The Road to Discipleship: A Wonderful, Bumpy Ride

By Stephen Bryant

Trains, planes, automobiles...add on buses, trucks, jeepneys, tricycles, pedicabs and our own two feet and you pretty much have a picture of the ways and means the DRI Philippines team will go to get their resources through. Whether it’s to display books at an annual conference or church event or to conduct workshops and seminars, we’ll find a way.

It’s not easy lugging around boxes and plastics of books but we manage. No book has been lost yet and except for the occasional bump in the road when a tricycle hit a big stone and nearly toppled the trike over, or when another trike hit the mud and we spent more than just a few minutes getting it unstuck, only a few have been damaged. All this we do in order to bring discipleship materials to benefit not just our UMC church workers but others who are thirsty to read and learn.

At times it can get pretty daunting when after nine hours on the bus, we realize that that was only half of the journey and we have to move boxes of books to a jeepney then find a way to transfer and fit them into a tricyle and get through over another half of rough roads just to get to a conference site. But it’s all worth it when after finding an empty table, we lay the books down one by one, and find people eagerly awaiting to browse through the books. It is so worth it when they tell us that they’ve been looking for materials like these for ages and/or request for more resources.

When it comes to workshops and seminars, no venue is ever too remote or too far, no group is too big or too small. DR-P has conducted leadership trainings in churches and schools, encouraged students to think thoroughly before choosing the right course in college and tapped the devotional writing skills of many and used their stories in the Ilocano version of the Upper Room. It is no hardship to share a room with chickens and dogs while conducting workshops, especially when it helps in molding and shaping the minds of future church leaders.

After six years, the road to discipleship is still bumpy but the energy to get the message of the Lord across remains high. It should be as there’s still a lot more room to cover. The Philippines, after all, has over 7,500 islands and three Episcopal areas.