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One More Soul Added in Mindanao

by Steve Clark

We have just returned home from a wonderful 17-day mission trip to Mindanao in the southern Philippine islands!  Bro. Larry Miles and I experienced so many things that it will be difficult to recount them in just one newsletter.  (Be sure and read “Larry’s Recollections – Part 1” on Page 4!)   I am sure you realize that this is no “vacation,” but even though you return home tired and worn out, it is more memorable and rewarding than just a week at the beach!  Why not think about going with us next year?  The Filipino people love to meet their American brothers and sisters, and they are so thankful and encouraged by our visits.  We would love to talk with you about the plans for the future!

One experience stands out in my mind, so I would like to share the story with you.  On Saturday afternoon we traveled to the city of Malaybalay to visit a member’s home for a Bible study.  There were several young men in their 20’s who had questions about becoming a Christian, and they had agreed to be there for the study.  We arrived in the “village” of 8 or 10 bamboo houses, and noticed that they shared a community hand-operated water pump where everyone came to get water for cooking and washing.  I helped a young teenage girl pump some water for her buckets, and in broken English she thanked me.  She also told me about how her boyfriend had left her and how her heart was broken.

Next to the pump was a small bamboo house on stilts, so we climbed a small ladder and sat in the outer main room.  There were four young men already there, not Christians, but carrying Bibles.  Bro. Cyrus began to share a gospel message and all in the room listened intently.  Through an opening into the next room, I could see a young woman in her 20’s lying on her back on a bamboo bench.  We were told that she lived there, but had not been able to walk for over a year, and doctors could not determine the cause of her problem.  She had an infant, but her husband had left her several months before.  She asked if they would move her bench to the opening so that she could listen.

The young men began asking questions after Bro. Cyrus ended his lesson.  I was so impressed that these young men were turning to verses in the Bible, reading them, and asking Bro. Cyrus for help in understanding.  It reminded me of the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian.  I was hoping that they would respond and say, “Here is water.  Why can’t we be baptized?”  However, that was not to be the case.  They thanked us and said they wanted to study with us some more next week.

Next came the surprise!  The girl from the other room said that she had made a decision to accept  Jesus, and wanted to be baptized, but didn’t know how we could do it.  Of course we were going to figure a way!  We decided that the next day several young men would carry her on the heavy bamboo bench, load her into a truck, and bring her to church at the new building in Malaybalay!  (Remember that new congregation where you helped to build a church building?)  After church we would load her into the truck, drive 15 miles away to the closest river bank, and they would then carry her, bench and all, into the river.  As we sang, “Oh Happy Day,” the young men marched down a very steep bank, went out to where the water was waist high, and baptized the young lady bench and all!

What a blessing to see the faith and conversion of this young woman.  How many in this country would agree to all of the steps needed to overcome the obstacles that she faced in responding to the simple Gospel call?  Pray for her strength to grow as a Christian, and pray for her healing!  Pray also for the new work at Malaybalay.  (See pictures of this and other experiences on Pages 3 and 4.)  Thank you always for your prayers and support.                                                                  (SPC)

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10