What a First Day in Philippines UBF

For 8 years, I visited Philippines UBF yearly. It has been an indigenous UBF ministry led from the outset by Filipinos for the last 25 years. I have felt the wind of the Spirit blow palpably and visibly (Jn 3:8), which is why I visit regularly.

Sandwitched between 2 staggering sorrows. I arrived in Manila at 1 am on Fri July 20. I didn’t sleep because of jet lag. I received an email about the horrific Colorado shootings, which killed 12 and wounded 58. The next day I received another staggering news of a close friend having a stillborn birth. My heart has been aching and thrown into a tailspin ever since I arrived in Manila. Sandwitched between these 2 sorrows, I attended Antipolo UBF on Fri evening, a 2 year old church plant. The lead church planter is Dr. John Talavera, a professor of Anatomy and Physiology and his lovely wife Hannah.

50 students came; 3 student leaders established. Last year, when I visited Antipolo UBF, I expected a few students to show up for a weekly group Bible study since it was a new church plant. But 30 students showed up which stunned me. Now a year later, 50 students attended on Fri. It was as exhilarating as the 2 events were staggering. In 1 year, 3 student leaders have been established who now lead 3 weekly group Bible studies.

Jesus slept during the storm. The students welcomed me with a song and gave me an Ignite T-shirt, the name of their Christian fellowship on the campus. Based on Hannah’s recommendation, I led an impromptu Bible study on Mk 4:35-41. I emphasized that Jesus slept peacefully during a storm because he trusted God, while the disciples were frantic and fearful of losing their life because they trusted themselves and their own abilities. Since they will have their preliminary exams next week, I asked, “Do you sleep well?”

The gospel. Mainly, I explained the gospel to them. Though Jesus slept in peace in the storm, one day, on the cross, he would not be able to sleep. He had to die awake and in full consciousness because of my sins, so that I, who should be restless and sleepless forever, would be able to sleep in peace all my days. During this storm, Jesus could trust God and sleep. But during the ultimate storm of his life on the cross, Jesus could not sleep, because of his love for me. He who should live would willingly and voluntarily die, so that I, who should die, might live.

Teary testimonies. After my exposition of the text, several students shared with tears how they were moved by Jesus who loved them and died for them in spite of their sins. While some cried, others laughed with joy.

Thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit in Antipolo. It was my first day of a 2 month trip. But it felt like the highlight and climax of my trip on the first day. Pray for me and for my friends in the Philippines.


  1. jerson rosario

    but still we should not be depend on numbers of the sheep,but truly its God grace here in UBF Philippines.. he move the hearts of many students, i pray that may God continually work in their hearts.so that they could be able to seek God first until the last day of their life.. to God be the glory,

  2. Thanks, Jerson. You are the 2nd person that commented to me that numbers of people do not matter. The 1st was in an email. Perhaps, others feel strongly as well that numbers should not matter much.

    My thought regarding numbers is that we prefer $50 to $1. Somehow, 50 people being touched by the gospel is “more moving” than 1 person being touched by God, as precious as that 1 person is.

    The overwhelming majority of Christians do not experience “spectacular numbers” most, if not all, of their Christian lives, apart from Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield, John Wesley, Dwight Moody, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and some modern day gifted anointed mega-church pastors.

    Yes, numbers do not matter. But in my case, I think that God sometimes ordains the coming of “more people” for at least 2 reasons: 1) to encourage me. 2) to humor me!

  3. Joseph R

    The apostle Peter (as well as other disciples) were definitely encouraged and humored when they witnessed thousands of people repenting and desiring to know God. As for me, I will not be encouraged nor humored by this, because my heart is not where it is supposed to be. Rather, my head will grow larger along with my pride and ego.

    God encourages me and humours me in many ways. He tells me I am a sinner and I should repent. When I drink a glass of water, God tells me I need to repent. I say ‘What? All I am doing is drinking a glass of water.’ He says ‘Surely, if that is all you see yourself doing, you need to repent even more.’ I then reply, ‘Surely, if I am in need of repentance…’

    I say that if we are going to talk about numbers, then we must also talk about genesis, exodus, leviticus, deuteronomy… revelation.

  4. Dr Ben, congratulations! first time an article from ubfriends got published on ubf official page unedited within a gap of three days :) Or was it other way around?

  5. Thanks for letting me know AbNial. I think it’s good because most people who read UBF websites might not view UBFriends with similar favor. Perhaps, I may send more reports in the near future.

    Would you share some stories of what God is doing at your end of the world?

  6. Hershey Hope D.R

    Thanks to God. To have a Fruitful Fellowship with you Dr. Ben.
    We keep on Praying for the hearts of many students in Fatima to seek God more in their Life. Yes kuya Jerson is right, only the Gracious Love of God continually fill the hearts of many students not only on Fatima but also in other universities. God is so gracious . God bless you dr. Ben

  7. Axcel Sia

    Thanks to God and thank you Doctor Ben for the message… many of us are moved including me to your message…Truly God’s word are very gracious, piercing and sweeter than honey… God is truly the king of peace. God bless Dr. Ben