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Left: Brother Victor White, a Gilead graduate, addresses an audience in Mindanao, Philippines. Right: Some of the early missionaries in the Philippines

JUNE 14, 2022

Seventy-Five Years of Missionary Activity in the Philippines

Seventy-Five Years of Missionary Activity in the Philippines

On June 14, 1947, a ship carrying three men, Brothers Lorenzo Alpiche, Earl Stewart, and Victor White, docked in Manila. Their arrival marked the start of missionary activity in the Philippines. A fourth Gilead-trained missionary, Brother Nick Skelparick, joined the group about a month later.

These brothers were well-trained and ready to work. They were soon busy helping the 2,400 publishers already sharing in the preaching work throughout the Philippines. By 1958, just 11 years later, the average number of Kingdom preachers had grown almost tenfold to well over 23,000. Today, 75 years after the arrival of the first missionaries, the number of Jehovah’s worshippers in the Philippines has swelled to more than 230,000.

Brothers Milton Henschel and Nathan H. Knorr at a convention site in Manila

The arrival of the missionaries was by no means an accident. Less than three months prior to their arrival, from March 31 to April 2, 1947, Brother Nathan H. Knorr, then president of the Watch Tower Society, spoke at a landmark convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Manila. Brother Knorr assured those in attendance that Gilead-trained missionaries would soon be sent to the country to help reorganize the preaching work following the devastation of the second world war.

Left: A panoramic view of the crowd that gathered for the first day of the “Praise-Giving Nations” Convention in Manila on March 31, 1947. Right: Brother Milton Henschel addresses the audience

On the final day of the convention, 151 new brothers and sisters were baptized in Manila Bay against the backdrop of sunken ships from the war. Later that day, Brother Knorr delivered the public talk “The Joy of All the People” to an audience of 4,200. The talk was simultaneously broadcast on the radio to thousands of listeners all over the country. Brother Knorr and Brother Milton Henschel, also from world headquarters, gave Scriptural encouragement to help the brothers press on with the preaching work in an organized manner.

Some of the 151 who were baptized in Manila Bay on April 2, 1947, the final day of the convention

Reflecting on the activity of the past 75 years, Brother Denton Hopkinson, a missionary who has been serving in the Philippines since 1954, said: “Those first missionaries to arrive in 1947 were instrumental in building up and organizing the congregations in preparation for the great increase that would follow.”

We are grateful to our heavenly Father, Jehovah, for blessing the hard work and diligence of his servants in the Philippines and all around the world.—Isaiah 60:22.