We are on our way to the airport! Here is some information about the Philippines for those of you interested in learning a little more.
General Religious Background:
The Philippines has a long history of colonization from Spain and United States. Especially because of their Spanish heritage, Catholicism arrived in 1521 with Magellan and has become the dominant religious influence on Filipino peoples and culture. At least 85% of its people are Catholic. Protestant missions started when United States colonized the islands in 1898. Missionaries in the past have been responsible for considerable evangelism and leadership training. Today, much of the growth and establishing of new congregations have come from the work of national Christians. Yet evangelical churches established by foreign and local missions have not made significant inroads to evangelizing the nation, with about 2.8% of the population are evangelical Christians. It seems like the previous missions efforts (especially the Evangelical Free mission) focused their efforts on reaching the rural and urban poor, resulting in churches and their pastors facing social barriers in reaching urban professionals.
Mission Opportunities and Needs
The “Christian” worldview and the openness of the people (their congeniality and hospitality) combined with the social, political, and economic climate, opens doors for the Gospel. Despite all of this, there are urgent and exciting missionary opportunities in the Philippines:
Major cities in The Philippines, like Manila and Cebu, are now thriving centers of economic growth, drawing an increasing number of people from the provinces. Bloomberg recently listed The Philippines as the second fastest growing economy in 2015. This growth generates greater potential resources through urban churches to spread the gospel, especially among those who are in need, as people arriving from the provinces are quite open to religious change. New residential communities are constantly being constructed on the fringes of the city. We visited one such city called Lancaster, where the Crossroads Church is planning to start a church-plant. Whole sections of Manila are in a state of flux and so are prime targets for teams of evangelists.
The thriving growth in the cities is also the result of foreign investment in manufacturing and call centers. Major cities have also become an increasing draw for retirees from America and other developed world nations because of the low costs of living and elderly conducive environment. Any urban church-planting in these thriving cities also present opportunities to reach the “nations” gathered there for work.
The third reality of Filipino influence in the world is their exporting of their people and services across the world. In the Economist magazine reports that 10% of their population is working overseas. There is a special designation called, OFW (Overseas Foreign Workers). They are often termed the “New Heroes.” Most of them leave for financial considerations to earn more income to send children to school or help save for a future business. This OFW phenomenon presents a unique missions and ministry opportunity:
Christian OFWs can make a social, economic and spiritual contribution to their host cities (Jer. 29:7) if they are discipled to become missional Christians. Depending on their vocational opportunities, OFWs can make impact the families and workplaces where they are called to work in. Christian OFWs have been instrumental in reaching fellow OFWs in their host cities with the support and partnership of churches in those cities. There is evidence that some diaspora Filipino churches and OFWs are following Jeremiah’s guidelines, and their contribution to global mission is remarkable.
Returning OFWs have been catalyst in revitalizing churches, ministries and missions in their home country because of their exposure and engagement in mission and ministries outside of Philippines. In fact, we have documented several OFWs who became Christians overseas returning to plant churches or start ministries when they return to Philippines. OFWs often leave their families behind, presenting challenges in maintaining marital and familial relationships. Local churches have to step up to offer resources to support families left behind by OFWs.
About The Trip Itinerary
|7/22||Depart for Cebu||LAX|
|7/23||Arrive at CebuCheck into hotel||Summit Circle Cebu Hotel|
|7/24||Prep for MinistriesCity TourFellowship with YA Committee||Cebu|
|7/25||Married for Good Conference||EFCP HQ Cebu|
|7/25||Faith@Work||EFCP HQ Cebu|
|7/26||Church Ministries||Mabolo EFCFirst EFCAmbassador Church|
|7/26||Faith@Work||EFCP HQ Cebu|
|7/27||Meeting with Pastors – Training pastors to reach and disciple the young adults in this generation||EFCP HQ|
|7/27||Faith@Work||EFCP HQ Cebu|
|7/28||Rest & Recreation|
|7/29||Depart for Manila||Cebu Airport|
|7/29||Arrive at ManilaCheck into HotelCity TourDinner with Crossroads Leaders||Manila/Astoria|
|7/30||Visit Tahan Tahanan – Kids with cancer ward, (tentative);Visit outreach at Junction – c/o Pastor Joemel Fellowship in Crossroads Greenhills with small groups – c/o Pastor Eric, Elder Peter, Sis. Corlicks 1. Your Work Matters 2. Best Practices|
|7/31||Visit prospective chuch plant sites – c/o Pastor Dave
|8/1||Married for Good Conference|
|8/2||Preach at Crossroads Greenhills and Marikina EFC Lunch together Team Debrief|
|8/3||Depart for LA|
Please Pray For:
- Travel safety, especially flying in the region because of the Typhoon season.
- Team adjustment to the culture – openness to experience new things, be challenged in our perspectives, and sensitivity when interacting with our Filipino brothers and sisters.
- Team spirit that will be an encouraging example as we work together across our own diverse cultural and generational backgrounds. Haha … we are representing the “Multiethnic” vision of Ambassador Church!
- Servant-spirit to be willing to do what is needed to be of encouragement to the Filipino Church.
- God’s enabling through HIs Spirit as team members teach and preach at the different ministry events and settings – that we will be culturally sensitive and relevant, spiritually encouraging and empowering, and personally humble enough to be blessed by the input from our Filipino brothers and sisters.
- Discerning spirit to sense what God is already doing in the Philippines, and discover ways in which Ambassador Church can be partners in this Kingdom work.
In Jesus Name,