Marissa and I returned to the United States on Wednesday January 26, 2011. It was incredibly difficult to leave the people who need us so very much.
Knowing that we needed to return to the States to raise the funds necessary to help the people of the Island, we made the 10,000 mile journey back to our home to prepare to move to the island full time.
Please pray for us as we will be listing our home for sale so that we can provide our own financial needs while on the island and not be a burden to the ministry itself.
As the Lord leads, we will sell our home and most of our personal possessions so that we can raise the funds that we will live on while providing ministry to the people over the upcoming years.
If the Lord is in our being on the Island full time then we are confident that we will sell our home, despite the decreasing housing market across the U.S. When I began my ministry many years ago, a similar situation presented itself. I needed to sell my home and possessions in order to fund our ministry. Despite a slow market at that time, the Lord sold our home for the asking price just 30 days after we listed it when no one else in the entire neighborhood could sell their home even at a reduced price.
When the Lord is in it, then it is always easier than when we try to force our will.
We return with heavy hearts because we have seen how great the need is on Bantayan Island and how much we were able to do there in just two visits of 10 days total.
We hope and pray that many hundreds will find our web site as being led by the Lord and contribute the finances necessary to help thousands of people on the Island.
Please pray for us that we will be able to return to Bantayan Island later this year and stay for months instead of days.
We will keep you updated on the progress we are making and any needs that arise over the course of the next few months.
Thank you to all of you who are already supporting our efforts to the people of Bantayan Island. When we went out to the villages on our second trip the week before our departure, we told the people that you had given of your finances to help them. All of them cried and said to thank you for thinking of them and their families from across all across the world.
We ministered to over 40 families during our 4 day stay January 19-22, 2011. Each time we go into the fishing villages and speak the people and tell them that we have been sent there by the Lord to help them they always weep with tears of joy and they realize they are loved by God even in such a remote place on the earth.
You make this love for these people possible, we thank you from the recesses of our heart.
From the beginning of our work on Bantayan Island we have received a tremendous outpouring of love and support. Many people recognize that they have the power to help make the lives of people on the Island by their support of Bantayan Island.org.
To all of our friends who have given of their finances, their prayers and letters full of love and encouragement, Thank You!.
Without the committed help of partners around the world, we would not be able to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by meeting the practical needs of the people of Bantayan Island.
The best way to demonstrate the Love of God to someone is to help them with their needs. When James wrote his epistle detailing the need to show our faith in Jesus by good works, he said this:
James 2:14-16 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”
By putting feet to your faith, those of you who make it possible to do the work, show that you truly know Jesus and have been affected by knowing Him. There is no greater work that anyone can do than to make it possible for someone to go to a distant land and bring to them Jesus love. When we stand with the people of Bantayan Island and bring them your gifts, they are amazed and even sometimes hesitant to accept our help because they have never see such love from others before.
On the great day when we all stand together with Jesus in the clouds and realize that our redemption is complete, gathered around us will be all the people who’s lives we have impacted and touched to make it possible for them to know Jesus and be there with us. What joy abounding it will be to us to know that when we gave to make it possible for others to go over 12,000 miles from the U.S. to Bantayan Island, our efforts have born much fruit.
Thank You again for your Love, Prayers and Financial support of Teach The Word Ministries to make it possible to bring Jesus to Bantayan Island.
Bantayan is a small atoll just off the coast of Cebu, about 7 by 10 miles in size with approximately 120,000 people. The island is largely unspoiled by the rest of the world. When you step foot off the ferry that brings you from Hagnaya Cebu to the port at Santa Fe on Bantayan, you feel as if you have stepped back in time at least 50-60 years.
As a boy my parents took me to Hawaii in 1965 and I remember the island looking somewhat similar to parts of Bantayan Island. Coconut woven nipa huts line the fishing villages along powdery white sand beaches, glistening with crystal clear aquamarine waters.
The clear water is so shallow around the area beaches of Santa Fe that you can walk out onto the soft sand bottomed coast at least 100 yards and not have water come up past your waste.
Walking along the pristine beaches, talking to the native fishermen who still make their living by the sea, you have a sense that you are among a very unique people. Although they are extremely poor and lack even the most basic necessities of western culture, they have a wonderful joy and a smile that never departs their beautiful tanned faces.
Narrow concrete roads traverse the island near the coast displaying a deep green canopy of coconut palms as tall as I have ever seen. Three wheel “Trisikad’s” meander slowly under human power up and down the curving roads of the island carrying natives to the wet market in Bantayan Town, the port of Santa Fe, or to the other side of the island town of Madridejos.
Every once in a while the striking contrast of a white face breaks the pattern of hundreds of beautiful brown ones as an Amerikano or European foreigner zooms past on their scooter or bicycle. There are only a few foreigners who live permanently on Bantayan Island, but when you see one it strikes you as odd amongst so many who seem to belong here perfectly.
On one particular morning last week, my wife and I walked amongst the nipa huts of a seaside fishing village and began to talk to the humble people who live there. My wife is a native Cebuana from the nearby island of Cebu. She speaks the local language of Bantayan and easily converses with the willing souls who step out of their shanties to welcome us as friends.
As I stood there listening to a language that I know very little of, I gazed into the home of the precious lady who stood with a bright smile speaking to my wife as if she were a long lost friend. What I saw stunned me. Barely a standing structure at all. A home small and thrown together from miscellaneous native island materials. A dirt floor, no running water, hand made palm frawn beds. Cooking utensils laid outside upon open wood fires, heating the days meal. The nutty smell of the smoldering coconut shells used for fuel carried me back a hundred years in my mind to an imagination of what it was like here before any white man had walked these shores. Yet I was standing there today. It was 2010, not 1910, yet nothing has changed much from the way that the people of Bantayan live their daily lives. Except today it is much more difficult to live life on Bantayan Island than it was in 1910.
The fish are not as plentiful, there is little money to buy rice, none for a medical need. Yet the incredibly beautiful children frolic in the blue waters, jump for joy in the green jungle, without a care and always with the biggest smile I think I have ever seen on a child.
I stood in my flip flops trembling and weeping uncontrollably. How is it that such beautiful people exist in this place and no one comes to their aid? I handed three ladies standing now in front of us, all not more than 5 feet tall, 100 pesos each, or about 2 dollars. They lit up with joy as if they had in their hands the winning lottery ticket for a million dollars. 100 pesos would buy their family enough rice for days, they felt instant relief. No worries for their small children for at least awhile. There would be rice and perhaps a few scraps of fish, and that was enough to be thankful for. This is the miracle of Bantayan Island, the people are so very thankful for even the smallest measure of human help or kindness.
As we walked slowly away from our new friends, I continued to cry for several minutes until it hit me that we had the power to change their lives with very little effort. We had been praying about where the Lord would next have us minister after being the pastor of a two small churches in Arizona for the past 14 years.
My wife has always had a heart for her own people, though she came alone to America many years ago and made a hard earned life for herself and the money she sent home to her family. Now just as much an American as I, we both felt a burden to go somewhere that help was needed, but often fleeting.
This is our island now. We decided during those seven days of revelation that it would be our turn to come to this tiny island and give as much as we could to make Jesus known and show His love to a people who are in need of so much.
I am writing to you now about 15 hours ahead of your day. It is 5:15 pm on Monday afternoon in Cebu, about 12:15 am Monday morning in Arizona. While you sleep 120,000 precious people dream of a better life. Not the kind that an American dreams of where they hope to own a nice four bedroom house and at least two paid for cars. These dear ones dream of a home that has a door, windows and a floor. Not made from wood or concrete, but the raw materials of the local coconut tree, woven together into walls complete with a palm woven roof. They dream of a little meat with their rice, and that they would not have to travel to the local well for water to wash their dishes. Perhaps someday someone will help them, their hope springs eternal and joy never departs their face.
This is the first edition of an ongoing story that I hope to be able to tell you right up until Jesus comes for us all.
I will continue to publish articles on Bible Prophecy Update and my other Bible Teaching web sites, but from this moment on, my words will originate from an island in the Philippine sea.
Bantayan Island is a place out of time where ministry really means meeting the basic needs of people’s lives. I suspect that reaching these precious people with the message of Jesus will be relatively easy. I foresee that just spending time here making new friends and telling them of the Saviors sacrifice will cause hundreds or thousands to turn to the Lord with willing hearts.
Just as importantly, when we love these people in Jesus name, we will truly be loving Jesus. When we feed them and cloth them, build new homes and provide medical supplies for their families, we will be doing it to the least of these to whom Jesus loves so very much.
If reading about these wonderful people stirs your heart to action, you may also know the joy of participating in a work that has such far reaching and eternal consequences. Paul wrote that although one might do the planting, as we will be doing on Bantayan Island, others will come along such as you, to help water that seed, insuring it’s growth. Both those who plant and those who water the seed will participate in the same reward when Jesus comes for us and gives out to each laborer His reward.
You may live in New York City, Miami Beach, or Winslow Arizona, but if you help us water the seed planted here and it growns into a crop of human souls, you will share in the reward of seeing Jesus delight when He comes and finds us serving the least of these…
For information on helping us with this new ministry to the people of Bantayan Island you can follow the link at the end of this article to see a short seven minute video on youtube showing what the island and the people of Bantayan are like and how you can co-labor with us in this important ministry.
Watch for future updates here on BPU as we share with you what the Lord is doing on Bantayan Island and the amazing stories that will come from ministering to these wonderful people.
For information and a short video on this mission assist opportunity follow this link:
For our online readers, here is the embeded YouTube video of the People of Bantayan Island:
If your heart is moved to help us provide the need for food, shelter, clothing and medical supplies for the precious poor of Bantayan Island, 100% of your gift goes towards helping the people of the Island. My wife Marissa and I are already fully self supported. We need only your help to bring the Love of Jesus Christ in practical ways to the people of Bantayan Island. Thank you for your generosity. As we give your gifts to these dear ones, we will tell them your name and that you cared enough about them to send this gift for them personally.
Rob and Marissa Robinson, Teach The Word Ministries Inc.