Filipino Christian goes to great heights to study God’s Word

Cell phone signals aren’t always strong in the Philippines, but that didn’t stop BJ from attending a virtual Bible study with IMB missionaries Wade and Sharon Sigrest.

The local government on the Philippine island of Cebu issued a mandatory home quarantine due to COVID-19. Unable to meet in person, the Sigrests moved their Bible studies and leadership trainings with local Christians online.

BJ is one of the Christians the Sigrests have been discipling and training. When Wade set a time to call BJ for their Bible study, BJ told him he’d need to go outside to find a stronger cell phone signal. After BJ found a suitable location outside, Wade called but BJ asked him to wait a minute; he needed to find another spot with better cell service.

When their call resumed, BJ told him he had to climb a tree on the side of a mountain to get a strong enough signal for their Bible study.

“Our Bible study continued for about an hour while BJ patiently and willingly sat on a branch up in a tree,” Wade said. “I was so amazed at BJ’s sacrifice to have a Bible study—that he was willing to climb up a mountain and then climb up a tree during the hot part of the day. I praised and thanked God for BJ’s great desire and willingness to study God’s Word despite the difficult circumstances.”

BJ comes from a broken family. His parents are separated. His father is an alcoholic and his mother works in Malaysia to financially support their family.

Catholicism is the dominant religion in the Philippines. BJ grew up Catholic, but he was not devout and didn’t practice the faith. BJ’s brother, Melbert, became a Christian after he began reading the Bible. Melbert shared the gospel with BJ, and he chose to commit his life to Christ.

The brothers began attending the Sigrests’ house church and Wade began teaching and discipling them. Both brothers followed faithfully in believer’s baptism.

Finding a strong cell phone signal can be a challenge in rural areas in the Philippines. Filipinos often have to seek higher ground to find a strong cell signal.

“I have seen God work in his life. BJ has shared God’s Word and the gospel to his classmates in high school, and he even began Bible studies with a group at school,” Wade said.

BJ expressed a desire to attend Bible school and become a pastor after he graduates from high school. However, being isolated due to COVID-19 and spiritual warfare have begun to influence BJ’s decision.

The Sigrests have been unable to meet in person with BJ because of the strict home quarantine. Wade said this has been difficult for BJ, as he and his brother do not live close to any other Christians. BJ recently shared with Wade that he lost the desire to go to Bible school.

“My wife and I believe this is an attack of the enemy. Here in Cebu, Satan has always attacked young people in this way when they commit to go to Bible school,” Wade said. “My wife and I are asking the Lord and asking others to pray for BJ, that God would restore BJ’s desire to attend Bible college and that God would give BJ the boldness, courage and willingness to follow his initial commitment for attending Bible school.”

Pray for the Sigrests as they minister online. Pray for encouragement for Christians like BJ who are feeling isolated and discouraged. Pray against spiritual warfare, and that Christians would counter these attacks with promises from Scripture.

Join the Sigrests in praying for God to intervene and restore BJ’s desire and commitment to go to Bible school and become a pastor. Pray that BJ will grow in his faith and surrender wholeheartedly to the Lord.