Reports from Carl Henderson
Carl trained with The Elijah Challenge in 2006, and is presently serving as a missionary in the Philippines.
“The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Mt. 9:38-39
After being told about the coming MOR-Evangelism Boot Camp, Pastor Jerry Pecsoy persuaded us to schedule Way of the Master (WOTM) training at Baguio Mission Church (BMC). As previously reported, I preached at BMC on Sunday October 21st and we conducted training on October 24th and 25th.
Pastor Jerry had arranged for several other churches in Baguio to send participants to this training. We trained 32 new evangelists over the next two days from five different churches in the Baguio area.
This group was the fastest learners we have experienced. The course we taught was a bare bones class in which we rushed through the material in order to complete it in the short time we had available. Despite the speed of the class, the students we had seemed to grasp it quicker than any others. I would, of course, like to attribute this to our great teaching ability but this was actually one of the most committed, dedicated, and focused groups we have had the pleasure of working with. They did not need to be convinced. They just needed to be taught, and our quick class was going too slow for them. It was a pleasure to train them. When we divided up to practice our witnessing skills there was very little playing around or wasted time. Everyone was focused on the goal of winning souls.
When we prepared to go into the park for our first evangelistic witnessing experience the group volunteered to skip lunch to have more time to practice and develop their evangelism skills. You have to understand that in Filipino culture every activity and get-together occurs around food. In fact, many Filipinos will eat five or six times a day. Going without food for Filipinos is a significant sacrifice and it showed their dedication to becoming effective evangelists. I know many people who get caught up in the excitement of evangelism and forget to eat, but rarely have I seen somebody volunteer to skip a meal to get started sooner. Their enthusiasm brought to mind what Jesus said in John 4:34, “‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.'”
Before beginning the actual evangelism, we walked to Burnham Park and assembled at the pavilion for prayer. When we arrived we found that there was a large group of people (I later learned they were from Bulicon) sitting and standing around waiting for their bus. Immediately, I felt the Lord tell me to open air preach to them; however, I was busy trying to make sure all our new evangelists were present. I was also trying to get them organized into teams. Again, I felt God telling me to preach to the group, but I feared that me open air preaching would be a distraction from our purpose, which was to do one-2-one evangelism in the park.
God would not give me peace, and before we prayed together as a group I stopped and told our new evangelists, “Excuse me, but I have to preach to these people first.” I went over to the group of about seventy-five (75) people and introduced myself. I learned they were from Bulicon and asked them to listen to my important message. I then open air preached a typical WOTM message, one similar to what the new evangelism students had been practicing earlier in the morning. At the end of my 12 to 15 minute sermon I thanked them for listening and I told them to listen to the voice of their conscience and to strongly consider the important things I had just shared with them about heaven and hell and their eternal destiny. They clapped in gratitude and I thanked them again before returning to the group of new evangelists.
They were now even more excited by the boldness exhibited in my preaching and they took off with great excitement. Our missionary-evangelists Marc, Nethaniel, Izak and I led teams (actually large groups). The team leaders started off by showing them how it was done once or twice. Then we worked with them as they started to share their faith with others and helped them fine tune their presentations. Soon they were off sharing their faith one-2-one with everyone they met. This excitement filled and focused team from BMC and the other five churches quickly divided into two man teams and went to work preaching the, “law to the proud and grace to the humble.” This group of evangelists showed little fear for being their first time out. They came back rejoicing at their results.
In my group, the first three people we attempted to share our faith with flatly turned us down, but we persevered with outstanding results as time went on. We met at the prescribed time and walked back to BMC with many happy, excited, and empowered new evangelists all around us sharing their own glory stories.
When we arrived back at BMC the glory stories were powerful and amazing. Several of the students said this was the happiest day of their life because they had finally been able to share their faith. Some said they had always felt guilty because of their disobedience to Christ’s commands to do so. Many told of people breaking down in tears when they heard the gospel presented to them. All had stories of people convicted and contrite before God. Many had stories of people thanking them for sharing the Gospel and many had a long list of phone numbers and address to follow up on during the discipleship phase of evangelism.
Our newly trained evangelists graduated with great joy. Over 225 people heard the Gospel that afternoon, counting the seventy-five I open air preached to from Bulican.
The rest of the story… our newly trained evangelists of their own initiative started doing evangelism in the park the following Saturday and on Sunday afternoon. I stopped by BMC and ran into them as they returned from a whole new set of adventures in evangelism. The last I heard, they are still doing great exploits for God in the heart of Baguio City. Praise the Lord!
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying; Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then I said “Here am I Lord! Send me.” – Isaiah 6:8
Pastor Carl Henderson
TEC Philippines Coordinator
MOR – Mission of Reconciliation