Jesus’ commission to teach all nations and make disciples is still paramount in our times.
Most of us understand that when the Bible mentions the world that needs to hear the gospel, it’s referring to the people around us. I once believed that everyone in my immediate vicinity had been reached by the gospel. I, along with many others, assumed that the teachings of the Bible had been thoroughly preached and that people only needed personal transformation to be ready for Christ’s return. But I was mistaken. God revealed to me that many individuals remain untouched by the gospel, and that they may be surprisingly close to home.
Trek of discovery
One month ago, some villages along the Bukidnon-Davao boundary requested that our SULADS* group come to visit. So, I and three other SULADS staff members embarked on a mission. We met at the SULADS headquarters and traveled by motorcycle for just over an hour until we reached the starting point of our walking trail. We then began hiking to the villages.
As I surveyed the mountains, noting the distant farms, signs of “kaingin” (slash-and-burn farming), and sporadic small huts, I realized the vastness of the task at hand. Numerous mountain villages remained unreached and countless souls had yet to know of God’s love for them.
As we trekked through challenging terrain, I remarked to my companions, “We’ve served the Bukidnon cluster mission schools for more than 20 years. Why haven’t we discovered these areas before? We’ve established mission schools in distant provinces, yet we’re only now surveying these local villages.”
Villages time forgot
After about three hours of hiking, we reached Peroy village. The first thing I noticed was the large number of children living there. They had never been to public school and were untouched by today’s conveniences. Their innocent faces spoke volumes. I yearned to share with them the love of Jesus, to sing songs with them, and to teach them about the world. My heart was moved deeply when we shared biscuits with them, seeing how eagerly they gathered around, each hoping for just a piece.
We only stayed in Peroy for a short while before moving to the next village, but the impact of our visit lingered. Throughout the day, we managed to survey a total of four villages in need of SULADS services. The journey was physically demanding, but we were happy to discover the unreached.
Now back home, there is joy in my heart. My happiness is buoyed by the hope that one day, with the aid of missionaries, the villages we visited will be introduced to the love and teachings of God.
The lesson is clear: We should never cease in our efforts to discover and reach out. There are always souls waiting, perhaps closer than we realize.