Series Code: LM
Program Code: LM000154A
00:00 (majestic music)
00:29 (bright music)
00:48 - [Narrator] We are taking you again to the Philippines
00:50 which is located in Southeast Asia in the South China Sea.
00:55 (calm music)
00:59 - It's a Tuesday morning here
01:00 at the medium security prison in Sablayan.
01:03 It's a maximum, medium, and minimum security prison
01:07 facility here on this 62,000-acre facility.
01:10 And today we're gonna be having baptisms.
01:12 It seems like a Sabbath but it's a Tuesday morning
01:14 and they've made special provisions for us to come here
01:17 and shoot video and see the activities for today.
01:20 (men singing solemnly)
01:26 - [Narrator] Laymen Ministries' success in this large prison
01:28 facility is due to these two dedicated workers:
01:34 They have worked with us for nearly 20 years!
01:37 Over these years we have seen lives changed
01:39 by hearts surrendered to Christ,
01:41 and we have witnessed nearly 800 baptisms.
01:45 (solemn music)
01:53 - This is also a time where we have new beginnings.
01:56 (interprets in Filipino)
02:00 - [Narrator] Several years ago,
02:02 Laymen Ministries built this church
02:04 inside the medium security section of the prison.
02:07 We shared words of encouragement with those
02:09 that were going to be baptized that morning.
02:12 - There are only two options in life.
02:14 (interprets in Filipino)
02:16 Either God is God or I'm god.
02:19 (speaking in Filipino)
02:28 Because people...
02:30 (speaking in Filipino)
02:31 Because without Christian, without Christ in our life--
02:35 (interprets in Filipino)
02:37 - Do you want to be saved?
02:38 (interprets in Filipino)
02:40 - Yes! - Do you believe the Gospel?
02:42 (interprets in Filipino)
02:44 Do you want to be baptized?
02:46 - [Men] Yes!
02:48 - Amen. - Amen.
02:49 (praying in Filipino)
02:52 (gentle music)
02:58 - Amen!
03:01 (singing in foreign language)
03:16 - [Narrator] When we first talked about turning this 62,000
03:19 acre prison and penal farm into a Bible Training school,
03:22 it seemed impossible.
03:24 But that's exactly what has happened.
03:26 Inmates are trained to teach inmates,
03:29 and by the simple Biblical principle of teach to teach
03:32 as it says in Matthew 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach
03:37 "all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
03:40 "and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
03:42 "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever
03:45 "I have commanded you."
03:48 Also in the second chapter of the Book of Mark, Mark says:
03:51 "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is
03:54 "in Christ Jesus.
03:55 "And the things that thou hast heard of me
03:57 "amongst many witnesses, the same commit thou
04:00 "to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
04:08 - [Pastor] Bless them in a special way.
04:12 - So when we have a baptism like this,
04:13 do you think that these guys
04:15 are really grounded in the truth?
04:17 - Jeff, to be honest with you, I think these brethren
04:21 are much better grounded in the truth
04:23 than many people who joined our churches by baptism.
04:31 The program here from the very beginning
04:34 has been teach to teach.
04:37 Our two faithful workers of almost 20 years
04:43 are training inmates to be disciples.
04:48 And they are the ones who hold the prayer meetings
04:53 and the Bible studies in the dormitories.
04:55 They're the ones who preach on Sabbath.
04:58 Of course our coworkers intermingle and teach
05:01 and help and preach also but the majority of the work
05:07 is being done exactly as the Bible says it should be done.
05:12 That is we are teaching new people who come to Christ
05:16 to go out and teach--
05:18 - And make disciples. - And make disciples.
05:20 They are the ones bringing Him in and I remind us
05:24 that with the baptisms today we, the Layman Ministries,
05:30 prison ministry has baptized almost 800 people
05:37 from the time we were first allowed to baptize.
05:40 - Amazing. - At first
05:41 there was objection, we could not baptize,
05:44 but almost 800.
05:48 And we still are in touch with many of the inmates
05:50 who have been released who are faithful
05:55 Christians in their communities, in their families,
05:58 in their churches.
06:00 So praise God!
06:01 It is working. - That's good to hear.
06:03 - And I will also tell you, Jeff,
06:06 that with the use of the Bible,
06:10 the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides which they allowed us
06:14 to translate into Tagalog and with Spirit of Prophecy books,
06:23 I'm not bashful to tell you that I believe
06:27 that our men here admitting that this is a captive audience,
06:32 our men here had probably read more of the Spirit
06:36 of Prophecy than most people
06:38 and the churches around the world.
06:41 And I also think it's exciting to tell that every Sabbath
06:48 there is a Sabbath service,
06:50 and each of these four facilities here in the prison.
06:54 And people who live outside the prison choose
07:00 to come to the prison to worship God.
07:03 - Yeah, amazing.
07:04 - Because they're being fed also.
07:08 - [Narrator] Laymen Ministries' Jeepney has been a faithful
07:10 workhorse for many years hauling church members
07:13 to worship with the inmates week after week.
07:16 Some times there are so many people they are riding
07:18 on the roof!
07:20 It's hard to realize how large this prison facility is,
07:23 literally having to drive from one section to another.
07:27 - We just got done being over at the medium security part
07:30 of the prison we baptized 27 men.
07:33 This is a minimum security part of the prison
07:35 and this is the baptistry.
07:37 The men will be baptized in a barrel.
07:39 It's the only accommodations we have in this
07:41 particular part of the prison facility.
07:44 (calm music)
07:50 (singing in Filipino)
08:00 And the reporter asked the same questions.
08:02 (interprets in Filipino)
08:04 He said, what would you do if you were free today?
08:07 (interprets in Filipino)
08:09 And the inmate asked the reporter a question.
08:12 (interprets in Filipino)
08:16 Are you free?
08:18 (interprets in Filipino)
08:20 And the reporter said, I'm asking the question here!
08:23 (interprets in Filipino)
08:24 And the inmate said, I'm free already.
08:27 (interprets in Filipino)
08:30 And the reporter says, you're not free,
08:31 you're in prison.
08:32 (interprets in Filipino)
08:35 No, I'm free in Christ.
08:38 (interprets in Filipino)
08:41 Jesus Christ has set me free.
08:43 (interprets in Filipino)
08:45 I'm free at my heart.
08:47 (interprets in Filipino)
08:48 And he looked at the reporter and said, Are you free?
08:51 (women singing in Filipino)
09:09 - [Man] No, he will change his clothes.
09:09 - That's okay, I still wanna hug.
09:40 - We're outside of medium and maximum security part
09:42 of the Sablayan Prison.
09:43 This is our third stop.
09:44 They said there are 17 inmates here that are gonna give
09:46 their life to Christ through baptism.
09:49 These inmates not only have been studying the Bible
09:51 for themselves but in their cellblocks in the evenings
09:53 they're having group Bible studies.
09:55 I wish we could get in there and take pictures
09:57 and some of that but they won't allow us to take
09:59 video cameras in those portions of the prison.
10:03 (singing in Filipino)
10:18 - [Narrator] Lukas, a former Laymen Ministry student
10:19 missionary from Germany, who continues to return
10:22 to the Philippines, shares with the inmates.
10:26 What happens next is almost too hard to believe.
10:30 The prison officials allowed the inmates to leave the prison
10:33 with us to go to the river to be baptized!
10:37 I noticed the security guards who accompanied us
10:40 with weighted sticks wore green Laymen Ministries shirts.
10:44 When I inquired about this,
10:45 I was told they were all church members
10:47 who were previously baptized!
10:50 (calm music)
11:18 Another amazing thing that happened
11:20 was one of the inmate's wife and daughter came
11:22 and they were all baptized together!
11:25 (calm music)
11:32 I praise God for the hard work and years
11:34 of dedication by Louie and Abel.
11:37 Prison ministry is not an easy task,
11:39 and there are and have been many challenges.
11:42 And also donors, such as yourselves,
11:44 have helped with support of these workers,
11:47 along with simple provisions,
11:49 Bibles and spiritual literature.
11:51 Thank you!
11:53 (calm music)
11:56 The heart of Laymen Ministries operations takes place
11:59 on top of this mountain called Kaupawan,
12:02 which when translated literally means Bald Mountain.
12:05 It's now a campus for our indigenous academy.
12:08 When we first bought this property,
12:10 the local people asked
12:12 "Why would you want the dry bald mountain top?
12:14 "You can't grow anything up there!"
12:17 But today we have thousands of trees planted
12:20 and it's green and beautiful.
12:22 It's a picture perfect place to help young adults
12:24 to grow mentally, physically and spiritually!
12:27 To the left is our dormitory and cafeteria
12:30 and to the right is our admin building and classrooms.
12:40 The cafeteria serves as a place for not only eating
12:43 but for social interaction and worship services.
12:49 This octagon building houses several classrooms
12:52 and an administrative and accounting office.
12:54 Let me take you inside to see some of the activities
12:57 taking place today!
12:59 We have strict account procedures
13:01 which are audited regularly.
13:03 In this instance, our boat captain Mario,
13:06 is giving an account for recent repairs on our boat.
13:09 Christian Stroeck, an administrative assistant
13:11 who came to us from Switzerland, does our accounting.
13:16 When I visit this project I go over the books
13:18 to see how the funds are being handled.
13:20 I'm very proud about the level of integrity our team has.
13:24 Every peso can be accounted for.
13:28 We operate the only indigenous boarding academy
13:31 in the country of the Philippines.
13:33 God has blessed, and our students test higher
13:35 than those attending the public schools
13:38 and this is with a people group that the Filipino majority
13:41 say are not capable of learning.
13:43 - My name is Isabella Franca.
13:45 I'm from Brazil.
13:47 And I heard about this project through a friend
13:50 that owns a mission YouTube channel,
13:54 and I saw some videos of her here and so I got in touch
13:59 with her to find out a little bit more
14:01 about Laymen Ministries.
14:03 - It's actually my second year already
14:05 working here in Laymen Ministries.
14:06 It was actually a friend of mine, also my classmate before,
14:11 Ma'am Jam Mabell, who referred me.
14:14 - Well, I'm with grades seven and nine,
14:17 so I help them through English, Math,
14:21 Social Studies and Science when they take the video lessons
14:25 so I help them on that, but the actual teaching is my favorite,
14:28 which is Music Arts PE and Health.
14:32 - Currently I'm teaching grades 10, 11 and 12.
14:37 Well, here in the high school in Kaupawan,
14:39 you have to teach basically all the subjects.
14:42 Although we have video lessons already for English,
14:44 Math, Science, and Social Studies,
14:47 we still have to basically know all those subjects.
14:53 In case students have questions, we should be ready.
14:57 (speaking in Filipino)
15:00 (calm music)
15:06 - I am here to help teachers to improve their teaching style
15:12 and helping the students also to learn better.
15:14 That means sharing with them some strategies
15:18 for teaching and learning.
15:20 And actually this is a thing that I'm very passionate about
15:23 because I am a great supporter of education,
15:27 but I believe education has to be done right
15:29 in order to really make a change.
15:32 So my idea of education is very centered not only
15:37 in the Bible but also all we have from our pioneers
15:41 and so on in the sense that I believe is very important
15:46 that education is making people more autonomous
15:50 and able to think for themselves.
15:53 In the sense that when we just memorize things,
15:56 we are not really giving students a chance
16:00 to really succeed in life because they won't have
16:04 the tools to go about challenges
16:07 that will come their way and so on.
16:09 And sometimes teachers also are trained in a way
16:13 that is just a repetition of what their teachers did
16:17 in the past and so on,
16:19 so it's nice to have some time to talk
16:21 and really think about the strategies
16:23 and go through even new ways of approaching education,
16:29 and that's what I'm doing here for the next five months.
16:34 - We are very blessed here at Katutubo Excel School
16:39 to have a large enough piece of property.
16:42 Let's see, we have 38 hectares which is approximately
16:48 100 acres that belongs to the school, deeded to the school.
16:55 And we have an elevation difference
16:58 because the school buildings are up on the ridge
17:01 of a 150 meters, so that would be about 450 feet
17:07 down to a creek where we have relatively flat area
17:12 for our school garden.
17:14 And here at the garden it gives employment for the students
17:18 but also, and food for supporting the school
17:23 but also teaches the students how to grow a variety
17:29 of foods, which later our goal is that they would
17:34 duplicate that in their villages
17:36 to improve the nutritional standard of the natives
17:40 here in this area.
17:41 We are using tunnel greenhouses in addition
17:46 to our walk-in greenhouses, and we actually like
17:50 these much better.
17:53 We are using a lot of organic material
17:56 to loosen this clay soil.
17:59 It is hard as cement, in the summer time it's washed out.
18:04 It's been badly abused over the years
18:07 and we're trying to teach our students
18:09 how to recover the soil.
18:13 Now, I haven't been here for a month
18:15 but I'm going to just show you with my fingers
18:17 how easy it is for us to use just our hand
18:22 to work in this beautiful soil.
18:27 Now, in addition to a lot of compost,
18:30 which we make ourselves, and carbonized rice hulls,
18:34 we also have our own worm production, vermicast, vermifuge.
18:40 So we are trying in multiple ways to become self-sufficient
18:48 but we are super happy that we can do this.
18:54 - So you're telling me that you wanted to build a shop
18:56 here and we're talking about doin' it right here
18:59 with the containers are at?
19:01 - Yes, basically we're here coming to the end
19:03 of our road.
19:04 You know here on top there's the wind generator and then
19:07 the housing of administration.
19:08 So here we are at the end of our road
19:12 and we have containers with some of the material donated.
19:16 And the idea is since we have a wide open space here
19:20 to start building a maintenance shop
19:22 where you can also put equipment storage
19:25 where you can train the young people
19:27 how they can learn about carpentry,
19:30 about welding, about repairing things
19:33 that they get equipped with practical skills
19:36 not only knowledge in school.
19:38 - [Jeff] So you're gonna use the container that we've been
19:40 shipping over somehow for building walls or something.
19:42 - Exactly, it will be an outside wall.
19:44 Then the idea is to have two containers apart
19:47 by about 15 feet and on top we will have a rolling,
19:52 I don't know how you call it, like a tripod
19:54 with a chain hoist.
19:56 - Oh yeah, it's like an I beam steel
19:58 for moving heavy equipment. - Exactly, exactly.
20:00 So you can put a generator on a truck.
20:02 You can get an engine out of a truck if you need
20:05 to replace things.
20:06 So we try to use what we have.
20:09 - All the years that I've been coming here
20:10 it's like we have all these things
20:12 that need to be maintained, but we don't really have a place
20:14 to really take care of any of the equipment,
20:17 so having a shop would be a place to be out of the sun
20:19 because even right now this is blistering hot.
20:22 So to be able to be in the shade some place
20:24 and have a place for the tools and everything
20:26 could be locked up would be really good.
20:28 I was just talking to Don.
20:30 Don is the maintenance man for the whole project here
20:32 and he's been working in that little teeny
20:35 generator building is what it is
20:37 to try to fix things in there.
20:38 He doesn't have the space to do it,
20:40 so this is a really important thing.
20:42 - We estimate that the floor dimension will be like
20:44 80 foot by probably 30 feet.
20:47 - That's a pretty good size. - That's a good size, yes.
20:49 Yes, good size.
20:50 We have a donor in the US who is willing to donate I beams.
20:54 So that's good for some of the posts.
20:58 And we have to use metal.
21:01 The termites are so bad they eat anything
21:04 which is out of wood, so we want to have a metal structure.
21:07 I beam posts and then metal trusses and simple roof
21:12 but it adds up.
21:14 Cement and steel and the labor,
21:17 so probably we're looking at about $25,000--
21:21 - But really isn't that bad for building a shop that size.
21:25 - But for here it's a big amount.
21:27 - (chuckling) Yeah.
21:28 Yeah, it's a next step though for really being able
21:30 to make this operation work better.
21:34 - [Narrator] Laymen Ministries operates
21:35 Church schools projects in three very remote villages
21:38 as well as one school at the base of the mountain
21:41 where we have our academy.
21:42 To staff and supply the remote village projects
21:45 we're extremely dependent on our boat.
21:48 The only other way to get to these villages
21:50 is by a six hour hike over Mount Calavite!
21:57 - Over the 20 years that we have operated
22:01 as Laymen Ministries Philippines,
22:03 we have had three boats because we have to travel
22:11 to remote native villages and we have to travel
22:15 on the open ocean,
22:17 and the South China Sea is very treacherous.
22:22 Our Laymen Ministries II boat had become very dangerous.
22:28 It had become rotten and at that point
22:32 we decided to build a new boat that would better
22:35 meet our needs because of the size of our operation
22:40 has grown so we're dramatically many times we have
22:45 building supplies and a lot of people
22:48 and we need to be very safe.
22:51 Our typical trip on the ocean to the villages
22:56 could be five to six hours on the ocean.
23:01 Then in July of 2018 when the boat was only six months old,
23:08 Mamburao experienced a major flood.
23:11 Mamburao is the city in which we live
23:13 and the river in which we anchored the boat.
23:17 - The boat is at the harbor in the Mamburao River
23:20 and there are many boats around us.
23:23 That's the shelter for storms.
23:25 You go in the river, you tie your boat up tight
23:28 and you protect that against the typhoons
23:31 and the severe weathers which are happening here.
23:34 The water rose so much that it almost went
23:38 up to the bridge at the back.
23:40 It pulled out to the ocean one of the construction boats
23:45 and with it all the other boats which were nicely tied
23:49 to the piers.
23:52 - 50 predominantly fishing boats,
23:56 ours was the only non-fishing boat,
23:59 that was parked in the river,
24:02 were all washed out into the ocean.
24:05 - The provincial government tells us it was the worst flood
24:08 since 40 years.
24:10 People had to be evacuated whole sections
24:12 of the town were evacuated.
24:14 The main road was underneath of the water.
24:17 It was terrible.
24:19 - Our boat had two anchors on it plus three or four
24:25 ropes tying it to different secure areas
24:30 but when a two-meter flood, two-meter rush of water,
24:36 wall of water, two meters is six feet roughly,
24:42 washed through and boats started breaking their tie,
24:50 then one would be stacked against the other
24:52 and then finally just wash the whole river totally clean.
24:56 Water can be extremely powerful
24:59 and in this case with all of these boats
25:02 stacking up on each other and tumbling,
25:06 they got washed out into the ocean.
25:09 - When our captain informed us about what happened,
25:11 we immediately prayed.
25:13 We did not know the full story.
25:15 He himself was evacuated
25:17 and he didn't know the full picture.
25:19 We went to the coastguard, to the police,
25:22 to the military, to the provincial government.
25:24 We asked everybody we knew for help
25:27 to find our boat and retrieve it.
25:30 - In other areas where there was no flood,
25:34 the fisherman could get on the ocean,
25:39 they stripped the boats including ours.
25:40 When we found our boat it was submerged to within
25:47 maybe a meter of the top of the boat.
25:52 And we were able through a very kind gentleman,
25:58 who own a fishing boat, to hire him to pull
26:03 our boat in near Mamburao.
26:06 We finally got it beached and emptied the water,
26:10 emptied the sand that was in it.
26:13 Our boat had extensive damage.
26:17 Not only broken ribs, broken side walls,
26:23 of course being totally submerged
26:26 the engine had to be totally rebuilt.
26:31 There was also major damage to the shaft
26:35 and the propeller.
26:37 And the total cost of repairing the boat,
26:45 making it sea worthy again was an excess of $12,000.
26:52 We really are appreciative for the donors
26:56 who stepped in and helped us rebuild our boat
27:02 so that we could again service our schools
27:08 in these remote areas.
27:10 So thank you very much for joining hands with us
27:16 and putting our boat back in condition.
27:20 (triumphant music)
27:29 Just this last Sabbath we had eight adults
27:35 baptized in one village by their request.
27:41 This is a long time in coming.
27:46 It's a major, major change in these people's lives
27:53 that they would accept Christianity
27:56 and accept the need and the desire to want
28:04 to serve the creator, God.
28:07 (gentle music)