John Mastin - Carsonville, Michigan - Tuesday Night Meeting, 2007

Geographically, the Philippines are in Asia.  It is the only Christian nation in Asia.  It doesn't mean that they are moral, upstanding people.  Lots never go to church.  It's a wonderful advantage that they do know about the Bible, that there is a God, and Jesus is the Son of God.  



The Philippines are clear on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.  You come to the Hawaiian Islands first, then continue west, you come to a large group of islands called Micronesia.  They are small and far apart.  After you pass these islands, you come to the Philippines.  There are 7 islands and 85 million people.  There are 60 workers, 45 of which are local. 



One native has just recently joined the staff. She professed 3 or 4 years ago.  Seventeen years ago, she left to go overseas to work as a maid.  She found a job in Singapore in the home of our friends. He was a doctor, and he and his wife both worked. She cared for the children.  Three or four years ago, her heart was touched and she was moved to serve God.  She has a wonderful testimony.  Our friends for whom she worked love her dearly.  The children think of her like their mother. 



About a year ago, Irwin Heist, our overseer, received a letter about Rowena from Singapore.  The overseer there said he would love to keep her there, but laws prevent it.  It was arranged that she would come back to her unprofessing family who know nothing about her faith and really depend on the money she sent home to them for years.  She needed to tell them she is going to spend her life as Jesus did.  I am sure this won't be easy...they have depended so much on the money she has sent them.



Since last April, our overseer who is 80 years old and 2 other brothers have had to take care of the city of Manila.  So much traffic.  In North Manila, there are eleven churches.  They are trying to cover 3 fields. 



The lady employer of Rowena writes, "It is so hard to let her go, but we are all so glad for her choice."  You would think this meant we would have an extra sister, but no.  Our oldest sister who is 80 is no longer able.  At special meeting time, she asked if she could rest.  She said, "I am no longer able."  The need is still very, very great.


 

I will tell you another story about a young girl, Kristina, who lost her leg.  She felt like her life was over and she had nothing to live for.  Her mother worked and she was home alone a lot.  One day, she saw the workers walking past her house and when they came back, she asked if they would come in and visit with her.  She came to the meetings and professed.  She is able to get to convention, but has about NO fellowship.  The workers try to come once a month.  Whenever they are able to come, she is always ready.  She always has a hymn that goes with the study and is always bubbly and happy to see them.


 

She wanted to be baptized but lived so far from where the baptism was held.  A man told us of a clean river closer to her house and he offered to go get her and keep her for the meeting the next day. Two other young ladies were baptized there, also. Her part in the meeting Sunday was to say that when she lost her leg, she thought she could never be happy.  She was a cripple...uncomplete.  Now she realized she had every reason to be thankful for what happened to her because if not for her weakness and infirmity, she would not have been at the window when the workers passed by.  She said, "I understand now why Paul said, 'I glory in my infirmity.'"  She said, "I am thankful for what I am because it is what led me to receive the Gospel and walk in this way."


 

In Manila, it is very difficult to get a hall for gospel meetings.  Often eight or ten have to stand during the meetings.  One man came who is the husband of one of our faithful friends.  He was a nasty man.  She was faithful to him through it all.  He had no regard for her or her feelings.  Sometimes he would even bring other women home.  She stayed faithful.  We would go to the home and he would just ignore us, which was unusual for someone from the Philippines because they are so friendly.  Time passed.  First, he would not let her go to the meetings.  Finally, he let her go, then later she took the children.  She now has a daughter-in-law and grandchildren professing.  He finally took her to convention.  A few years ago, he said he was going to stay for one day.  Of course, they were all delighted.  They were all walking on eggs for fear that something would offend him.  The next day he got ready and stayed, too.  Also the third and fourth day. 



His wife said to this day, he has never told her what touched his heart.  She said she would look over at him and see tears running down his cheeks during the convention.  Then he started coming to the gospel meetings.  He is a very shy man.  It was all he could do to walk in and sit there.  He came meeting after meeting all year long.  We didn't test the meeting very often. We were at the second to last meeting. 



We had a bible study at their house and after the meeting, there was a silence.  Then she said, "Are you going to ask them?"  He said, "If a person was going to make his choice, would he have to stand up in front of all those people in the hall?"  Then we had a nice visit.  We explained why and he just didn't think he could.  When he came into the meeting, he sat way back in the corner.  After the meeting he was disappointed that we didn't test the meeting.  He professed in the next meeting.  That BEAR of a man has become a little child..very gentle and childlike.  His wife said he is a new man.  She was so happy that she never gave up on him.  She is one happy lady today and he is one happy man.  We don't know where people are or their heart condition, but God does. 



Give time and pray earnestly for those who labor in countries where there are almost no friends and the workers press on year after year.  It would be easy for those who labor in countries where there is lots of interest, but please don't forget those who labor in very different conditions.  If you don't have time when you are praying to remember us in the Philippines, please pray for those in lonely foreign fields.