Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day One In the Philippines

After getting off the plane, a filled to the brim, somewhat ancient 747, we stormed the Hong Kong airport in search of something….uh…western, I guess. In other words, only away from our home shores for a dozen hours or so, the urge for a friendly sign or a recognizable something was strong.

Starbucks to the rescue. I paid for it in Hong Kong dollars on my debit card, and honestly, have no idea if it cost the equivalent of two American dollars or twenty. Frankly, I didn’t care. Just pour the stuff down my throat!

We made a quick walk to our connecting flight to Manila, coffee cups in hand. Comforted in the fact that (watch out for the ear worm to come!) “it’s a small world after all!” ARRRRGGGGHHHH.

After landing in Manila, we met the first two people from Bible League International. All smiles, they were so friendly and glad to see us. We went straight to the hotel to check in, spend a few minutes freshening up from the trip, then off to the Bible League headquarters. In the video below, you'll see some of the staff, hear a wonderful testimony from Linda and see the storage facilities that need to be filled up with Bibles for them to share with their fellow countrymen.

The staff spent time making us feel welcome and sharing insights to the ministry in the Philippines. I was impressed by their passion for their work and the depth of love they have for their people.

From a purely educational standpoint, it only took a few minutes to open my eyes to the scope of the need in those thousands of islands. Yes, I said thousands. Before our orientation, I suppose I thought of the Philippines as a handful of islands in the far western Pacific. There are over 7100 islands that make up this country and over half of them are inhabited! Amazing. Immediately, you realize the need to get the Word of God in to their hands, introduce them to the Liberating Christ. And the need for copies of scripture is tremendous. That’s why we’re here.

Bible League International is represented in 60 countries. First, let me tell you what their mission is NOT. It is not to fly over a country or even a village and drop Bibles on their heads. It is not to knock on the door of a hut, put a Bible on the ground and run! It is not to leave boxes of scripture on the ground in the village square and hope they are found.

What they DO is this. Utilize local pastors and other believers that can share the Word with others. When the connection is made, the individual stays with the new prospective student of the Word, meets with them regularly, teaches, shows them answers to questions about life in God’s Word – first through a little book called “The Answer.” When that is complete, they are included in a small group study, included in a local body, then they become owners of their own Bible.

Now look, I can’t speak for you, but I have, oh, at least 10 Bibles of various and sundry translations. These folks value and treasure this one copy like no other earthly thing they possess. It’s beyond special to them.

Makes me want to re-assess my property and the value I place on certain things that are really no more than just that . . . things. Let the appraisals begin!



Anonymous said...

How exciting...but now I feel like Paul Harvey...What is the rest of the story? What a precious beginning. I'm already anxious to find out all the stories of things that happened and people you met that you influenced or that had an impact on you. Okay ..Ready?....Spill it...don't leave out one detail. I'm living out mission work vicariously through you today.( My teaching job is missionary work of sorts. I get to share a little wisdom and influence their lives for the better on so many levels--educationlly and personally)Foreign mission work will always have a special place in my heart.Keep us posted!

Jay said...

Wayne, I'm so thankful you made this trip. We've been cross-cultural missionaries for 31 years and I've been a fan since before that, I think. Talking to you once after a concert I challenged you to write/sing even more about our Lord's Great Commission. Now you're on this trip with a fine ministry that I know and value. Make sure you ALSO learn about how gifts to TBL are used several times over; first to Bibles and biblical literature...and then, via proceeds, to CHURCH PLANTING.
Press on!