Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Thursday, February 7, 2019

"A Gospel Partnership: Philippines Mission Trip Report"

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1:4-5

Grace Baptist Church

Gospel ministry can be lonely at times. Yet, God in His grace gives others who come alongside to partner with us along the way. Myself along with Pleasant Hill Baptist Church have had the distinct privilege of partnering with Expositors International Ministries since its inception in 2011. Expositors International Ministries (EIM) is a local church mission ministry that exists to give indigenous pastors a solid theological education in order to help them plant biblically healthy churches in the southeast Asia region. There is a great need in our day for local churches to participate in biblically sound missions where they can actually know and support (financially and prayerfully) their missionaries. And this is why PHBC has purposed to be a gospel partner with EIM for gospel advancement.

The Apostle Paul understood the struggle of gospel ministry. He was often misunderstood, beaten, and incarcerated for the sake of his ministry. Yet, he continued to “press on for the goal of the upward prize in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:14). He knew the burdens and anxiety of overseeing all the churches (2 Cor.11:28), yet found comfort in those churches who partnered with him for the sake of the gospel. The church at Phillipi was one of those churches that partnered with Paul in his efforts of advancing the gospel. And Paul was eternally grateful for Philippi’s generosity in their financial support and prayers sent to him by Epaphroditus (Phil.4:18). In other words, the local church at Philippi played a vital role when it came to missions.

For example, I have just arrived back from a 12-day short-term mission trip in Cagayan De Oro, Philippines. Wes Graff (member of Camp Branch Baptist Church, West Blockton, AL) and myself journeyed to CDO to be an encouragement to our missionary Barry Carpenter and the other indigenous pastors there. Barry has been faithful in teaching and training pastors for the past 6 years, as well as helping plant Grace Baptist Church. As you can imagine, this has not been an easy task trying to overcome many cultural barriers. Yet, we were able to see the fruit of his labor up close and personal. This is the joy of partnering with missionaries you personally know and support when it comes to the gospel.

There are so many encouraging testimonies I could share, but I will focus on just a couple for time and space sake. First, Pastor Ben Gabitino has been apart of BES (Bible Expositor Seminary) from its beginning. He has been one of the teaching elders of Grace Baptist Church since it was planted in 2011, as well. I have witnessed the Lord grow him in the past 6 years in his ability to exegete, expound, and proclaim the gospel of Christ. I have witnessed his love not just for preaching, but also his love for shepherding the flock at GBC. Ben is a fiery evangelist who is faithful in sharing the good news of Christ with others. It has been a joy to see God work in Ben’s life and to see the fruit manifested at GBC.

Bible Expositors Seminary students after Greek Class

Second, I was encouraged by getting to spend time with the leaders of Grace Baptist Church. We spent several hours one night with the men of GBC conversing about theology, church life, and ministry in general. I was taken aback by these men’s knowledge for the deep things of God. One young man that stood out to me was Brother Errold. He was raised Catholic but left the church as he got older, and began studying Islam. He could quote the Qu’ran in Arabic and knew the Islamic prayer. However, God in His grace saved Errold from this false religion and more importantly from His sins. Bro. Errold changed jobs and moved from another island to be apart of GBC. He is an architect for the local government now and plans on drawing floor plans for the multi-purpose buildings for EIM, BES, and GBC in the very near future.

Well, I could write for days concerning our time in the Philippines. The greatest take away from my time there was in spite of the constant struggles that Barry, the other pastors, and saints at GBC face is that they simply persevere by God’s grace. They have so many excuses not to be faithful, according to American standards, yet you find them simply being faithful. Most of them live in extreme poverty. They don’t have air-conditioned cars to drive to church. Most of them ride motorcycles or have to take the public transportation system, which is a jeepney that blows raw diesel smoke (black sut), while heading to church. Getting to church there is not as easy or comfortable as here in the U.S. yet they find a way, not an excuse to be faithful to their Christ. Not to mention, most struggle just to provide rice for their family. As mentioned this week in a conversation, most Americans live week-to-week, while most Filipinos live meal-to-meal. This was very convicting to me on so many levels as I pondered on this reality.

Myself. Barry and Wes on the Lord's Day

In conclusion, I feel like our time there was very beneficial for Barry, the pastors, and church at GBC. It provided several informal opportunities to discuss ministry from a very practical basis with Barry and others. We were able to talk about real life issues that we face when it comes to cross-cultural missions and the local church ministry. As it is most of the time, you go to be an encouragement and blessing to others, but come away being more encouraged and blessed than when you left. I am grateful to all those who partnered with me for this trip. There is no way to measure on this side of eternity the effects of your gospel partnership. However, I will close with the words of the Apostle Paul regarding the support sent to him by the saints at Philippi, when he says that it was, “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God” (Phil.4:10).  SDG.

For more information on EIM please click the link:

 Facebook page at "Expositors International Ministries."
Twitter handle: "EIM Philippines"

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