11th International Camp and the Legacy of Frank Laubach, by Dana Belmonte


Forty Years with the Silent Billion, by Frank Laubach… 501 pages!

When the 11th International Camp takes place in May of 2017, CFOers from across the globe will gather not far from where Dr. Frank Laubach, literacy specialist and CFOer, penned a series of letters that became one of his best-selling works. In Letters by a Modern Mystic, Laubach records his spiritual journey while living on the island of Mindanao as a missionary. Things were not easy for Laubach in the Philippines. The locals were not interested in anything he had to say. At his lowest point, Laubach climbed Signal Hill, a knoll just outside of Dansalan, and began to pray there night after night. Gradually he heard the voice of God teaching him how to love God, and love his neighbor. This time of prayer birthed the “each one teach one” literacy method for which Laubach is so well remembered.

In his book, Forty Years with the Silent Billion, Laubach is very honest about how God worked with his soul during his early years as a missionary. He says…

The first month in Lanao was the hardest of my life. One evening I was sitting on Signal Hill looking over the Province that had me beaten… My lips began to move and it seemed to me that God was speaking. “My child” my lips said, “you have failed because you do not really love these Moros. You feel superior to them because you are white. If you can… think only how I love them, they will respond.” …In that terrible, wonderful hour on Signal Hill, I became color blind. After that night… when God killed my racial prejudice… it seemed as though [God] were working miracles at every turn. 

Like all of God’s children who strive to faithfully listen to the Holy Spirit, love their neighbor and be Christ For Others, Laubach learned that, no matter the circumstance, spiritual growth is always in order and that Learning to Live, Love, is a life long process. And just when you think things might be settled, God comes in and stirs things up; shows us things we might not want to see. I believe the word for that is conviction. But, as we know, “perfect love casts out all fear.” And fear really is the hang up most of the time, now isn’t it?

Conviction is a good thing. While it is often uncomfortable, the end result should never be shame. Rather, the end result should be a clearing of the way or the opening of a channel for the Holy Sprit. That is what happened to Frank Laubach on Signal Hill. In learning how to love, Laubach experienced a healing and a clearing of the path allowing him to begin realizing one of his soul’s sincere desires. And that desire was to spread God’s love through teaching people to read in their own language.

It is hard to find an argument today that the ability to read and write is not important. Literacy is a basic skill and right in our time. But, as Frank Laubach points out, “the belief that everyone has the right to read and write is modern; it came out of the Protestant reformation.” The basic needs of food and water and a body that functions well far pre-date the need for literacy and yet the debate around the growth and management of our food supply and whether or not healthcare is a right are currently some of the hottest topics, to say the least. It would be interesting to hear what Frank would add to these conversations if he could.

The “Each One, Teach One” literacy method spread quickly. Why? Because of faith, hope and love. Frank Laubach had faith that God wanted him in the Philippines, so he went. He went there in love, and learned how to love better. Filled with God’s love, Frank gave millions across the globe hope because he was a clear channel for the Holy Spirit. It is said that a good teacher really does just one thing; and that is to show the student that something is possible. Literacy opens doors. It is a window showing us infinite possibilities. And when something is possible, there is hope! (And this particular brand of hope, called “Each One, Teach One,” started in the Philippines.) If you wish to read the account of Frank Laubach’s life journey and the story of “Each One, Teach One,” it is outlined in the book, Forty Years with the Silent Billion. 

To echo more of Dr. Laubach’s words, it is in the spirit of “complete surrender” and “to live wrapped in God” that CFO International is preparing for The 11th International Camp to be held in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, May 7-12, at the Marco Hotel. So much is happening, from preparations at the site to training across the regions. “All over the world the Spirit is moving…” (CFO Sings #325). Together On the Way – One in Christ is the camp theme and CFOers around the world are lifting their prayers to the Holy One for a blessed time in the Philippines.

How will you be involved? What is God calling you to do? These are questions for all CFOers to take to prayer. Our callings will be different but no less important to the building of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Maybe you are to join us for the International Camp in May, 2017. Maybe you are to help someone attend by giving to our campership fund in the amount the Holy Spirit leads you to give. These are things we pray about knowing fully that God’s abundance is right here, right now, and in Christ we have all that we need, all of the time.

The 11th specifics are in our brochure. And if you’d like to make a donation please do so with a credit card at our website www.cfointernational.org. But before you do that, here’s a final thought from Frank Laubach.

“Has God ever struck you as the Great Stirrer-Up? One thing God seems to have determined is that we shall not fall asleep. We make or discover paradises for ourselves, and these paradises begin to lull us into sleepy satisfaction. Then God comes with an awakening hand, takes us by the shoulders and gives us a thorough awakening. And God knows we need it. …We need to have the shells broken quite frequently so that we can grow.”    – from Letters by a Modern Mystic

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