Baptist and Reflector
The team participated in more than 100 evangelistic crusades with the Filipino Baptists on Luzon Island and saw 5,954 professions of faith and more than 300 other decisions for Christ.
The team was led by Charles Pratt, director of missions for Fayette Baptist Association, based in Somerville, president and founder of Cross Partners Ministry, Inc., which sponsored the trip. Pratt has been leading volunteer teams on short-term missions trips for 29 years.
On the team’s first day in Manila they met missionary Kim North, a former Tennessee pastor, who accompanied Pratt to the Philippines 27 years ago.
The Tennessee volunteers served with two Baptist Association of churches in the largest Province or state in the nation about 250 miles north of Manila.
“Our team witnessed how Jesus changed the lives of thousands on the road to destruction into a roadway of victory,” Pratt said. He added, “Not only did thousands of lives get put on the road to heaven, but the volunteers won personal victories of confidence in sharing their faith with the Filipino people.”
The Philippines is a nation comprised of 7,100 islands with a land mass equivalent to the state of Arizona. The population of the Philippines is estimated now to be over 105 million people, which are predominately Roman Catholic. The Muslim religion is growing very fast in this nation and is threatening to change the culture in some places even on Luzon Island, Pratt noted.
The partnership mission work was developed in 1989 by the Tennessee Baptist Convention and has continued through the efforts of CPM, Inc.
The volunteers raised their own support, as well as much money for Bibles. The team gave away more than 7,000 Bibles and 11,000 gospel tracts. They shared their faith openly in public high schools, colleges, public town squares, prisons, and street crusades and were able to baptize hundreds of Filipinos awaiting baptism in the South China Sea before they returned home. The CPM volunteers assisted the Filipino pastors in the mass baptism of candidates that had been waiting for that special day.
Pastor Loren Stephens, a veteran volunteer from Southside Baptist Church, Dyersburg, observed that the trip “is a wonderful opportunity to see God’s glory come down to His people in the Philippines, which was overwhelming to me. There are more and more people who are receptive to hearing the gospel. I pray that I can keep returning until our Lord Jesus returns.”
Pastor Jack Gresham of First Baptist Church, Macon, traveled to the Philippines for the first time. “I was so amazed with the openness of the people to the gospel, the tremendous hospitality, and the fields that are ripe for harvest. It was refreshing to see pastors who were vigorously mentoring, discipling, and planting new ways to reach the lost. Additionally, it was so refreshing to assist pastors in baptizing some 41 new believers,” Gresham said.
In addition, members of New Mitchell Baptist Church near Halls raised funds to construct a new church building in the village of Capulaan. It was the eighth church building that New Mitchell Baptist has provided funds to buy building materials.
Other volunteers included Randy Boals, pastor, Hopewell Baptist Church, Lavina; Willie Pounds, pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church, Kenton; Mike Hopper of Brownsville and associate mission pastor of the Hope of Glory Church; and Donald Williams, a member of the Beech Grove Baptist Church near Halls.