Philippines (MNN) –200 million Christians suffer for their faith each year around the world. According to Open Doors World Watch list, the top nations responsible for persecuting Christians include: North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and Maldives. All of these nations refuse to let missionaries into their countries. However, Christians from the Philippines are having an impact in countries just like them.
Jim Latzko with the Association of Baptist for World Evangelism says Filipino Christians are very effective in cross-cultural outreach. "Living in the Philippines, they're just a very short very inexpensive flight away from some major population centers in the east. Also, because of the economic situation in the Philippines, there are 2,000 Filipinos who leave the Philippines every day looking for work overseas."
Once they get work, they send the money back home to their families. In some cases it's the only way to provide for their families.
Because of that, Christians are developing programs that help fellow believers use this work opportunity for Kingdom purposes. "One which was just recently launched, called Worker to Witness, is focusing on converting people from just going overseas for money to also seeing a great reason for their overseas job."
Many of these believers are rethinking the reason for being in these countries, says Latzko.
ABWE is doing something similar to the Filipino program. "Ours is visiting individual churches and talking with individuals in those churches who are interested in missions. We give them some basic training in missions to prepare them as they go overseas to be ready for some of the things they would say."
According to Latzko, especially in Asia, many times Filipino believers make better missionaries than western workers because they have common ground, "as far as the types of food that they eat, the way that they live — finances and things like that. So,their level of adjustments often times in their neighboring cultures are much less than people from Europe or America might have."
Latzko says the number of overseas Filipino workers is growing, so the number of overseas Christian workers is growing, too.
Pray that many will respond to their efforts to talk about Christ. Pray also for their safety and that God will use them to accomplish much.