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Bishop: ‘We all need to go somewhere’

Tillmon Bishop spent nine days in a spot even hotter than Mississippi in July. And more humid.

Bishop, the Lincoln County chancery clerk, visited the Philippines for the first time this month with two other men from Heucks Retreat Baptist Church — pastor Ken Parvin and Wesson head football coach Jeremy Loy. The trio were on a fishing expedition, but not the for the kind with scales. It was a “vision trip” to see how the church could help the people there in the future.

They made the 8,600-mile trek to Catanduanes, the 12th largest of the 7,500 islands in the country, to bring the people the gospel, baseball and a chicken coop.

Loy’s younger sister, Amy Samson and her husband, Edwin, are Christian missionaries there. She’d been cajoling her brother to visit for a while and he finally made plans — which included his Sunday School teacher and his pastor.

The Samsons have spoken to Heucks Retreat about their ministry on trips home to the States.

“I think they have a great thing going, and they have done a great job there,” Loy said. “It’s a tough job, but the Lord is working.”

Volunteers from Heucks Retreat make trips each April to Guatamala, partnering with other Lincoln County churches for the mission work.

This was Bishop’s first time to the Philippines, but he doesn’t expect it to be his last. Even with the out-of-pocket expense for air fare, the heat and hard labor, he said it is definitely a blessing to be able to go.

“Going on one of these trips, it’s absolutely not a vacation,” he said. “In the Philippines, it’s on the equator, it’s hot. It’s Mississippi humidity or more. There’s some spots of beauty, no doubt about that, but you have a purpose for going and that’s to assist the people who are there who are sharing the gospel all the time. These guys are there all the time. We go in there and do exactly what they tell us to do.”

In this case, it was to build chicken coops. Bishop admits he’s not a chicken coop expert, so he Googled some blueprints and made a prototype in his shop. It took him several weeks to complete.

In Catanduanes, he had help from Parvin, Loy, Samson and others, so after trips to four stores to gather the supplies, they were able to build a 4-foot-by-8-foot coop in only a few hours. More importantly, he taught the people there how to construct their own.

“Their chickens are running wild over there,” he said.

Bishop said Heucks Retreat church members follow scripture, Matthew 28:19-20, which says to go out and make disciples of all nations. They have gone to Guatamala for several years, and wanted to expand their overseas ministry.

He said he felt led to make this particular trip.

“You go because you feel like the Lord leads you to do certain things at certain times,” he said. “Some people can go and some people can send. Some people can send but can’t go so they’re faithful to send. Churches all over the county do this. Ecuador, Honduras, all these places. They go to help people who have difficulty helping themselves. The primary reason we go is to spread the gospel.

“You want to see how blessed you are to live in the United States of America? Just go to a Third World country.”

While they were there, they visited a prison and also taught baseball to children.

They enjoyed the local food — mostly chicken, fruit and rice — but don’t want to ever again try one specific Asian street food they tasted there. Bishop and Loy each tried a balut, which is a fertilized duck egg with an almost developed embryo. The egg is eaten in the shell once it has been boiled.

Parvin didn’t eat one.

“He did not partake of that,” Loy said, laughing.

Bishop urges others in Lincoln County to pray to hear the Lord’s calling and to go where he sends them.

“Going on a trip like this, everybody isn’t called to go, but every believer needs to go somewhere, whether it’s down the street or around the world, or the next county over,” he said. “You don’t have to go to Manilla, you can go to Monticello. But we need to go somewhere. We all need to go somewhere to help somebody. There are people who need help everywhere.”