78 years ago on December 20, 1943, 11 missionaries and one boy who died in the hills of Tapaz, Capiz. They were beheaded and burned by the Japanese soldiers who captured them a day before. They were most probably preparing for their Christmas celebration. This would have been their second Christmas since they evacuated in 1942. But they were not able to celebrate Christmas that year.
These American Baptist missionaries were assigned to Central Philippine College, Capiz Emmanuel Hospital, Filamer Christian College, and churches of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.
Romans 10:14-15 reminds us of how these missionaries were sent by God. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
What can we learn from this text, and also from the Hopevale missionaries?
First, we must do mission even in uncomfortable places.
Paul was somebody who was put into a position that was not comfortable. He was beaten, maligned and imprisoned. He did not blame God, and gave it up to come back as a Pharisee. He continued even if it was uncomfortable because he knew that God will continue to be him.
The missionaries who came to the Philippines left the comfort of their homes to do mission. May we continue to do God’s mission even if we are not comfortable.
Secondly, we must do mission beyond borders.
Paul in the New Testament was a man who went beyond borders. He went into a missionary journey that later brought the message of salvation in Jesus Christ to others to Europe.
We are reminded by Paul that every Christian should be a missionary. We should bring Jesus wherever we may go. Let us remember that the missionaries came here in 1900. They left their homes to bring the Gospel. We are the products of their mission work. Thus, we have to be part of doing missions.
Looking back on World War II, Jennie Clare Adams, a missionary nurse assigned in Capiz Emmanuel Hospital, was in Hopevale. On July 12, 1942, Missionary Adams penned a poem relating the trail to Hopevale to her own life’s pathway.
Thet poems of Ms. Adam’s survived World War II and found its way to the library of CPU. They were just there waiting to be rediscovered again.
Here is her poem:
Life’s Trail on my Wanderings
Through all my wanderings
My Lord has cared for me,
Although the path ahead,
I could not always see.
What though my feet should slip
What though my strength should fail
My Savior holds my hand,
While climbing up life’s trail.
The rocks may bruise my feet,
The thorns may pierce and tear
And heavy seems the load
That I am called to bear
But O, the heavy load,
Christ bore on Calvary
His nail-scarred hands and feet,
Were wounded there for me.
Then I should not repine
A little grief to bear
While He walks by my side
And I am in His care.
His promise I will claim
And trust Him day by day,
He never will forsake
He leads me all the way.
May this poem affirm our commitment to Jesus Christ in doing mission in uncomfortable places, and beyond our borders.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications