Philippines Missions Trip – April 2024

For this year’s mission work in the Philippines, the FirstLove team traveled to Baguio City and ministered in the surrounding mountain region from April 19 -28. During this time, the team would hold four conferences at local churches with the theme of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) – The Bible As Our Foundation. The team would also be engaged in proclaiming God’s truth on live radio, issuing the first year certificates to Grace Bible University students, proclaiming the gospel at a local gathering of municipal workers, and ministering God’s Word at several local churches. Approximately 1000 books in total were distributed to the conference attendees. Despite delayed travel, long car rides through the mountains, and health issues, God sustained the team and blessed His Word.


On Friday morning April 19 a special meeting was held with several pastors from a reformed Baptist church network in Manila and the surrounding region. They met with Pastor Austin and the team to learn more about FirstLove Ministries and to discuss how to partner together for the advancement of God’s Gospel of Grace in the Philippines. The meeting was wonderfully successful and the fellowship was warm. There will be follow up meetings on how we can work together in the future.

Arriving in Baguio

After traveling to Baguio City from Manila, the team arrived on Saturday afternoon at the radio station of Cool 97.5 FM. For 4 hours, the team addressed the nature and importance of scripture, invited listeners to the upcoming Bible conferences, openly challenged heresies common to the Philippine landscape, defended the faith against Roman Catholicism and Iglesias Ni Christo, took questions live on air, and regularly presented the biblical Gospel. 

On Sunday April 21, the team traveled to five local churches to minister the Word of God.  The churches welcomed us with open arms, and the Lord blessed the ministry.  We were able to meet with the leadership of the local churches before and after the services, to review issues the church was facing.   The fellowship was sweet and profitable.


On Monday, we traveled about an hour to New Heights Baptist Church in Pugo for our first of four conferences on Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone).  Pastor Samson Molina welcomed us and the church was a great host,  with about 40 in attendance.  The messages were well received, and the question-and-answer period was fruitful as we dealt questions regarding proper interpretation of certain Scripture passages.  Of course, at the end of the conference free books were distributed to the delight of the recipients.

Alfonso Castanada

We left the church Monday late afternoon and traveled directly to Alfonso Castanada, about a 4-hour drive through the mountains.  It was decided that we would spend the night in Alfonso Castanada to avoid a very long drive in the morning.   We stayed in a mountain resort, a “rustic” facility with beautiful surroundings.  Tuesday morning, we took a short drive to Harvest Bible Baptist Church for the second conference, with Pastor Friddie Paciteng as our host.  There were about 35 in attendance.  The response to the messages at this conference were a bit more contentious, with questions asked about the teaching of free will and the choice the sinner has to believe in Christ, and that the King James Version of the Bible is the inspired authoritative preserved text.  The team patiently yet boldly without compromise answered their questions and refuted these teachings, and challenged them to search the Scripture regarding these matters.  Books were again distributed. 

Tuesday evening, we took the long drive back to Baguio City.  The trip took over 5 hours,  but after a few wrong turns, cars breaking down requiring some of the team to flag down a bus to make the final trip up the mountain into Baguio, we were all safely back in our hotel by 11:00 pm.

Wednesday morning, Pastor Paul Nelson spoke at the municipal building in Pugo.   This was arranged at the request of the Mayor of Pugo.  Pastor Paul preached the gospel to the group of about 30 municipal workers and members Bible Baptist Church SpringHills distributed books to the attendees.  The message was well received and appreciated.  Wednesday afternoon we were again on the radio, discussing qualifications for pastors, the purpose of the gift of tongues, charismatic churches, and other issues from listeners who texted in their questions to the station.


Thursday morning, we again took about a two-hour trip into the mountains for our third conference at Mountain Trail Baptist Church in Sayangan.  Pastor Felix Pasigon was our gracious host, with about 50-60 in attendance representing about 5 different churches in the area.  The messages were very well received, as we preached through the flies, heat and thunderstorms.  The Q&A time was very fruitful with good questions asked.  We sensed a like-minded spirit with those in attendance.  The books were greatly appreciated, with one dear brother expressing frustration with the lack of good books in the Philippines due to the high cost and copyright laws. He commended FirstLove Ministries for the distribution of free books.

We returned safely to our hotels Thursday evening, driving down the mountains through fog and heavy rain.  God had provided members of Bible Baptist Church Springhills to be our drivers and helpers throughout the week.  We thank God for them.

Bible Baptist Church Springhills, Baguio City

On Friday we held our last conference on Scripture alone at Bible Baptist Church Springhills. What a blessing to see many pastors from as far away as an 8 hour drive from the north come to the conference.  The messages were well received, and the questions indicated an eagerness to learn.   Afterwards books were again distributed to all attendees. 

Grace Bible University

We then had a great blessing in handing out the certificates to first year Grace Bible University students. What a joy to see their faces as Dr. Paul Nelson and Dr. Edward Dalcour shook their hands and issued their certificates. Dr. Nelson and Dr. Dalcour exhorted and encouraged the men to continue in the faith and study the scriptures.  Pastor Vergara and his team will welcome new GBU students at an orientation on May 1 and the plan is to have classes for first year students and begin classes for second year students in June. We are working diligently to get Pastor Vergara the needed curriculum material for the second year.

On Saturday morning we met with Pastor Vergara, Drury and Al (assistant pastors) to discuss the week of ministry as well as plan for next year. The desire is that we travel north and hold additional conferences. They will also explore an alternative to have several conferences at larger venues to reduce travel for the team. Local pastors will be meeting to discuss options. The theme next year will be Christ Alone. We will begin planning for this next conference within the next couple of months.

We had our final radio broadcast on Saturday afternoon. We discussed the overall conference theme of Scripture alone and each speaker was interviewed briefly on their messages:  Inspiration of Scripture, Inerrancy of Scripture, Authority of Scripture, Sufficiency of Scripture and Interpretation of Scripture. We thank God for the opportunity to be on the radio to share God’s truth.  The radio station has many listens who tune in live via radio and on Facebook. Even Mike, our security guard at the hotel, was listening. 

Pray For The Philippines

Sunday morning we again traveled to several churches in the area and preached the word on the Lord’s Day. Austin, Eddie and Randy took a bus home to Manila Sunday afternoon for the trip back to United States.  Paul and Tom attended the afternoon service at BBC Springhills and fellowshipped with Pastor Vergara and the people afterwards. We then got a tour of the historic areas of Baguio. Tom and Paul traveled to Manila Monday morning by bus for our flights back to the United States.

We were greatly blessed for the week we spent here and God sustained us through all of the mountain travel, missing luggage, jet lag and minor health issues. We see God working amongst the people here, but they need so much more teaching and good books to read and study. We pray that God would give us opportunity to continue to help spread His Word throughout the Philippines.

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