “houses” of the saints within this area and they are now displaced persons. Soldiers in sandbagged machine gun nests checked travelers about each four or five miles. We heard shots fifed during the night arid prayed for all of them and went right back to a tired sleep.
Vehicles were rough and roads rougher and my hips were tenderized from riding on boards covered with plastic and no padding. It was fortunate that we did get one day’s rest during the month for Jady got sick that day and we both needed rest. Eating dog, and drinking boiled water combined with the heat and taking baths in dish pans with cold water, hand pumped right out of the wells surely would not classify this as a pleasure trip.
Many of the preachers whom Americans support went with and stayed with us as much of the time as they could and would have been with us the whole month if they had the “meance” to do so. Many letters tell of local preachers’ using materials presented by us in the home congregations. We tried to strengthen doctrinally, morally and spiritually and to encourage them in the face of poverty. Many examples of sacrifice, courage and faith would put us to shame. There is the “walking preacher” who, in the heat and with feet that are sore, walks miles over mountains to preach to small poverty stricken groups. Just a little help would buy him new shoes and partial transportation.
One preacher of a denomination obeyed the gospel after preaching seventeen years in a nice church building and living in a lovely preacher’s home. His wife gave up the presidency of the women and being called on for public prayer before men. She is superintendent of a public school and very capable. It was so hard to give up instrumental music and such prestige but truth and conscience constrained them. Now they furnish their own home and he preaches in shanties leading people to the truth.
One Baptist preacher who had found the truth before our arrival had so taught the people in San Pable that we reaped a harvest of twelve, mostly Baptists. lie was asking each “Do you receive Christ as your personal Saviour”? when Eddie Ramiro said “No! No! Not that! You must confess Christ before men like this”.
Another preacher had just moved into the nice preacher’s home in Pagadian City. He had beer, “crippled by Connie Adam’s preaching and caught by ours”! When he was baptized he knew only two things; certainly as to salvation and uncertainty as to what he would do and where he would move and how he would live.
Of course there are some who are unworthy. Native preachers warn these and if they do not shape up they are marked and American supporters are notified. Brother Samodal, a capable preacher, committed fornication. Brethren separated themselves from him. His support was stopped. His original penitence (?) was not so penitent and for a long time he could not preach. He came with great sobs of grief and his body shook as tears streamed down his face. Brokenly he begged God for forgiveness and pitifully he pleaded to be restored to the favor of his brethren and have the honor to preach again.
Someone asked, “was the trip worth it”, meaning the great expense of money, time, trouble and danger. If such faith and sacrifices as described is good to see, it was worth it. If sixty people’s being baptized is right, it was worth it. If restorations save souls from death, it was worth it. If encouragement of the brethren is needed, it was worth it. If seeing people hopelessly confined to one city until they die from leprosy rejoicing in hope is beautiful, it was worth it. If seeing people willing to spend and be spent for truth’s sake is right, it was worth it.
From Manila I flew to Okinawa for five nights work and we baptized Captain Mike Head’s wife of eight years ir, the China Sea. Yes, it was worth every penny that was freely but not frivolously spent.
The “follow up” of such trips is as necessary as “the point after a touchdown” and often determines the winning or losing of the game, As many as six air mail letters a day arrive and place before us the needs of our brethren in the Islands. I have a four pound paper sack filled with as yet unanswered letters. Besides this report to niany churches and individuals I must answer each letter while doing the work of an evangelist and elder at home.
Here is what they need: Number one, they need $upport; that is $pelled $upport correctly. For one hundred dollars per month one good, capable and well recommended inan could quit his tailoring and preach full-time to his tribe. One of my faithful guards was receiving five dollars a month and it had to be stopped for legitimate reasons. His wife and daughter take in washing, by hand, but he keeps on preaching! Small amounts we would count as nothing and be ashamed to send would mean so much to them. Five dollars of our money would be thirty-five of theirs. Ten would be seventy plus and twenty would be about one hundred fifty in their nioney. Five to eight of their pesos is a days wages for laborers. More than just existence levels of support is needed for they must pay for travel to and froin and iiiany of them pay rent for meeting places, help helpless brethren, and one preacher has slept over a thousand people in his home in one year! That church in Pagadian City is growing!
They need your old song books! Often they have four or five of two or three kinds of books and try to find the sante songs with different page numbers which is confusing. They sing in English. And they need tracts by the thousands and literature as well as Bibles. Good used Bibles would be welcomed. It is cheaper to buy Bibles in their native tongue than new ones here and ship them, Commentaries, dictionaries, lexicons et ai are needed, and avidly sought and used. You wish that they had some of those that you have and are not using? Ask the local congregation to gather up from all willing givers these books and send thein on. Remember “If wishes were horses, beggers, would ride”! Don’t just wish, do something about it, now!
Yes, they need GOOD, light, used clothing but not winter clothes, Get the people in the Islands to obtain permission from their health department in writing and send this to you so you in turn can send relief. Send the packages to the church of Christ in care of (an individual), and state on the packages “Not to be sold”, and “Relief for members of the church of Christ”. Officials appropriate goods in general for relief in general.
Write me if you or the congregation v4shes to help some of these worthy people. I will send you letters from these men and YOU correspond with them. I will not become a one-man-Don Carlos Janes-missionarysocietyi Do not send money to me to send to them. I was warned before I went that their poverty and pleas for help would get to me, and they’ll get to you too! Wouldn’t you be glad to know that after four years of correspondence, patience, prayer and benevolence that you had converted a leper who in turn started the church and is now preaching the gospel of hope to the hopeless? One Ohio sister did this!
Thank each and every one of you sincerely for help and prayers in our behalf. To me this sounds so inadequate but again, heart-felt thanks!
Truth Magazine XX: 35, pp. 550-551
September 2, 1976