My wife and I [Pastor Herbert] were in the Philippines during the month of May 2005. The Philippines is almost on the other side of the world from Georgia, and it took us two days and 20 hours of flying time to get there. Since we arrived in Manila late in the evening and it took us a good while to get through customs, we stayed there overnight before flying to the south island of Mindanao, which is where the brethren are that we have been communicating with for almost 18 months. However, we would have missed this flight if it were not for someone who helped us. When we purchased the tickets for this last flight, we figured that they were e-tickets, and we just had to show up to check in with our luggage. But we soon discovered that we had to go to the airline office to get paper tickets printed. When we went to the office we discovered that their was 22 people ahead of us and that each person was taking a while. There was no way that we could get through in less than the two hours which we had before flight time. But an airport customer service person saw us and came and asked if there was a problem. We told him the situation, and he took us back to the airline office and went to the supervisor. The tickets were printed in 20 minutes, and he escorted us through check-in and security and even found seats for us in the waiting area! We were very thankful that the Lord provided so that we could arrive at the appointed time!
The self-supporting church that we went to meet with had been forced out of the Conference/Mission and the church that they were hoping to meet in had multiple legal issues which was not wise for them to take on. So they are currently meeting in the Academy of the church. However, one of the members has a piece of property that they were not using, so they made it available to have a Campmeeting, as well as a place for their missionaries to live and be trained. The property was down in a valley, and they appropriately named the place Hidden Valley. They had been working hard on this land for weeks leading up to our arrival: clearing the brush, erecting the shelter for the meetings, housing, kitchen, temporary camping shelters, and 95 steps down into the valley. They have networked with and revived about 10 other churches, and representatives from many of them attended the meetings.
Their 2nd Summer Youth Campmeeting (for the youth and young-at-heart!) in Hidden Valley was officially from Sunday, May 8, to Sabbath, May 14. We were the main speakers for this series of meetings; however, we also gave presentations for Prayer Meeting, Friday Vespers, and Sabbath morning and afternoon previous to this, as well as twice on their Sunday evening radio program. They wanted to learn as much as they could. Many took notes, including the young people. During the official Campmeeting time, the messages were translated. Many of the people who live in the city understand English, but many of those who live in the country do not understand English. During the week there were meetings morning, afternoon, and evening. On Friday evening we had Communion. There was one individual, the husband of one of the church members, who had been coming regularly to the meetings during the week. He had not accepted Adventism, but he was becoming convicted as he listened to the presentations. On Friday evening he participated in Communion, which was the first time he and his wife had done so together. His wife was so happy, she was just beaming with joy! On Sabbath I had the privilege of dedicating nine babies and young children and baptizing five candidates in the ocean.
The people there are very genuine and sincere. Their various challenges and disappointments have only made them stronger. They have over 20 young people available to especially work with and train as missionaries. Many of the messages we gave were geared to strengthen them in the self-supporting work and in being a self-supporting church, and to give them information on health that they can use in their outreach. The very next week after we left, they planned to go to another area for evangelism, and recently a group of 32 churches contacted them for help. Because of their growing need for material in their language, we have committed to providing them money to purchase a computer and printer so that the work of translating can go forward. They already print their own newsletter, but they have to either go to the Internet Café or borrow someone elses computer to do so, thus providing a great inconvenience to them. Let us keep them in our prayers.
(A few months later The Gilead Institute was able to provide a computer and printer for them, and they have used it for newsletters, Sabbath School lessons, and many other projects.)