The 1950’s were a time of rapid growth, particularly on AC mission fields. Rev. Clarence Kirby, editor of Advent Christian Missions (USA), chronicled the growing burden for the Philippines that had arisen among Advent Christians in North America: “The fact that nine young people (the number has increased to twelve) in three different locations across the continent felt the leading of the Lord to enter this new field led us to ask the Toothes to undertake the opening of this work.” The Philippines became an Advent Christian outreach in 1953 with Frank and Frances Toothe as missionaries. They were joined in 1955 by Betty Allenand Bessie Smith and in 1956 by Howard and Anna May Towne. Thus, Advent Christian work in the Philippines has grown continually, with many others following the leading of the Lord to labour in this field. The country is a collection of over 7,000 islands in southeast Asia. Most of the more than 90 million Filipinos live on eleven of the islands.
The focus of Advent Christian mission work in the Philippines has shifted over the past fifty years. From church planting, agricultural and medical missions to assisting the nationals in establishing a conference to assisting the nationals in establishing a Bible college for the training of church leaders.
In 1971, Advent Christians established and developed the Oro Bible College for training Filipino pastors and pastoras.
Short-Term Work Teams: 1990s
“This decade also brought increasing help from New Zealand Christians. Beginning in , short-term work teams came from that country on several occasions to undertake construction work at OBC [Oro Bible College, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines]. Ernie Schache, chairman of the Advent Christian Mission (NZ) committee, spent six months on one such trip. Friends at home financed most of the materials used for building at OBC. The most recent trips focussed on completing faculty housing on campus. In addition, Warren Prestidge provided academic leadership in 1995-96 while serving as director and teacher.”
~ Excerpt from ‘Who Will Go For Us’ by Dr David A Dean (From Barrios to Beaches, Page 319)
Kiwi to the Mission Field: 2000s
In April 2002 ACMissioNZ sent Grant Aldridge, seconded toAdvent Christian World Missions, to the Philippines to serve as Business Manager for the American Advent Mission in Philippines. Grant had served on ACMissioNZ trust board, was a member of four of the six Work Teams to the Philippines between 1990 and 2002, and was Team Leader of three of those
Grant returned to New Zealand in 2009 after serving seven years on the field.