The name F.R.E.E. Mission was a gift from Dr. Rodrigo Chan; it signifies the early desire of Rev. Ben C. Hernandez to evangelize people in the rural and tribal areas of the Philippines. It was established and incorporated in 1983; those people who knew of its humble beginnings can never deny the fact that the ministry is truly "a making of God".
The story of F.R.E.E. Mission can never be unfolded without getting to know the story of "Ben C. Hernandez, a man of God, and the organization's Founding Director. He is most remembered as a man with a heart for God, a heart for mission-chosen and a man transformed by God to become steward of the endeavor of bringing the Gospel of Christ to remote areas. Before his conversion, he was a notorious gang leader and was involved in gang wars with homicide and frustrated murder cases. He came to now the Lord in 1971 through the ministry of Bible School (FEBIAS) students and professors. He was then the building maintenance supervisor of Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (now SEND International). There was s dramatic change in his life from a hopeless gangster to a faithful servant of God.
Not unlike Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of the Jews, Ben became a preaching layman at San Jose Evangelical Church (now Evangelical F.R.E.E. Church) at Gen. Mariano Alvarez, Cavite. In 1976, he was officially commissioned by the Philippines Missionary Fellowship to be pastor of the church that had around 30 members. Soon the church gained popularity in the community because of the favorable changes in the lives of those who were once gangsters and troublemakers. As a result, they started to see signs of church growth, as there were remarkable changes in the lives of the people and increase in membership. And as God enabled Pastor Ben in his various pastoral studies, he continued his studies and finally got his Bachelor of Ministry degree in 1983. In this year, he began to feel the burden for rural areas where the majority of the seminarians or even those without formal Bible training, would like to take on pioneering work to plant churches in the rural areas, but that their good intentions were hindered by financial constraints. He then dreamt of forming a fellowship that would support missionaries so that they could devote themselves to the Lord's work not being preoccupied with temporal needs. As a result, F.R.E.E. Mission was born.
It was on May 30, 1997 that Pastor Ben went home to glory. But his passing will never hinder what God has already started. Before he died, he had already prepared and anointed his son Paul P. Hernandez, who graduated from a seminary three years after his father's demise, to carry on the ministry as a legacy, which he had left him and his family. Although it is not an easy task, with God nothing is impossible! Paul is not perfect, but God's strength is being made perfect in his life.
Throughout its 23 years of existence, it has proven that "church planting is an effective and permanent means of evangelism." Started with just 4 churches in 1983, to date there are 160 churches planted nationwide, and two pioneering international churches, in Thailand and Jordan.
In all these ministries and activities, we envision seeing more souls at the feet of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, all for the glory of God, F.R.E.E. Mission Philippines will go on and continue to win souls and plant churches for Christ. Glory to Jesus!