Not Miles Or Kilometers But River Crossings!

How are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!” (Romans 10:15, ESV)

During a recent trip to the Philippines, I was talking to Pastor Philip Lim, and he said, “Yeah, the village that we visited was 11 river crossings away.”

In America, I would say, “Columbus is 46 miles away.” In Europe, someone would say, “London is 344 kilometers from Paris.” But I have never heard anyone tell distance using “river crossings” as the metric.

I continued the conversation, “HHHHMMMHHM, 11 river crossings?” He responded, “Then we had to climb up a cliff holding onto vines and tree roots.” My response, “Why did you go?” His answer, “It was a village that we thought had never heard the gospel.”

How beautiful are the feet that cross 11 rivers!

I’ve known Pastor Philip and his wife Levi for years. About eight years ago, he started a church in a drug-infested barangay of Cebu City, based upon one-on-one discipleship. Using First Steps discipleship, he reached hundreds.  

A few years back, he moved to the island of Palawan in the Philippines to work with unreached tribes, some of which had headhunting in the recent past.

Pastor Philip and Levi were immortalized (in my mind) a few years back when in a conversation they mentioned that they owned cats. CATS!!!??? (I don’t like cats.)  

After mentioning they had cats, Levi said, “Our house in Palawan is elevated on poles and cobra snakes get under the house. The cats catch and eat the cobras.”  

How beautiful are the feet of those who need cats for cobras!

Back to my most recent conversation…

Pastor Philip told me that after 11 river crossings, and climbing the cliff with vines and tree roots, many village youths accepted Jesus and are now being discipled using First Steps.

Philip and Levi’s ministry is not only about “river crossings.” They also run a discipleship training center which currently has 16 students. They train the students for church planting and discipleship and then help the students take the gospel to their villages.

They are reaching the unreached.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14)

When I hear a testimony like the one from Philip and Levi, I consider that I deal with miles or kilometers in my travels, but often I just need to walk across the room to talk with someone about Jesus.

We are all called… and how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. As Romans 10 concludes…

Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

That’s our calling.  

Perhaps on Judgment Day, those of us who have had mere miles or kilometers and didn’t disciple anyone will be embarrassed by those willing to cross 11 rivers.

This is a link to his testimony on discipleship from Pastor Philip:

Pastor Philip Lim speaking on discipleship.