Corruption in the Philippines
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Harvest Time, Pressing Need: Jonathan Carino

Jul 20th, 2010

Dear brethren,

In spite of the deep poverty and widespread suffering in the Philippine Islands, Filipino fields are white unto harvest (Jn. 4:35).  There are some brethren there who are men of great talents as well as great faith and dedication to the work of the Lord.  In order for them to be effective in reaching out to the lost, they need financial support as the Lord ordained in 1 Corinthian 9:14 (“Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”).   We are teaching Filipino brethren to sacrifice to support preachers in their land, but most of the souls we convert are struggling themselves and can provide only the most meager help to preachers.  It is a blessing and a privilege for saints in our land of prosperity to have financial fellowship with Filipino preachers who are toiling to bring in the sheaves before our Lord returns.

I try to be very cautious and selective in sending out appeals.  I have recently shared information about an older preacher needing medicines, and an younger U.S. preacher who married a Filipina and is laboring in the Philippines, and God opened doors for us to find some help for each of these men.  Another very pressing need which has arisen is support for Jonathan Carino.

Brother Jonathan Carino is the son of a longtime faithful preacher of the gospel, Ramon Carino.  Jonathan’s character and capabilities reflect this background of Christian training.  His father had him type the entire Woods-Cogdill Debate as a young man to equip him to understand Bible authority and the institutional issues fully.  He with his wife and four children lives in Cebu City on Cebu Island, where he works with a strong and stable church meeting in a rented facility in the downtown area.  It is expensive to live here but Cebu City is a perfect central location for the cluster of islands in the central Philippines called the Visayan Islands (named for the Visayan Sea).

By the providence of God, Jonathan is positioned well to serve in efforts to spread the gospel throughout the Visayas and into Mindanao to the south.  Not only is this true in a geographical sense, but also it is true in terms of his experience in secular work.  He was well placed in an insurance company, received part of his training in the U.S., and traveled the Visayas.  Seeing the greater spiritual needs of his people motivated him to give up the security of his secular job to engage in full-time preaching.

As a gospel preacher, he uses the skills he learned in his secular job to help Filipino brethren and myself to set up gospel meetings in new areas or in areas where the church is very small.  He scouts venues to find the right setting at the right price (such as function rooms at older hotels), and prepares announcements and advertizing to invite denominational preachers to hear the gospel.  Typically 50-100 denominational pastors and patoras attend our two day sessions.  When there are baptisms, he works with Filipino brethren to follow up with the newly baptized preachers.  Entire denominational congregations have been converted in this way.  New congregations have been planted as well.

So, in addition to living in a strategic location which is expensive, the nature of the strategic work he is doing is also expensive because it involves a lot of travel and follow-up efforts.  The loss of funds will bring much of this growing and expanding work to a grinding halt.

In recent days brother Carino received notices from churches which are cutting back on support.  He has lost a total of $510 per month.

Jonathan tried to cut expenses a couple of years ago by moving to a cheaper house for his family of six.  The one he found is the size of an average-to-small apartment in our culture, much smaller than his family needs.  Even with this cut and other cost-cutting measures, he has been falling into debt while struggling to keep the work of the Lord from suffering.  He is in such straits that he recently borrowed money to pay the rent, and he stopped taking medicine he is supposed to be taking.

Jonathan does not complain and he did not ask me to write this report of his situation, but how can I be quiet when I have personally seen his faith, hope, love, and sacrifices for Christ over and over again?  How can I be quiet when I have seen his honesty, integrity, openness, and transparency in all of his efforts to serve the Lord and his brethren?  How can I be quiet when his life and service have been such an example and inspiration to me and to so many others?  How can I be quiet when I personally know men who have been converted through his efforts?  How can I be quiet when I think of his unselfish work with Jim McDonald, myself, and others who join hearts and hands with him in proclaiming the gospel to precious Filipino souls?

The God we serve is the true and living God, the God who delivers, the God who holds the universe in His hands.  God knows how to open doors to provide for our needs when we are set and determined to do His will.  His name is Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide.  Perhaps God will open the door of someone’s heart who reads this report of the needs of His child and servant.

If I can provide additional information, feel free to contact me.  If you wish to contact Jonathan, you can get in touch with him via email at jrcarino@skyinet.net.

Please include Jonathan’s needs in your prayers knowing “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Ja. 5:16).

In Christian love,

Ron Halbrook

[Editor's Note: Implications of large number of conversions; yet, the local population is somehow unable to support local preachers.]

[Editor's Note: See research into typical wages done by Glenn Hamilton. Compare the above to the fact that a doctor or college professor in 2004 typically made $325 per month. There is a list of pay for a variety of jobs at Philippines Average Salaries & Expenditures (Please note that the list is several years out of date).. The amount claimed to have just lost is twice what a typical school teacher made in 2004. Notice that no mention is made of what Jonathan is actually receiving.]