The pages of the history of God's great Advent Movement since the adventurous coming of Colporteur Robert Caldwell in 1905 have been filled with thrilling and dramatic recitals of the marvelous work that God has wrought and is doing in the hearts and lives of the increasing Philippine population. Today in the Philippines we have more than 100,000 believers, 600 of whom are colporteur evangelists.
Before the war, in 1938, in Luzon a colporteur by the name of Felipe Corcorro was beheaded by the fierce head-hunters while delivering gospel books in the fearful hinterlands of Mountain Province.
After the war, in 1949, in the Visayas another colporteur, Brother Eliseo Dioliste, was shot while delivering copies of The Great Controversy, The Meaning of Our Times, and other books in the wild mountainous area in Kanlaon, Negros Oriental.
Recently on May 10, 1963, in Mindanao another colporteur, this time a woman magazine evangelist, Erlinda Poblacion, gave her life while traveling by boat on the treacherous sea near Tandag, Surigao. Erlinda and three other consecrated women were sailing on a small motor launch that capsized, and Erlinda was drowned.
When colporteuring was at its lowest ebb, when money was scarce and sales were low, when some had to give up and find other means of supporting themselves, Erlinda stood by and carried on with her loyal companions, witnessing for the Lord. Their love for God's work was more precious than all besides. That love impelled them to continue even if it meant the sacrifice of life itself. Yes, Erlinda kept on colporteuring even unto death.
The blood of God's martyrs is like seed sown to yield a harvest for Him. They sealed their testimony with their own blood, and the result of their consecration blazed forth to convince others of the truth.
To them the brightest page of their life history is death while holding aloft the banner of Prince Emmanuel.
"The way to heaven is consecrated by His footprints. Every thorn that wounds our feet has wounded His. Every cross that we are called to bear, He has borne for us. The Lord permits conflicts to prepare the soul for peace."—Love's Victory, p. 111.
Brethren Felipe Corcorro and Eliseo Dioliste and Sister Erlinda Poblacion sealed their devotion with their lives. Although they have died, their memory lives on.
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Rev. 14:13).
After the burial of Erlinda in Murcia, Negros Occidental, May 21, 1963, we asked several colporteurs whether they were discouraged. With tears in their eyes they answered: "No, sir. We are not discouraged, we are inspired. We will continue in the Lord's work, and if it means the giving of our lives we will gladly give them for Him and His work."
"They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels" (Mal. 3:17).
How many millions have paid with their lives because they practiced and shared their faith until death silenced them, will never be known until the books of God in heaven will be laid open before the eyes of the redeemed.