Ann and Bruce serve as regional consultants with partner Baptist conventions in the Asia-Pacific Region, including Cambodia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. They work alongside national leaders to build capacity in theological education, church-based community and economic development, servant leadership, social entrepreneurship, cross-cultural global servant training and ministry with refugees.
Bruce writes – I certainly saw God at work when I was in the Philippines in December. The Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) held a series of events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of what happened at a place called Hopevale, a remote valley located in the center of Panay Island. It was there that 11 American Baptist missionaries, one of their children, and four other American citizens hid for 18 months until they were found and executed by Japanese troops on December 20, 1943 at the height of World War II. The story of these missionaries’ contribution to CPBC churches, schools, hospitals, and seminaries, the dedication that led them to stay in the Philippines even after Japan invaded, and the support of Filipino Baptists who risked their lives to care for the missionaries may be largely forgotten in American Baptist churches – but it is very much alive in the CPBC.
I was part of a delegation of international visitors who were invited to join Philippine Baptists for events in Iloilo City, Hopevale itself, and Roxas City over a period of four days. …
When Ann and I responded to God’s call to serve as missionaries of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society in 1986 (ABFMS; now referred to as International Ministries-ABCUSA) the Society’s original seal made a deep impression on us. The simple line drawing shows a bull next to a plow and smoke rising from an altar with the words “Ready for Either.” The message was clear: being a cross-cultural missionary means being ready to live a life of service and sacrifice.
We gained a deeper understanding of that message when we were invited to serve by Central Philippine University and the CPBC where we learned of the Hopevale story from those who had played a part in it. When we hiked in to Hopevale with 8-year-old Elena and 1-year-old Asa to participate in the 50th-anniversary commemoration, the story became even more real for us. What happened before, during and after those events reminds me that service and sacrifice are required of all who aspire to be disciples of Jesus. It also reminds me that sometimes those two themes are blended in surprising ways by the God who heals all wounds.
[… Here Bruce shares his reflections on the message of Hopevale.]
We’re grateful for the opportunities we have here in the Asia-Pacific region to encourage and equip God’s people as “wounded healers” ourselves. Thank you for being part of that ministry, and for supporting us with your prayers and financial gifts.
Praises and prayers
Read Bruce’s full comments at https://www.internationalministries.org/hopevale2018/