Encouragement from preview trip

By March 17, 2014

CRI_philippinesPhilippines (MNN) — There are many kinds of poverty around the world. The lack of Scripture, in particular, starves people of hope.

In the Philippines, there is a great hunger for the Bible. Christian Resources International has worked for many years providing Bibles for pastors in the Philippines to distribute to their congregation.

We spoke with Jason Woolford of CRI about their recent preview trip to the Philippines. The team plans to return in October. Their goal is to raise $6 million dollars’ worth of Bibles. CRI is encouraged by the success of this initial trip.

CRI distributed half a million dollars’ worth of Bibles and Christian books for evangelism and distribution purposes. This includes stocking lending libraries and Bible colleges.

Along with the distribution, CRI held services and pastoral conferences. One conference reached over 300 pastors. Woolford felt led to share his family’s recent past difficulties. After the service, a pastor who was going to quit the ministry that day came up to him. He thanked Woolford for his message because it motivated the pastor to stay in the ministry despite the pain and trial he was undergoing.

God made the fruit of this trip evident at every step. Woolford says, “It was so wonderful to be able to not just go in and preach God’s Word, but to leave behind God’s Word for them.”

The team saw many people receive Jesus as their Savior as the Gospel was shared. “We had the opportunity to lead over 200 people to the Lord Jesus Christ and had the incredible privilege of speaking God’s work in Batangas, in the provincial capital,” Woolford explains. In a room full of 1000 government officials, 100 of them raised their hand to signal that they had decided to follow Christ.

While the response was encouraging, CRI was reminded of the huge deficit of actual Bibles. Woolford explains, “The majority of people live on an income of less than $30 a month. And to go and buy a Bible that’s $11 or $12, it can’t happen. And so they’re so excited to be able to give away God’s Word to people who need it–pastors and those that are attending churches. They’re such a wonderful people, a teaching people, a giving people, and so I know that it will by synergistic: as we give to them God’s Word, they will share it.”

The desire to hear God’s Word is impossible to ignore, and it’s evident in all ages. Woolford fondly remembers 25 children who used their own money to travel to a service so that they could hear God’s word. Two 12-year-old girls orchestrated the event.

This image illustrates something that is important for us all to consider: “the importance, the need, and the hunger that people have for God’s Word. For us, we have such an abundance of it here in America that sometimes we take it for granted. And there, they don’t have it, and they desire it and they want it, and they want to teach people.”

As October approaches, there are ways you can come alongside in support. Continue to check here for updates on the trip. If you’re interested in supporting financially, click here.

Woolford explains some specific prayer requests: “Be praying that our goal of setting up a distribution center in the Philippines will come to pass, that the pastors that we’ve reached will be protected as they are distributing God’s Word. And pray for our ministry. The devil hates what we’re doing.”

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