The roots of a contextualized disciple making ministry that became REACH, Inc. in the Philippines and Reach Ministries International (RMI) in the U.S. stretch back to an evangelistic Bible study in Olongapo in 1953. Gene Tabor was a U.S. Navy man conducting a Bible study with Filipinos in and around the U.S. base. Though tempted to give up, he claimed Isaiah 42:4 as a promise from the Lord.
“He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.”
Eleven men and women eventually accepted the Lord in the Bible study. They were a down payment on God’s promise toward a disciple-making ministry in the future.
Gene Tabor returned to the Philippines with his family in the 1960s. He worked under the Navigator banner with Gene Denler and eventually hundreds of young Filipinos who caught the vision of spiritual multiplication.
A contextualized, holistic, and infiltrative ministry gradually evolved by God’s grace and was incorporated as REACH, Inc. in 1976. It was well established and growing by 1985. Yet it needed an occasional provision of infrastructure to continue its growth and to achieve balance in ministry. Gene Tabor was living in the U.S. by then and founded RMI to assist the local organization’s needs.
It was assumed that the community of faith outside of the Philippines, with its abundance of resources, not only financially but also in expertise and technology, could, if rightly and sensitively applied, promote holistic Third-World disciple making ministries.
RMI saw that the Church was planted in most countries, but also saw huge gaps in its discipleship quality and in its essential indigenous nature. Indigenous disciple making ministries were critically important because they focused on the qualitative dimensions of the Christian life, they could penetrate and transform culture, and they could potentially bypass restrictive forms and structures in order to create new vehicles for the gospel by their concentration upon principle and function.
Gene set out to find people with expertise in cross-cultural communications, appropriate technology, organization and finance, mission modalities, community health and development to serve on the Board of Directors. Over the years, Board members served as a resource reservoir to assist national disciple making ministries as needed.
Since RMI’s foundation, it has given assistance for natural disasters, individual and community medical needs, educational assistance, personal and family counseling, livelihood projects, missionary recruitment, evangelism and discipleship training.
God has done great things over the years, and we at RMI feel privileged to be part of it. Through the faithful gifts of men and women with a heart for missions and disciple making, RMI has been able to assist contextualized ministries, not only in the Philippines, but also in Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Russia, and more recently in southeast Asia.
To God be the glory!