While living as a missionary in Japan, missionary Arthur Allen made initial outreach efforts into the Philippines on behalf of the Apostolic Faith work. He traveled to Manila, where he contacted those who had corresponded with the headquarters church in Portland. He found several small groups who had a desire to go deeper with the Lord, and he reported: “They gathered in a place of worship between two houses. A few boards over the top and a little galvanized sheet metal over that for a roof, and a dirt floor—just a humble place—but we could feel the presence of God. As the Word went forth, the people began to weep. Their hearts were open, and God began to work in their lives. They asked that we might work together for the honor and glory of God.”
In 1976, Loyce Carver stopped in the Philippines on a two-month trip through several countries in Asia. In a report home, he wrote: “We held a service in a barrio on Saturday evening. It was dark when we pulled up in front of the farmhouse. A little candle was burning in their sitting area and another light in a room above. Soon, down the road came someone with a beaming light that they tied to a rafter, lighting up the whole courtyard. Several boys came along with an accordion and guitars; they put benches out under the mango trees and chairs next to the house. Then the service began. People came—farmers with their wives, young men, old men, and the children. The faces of the people revealed their deep hunger for the Word, a very touching scene.”
Headquarters for the work in the Philippines was established at the Bagong Sikat church in 1982. That small group of about ten families grew to more than 300 souls in eleven years. Students from the nearby Central Luzon State University attend the church, and upon graduation, many have taken the Gospel message to their own areas of the Philippines.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the Harold Barretts, Bill McKibben, and others from the United States made a number of trips to the Philippines, and were always thrilled by how the work was expanding. As the congregation grew, they undertook outreach efforts in neighboring locales, willingly dedicating their time and sacrificial efforts to reach others. One branch church began with a crusade on the high school grounds, which was attended by hundreds of people. At the conclusion of this crusade, forty were baptized in water.
Branch churches established throughout the Philippines are similar in appearance so they can be readily recognized. Beautiful vegetation decorates each yard, and on the front of each building are the words, “Jesus the Light of the World.” Summer camps are held annually, and year-end consecration services have also become a tradition. Choirs, musicians, and soloists from the different churches participate.
In 1984, Zenaida Ruiz was ordained and established as the leader of the Apostolic Faith work in the Philippines. The newest church in the Philippines, located in Ambatali, was dedicated early in 2005, making a total of twelve Apostolic Faith churches in that country.