By Clint Cook
A few weeks ago I joined six other General Baptist pastors on a journey to the Philippine Islands. I had the privilege of leading this team of pastors in the important task of teaching and challenging our Filipino brothers and sisters in leadership and spiritual growth. The team consisted of Chad Hensley, John Brumfiel, Dr. Jim Pratt, Barry Cullen, Jim Rudolph, Clint Pagan and myself. It was a hectic but life-changing trip. Each member of our team had the privilege of preaching in one of our local General Baptist churches during Sunday morning worship and visiting with the members. We traveled to the Matigsalog area to view the General Baptist work there to encourage our teachers and leaders hard at work in this important region at the Matigsalog Bible Institute. We also held a conference at the General Baptist Bible College called the 360º Leadership Forum where we met, taught, trained and encouraged young students determined to win the Philippines for Christ. How uplifting it was to see how God is using them!
While in Davao City we also hosted the first ever American-Filipino Minister’s Retreat. It was a wonderful time of worship and training with our Filipino counterparts. We shared meals with these ministers, listened to the triumphs and struggles of their ministries, and cried and rejoiced with them as they told us stories of rebuilding after Typhoon Pablo in December 2012, a project made possible by the generosity of General Baptists. What a solemn sight it was to see Ground Zero for Typhoon Pablo, a pile of rubble where a thriving community once stood, and where over 1,000 people lost their lives.
It was an awe-inspiring experience to see our work on the island of Mindanao. A special note of thanks and appreciation goes out to Joyce Porcadilla and all of her staff at the General Baptist Bible College and the Matigsalug Bible Institute for making the 360º Leadership Forum and first ever Minister’s Retreat a definite success. Out of the 120 college students that attended the 360º Forum, 90% of them are General Baptist students, and nearly 80% anticipate continuing in ministry as Christian leaders, preachers, and pastors. How bright the future of General Baptists is in the Philippines! How blessed we are to have this Gospel-proclaiming, gates-of-hell-storming work thriving on the other side of the world!
Although the seven members of our team were sent to train and encourage these Filipino students and ministers, each of us left with hearts full of thankfulness, humbleness and excitement for the General Baptist work in the Philippines. The students at the General Baptist Bible College repeatedly displayed their burning desire and passion to serve the local church as Christian leaders. Prepare to be blessed as you watch this short video of 3rd and 4th year students at GBBC telling, through song, their General Baptist brothers and sisters in the U.S. that they will do their best!