Baguio City, The Philippines, 2016
For the past two summers, Baguio in the Philippines has been the location of our overseas work. This summer I will again travel to Baguio. This article is written to explain my purposes for this summer's trip and to explain plans for while I am gone.
The Work in Baguio
Baguio is about as nice a place as there is in the Third World. Although American visitors to Baguio never forget Bob Hope's immortal words, "When you get beyond these shores, you're camping out," Baguio is a city of great natural beauty and many modern conveniences. Among its many conveniences, Baguio is university center for the main Philippine island of Luzon. For this reason, Baguio is well suited to be the location of Restoration Bible Institute (hereafter, RBI).
Schools of preaching like RBI are force multipliers. Instead of sending American missionaries to foreign locations, our brethren have learned to locate and support schools of preaching overseas. This has proven to be less expensive and more effective. At the end of 2016, RBI will have graduated 23 ministers for churches in the Philippines in its four years of operation.
Working the Work in Baguio
Although we have learned that establishing schools of preaching in the Third World is an excellent way to spread the Gospel, we are still learning how to get the most out of our money. Too often, failures of management and oversight result in the failure of efforts. These failures are not indictments of the best intentions of overseeing congregation sin the U.S. or of workers overseas. Failures simply prove the old adage that, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
Quite by accident, my work overseas has become the work of repaving. Accidental combinations of temperament, past professional experiences, and willingness have resulted in "nuts and bolts" responsibilities in Baguio. Money for RBI is sent by the Northwest Church of Christ in Ft. Worth and by the congregation in Shepherd. Money is spent by eager workers in Baguio.
How money is sent and spent is my responsibility. When I go to Baguio (it was the same when I went to Katmandu) I do some preaching and teaching, but the majority of my work is oversight and management of facilities, financial accounting, and other details associated with conducting a school. I am a bit like a consultant. This work is very essential and satisfying, but is often tense and unpleasant.
The Liberty Church of Christ budgets $1,200 for my travel. Contributions from Lake Houston Church of Christ, from Tarkington Church of Christ, and from two Christian friends are covering the bulk of the trip. Lake Houston is involved because they are sending our oldest son Alan to be my helper (what a joy!). Since Janie is unable to go this summer, his assistance will be invaluable. His jaded perspective as a PK will prevent him from being overwhelmed.
Three complications await us. First, these schools are not designed to remain on church budgets indefinitely, and time is rapidly approaching for RBI to spread its own wings and fly. Second, the Filipino founder and director of RBI unexpectedly immigrated to the U.S. Third, on-site accountability has just about fallen apart.
Meanwhile, Back in Liberty
While I am away, my responsibilities will flow as follows:
Wednesday evening, June 15 - singing
Sunday A.M. Bible class, June 19 - my class will go to the auditorium.
Sunday A.M. preaching, June 19 - Daniel Balch.
Sunday P.M. preaching, June 19 - Phillip Strickhausen.
Wednesday evening, June 22 - singing