As Jojie leafed through the pages of the thick English book, reading chapter titles, he was immediately struck by how many key biblical truths were addressed—something woefully absent from the other Christian literature he had ever read. My fellow believers desperately need to learn and understand these principles regarding true discipleship, he thought.
Jojie, a Filipino pastor, was introduced to me in 2014 by Gary Hawkins, a ministry partner and friend who also lives in the Philippines. Gary knew I’d be interested in meeting Jojie because he was then in the process of converting his institutional church into several smaller house churches—something akin to what David Servant writes about in The Disciple-Making Minister. That’s why Gary had given Jojie a copy of David’s book. None of us at that time knew how providential that gift would become.
Filled with practical teaching about the new birth, fundamentals of faith, our life in Christ, the Christian family, how to be led by God’s Spirit, God’s eternal plan and many more topics, TDMM is essentially a “seminary in a book” for pastors around the world who have never received formal training. Although no book compares with the Word of God itself, this practical Christian leader’s guide helps pastors and teachers more effectively teach the key principles God wants all of His people to know so that they can faithfully obey His commands.
The pastor’s enthusiasm for the book grew more deeply with each chapter he read. He told Gary that, were he to set out to write a book needed by every Christian in the Philippines, TDMM is exactly the book he would write!
Jojie was able to read the English version of The Disciple-Making Minister that Gary had given him, but his first language—and that of his people—happens to be Cebuano. You’ve probably never heard of Cebuano, also referred to as Bisaya or Visayan, but over 20 million people speak this language in the central and Southern islands of the Philippines. Although Cebuano borrows many words from Spanish—owing to the influence of Spain’s colonial rule from 1521 to 1898—the language is very different.
The Disciple-Making Minister has been translated into 31 languages to date, but no Cebuano speakers have had access to it in their own language. So when I heard that Jojie wanted to translate the nearly 500 pages of TDMM into his native language, I jumped at his offer! I’m happy to report that, with Jojie’s partnership, we are currently on track to have the first Cebuano translation available early this year—a translation made possible by generous gifts to the Books for Discipleship Ministry.
Jesus commanded us to go and teach…and make disciples. Although few of us know believers who speak Cebuano—nor have the ability to go to the Philippines to teach—all who’ve helped make this project possible will have a part in making Filipino mga tinun-an (disciples). I can’t wait to hear the testimonies of lives transformed by the truths of God’s Word as a result of the Cebuano version of The Disciple-Making Minister!