Philip and Tracey Johnston have been serving God with Reaching & Teaching Ministries in the Philippines for the past 13 years.
The Ballymena couple and their three children, eight-year-old twins Hannah-Grace and Daisy-Mae, and Lucy-Jane (five) are currently home for a break and some deputation meetings.
Usually based in Tagbilaran, capital of Bohol island, their day-to-day role involves reaching out to people in the Visayas who have not heard the gospel and encouraging the locally-born workers who love the Lord.
Philip says: “In Bohol we go into Elementary (primary) and Secondary schools reaching pupils with the Gospel of John. These books have been provided by the Revival movement in Northern Ireland. We also teach in local Churches, train pastors and bring literature in the Cebouano dialect to them.”
Reaching & Teaching Ministries has set itself the challenging goal of placing a Gospel of John, translated into the Cebouano dialect, into every home in Bohol.
Philip says: “So far, we have reached 33 towns in the island of Bohol but we have another 19 towns to visit. We travel from school to school and village to village bringing God’s word to the children and teachers so that they will take that home to their families.”
According to Philip and Tracey, people in the Philippines are ‘very open’ to the Gospel message.
Philip added: “Many in those remote places have never even heard John 3:16 before. One little boy ran up to me and asked ‘Is this a Bible? My mother has been searching for a Bible!’ So many of them don’t have a Bible. Many of them say: ‘When do I need to return this?”’ and I say ‘No, this is yours’.”
Over the last year, Reaching & Teaching Ministries have enjoyed a very successful partnership with Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Tracey says: “C.E.F also have materials which are supplied from Northern Ireland and we have been able to avail of those resources. Some are Bible posters, while others are devotional books for the children. We have been able to go to local Churches in give it into the hands of the pastors, the children’s ministers who have been really blessed.”
When asked for prayer points, Philip and Tracey said: “Pray for our family, especially the girls at school and also just ask that we would be able to continue to reach and teach more in the future. We want to say a very big thank you to everyone who gave gifts during the time of the earthquake and the typhoon. We have been able to rebuild with the gifts that we have been given. One Pastor received a new home thanks to the generosity of RTM supporters.”