In the Philippines
“Everyone who receives the light of truth should be taught to bear the light to others. Our missionaries in foreign lands should gratefully accept every help, every facility, offered them. They must be willing to run some risk, to venture something. It is not pleasing to God that we defer present opportunities for doing good, in hope of accomplishing a greater work in the future. Each should follow the leadings of Providence, not consulting self-interest, and not trusting wholly to his own judgment. Some may be so constituted as to see failure where God intends success; they may see only giants and walled cities, where others, with clearer vision, see also God and angels ready to give victory to His truth.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 392.
Is this our experience? Are we seeing only walled cities and giants that we think cannot be overcome? God wants to give us a clearer vision of how we are to finish the work He has given us. He wants us to see the souls that are ready to
come into the fold but are waiting for an invitation.
The disciples had this experience in Samaria when Jesus was talking
to the woman at the well. The disciples had gone to buy food; and upon returning, they saw Jesus rapt in mediation. They urged Him to eat the food that had been purchased, but He refused! “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34. Jesus then spoke these words that may have even startled us. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.” John 4:35-38.
The disciples saw only Jesus wearied and worn from travel. They saw only a woman whom they despised as a heathen. What Jesus saw was a multitude of people that were going to be a part His fold through the witness of this one person.
We are told that this woman was a more effective missionary than Jesus’ own disciples. “As soon as she had found the Savior the Samaritan woman brought others to Him. She proved herself a more effective missionary than His own disciples. The disciples saw nothing in Samaria to indicate that it was an encouraging field. Their thoughts were fixed upon a great work to be done in the future. They did not see that right around them was a harvest to be gathered. But through the woman whom they despised, a whole city full were brought to hear the Savior. She carried the light at once to her countrymen.” Desire of Ages, 19. We need to have the same vision of the work that Jesus had that day at Jacob’s well.
There is a man that I met for the first time in 2010 in the Philippines that has such a vision. He is not looking at converting one or two people for the kingdom. He has his sights pointed at a whole denomination!
When I travel to foreign countries to see how the work is progressing, I am blessed to meet the souls that are being won to thetruth through the workers. But I have never before seen whole churches that are being converted to the Seventh-day Adventist message.
This faithful worker is named Pastor Aque. He has not always been a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. For twenty-five years he was a priest in the Remnant Family of God Church. This organization was a breakaway church from the Roman Catholic faith. They differ with the Roman Catholic Church in a minor point. There were some in the Roman Catholic faith that came to believe that a man by the name of José Rizal, who worked to help the Philippines gain their independence from Spain in the late 1800s, was an apostle of God and that he was to be worshiped. This is what caused the “Remnant” church to break away and start this church.
It was during Pastor Aque’s tenure as a priest that he met a layman from the Seventh-day Adventist church who began to have Bible studies with him. Pastor Aque soon accepted the Seventh-day Adventist message with a lot of apprehension. He did not know how he was going to make a living so he could support his family, but he stepped out in faith, trusting in God to care for his needs. Since then, he has spent his last six years serving as a Seventh-day Adventist layman, building churches and winning souls to the Lord.
It was by Providence in 2009 that he met another church leader by the name of Rico. Rico was the head of another breakaway church of the Roman Catholics. They are very similar to the “Remnant Family of God.” Both worship the man José Rizal, but they were under two separate leaders. Pastor Aque asked Rico if he would like to start studying the Bible together. Rico was excited when he started learning about the Sabbath and the Three Angels’ Messages. It was not long ago that he accepted the entire message and has fully joined with Pastor Aque and the other faithful believers.
Rico is the head of a collection of churches called IFRA DA BEKS, (Iglesia Filipia Rizal Apostol sa Dios Amahan sa Balaar Espiritu ni Kristo sa Silangan) consisting of about 60 churches scattered around the Philippines. Since learning about the message, he has a burning desire to have the churches that he is leading hear what he has been learning. Rico asked Pastor Aque if he would travel to the various churches around the country and preach to the people under his care.
Pastor Aque started working with a church that was near where he resides in Davao Oriental. He began studying with the leader of the church, who gave him much resistance to the Sabbath and the other particular points of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Pastor Aque continued to pray and work with this man until he finally saw the truth and started to obey the message that he was hearing. The Sabbath was a particularly difficult point for this leader. It would mean giving up Sunday worship and all the idolatrous ideas with which he had grown up throughout his life. But he finally gave in to the Holy Spirit, Who was saying, “This is the way, walk ye it.”
It was during this time that another providential meeting took place with Pastor Aque. He needed someone to help him with this enormous task of reaching all of these churches. A church that Mission Projects International had established many years ago had a lay worker who met Pastor Aque for the first time and became friends with him. He then introduced Pastor Aque to an evangelist that he knew, who Mission Projects International had been supporting for years, Pastor Nanding Cabahug.
This was just the help that Pastor Aque needed. Shortly after meeting Pastor Nanding, he invited him to come and do a series of meetings within the La Esparanza church (IFRA DA BEKS). To make a long story short, nearly the whole church converted to the Adventist faith a few months after listening to a series of lectures by Pastor Nanding and receiving personal Bible studies in their homes.
When I traveled to the Philippines in June, I had the privilege of baptizing 19 souls who had given themselves to the Lord and are committed to obeying the truth. In all, there are over 40 persons who have been baptized from this church.
Pastor Aque did not stop there. He made his way to another IFRA DA BEKS church and began to work with the priest of the congregation. Again the Lord gave him success in his Bible studies with this man. He, too, accepted the truth about the Sabbath and the Three Angels’ Messages and wanted the whole congregation to hear this startling message. Pastor Nanding was called to come and conduct a prophecy seminar in the church, and again nearly the whole church converted to the message.
So far there have been four churches that have accepted the Seventh-day Adventist message, but there are 60 other IFRA DA BEKS churches that are hearing about the new truths being taught in their sister churches and are calling Rico, inquiring if he could send someone to come and preach to them.
There are many more churches that could come to the faith if they had the opportunity to hear the messages that have been presented in other churches. Please pray for the success of the missionary endeavors of Pastor Aque, Pastor Nanding and the other faithful laborers in the Philippines who are working to advance God’s work in their part of the harvest field.
By Pastor Mike Bauler. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Support for the work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.