The work in the Philippines is going forward and we are very busy. There are currently eight historic Seventh-day Adventist pastors and we have plans to increase that number to 10 very soon. Their work is mainly evangelism and also visiting and strengthening and organizing the home churches. In April we had a month long training session for the young people which was followed by a month long evangelistic series in Roblon. They learned how to go door to door and sing for the people and give health talks and Bible studies in their homes.
At first the meetings in Roblon were in the open air but when rain interfered we rented a very old condemned school building and completed the series there. Our evangelistic meetings could be helped with a tent and a good PA system. The young people were active in visitation in the villages during the day and assisting the ministers with the meetings each evening. There are about thirty-five young people who are involved in Bible work. But after we trained them we have no more funds to support them in their work. All of the pastors have given up good jobs to go into full time gospel work and they and their families often suffer want as they sacrifice for the work.
We recently held a campmeeting on Palawan. There are two home church groups there who have been constructing church buildings. We are thankful to the supporters of Steps to Life for assisting financially so that these buildings could be completed.
We have been receiving many urgent calls from groups of Catholics (the Philippines is 80-85 % Catholic) who are asking to hear our message. Brother Jun Mendoza and Brother Willie just returned from meeting with a group in Urdaneta Pangasinan in central Luzon. This was a group of Catholics, mostly professional people, who have been studying the Bible and have their own chapel. They were very open to the health message and some became vegetarians immediately. They also enjoyed the messages of prophecy. They asked us to give a series of studies. Hopefully we will be returning soon.
Some of the pastors have been requested by conference SDA churches to give presentations on health and prophecy topics and we have seen some changes with a growing openness. They have learned that Elder Ralph Larson has helped our work and they are more open since he is highly respected here because he taught here in the seminary for many years. Also, we have been explaining about historic Adventist. They know the older conservative Adventists don’t cook on Sabbath and are health reformers and they know that we believe these things and they ask if we are “original” and we say yes we are original or historic Adventist. One young lady from a home church was asked to give health lectures during the first half hour of a radio broadcast sponsored by a conference church and this is working well. We are slowly able to present the Spirit of Prophecy to them. We are praying for a reformation.
One pastor in Palawan has been asked by a group of SDA students in the public university to start a study with them. This is a group of several hundred young people. This will involve a great deal of travel which is costly.
We are moving forward with organizing the home churches with each group electing elders, deacons, a treasurer and clerk. We have been having meetings to decide on the best way to organize for the improvement of the evangelistic work so that we work like a team. We have read of the organization in Ghana and see that it benefits their efforts to have organization.
We have difficulty visiting the many home churches scattered throughout the provinces. Some of the young people are studying under the pastors and are visiting some of the remote home churches. The young people are learning to carry some of the pastorial duties of the pastors.
Brother Willie will be traveling to Mindanao soon to meet with the home churches and to visit the home church school on that island. Workers on this island have a vegetarian restaurant and bakery and often give Daniel and Revelation seminars in cottage meetings. They also have a radio broadcast.
The headquarters for the Philippine work will be in Mindoro on a property which has been donated. This property is in need of some repairs but it includes a large home which can house the offices and a building which was once a shoe factory which can be used for a training center and possibly contain a publishing work in the future. Renovations and office equipment are needed to furnish this facility.
Plans are being made for a program of medical missionary training for the many young people who have requested this training. The curriculum is being prepared now. They will be learning the eight laws of health and also hydrotherapy and simple home remedies. This training will be held in the old shoe factory on Mindoro during the month of August.
We continue to have a radio broadcast in Manila which has one half hour of health lectures and one half hour of evangelistic Bible sermons. The funding for this broadcast will end in a few months. There have been many calls and requests for literature through this broadcast but the supply of books is inadequate.
There is so much work that we are not able to answer all the calls. The people are open when we go door to door and we can always find interested people who wish to study. We have willing workers but limited funds which keep us from doing all that we want to do.
There are workers who wish to start a Bible Correspondence school and others who want to open a sanitarium. When there are funds to copy tracts and literature this is used quickly to meet requests. Many home churches are active in literature distribution.
We want to thank the supporters of Steps to Life for the assistance with books and child evangelism materials, for help to complete construction of the chapels and also for your prayers.
Editor’s Note: This report is from Willie Manipol, Dave Matudan, Jr., and other pastors and workers in the Philippines. It contains excerpts from recent phone conversations and letters, which have been edited for this publication.