Islands of Opportunity
by Dr. Waylon B. Moore
In June I flew for the third time to minister in the Philippine Islands. My
first visit there I recall preaching in English, distracted by the echo of two
pastors interpreting into two different languages. Sleeping on a corn-shuck
mattress, air conditioned by my own sweat, the experience was unique.
Missionary leader Bill Wakefield fed me with hot boiled corn, which we shucked
as we traveled on a bus from Manila to Baggio. This bus was pungent with the
smells of pigs and chickens. Bill encouraged me to try pickled, fertilized duck
eggs. When he didn't eat one, I remembered the unwritten rule: Never eat what a
missionary doesn't eat!
I recall flying to the south island of Mindanao where the people are hospitable
and responsive. Carabao, domesticated water buffaloes, plowed in the fields. A
mere boy can tend these giants, which produce food to feed four families. Many
houses were on stilts, either 10 feet high on land or almost floating on the
water near the shoreline. The fishermen lived close to business. In
the past 25 years Mindanao has experienced rapid evangelism and church
planting rarely seen anywhere in the free world.
The churches on Luzon Island in the north, however, have had much less
evangelistic response over the past two decades. Could the flattening of church
planting statistics on this island be reversed, and in the capital city,
Manila? Eight million people live in Manila, beneath a hazy horizon of
skyscrapers which starkly contrast home-made shanties lining the streets.
Chrome-plated Jeeps, bicycles, and people-powered taxis crowd the roads.
Everything from fried grasshoppers to 5-star buffets are available. Living on
the brink, looking for hope, the average Filipino has yet to hear the Gospel.
In the Manila area this June, I shared the same message with national leaders
and missionaries alike: invest in and mentor individuals, as Jesus did. The
fruit will be
new, witnessing leadership.
These leaders will, in turn, fill a desperate need training new
converts which will populate hundreds of new churches.
The Philippines Potential
I first preached to pastors in the metropolis of Manila. Missionary Dwight Fern
had scheduled time for me to meet with 40 warm-hearted pastors. Dwight has a
tremendous vision for discipling men. I taught 2 Timothy 2:1-4 on
How to Multiply Your Life,
How to Help People Grow: 5 Steps.
One pastor hugged me, When I was 16 I was touched by your preaching at
Clark Field Baptist Church. I've never forgotten you. The pastor's
group was really hungry and a personal blessing.
The next morning I was taken to a large evangelical church, to be teamed with
two Filipino leaders. The first dynamic speaker, Rev. Phillip Tarriga, is Dean
at the International School of Theology, and the preaching pastor at
Capital City Baptist. The other preacher was Bishop Ef Tendero. He told us
about having my book,
on his desk the same moment when a missionary knocked at his office door,
inviting him to speak. The singing was thrilling, with a praise band and
the backdrop of a 500-voice congregation of national leaders.
This young-in-age crowd's response to my messages was instant, laughing and
soaking up the illustrations. Later one missionary whispered, You zapped
them! They loved your messages. I knew the LORD did it
because back home
were praying for me. The messages on practical mentoring were:
How to Help Others Grow,
Building Decisions into Disciples.
During a follow-up session, the 500 leaders bombarded us with sharp questions.
For example, Some of us have two jobs; where do you get time to
mentor? Tendero hit the target: I've found we can use eating
eat. Sometimes I suggest an early breakfast, or lunch.
Strength Through Weakness
The second purpose of my ministry in the Philippines was to speak to 60 IMB
missionaries who target Manila and its northern island. On the two-hour trip to
the outlying retreat area, however, I couldn't fight a bug I'd been struggling
with. I began to be really sick. I remembered:
. . . my grace is sufficient for
thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness
(2 Corinthians 12:9). His strength in exchange for my weakness! This was my
first time overseas to be ill, having ministered in 90 nations! Later,
dehydrated and speaking from a sitting position, I blacked out.
Was it food poisoning or amoeba? I was soon taken to a local clinic-hospital.
This clinic had no hot water, but God gave me the only room with air
conditioning a welcome relief from the steamy tropical heat. Nurses and
began plugging in IV's. Four missionary nurses gave me round-the-clock care for
48 hours. Helping was my hostess, Mrs. Diana Clark. I then had strength to walk
out HIS strength! The total bill was only $340!
I began to feel excited and stronger. Your prayers and love strengthened me for
victory in the battle. I was privileged to teach four more times on
Multiplying Leadership by Mentoring.
What a special, loving and unforgettable group our missionaries are there!
Their public response was so warm, sometimes with applause. And in private
times I sought to encourage, listen, and learn from these soldiers of the
Pray for the Philippines, for tens of thousands to hear the gospel, and then
plant new churches. They need more missionaries to sow, water, and reap the
vast opportunity for harvest! Are you open?