Antipolo UBF (Philippines)
August 5, 2012
Greetings from Manila.
On Sun (7/29/12), we had a worship service followed right after by a group Bible study that lasted for two "short" hours because the students just kept talking and laughing and crying as each student shared. After that they played the guitar and sang songs together for another two hours, spending a total of over six hours in exuberant worship on Sunday! On Sunday evening, I was totally exhausted and happy beyond belief!
What is amazing and remarkable is that these dozen plus students from Antipolo, UBF became Christians during the past six months to two years. Their average age is 19 years old. One third are boys and two thirds are girls. They are quite expressive,: loud, palpably joyful, and happy, joking around, making fun of each other, and laughing at every opportunity. At the same time, they are sincere and very serious during Bible study about their own sin, and the grace of Jesus is often expressed by them through tears of repentance and with a contrite heart that is real and moving. Their joy (in Jesus) and sorrow (for their sins) was interspersed throughout.
Even though I am three times their age, they welcome me without reservation, as though I am one of them. These students are all poor with hardly any material comforts. Yet their joy knew no bounds. This really felt like a slice of heaven.
I have not witnessed or experienced anything like this in my 32 years as a Christian, at least not on such a collective scale and in such a short span of time. Perhaps this was what our missionaries experienced in Korea beginning in the early 1960's in Kwang Ju and Seoul on an even far larger scale. This is surely nothing short of a supernatural miracle of the Holy Spirit.
One girl told me that just two years ago, they sometimes had just one student coming for their weekly fellowship Bible study meetings. Now within two years, they have three fellowship meetings every week on M, W, F, with about two dozen different students in each group, all led by their student leaders, with about five in each group. They perceive that all of this is happening in answer to their prayers to reach out to all the students on campus.
I am truly living with great inadequacy, and in "weakness and with great fear and trembling" (1 Cor 2:3). Thank you for your prayers. Pray for me to resolve to know nothing while I am with them "except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). Please continue to pray for us that the Spirit may not be quenched.
By Dr. Ben Toh
A previous article related to Dr. Ben's Toh's short term mission trip: http://ubf.org/node/1242