Philippines (MNN) — National Christians are often the best at reaching their countries. This is why AMG International strategically partners with local leaders and churches. The organization equips these believers to fulfill the Great Commission in their home countries. Still, cross-cultural challenges can arise.
Closed Doors in Home Countries
Within close-knit communities, even a national is considered an outsider. In fact, AMG’s Bill Passons talks about when Pastor Veds experienced rejection from a community. We shared his story earlier this week; you can read it here.
“It’s not that you’re not welcome, you’re still in the same country. There’s still similarities that you have but it’s a totally different, almost like a different people group. They may speak a different language and in some of these places, especially the more rural area, the people have been there for [a] long period of time.”
Think generations. These are the communities where if your parents and grandparents weren’t locals, you will never be a full member of the group. Passons equates these communities to small towns or villages someone might find in the West, too.
“I remember, I had a friend one time who had been in a place for 25 years and they called him a newcomer because his family wasn’t from there. And there can be those deep-seated acceptance of ‘our kind’ and kind of an almost rejection of people from the outside or just that they’re always kind of looked at as outsiders,” Passons explains.
Building Meaningful Relationships
A national pastor or church planter traveling from community to community would have to find ways to build meaningful relationships despite their outsider status.
“The way that they over this is the same way that you would go in cross-culturally. You just start to build relationships, relationships that are built on usually small interactions at the beginning that over time develop into more deeper conversations. Usually, that takes a little bit of commitment and longevity,” Passons says.
When Pastor Veds visited isolated islands in his home country of the Philippines, he was immediately rejected. Longevity came in the form of living on a boat just offshore for five months. In that time, he built relationships with locals. His dedication was a key that helped unlock pathways for the love of Christ to manifest and for God’s Word to be heard.
Support National Leaders
Today, there are Christian communities on the isolated islands Pastor Veds visited. However, this pastor and many others are likely to encounter other communities similar to this one. Pray for Pastor Veds and other Christians who are sharing the Gospel in close-knit communities. Pray for opportunities to build strong relationships and for Christ’s love to be known.
To support believers like Pastor Veds through AMG’s work, CLICK HERE.
Header photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.